Latin America during the Second World War

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While the countries of Latin America were officially neutral during World War II, many of them supported the Allies by providing resources such as raw materials and food. However, their involvement was limited compared to the major players in the war, and the conflict's impact on the region was relatively limited. Some countries, like Mexico and Brazil, did send troops to fight in the war, but their contributions were small compared to the larger Allied powers.

President Lazaro Cardenas of Mexico was known for his progressive and anti-fascist stance. He raised concerns about the Spanish Civil War and the involvement of fascist powers like Italy and Germany. He attempted to bring the issue to the international community through the League of Nations, but France and England did not support his request for intervention. Despite this, Cardenas remains a respected figure in Mexican history for his social reforms and his commitment to democracy and anti-fascism.

None of the countries in Latin America officially aligned themselves with the Axis powers during World War II. In fact, most Latin American countries maintained a neutral stance throughout the conflict and did not actively participate in the fighting. However, many of them did support the Allies by providing resources and supplies, and some countries, such as Mexico and Brazil, did send troops to fight in the war. But overall, Latin America's involvement in the war was limited, and their impact on the outcome of the conflict was relatively small.

European Refugees in Latin America: 1934 - 1939[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

During the 1930s, as political instability and persecution increased in Europe, many people fled to other countries, including Latin America, in search of safety and a better life. Many refugees, including artists, intellectuals, and political activists, sought refuge in Latin America, where they could escape the fascist and Nazi regimes in Europe. Some countries in the region, such as Argentina and Brazil, were particularly welcoming to these refugees and provided them with opportunities to rebuild their lives and pursue their careers. The arrival of these refugees had a significant impact on the cultural and intellectual life of the region, and many made lasting contributions to their new communities.

Jewish Migration[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Evian Conference was held in 1938 to address the issue of the growing number of refugees fleeing Europe. However, many countries, including the United States, were reluctant to admit large numbers of refugees, including Jews, due to concerns about immigration quotas and public opinion. Under Rafael Trujillo's regime, the Dominican Republic offered to admit up to 100,000 Jews. Still, this offer was not widely taken up, and most Jewish refugees could not find safe haven in Latin America. Despite the limitations, some Jews could find refuge in the region and start new lives. Still, the vast majority of those who sought asylum could not escape the horrors of the Holocaust.[8][9][10] The motivations behind Rafael Trujillo's offer to admit Jewish refugees were not entirely humanitarian. While Trujillo did present the offer as a humanitarian gesture, it was also part of a larger political strategy to improve his image and deflect attention from human rights abuses in the Dominican Republic. Trujillo was facing international pressure, including from the United States, over his role in the massacre of thousands of Haitians. The offer to admit Jewish refugees was seen as an attempt to improve his image and distract him from this issue. Additionally, Trujillo's regime was characterized by racial ideologies that saw the Dominican population as too "Africanized," and he saw the arrival of white European refugees as a way to "whiten" the population and promote his vision of a purer, more European Dominican Republic. Despite Trujillo's motivations, the offer was not widely taken up, and most Jewish refugees could not find safety in the region.

With the help of American Jewish organizations, a small number of German Jews could find refuge in the Dominican Republic before eventually emigrating to the United States. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and other organizations helped to facilitate their resettlement, providing them with financial and practical support as they started new lives in the Americas. Despite the limited number of refugees who could find safety in the Dominican Republic, the assistance provided by American Jewish organizations played an important role in helping those in need and highlighting the humanitarian crisis facing European Jews.

Argentina was one of the few countries in Latin America that offered a relatively welcoming environment for Jewish refugees fleeing Europe before and during World War II. There was already a significant Jewish community in Argentina, dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when many Jews fled Russia to escape persecution. This established community provided a supportive network for new arrivals and helped them to settle in their new country. Argentina had a relatively open immigration policy, and many Jewish refugees could obtain visas and start new lives there. As a result, Argentina became one of the largest destinations for Jewish refugees in Latin America, and the Jewish community in the country continued to grow and thrive.

