Brazil: The Fortunes of War, World War II and the Making of Modern Brazil

Neill Lochery. Basic, $29.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-465-03998-2
WWII jump-started Brazil’s spectacular economic growth, writes Lochery (Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939–1945) of University College London, who makes his case in this revealing political history of that nation from 1938 to 1945. Brazil in 1938 was an impoverished banana republic ruled by dictator Getúlio Vargas (1882–1954). He favored development with help from the U.S., which yearned for Brazilian bases and rubber but balked at diverting resources from its own frantic rearmament. Applying modest pressure, Vargas declared war on the Axis in August 1942 and sent a 25,000-man force to Italy in 1944, where it made a marginal contribution after being supplied, trained, and sent to battle by an unenthusiastic U.S. War’s end left Brazil with more industry, improved infrastructure, a much stronger military, and an unhappy population that, except for the wealthy, had benefited little. Responding to unrest, the army deposed Vargas in October 1945, and Brazil remained mired in stagnation, hyperinflation, and repeated military coups until the 1990s. WWII was more a missed opportunity than a turning point, but Lochery delivers a vivid picture of the Byzantine mid-20th-century politics in this increasingly important yet chronically overlooked nation. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 376 pages - 978-0-465-08070-0
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