America Latina

VOLUMEN 6 - Nº 2
América Latina y la Segunda Guerra Mundial (II)
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Brazil and World War II: The Forgotten Ally.
What did you do in the war, Zé Carioca?

University of New Hampshire

World War II had great impact on Brazil. The war effort improved its port facilities, left it with new modem airfields from Belém to Rio de Janeiro, as well as refurbished railroads, stimulated manufacturing, agriculture, and mining, and a burgeoning steel complex. Its army, air force, and navy had gained combat experience and the latest equipment. Its foreign stature had reached new heights and its leaders foresaw an ever greater role in world politics. The war era laid the foundations upon which Brazil's remarkable development in the next half century took place.

In 1945, its then 40,000,000 people had ample reason to be proud of their country's contributions to the Allied victory. Oddly, even though Brazil hosted, at Natal, the largest United States air base outside its own territory, and, at Recife, the U.S. Fourth Fleet; and even though it tied its economy to the American war machine, sent its navy in pursuit of German U-Boats and provided an expeditionary force and a fighter squadron on the Italian front, Brazil in some mysterious fashion has been lumped in popular memory abroad as pro-Nazi. In January 1942, Brazil broke relations with the Axis at the Rio conference, and entered the war officially in August of that year, unfke Argentina, which declared war when Germany was collapsing in late March 1945. Even so, Brazil's image in the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, was muddled.

Hollywood films had something to do with the muddling. The war years saw Carmen Miranda starring in eight of her fourteen films and, although the studios labelled her the "Brazilian Bombshell," the films tended to blur her Brazilian identity in favor of a generalized Latin American image. Walt Disney created the talkative green parrot, Zé Carioca, to symbolize Brazil, opposite the very American Donald Duck, in his 1944 films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. Yet in 1946, Alfred Hitchcock set his atomic spy thriller, Notorious, in Rio de Janeiro. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman joined forces to prevent German agent Claude Rains from spiriting atomic sands out of Brazil. And decades afterwards, a late-1970s novel and movie about a plot by Nazi fugitives to clone genetically a new Hitler carried the catchy tife The Boys from Brazil! It is possible to suspect something more sinister than confused images in the timing of Notorious and The Boys... In 1945 the United States had signed a there-year agreement with Brazil to obtain cheaply several thousand tons of monazite and thorite for use in its atomic energy program and, in 1946, Washington was concerned with rising Brazilian nationalism that might contest such sales. And in the mid-1970s, the United States government strenuously opposed Brazil's nuclear exchange accord with West Germany. The heat of the latter dispute was indicated by President Ernesto Geisel renouncing Brazil's alliance with the United States in 1977. To muddle Brazil's image would have been logical, in such circumstances, if the objective was to rally public support in the United States for a confrontation. I know of no documentary evidence that there is more than coincidence in the timing and subject matter of the two films and the contemporary relations between the two countries; however, it is a curious concurrence.1

It is a rare book on the war that mentions the Brazilian bases, the strategically important Natal-Dakar air route, the naval campaign in the South Atlantic, or the Brazilians in Italy. Most war histories do not even have an index entry for Brazil. It is remarkable how many times 1 have been asked by otherwise knowledgeable people: "Didn't a lot of Nazis escape there after the war?" Perhaps the poor geographical knowledge of Americans causes them to confuse one South American country with another. They regularly confuse Brazil and Argentina, and think that Buenos Aires is the Brazilian capital. During a visit to Brazil, President Ronald Reagan stumbled during a speech in Brasilia saying that he was pleased to be in "Bolivia, eh... Bogotá... Brazil." Brazil chose the Allied cause, even as it worked to obtain the greatest benefts from both sides. It was Brazil that ceded bases, harnessed its economy to the "Arsenal of Democracy," and sent its military into combat, while Argentina stood aloof. These facts demand repeated mention because they are what inform Brazilian post-war expectations and foreign policy objectives. Brazil's status during the war was different from that of its neighbors, and its leaders then and since have expected the great powers to understand that. They have often been disappointed when the powers, especially the United States, did not accord proper recognition. Policy makers in foreign capitals, especially Washington, have frequently been puzzled by, what they considered, the Brazilians' pretensions. Their perplexity was perhaps feigned at times, because such recognition was not in harmony with their own policy objectives, but it is likely that often they were, like the world at large, ignorant of the history of Brazil's wartime roles. Fifty years after the conflict's end, it is time that Brazil's war record reach a greater audience.