Political refugees[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

In addition to Jewish refugees, many political refugees fled Europe to escape political persecution during the 1930s and 1940s, including socialists and communists who were targeted by fascist regimes in Italy, Spain, and Germany. Many of these refugees found asylum in Latin America, including in countries like Argentina, where they could continue their work and contribute to their new communities' intellectual and cultural life. Some of these refugees went on to teach at universities and engage in other forms of public intellectual work, helping to shape their new countries' political and intellectual landscape. Their presence also contributed to the growth of left-wing political movements and intellectual currents in Latin America and helped to build connections between Latin American and European intellectual communities.

Republican spaniards[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) resulted in the defeat of the Spanish Republicans and the establishment of Franco's dictatorship in Spain. Many Republicans and socialists fled Spain to escape persecution and sought asylum in other countries, including France. Under President Lazaro Cardenas, the government of Mexico stood out for its willingness to help these refugees. Through an agreement with the Vichy government in France, Mexico offered asylum to approximately 12,000 Spanish Republicans and socialists between 1939 and 1942. This group of refugees included a large number of civil servants from the Spanish Republic, as well as teachers, intellectuals, and artists, and women made up a significant portion of the refugees, estimated at around 40%. The arrival of these refugees had a significant impact on Mexican society and culture and helped to strengthen ties between Mexico and the Spanish-speaking world.

The arrival of Spanish Republicans and socialists in Mexico significantly impacted Mexican culture and intellectual life. These refugees brought a wealth of cultural and intellectual knowledge, as well as political and artistic perspectives, and helped enrich Mexican society. They also contributed to the development of Mexican leftist political movements and helped to solidify ties between Mexico and the Spanish-speaking world.

The Mexican government refused to recognize Franco's regime and instead extended recognition to the Spanish government in exile, which was based in Mexico. This position reflected Mexico's opposition to fascism and support for the Spanish Republicans. It helped to cement further Mexico's reputation as a leader in the fight against fascism and dictatorship in the region.

The arrival of Spanish Republicans and socialists in the Dominican Republic was part of Trujillo's broader plan to "whiten" the population of the country and strengthen the Hispanic and white elements while downplaying the Afro-Caribbean elements of the population. Trujillo saw the arrival of these refugees as an opportunity to improve the image of the Dominican Republic, both domestically and internationally, and to attract more investment and support from the Spanish-speaking world.

Trujillo's motivations were not purely humanitarian. He was known for his brutal regime and treatment of minority groups in the Dominican Republic, including the massacre of thousands of Haitians in 1937. Nevertheless, the arrival of Spanish Republicans and socialists in the Dominican Republic helped to strengthen the country's cultural and intellectual ties with Spain and the Spanish-speaking world and had a lasting impact on the country's development.

In addition to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Spanish Republicans and socialists also sought asylum in other countries in the region, including Chile, Cuba, and Argentina. These refugees were welcomed in these countries, both for their political and cultural contributions, as well as for their skills and knowledge. In Argentina, for example, many Spanish Republicans and socialists helped strengthen the country's cultural and intellectual life and contributed to its development as a regional leader.

In Chile, Spanish Republicans and socialists also helped enrich the country's cultural and intellectual life and contributed to developing the country's leftist political movements. They helped build bridges between Cuba and the Spanish-speaking world in Cuba, and their influence can still be seen in the country's political and cultural landscape today.

The arrival of Spanish Republicans and socialists in Latin America helped strengthen the region's cultural, political, and intellectual ties with the Spanish-speaking world and had a lasting impact on developing the countries that welcomed them.

Economic Impact of War in Latin America[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Second World War had a significant impact on the economies of Latin America. The disruption of trade routes and the suspension of European imports led to increased opportunities for local industries to grow and develop. This resulted in the expansion of manufacturing and production in sectors such as textiles and heavy industry, including metallurgy. Additionally, the demand for raw materials from the Allied powers boosted the export-oriented economies of the region, particularly in areas such as agriculture and mining.

