The status quo ante: the ethnic factor in pre-war times Ethnicity and the military are two concepts that seem to collide for several reasons; where the military stands for the state and national identity, the ethnic group stands for factionalism, and possibly denial of the state and nation. It is for this reason that the two seem to coexist uncomfortably and raise questions of cohesiveness, effectiveness and loyalty. This perspective overlooks the fact that there are many multiethnic militaries functioning despite their pluralist outlook, such as in Switzerland, Belgium, Kenya and India. Yet ethnicity teamed with inequalities in-and outside the military can indeed develop a centrifugal effect detrimental to the military organisation. Societies with unequal access to wealth, positions and education tend to mirror this in their armed forces, thereby embodying social stratification that is perceived as unfair and thus contributes to the outbreak of civil conflict. It is for this reason that dispute over ethnic representation within the military is frequently voiced before civil war ensues. This link between stratification and the armed forces is disrupted by the civil war. All three cases reflected social stratification in the military and the position that different ethnic groups had within the state. Likewise, all three militaries introduced, after the war, a measure that would abolish this reflection.