Brazil's Strategic Vision of its Position in the 1930s

It would be easy to suppose that Brazil of the 1930s was so poor and unorganized that it was simply pushed hither and yon by the powerful international currents of the decade; that its leaders merely responded to external forces and demands, and did not have a firm grasp on the country's relative capabilities vis-a-vis neighbors and distant powers. Such an assumption would be wrong. After the regime and military collapse that occurred during the Revolution of 1930, the federal government headed by Getúlio Dornelles Vargas reorganized the national political structure and rebuilt the federal army. As part of that process, it organized its first modern military intelligence service during 1933-34. Brazil sent military attaches to various "interesting countries." An early result of this effort was a detailed study of Brazil's "military situation," which would provide a basis for the military and foreign policies in the years prior to World War II.2 A summary of this document will give the reader some insight into the strategic thinking of the Brazilian leadership and suggests that, for all the apparent internal divisions among the élites, Brazilian policy ultimately was based on a coherent and realistic appraisal of the country's relative strength and position in South America and in the world.

The analysts observed that the great powers were shaken by internal economic and social crises that had unsettled the world order and had produced a "reciprocal and permanent distrust (italics sic) that made any durable agreement impossible." As a result, "Brazil as an ally could be pulled into another world war, or it could be the cause or theater of a war... In fact, over South America in general and over Brazil in particular there loom serious threats, because various expansionist currents (italics sic)..." converge here, among which are:
  • the Japanese - the most dangerous, because it is the most systematic and methodical, the most absorbent and best directed;

  • the Germanic - existed before the European conflagration [WWI] and which threat broke out again with the wave of intensive racist spirit (italics sic) and scientific-military philosophy;

  • the North American - that is above all economic, not threatening directly our political independence, but tending to make us vassals. American expansion, that is done principally by means of the exportation of capital and via commerce in general (italics sic), tends to clash here with the Japanese, that is carried out by the export of labor, whose effect is more radical and dangerous. The collision of those two currents could result in an attack against our independence or, at least, against our integrity;

  • the Italian - that by its origins and nature is less dangerous, has accumulated, however, too much in certain regions of the country, tending indirectly to threaten a break in the national unity of the people, and to exercise strong influence on part of public opinion in event of a European war." The German immigrants could similarly endanger national unity and resolve (p. 5).
In case of an "extra continental" (italics sic) war, Brazil could only defend itself with a preventative policy. Internally, it would have to control the immigrant population, spreading it throughout the country to avoid concentrations of those with the same origins, neutralizing direct assistance from foreign governments, forbidding foreign colonization companies, insisting on obligatory teaching and use of Portuguese, and imposing an "intense nationalization" (italics sic) of those born in Brazil to cut their ties to the countries of origin. Externally, Brazil would have to make alliances. No one South American country, the general staff analysts noted, in the next two or three decades, would have sufficient military strength to fend off a great power aggressor. lf the bigger South American countries allied, they would have enough military power to make "difficult, expensive, and dubious, attempts at conquest by any method (italics sic)." This idealized South American alliance should involve development of military industries and a continental system of communications. Alas, the analysts lamented, the history of South American disputes and rivalries made such an alliance unlikely (p. 6).

The authors reminded their superiors that Brazil, as the only Portuguese- speaking country in the hemisphere, was isolated and so could only count on itself. Although the United States was similarly alone vis-a-vis the Spanish- speaking countries and although their commonality as outsiders had led to a "more or less intimate cooperation" in the past, expanded United States influence would not be "without grave inconveniences" (p. 6). "Economically we are their dependents, because they buy our principal product in much greater quantities than all other countries, while we buy relatively little from them." Furthermore, coffee was not a necessity and in wartime it could be obtained elsewhere. The United States, the report warned, "could itself constitute a threat for us... depending on the evolution of its post-war international policy" (p. 7).

All this meant that Brazil had to organize its military power, which would "liberate it from North American dependence (italics sic), without prejudicing an even greater closeness (aproximapdo) with the great confederation of the north, thereby satisfying, in broader fashion, the necessities of national defense." The analysis warned that, in case of war, "without the aid of the United States or of another strong industrial power, the situation of any South American nation is precarious, because none of them possesses sufficient military industries" (p. 7). And, in the meantime, as Brazil developed its industrial capabilities, its defense against extra-continental aggression, lay in "preventative measures" (sic), principally diplomacy (p. 7).

If a new war followed the pattern of the great war of 1914- 18, "our position is naturally on the side of the Entente, especially if Argentina and the United States line up on that side." However, the report cautioned that Brazil "should not assume an attitude diametrically opposed to that of Argentina, which could cause a war with that nation, and for which we are not prepared" (p. 8).