Brazil and Mexico were two of the largest economies in Latin America during the Second World War, and both saw significant changes during the conflict. In Brazil, the cessation of European imports created opportunities for local industries to start up or expand, leading to the development of its manufacturing sector. This included growth in industries such as textiles, food processing, and heavy industry, including steel production. The Brazilian government also implemented policies to promote industrialization, including import substitution and creating of state-owned companies.

Mexico also experienced significant economic changes during the war. The country's oil exports, which were crucial to the war effort, increased dramatically, boosting its economy. Additionally, the demand for labour in the United States, which was a major trading partner of Mexico, led to an increase in migration and remittances, which helped to stimulate the Mexican economy. However, Mexico also faced challenges during the war, including inflation and a shortage of goods, which put pressure on the country's economy.

The war created new markets for Latin American goods as the Western Allies turned to the region for supplies to support their war efforts. This increased demand for certain products, such as rubber from Brazil and beef from Argentina, and boosted their respective economies. Additionally, the war resulted in an influx of foreign investment into the region, particularly from the United States, which helped to modernize infrastructure and support economic growth.

However, it is important to note that the war also negatively affected the region's economies. In addition to the inflation and shortage of goods mentioned earlier, the war's end resulted in the cessation of wartime demand for Latin American goods, leading to a decline in economic activity. Furthermore, the shift of economic power from Europe to the United States following the war led to a reconfiguration of the global economic system, which had long-term implications for the economies of Latin America.

The war brought both opportunities and challenges to the economies of Latin America. The increased demand for certain goods created new markets and opportunities for growth but also resulted in inflation and shortages of certain goods. The strain of supporting the war effort through increased production and reduced consumption also put pressure on the region's economies.

Despite these challenges, the Second World War had a profound impact on the economies of Latin America. It helped to spur the development of key industries and sectors, especially in countries with large domestic markets, such as Brazil and Mexico. The war led to the expansion of local industries and new markets, laying the foundation for continued economic growth and development in the post-war era.

During the Second World War, the increased demand for raw materials and agricultural products from the United States created new export opportunities for many Latin American countries. This resulted in a rise in demand for these products, which outpaced production and increased prices. This, in turn, helped boost these countries' economies as they accumulated reserves. Additionally, the influx of foreign investment and the modernization of infrastructure that came with the war helped support the region's economic growth and development.

This increased demand for raw materials and agricultural products often came at the expense of local consumption, which led to shortages and inflation. Furthermore, the end of the war resulted in the cessation of war-time demand, leading to a decline in economic activity and a reconfiguration of the global economic system, which had long-term implications for the economies of Latin America.

Countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico became significant suppliers of raw materials, such as rubber and coffee, and agricultural products, like beef, to the Allies. This increased demand allowed these countries to increase their production and exports and to earn higher prices for their goods, which helped to stimulate economic growth and improve living standards.

For example, Brazil became a major rubber producer in high demand for military uses, while Argentina exported large amounts of beef to the Allies. Mexico's oil exports, which were crucial to the war effort, also increased dramatically, boosting its economy.

The increased demand for these goods allowed Latin American countries to accumulate reserves, which helped to support economic growth and development in the post-war era. Additionally, the influx of foreign investment and the modernization of infrastructure that came with the war helped to lay the foundation for continued economic growth and development in the region.

The war created new markets for Latin American goods. It impeded industrialization in the region as countries sought to meet the demand for war-related goods and materials. This industrialization helped to spur the development of key industries and sectors, especially in countries with large domestic markets, such as Brazil and Mexico.

The war also led to an influx of foreign investment into the region, particularly from the United States, which helped to modernize infrastructure and support economic growth. Furthermore, the increased demand for raw materials and agricultural products created new export opportunities for many Latin American countries, which allowed them to earn higher prices for their goods and to accumulate reserves, providing a boost to their economies.

In contrast to the United States and other countries that were directly involved in the war, Latin America did not experience significant social changes due to the conflict. Since most Latin American countries did not participate in the war, their populations were not significantly mobilized, and most of their citizens remained at home. This helped mitigate the war's social impact in the region and allowed Latin American countries to maintain a relatively stable social and political environment throughout the conflict.

