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Extra resources for Americanization of Brazil: A Study of U.S. Cold War Diplomacy in the Third World, 1945-1954 (America in the Modern World)

Sample text

The period from 1945 to 1954 was selected primarily because it was an era of major change and transition for American foreign policy, as well as a period of enormous political and economic change in Brazil. It was an era dominated by Getúlio Vargas and a time when the traditional Brazilian ruling elites were undergoing vast changes as nationalist and populist concepts emerged and the military increasingly regarded itself as the ultimate arbiter of the system. It was also a time of major changes in the Brazilian economy and of the initial emergence of Brazilian industry and Brazil as a modern society.

It also recognized the special role of the armed forces not only in defending the country but also in safeguarding the constitutional powers and preserving law and order. In addition, it kept largely intact the whole body of corporatist-inspired social and labor legislation from the Estado Novo. "24 Even the outlawing of the Communist party and the curtailing of freedom of speech by the Dutra regime failed to dampen American optimism that Brazil was moving toward democracy. S. 25 Although by 1949 American experts considered Dutra to be a somewhat weak president because of internal economic problems, they remained cautiously optimistic about Brazil's political future.

35 This change in attitude accompanied a change in policy. Perceiving most of the world as being in a state of crisis, and the Soviet Union as an expansionist, imperialist power bent on spreading Communist revolution everywhere, Washington now mainly sought stability in Brazil. If its leaders brought democracy to the country, that was fine, but what was needed most was a stable administration firmly on the side of the United States in the world struggle against communism. This change in American attitudes and policy helps to explain the quick acceptance by the Eisenhower administration of the Brazilian military's intervention and Vargas's subsequent suicide in 1954.

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