This threat analysis shows that as early as 1934, Brazilian authorities were measuring the dangges that were accumulating on the world scene and were carefully considering how best to protect the country. In summary, the Brazilian leaders believed that they had to depend on their own wits and resources, and that they should use the crises that lay ahead to obtain the greatest advantage for Brazil. However, when considering a possible world war and the problem of equipping and preparing its armed forces, the Brazilian military and presidential papers repeatedly point to the United States as logical source.3

There were also domestic reasons for wanting to build up federal military power. The Revolution of 1930 had pushed aside the oligarchic, state-based coalitions that had controlled the political system since the late 1890s, but the danger of a rising of remnants of the old system was always latent. And new threats based on foreign models and inspiration appeared as the decade wore on. In 1932, the Sáo Paulo élite led that state into a these-month rebellion; in 1935, a Moscow-directed communist uprising held Natal for a few days, and in 1936-37, greenshirted fascist-inspired Integralistas marched and fought with leftists in the streets. In order to contain such internal threats, the central government wanted its military forces strengthened. Only then, proponents argued, would the corrosive political problems be checked and the work of national development carried forward. The military and presidential archives hold documents that discussed these problems and their solutions. Eventually, the major political solution would be the November 1937 internal government coup that suppressed the 1934 constitution, closed the congress, and established the Estado Novo dictatorship that ruled Brazil until October 1945.4 The foregoing analysis should be sufficient to indicate that the Brazilian leadership prior to the war had linked national development and security with international trade and finance, and that they were concerned with not taking steps that would endanger the country, but that internationally they saw themselves naturally on the side of the liberal powers, particularly the United States. Further, there was agreement among key leaders that the dangges that afflicted the world also offered opportunities. Factions developed as the world crisis deepened and opinions differed as to which side offered the most with the least danger. For some observers, the internal debates took on ideological coloring that muddied analysis.

Pre-War Struggle for Brazilian Markets, Resources, and Support

The failure of the world economy after the Wall Street Crash of 19291ed to intense competition amoung Britain, the United States, and Germany over access to Brazil's market and resources. This rivalry was especially important for the latter two countries, which had limited avenues into the vast areas of Africa and Asia that were under colonial rule. The United States turned to Latin America using the famous Good Neighbor Policy and its companion reciprocal trade treaties as vehicles to increase commerce, in order to stimulate the stagnated national economy. Germany's vehicle to achieve the same end was the compensation mark (Aski) system, a bi-lateral, blocked account arrangement that shut out theed parties. Shortly after Secretary of State Cordell Hull signed the trade treaty (Feb. 1935) with the government of Getúlio Vargas, the Brazilians made an agreement with Berlin to trade in the Aski system as well.

Washington's desire for liberal trade policies based on purchases in hard currencies was not matched in Rio de Janeiro or Berlin because both lacked such currencies. Brazil needed its scant hard currency reserve to support the Mibréis (Cruzeiro replaced it in 1942), pay off foreign bond holders, remit the profits of foreign companies, and finance purchases in the United States and other countries. To obtain dollars, for example, the Brazilians looked to the United States as the principal market for their coffee, which, in the 1930s, was facing growing competition from Central American, Colombian, and Venezuelan shippers. That was why Germany was so appealing; there Brazil could enlarge its exports and buy manufactures without spending hard currencies. The Aski system allowed the Germany to offer lower prices than their American or British competitors; indeed, the prices were more favorable than those listed in Reichmarks. In 1938, Brazilian importers of German goods paid Aski mark prices that were 24% less than those in Reichmarks. In addition, Germans bought Brazilian cotton, wool, and fruits such as oranges, which the Americans did not want. And because Brazilian and American cotton competed directly in the German market -indeed American losses reportedly had reached $20 million in 1935-5, the Brazilians believed that the Roosevelt administration's pleas for open trade were not as detached as the Americans professed.