The war indirectly impacted the region, particularly in terms of increased government intervention in the economy and the mobilization of resources for the war effort. Additionally, the influx of foreign investment and the modernization of infrastructure that came with the war helped to spur economic growth and development in the region, which had long-term social and political implications.

The Second World War had a limited impact on the traditional gender roles and societal structure in Latin America, as the majority of the population remained at home due to the region's limited participation in the conflict. This lack of mobilization prevented a significant alteration of gender roles, such as an influx of women into the workforce or new roles assumed by women in the military. However, the indirect effects of the war, such as infrastructure modernisation and increased foreign investment, had long-term implications for women's education and employment opportunities and may have laid the foundation for changes in gender roles and social norms in the post-war era.

The increased economic activity and the inflow of foreign capital that resulted from the war had limited social impacts in Latin America, such as improved living standards and increased opportunities for education and employment. However, these changes were relatively limited compared to the more profound social and economic transformations that took place in many other parts of the world that were directly involved in the conflict. Nevertheless, the Second World War did play a significant role in the development of the economies of many Latin American countries. It helped to spur the growth of key industries and sectors in the region.

Political Changes in Latin America During WWII[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

In the decades leading up to the Second World War, Latin America experienced the emergence of populist political movements, which could be characterized as either right or left-wing. At the same time, there was also a growth of the workers' movement in the region, particularly in urban centres, industrial areas, and agricultural zones. The conflict of the Second World War served to further enhance trade unionism in these areas, leading to a strengthening of the workers' movement.

In the context of the Second World War, the establishment of trade unions, socialist parties, and communist parties under Soviet influence was a common occurrence throughout Latin America. The Communist parties were controlled by Moscow's Kominterm, which emphasized their primary objective of opposing fascism. This priority was strictly observed across the region, becoming even more pronounced after the invasion of the Soviet Union by Hitler in 1941.

In the short term, the labour movement in Latin America saw positive effects as a result of the war, but negative consequences emerged in the long term. In many democratic countries during the conflict, liberal governments came to power. These governments associated the Communist parties with the government, leading to a perception of communism as a viable political ideology. This, in turn, had negative implications for the region's long-term prospects of the labour movement.

The Communist parties under the control of Moscow's Kominterm agreed to reform the trade union movement in Latin America. The trade unions typically aligned themselves with the ruling political party, as was the case in Colombia and Cuba. In 1940, Batista was elected in Cuba on a broad national unity platform, including integrating Communist Party members into his regime.

In the long term, this strategy proved to be a losing one for the labour movement and left-wing parties. The unions and parties found themselves in a position of dependence on the government, which led them to adopt a more nationalistic and protectionist stance that focused on defending workers' rights and social benefits rather than promoting internationalism. This shift negatively affected the development of the labour movement in the region.

Before the Second World War, Communist parties were banned in many Latin American countries, including Brazil, where trade unionism depended on the government. In Mexico, the government formed the Institutional Revolutionary Party and a single trade union under the leadership of Cardenas. In the long term, the effects of this political alignment between the government and labor movement proved to be negative. The labour movements lost their autonomy and became affiliated with the government, compromising their ability to advocate for workers' rights and interests independently.

In the context of the Second World War, right-wing ideologies became prominent in Latin America, including the influence of Mussolini's fascism. The corporatist dictatorships of Salazar in Portugal and Franco in Spain, established in 1933, significantly impacted conservative Catholic segments of society in various countries. Catholic Social Action facilitated this influence, a Vatican-directed movement to create a Catholic workers' countermovement that renounced the notion of class conflict.

For conservative elites in Latin America, the dictatorial regimes of Europe offered the possibility of economic direction, authoritarianism, and the desire to control the masses. They saw these regimes as models to be applied in Latin America and sought to imitate the "regimes of order and progress" that had emerged from 1870-1880. This desire was motivated by a desire to impose social order, regulate labour, and segment the economy while also allowing the private sector to develop with the protection of the state.

During this time period, a trend of extreme right Catholicism emerged and actively opposed the labour movement, communism, and freemasonry. This resulted in intense political confrontations reminiscent of the Spanish Civil War and often culminated in severe repression of the workers' and peasants' movements.

In the 1930s and 1940s, several Latin American countries were ruled by dictatorships. In countries that were not under dictatorship, such as Colombia, an ultra-right Catholic faction vehemently attacked the ruling liberal party, which had formed an alliance with the socialist party. This faction accused the ruling party of being associated with freemasonry, socialism, and communism.

Latin America's Shift from Neutrality to War against the Axis[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Neutraly[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

However, most Latin American countries declared neutrality during the Second World War and maintained economic relations with both the Allies and the Axis powers. Some countries, like Mexico, actively supported the Allies by supplying them with oil and other resources. Argentina and Chile maintained formal neutrality, but elements within those countries sympathized with the Axis powers, which led to some tensions. The Nazi regime, after 1933, tried to establish closer ties with Latin American countries, particularly Argentina and Chile, to secure access to valuable raw materials. The historical ties between Prussia and these countries, including military missions, provided a foundation for the Nazis' diplomatic efforts. However, most Latin American nations declared neutrality during the war, which limited the extent of Nazi influence in the region.

Small communities of German immigrants in Argentina, Guatemala, and Uruguay formed local Nazi parties, with an estimated 8,000 followers in Latin America. At the same time, the Nazi party had 25,000 followers in the United States. Despite these efforts, the Nazi ideology did not gain a significant following in Latin America, for various reasons, including the lack of a large Jewish population and the cultural differences between the Nazi ideals and the predominant mestizo population in the region. Additionally, anti-Semitism was not widely accepted in Latin America, and the idea of the Aryan race being superior was not widely accepted either.

Despite the interest of some leaders in the actions of the fascist regimes in Italy, Portugal, and Spain, no Latin American country officially allied itself with the Axis powers during the Second World War. Most Latin American countries declared themselves neutral during the conflict. While some maintained economic relations with both the Allies and the Axis, they did not become officially involved in the war.

The lack of Latin American countries aligning themselves with the Axis powers during the Second World War demonstrated a shift in influence from Europe to the United States. The US could mobilize the region under its leadership through the principle of non-intervention, which helped to strengthen its influence in the region. This was part of the broader trend of increased US involvement in Latin America during the 20th century, which marked a shift in power dynamics and a decline in European influence in the region.

Declaration of Continental Solidarity of 1938[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

At the end of 1938, the Declaration of Continental Solidarity was adopted, which aimed to promote cooperation and solidarity among the countries of the Americas. And in September 1939, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American States adopted a position of neutrality in the ongoing war, reflecting the desire of most Latin American countries to remain neutral in the conflict. This declaration of neutrality demonstrated the independence and sovereignty of Latin American nations in their foreign policy decisions and their determination to maintain stability in the region.

In 1940, after the defeat of France and the Netherlands, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American States decided to place the colonies of South America and the Caribbean under their trusteeship to preserve the region's neutrality during the war. This decision was aimed at preventing any military aggression or intervention by the Axis powers in the colonies. It was a demonstration of the American States' commitment to maintaining regional stability and protecting the independence of the colonies. It's worth noting that Germany did not make any attacks against the French territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe, which were under the trusteeship of the American States during the war. This further underscores the success of the American States' efforts to maintain the neutrality of the Americas.[11][12][13][14]

Latin America's entry into the war was largely in response to the United States, as most countries in the region declared war on Germany and Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Central American and Caribbean countries, where the US had previously intervened in the 1920s, were particularly quick to join the war effort. However, this was not a unanimous decision across the region and there were differing levels of enthusiasm and involvement in the war effort. Nevertheless, it was largely in response to US leadership and its impact on the region that led to Latin America's eventual participation in the war.

Ironically, dictatorial regimes led many Latin American countries that declare war on the Axis powers, despite their commitment to the Allied cause. This highlights the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of the political landscape in the region at the time, as well as the geopolitical considerations that influenced these countries' decisions to join the war effort. The participation of dictatorial regimes in the war raises questions about their motivations and the legitimacy of their claims to support democracy and freedom, as they often oppressed their own populations and suppressed political dissent at home.

Mexico and Brazil were among the few Latin American countries that decided to remain neutral during the Second World War. Both countries had significant economic and political interests in maintaining their independence and avoiding direct involvement in the conflict. Mexico, for instance, sought to avoid any disruption to its trade relationships with both the Axis and Allied powers. At the same time, Brazil wanted to preserve its position as a neutral power in the region and maintain its independence from external influence. Despite the pressure from the United States and other Allied nations, Mexico and Brazil maintained their neutral stance throughout the war, and their independent policies were a testament to their political and economic strength at the time.

Inter-American Conference of 1942[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

In 1942, the United States organized the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace in Rio de Janeiro, where the participating countries agreed to break off diplomatic and trade relations with the Axis powers. This conference was seen as a significant step towards greater hemispheric unity and cooperation in the war effort. The US used the opportunity to pressure Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina to declare war on the Axis. However, despite this pressure, these countries maintained their neutral stance and did not join the war until later on. Brazil, for instance, did not declare war on the Axis powers until August 1942, while Mexico officially declared war in May 1942 after German submarines attacked Mexican oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, Argentina maintained its neutral stance until March 1945, towards the war's end.

Mexico and Brazil's Entry into War[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Mexico's decision to declare war on the Axis powers in 1942 was influenced by several factors, including the country's close relationship with the United States and the fact that President Lázaro Cárdenas had no sympathy for the Axis forces. Mexico's location along the US border also played a role in the decision, as the country was seen as a strategic ally in the war effort. The nationalization of Mexican oil in 1938 was also a factor, as President Roosevelt agreed to compensate US oil companies for their losses in exchange for Mexico's support in the war. In addition to sending a squadron to the Pacific, Mexico also sent troops to Europe to support the Allied war effort, demonstrating the country's commitment to the cause.

Brazil's declaration of war on the Axis powers in December 1942 was an important event in the war effort, as the country was seen as a potential bridgehead between Germany and the rest of the world. President Getúlio Vargas led Brazil at the time. Despite the country's close relationship with the United States, it maintained a certain degree of independence and was not dominated by the US. The US saw Brazil as a key ally in its strategy to defeat the Axis powers and provided significant military and economic support to the country throughout the war. Brazil's entry into the war demonstrated its commitment to the cause and helped strengthen the Allied powers' overall effort.

Brazil's decision to declare war on the Axis was motivated by various factors. There was pressure from the United States, as they feared that Brazil could serve as a bridgehead between Germany and the rest of the world. At the same time, Brazil's leader, Vargas, was negotiating with both the United States and Germany, trying to play both sides. However, when Germany could not supply arms, and the United States decided to finance an arms factory, Brazil declared war on the Axis and sent troops to Italy. The attack on a submarine was merely a pretext for this decision.

Many South American countries declared war on the Axis powers towards the end of the Second World War in 1945, but they had been helping the Allies by supplying raw materials throughout the war. Argentina declared war on the Axis powers just three days before Hitler's death in April 1945. The country saw an advantage in maintaining its neutrality while still providing raw materials to the United Kingdom and the United States.

The case of Argentina[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Escudo del GOU (águila imperial y al centro imagen del General San Martín).

In this context, Perón emerged as a political figure who promised to bring about social and economic changes, attracting the support of trade unions, the working class and the lower middle class. He rose to power in 1945 and implemented a series of policies to improve the working class's standard of living, such as establishing a welfare state, creating jobs and nationalising key industries. These measures made him popular among the people and helped establish him as one of the most influential leaders in Argentina's history.

The military coup took place in Argentina on June 4, 1943. The United Officers Group was the group of military officers who carried out the coup. The context was the growing popular discontent with the political system and the lack of representation in government for the majority of the population. The military saw this as an opportunity to seize control in the name of the people and make reforms. The coup established a military government led by the United Officers Group that dissolved congress and banned all political parties.

The military government then appointed Juan Domingo Perón as Secretary of Labor. He soon became a popular figure among the working class for his policies that improved their rights and working conditions. Perón's popularity and charisma led to his eventual rise to power as the President of Argentina, and he established a regime that was a mix of authoritarianism and populist policies. His government was characterized by focusing on social welfare programs, including pension plans, hospitals, and other benefits for the working class. Perón's government was also known for its close ties to labour unions, which helped to strengthen his support among the working class. However, his government was also criticized for suppressing political opposition, restricting press freedom, and engaging in human rights violations. Despite this, Perón remains a controversial figure in Argentine history and is still a significant figure in Argentine politics.

Juan Domingo Perón was a trade unionist who rose to political prominence in Argentina after the military coup of June 4, 1943. He became Minister of Labour and Vice-President and used his position to build his political base. Although the United States viewed Perón's rise with concern due to his association with authoritarian and pro-Nazi regimes, Perón did not declare war on Nazi Germany until it had already collapsed. Juan Perón had a complicated relationship with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. During the 1930s, Perón was a young army officer who was sent to Europe to study military tactics. During this time, he spent time in Italy and was influenced by the ideas of Mussolini's fascist regime. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Perón supported Nazi ideology. After he became Minister of Labor and Vice President in 1943, Perón's relationship with the United States became strained, as they accused him of being pro-Nazi and authoritarian. Despite this, Perón never officially declared war on Nazi Germany and waited until its collapse before doing so.

In 1946, when Juan Perón ran for office, the U.S. ambassador led a concerted effort to discredit him by painting him as a fascist who reinforced Argentine nationalism. Despite these efforts, Perón still managed to win the election due to his image as a defender of the marginalized. The U.S. was alarmed by Perón's rise to power and viewed him as a threat to their interests in Argentina and the region, which is why they sought to undermine his credibility. However, Perón's message resonated with the Argentine people, who saw him as a champion of their needs and aspirations, and this ultimately helped him secure the election victory.

Roosevelt Administration's Security Program against "Enemy Aliens"[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

During World War II, the Roosevelt administration implemented a security program known as the "Alien Enemy Control Program," which targeted individuals from enemy countries in Latin America who were considered "dangerous." This program was similar to the one implemented against Japanese Americans. It involved the surveillance, internment, and in some cases, deportation of Latin American citizens of German, Italian, and Japanese origin. The program was part of the larger efforts by the US government to ensure national security during the war.

The Roosevelt administration pressured 15 Latin American countries to deport individuals of German, Italian, and Japanese origin to the United States, where they were interned in concentration camps. The government seized and confiscated their property as part of the Alien Enemy Control Program. This program was a response to concerns about national security and the perceived threat posed by "enemy aliens" in the midst of the war.[8]

The implementation of the Alien Enemy Control Program during World War II resulted in the internment of many individuals who had no connection to Nazi Germany but were simply of German, Italian, or Japanese origin. Most of those interned were law-abiding citizens who posed no threat to national security. In fact, only a small number of those interned were later identified as spies working for Nazi Germany. This highlights the paradox of the program and raises questions about the fairness and necessity of the measures taken by the US government at the time.

Mexico and other countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, did not participate in the Alien Enemy Control Program during World War II. These countries had significant German populations and chose not to deport or intern their citizens or residents of German origin. Mexico, in particular, refused to participate in the program and provided refuge to many individuals who fled persecution in other Latin American countries. Mexico's refusal to participate in the program underscores the sovereign nature of nation-states and their ability to make decisions that may differ from those of their allies, even amid a global conflict.

As much as 50% of Germans from Honduras, 30% from Guatemala, and 20% from Colombia were deported as part of the Alien Enemy Control Program during World War II. Even though many of these individuals were considered "good neighbours" under the Roosevelt administration's Good Neighbor Policy and included anti-fascist opponents and Jews who had fled Nazi Germany, they were still subject to internment and deportation as part of the government's efforts to ensure national security during the war.

The deportations and internments under the Alien Enemy Control Program during World War II were influenced by the representations and perceptions that the American government and citizens had of Latin America. The belief that Hitler was using Brazil as a potential base to attack the United States and that Latin American countries could not resist Nazi propaganda led to a heightened concern about national security and the perceived threat posed by "enemy aliens." This ultimately led to the implementation of the Alien Enemy Control Program, which targeted individuals of German, Italian, and Japanese origin living in Latin American countries.

It has been suggested that the fears and concerns that led to implementing the Alien Enemy Control Program during World War II were influenced by disinformation from British intelligence services. These reports were intended to push the United States out of its neutral stance and into the war. It has been acknowledged that these reports were false and were created as part of a larger effort by the British to sway the United States into joining the war effort. Nevertheless, the impact of these false reports on the perceptions and representations of Latin America by the American government and citizens cannot be overlooked and likely played a role in implementing the Alien Enemy Control Program.

The belief that Latin America was being used as a base for attacks on the United States and that the region was susceptible to Nazi propaganda was rooted in contempt for the government in Washington. This belief was perpetuated by propaganda. As a result, the Roosevelt administration asked Latin American countries to establish a list of suspects and deport them to the United States while confiscating their goods. This included individuals of German origin and those who owned businesses and industries run by Germans, who were believed to be likely to trade with Germany. This representation highlights the broader cultural and political tensions and misunderstandings that influenced the implementation of the Alien Enemy Control Program during World War II.

American embassies in Latin America drew up lists of individuals considered to be politically or economically suspect, and often, the governments acted confidentially in response to these requests. The individuals listed were arrested, and their properties were confiscated. In some cases, such as in Nicaragua under the leadership of Somoza, the properties of Germans were eagerly seized and later passed into the hands of American companies. This highlights the politically motivated and economically driven nature of the Alien Enemy Control Program during World War II and how it intersected with other regional political and economic interests.

Similar tactics were used during the Cold War, where concerns about national security and the perceived threat posed by communist ideology led to the implementation of various security programs and policies aimed at monitoring, restricting, and in some cases, removing individuals considered to be a threat to national security. These programs were often driven by political and ideological considerations and, like the Alien Enemy Control Program during World War II, raised questions about the fairness and necessity of the measures taken by the government to ensure national security.

European refugees in Latin America after the war[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Many European refugees, including those who fled from Nazi persecution during World War II, sought asylum in Latin America after the war. Some countries in the region, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, offered safe haven to refugees and allowed them to rebuild their lives. However, during the Cold War, many of these refugees became involved in the political upheavals of the time, including the rise of American-backed dictatorships in the 1960s. This led to further difficulties for the refugees, as these regimes often targeted them for their political beliefs or their ties to their home countries. In addition, many Nazi officials and supporters fled to Latin America during and after World War II to escape prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Some countries in the region, such as Argentina, offered safe haven to these individuals, and they were able to rebuild their lives and continue their political and ideological pursuits. However, this led to concerns from the international community and Jewish organizations about the presence of former Nazis in Latin America and their potential to continue their harmful activities. Despite these concerns, many former Nazis in Latin America were able to live out their lives without facing justice for their crimes.

Klaus Barbie, also known as the "Butcher of Lyon," was a notorious Nazi war criminal who fled to South America after World War II. He lived in several countries in the region, including Bolivia, where he worked for various intelligence agencies, including the Bolivian military and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), using his skills and knowledge gained as a Gestapo official during the war. Despite his history of war crimes, Barbie was protected and employed by these agencies due to his intelligence value. It was only after the fall of military regimes in South America in the 1980s that Barbie's past was revealed, and he was eventually extradited to France in 1983 to face trial for his crimes. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Annexes[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

References[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

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  9. La Conférence de la peur, film documentaire de Michel Vuillermet, 68 min, 2009
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