The heart of the American-German conflict over the Brazilian market was that Brazil's Aski-based sales obligated it to buy German products that competed with American ones. In effect, Brazilian competition cut finto American cotton sales to Germany, while the Aski-system reduced American sales to Brazil. This aspect of the situation worried the Brazilians as well. By the mid-1930s, the Vargas government had greatly weakened Britain's long- time financial dominance over the economy and was attempting to create an economic relationship with the United States that would give the Brazilian economy access to American loans, investments, and markets, while minimizing American influence. However, having enfeebled John Bull's hold, the Brazilians were anxious to avoid Uncle Sam's grip, and they did not want to give the Germans undue influence over their trade policies. Their idea was simple and direct: by multiplying the number of players, they would increase their ability to maneuver among them; by expanding their markets and sources of supply, the economy would be less dependent on a particular power and the political system would be less vulnerable to foreign penetration. They wanted to trade wherever possible, on whatever terms were agreeable; they were less troubled about trade mechanisms than about finding markets and selling goods. Their objective was economic indepen- dence, which they saw as necessary to maintain political autonomy and to further economic development.

The Vargas government's skillful, clever, and nationalist maneuvering built the foundation of today's robust industrial park. Back then, few thought that Brazil would become the eighth-ranked industrial economy in the world. The 1935-1945 period provided opportunities for Brazil to make great strides forward, and its leaders seized the chances with hard-headed determination. The tendency toward trade diversification, which so characterizes Brazil's foreign trade in the 1990s, had its origins in the 1930s. Then, as now, it was a common-sense way of minimizing risky dependence. It was and is better to have more than one buyer and more than one supplier.

The difficulty for historians, of course, is that Nazi Germany was a major actor in this story and dealings with the Reich raise suspicions of sympathy and partisanship, particularly because, in November 1937, Vargas ended the constitutional, elected government that he had headed since 1934, and replaced it with the dictatorial Estado Novo. American diplomats and intelligence agents saw the street parades of the fascist-like, green shirted Integralistas (although not related to the government and suppressed in March 1938), and the open admiration for the German army of the Brazilian officers who backed the dictatorship, as signs of Nazi influence. Truly, trade does not take place in an ideological vacuum, but it is well to recall that the United States government and American businesses were working hard to expand their own access to the German market.

In the twentieth century, the Brazilian market has been important to Germany under all of its regimes -imperial, Weimar, Nazi, occupied, Bonn, and now reunified. In 1938, Brazil was the biggest non-European consumer of German products and ranked ninth among Germany's trading partners overall. And Brazil's relations with ít have been qualitatively different than with the United States because, fke its North American partner, it received a large German immigration in the nineteenth century, which gave Germany an influential base from which to operate. The Americans lacked a similar base, immigration from the United States having consisted of a few families of disgruntled Confederates.

With half a century of hindsight, it is obvious that Germany's trade was supporting its preparations for war, but it should be equally obvious that Brazil's leaders had no more idea than anyone else that Germany would soon unleash the greatest war in history. The point is that, until the war, none of the future allies abstained from trade and other dealings with the Third Reich.6

While Brazilian importers bought a wide-variety of products in Germany in 1938-1940, they could not do so rapidly enough to maintain a balanced exchange. Extensive German purchasing stimulated certain sectors of the economy, but caused the Bank of Brazil to amass a huge cache of Aski marks. It was a delicate situation. In mid-1938 the Bank found itself holding an excess of 30 million Aski marks and unofficially stopped authorizing exports against the Aski account, and insisted that Germany pay for cotton in hard currencies. The Germans threatened to buy elsewhere. If Berlin fulfilled its threat, the producers of cotton, coffee, cacao, tobacco, rubber, wool, woods, tropical fruits, hides, butter, and íron ore would be seriously hurt. A few examples from 1938 will show the importance of Germany's trade to the Brazilian economy. Where coffee was Brazil's principal export to the United States, cotton was the leader in its trade with Germany. Germany imported 1,211,182 bales of raw cotton, of which 466,3641anded from Brazil, 200,170 from the United States, 136,953 from Egypt, and 407,695 from various other sources. And because the cotton lobby kept Brazilian fibers out of the American market, the Brazilian government was quite happy to see sales to Germany increase. Brazil sold Germany 41% (91,789,700 kilos) of the 197,419,700 kilos of coffee that it imported, and Berlin was promising to reduce Colombia's and Venezuela's quotas. In cacao, Germany was Brazil's theed-ranked market after the United States and the United Kingdom; it took 10,599 tons of the total 127,887 tons shipped abroad, thereby exciting exporters about this new market. Also in 1938, 14% of Germany's tobacco carne from Brazil. And rubber and wool producers were particularly interested in that market. Although wild rubber production was declining, of the 8,819 ton yield, fully 6,715 tons, or 77%, went to the Reich. These figures had enormous importance for the weak Amazonian economy. Similarly, wool producers had been pleased to sell Germany 88% of their 1936 shipments and 97% of their 1937 ones. When the percentage dipped to 40 in 1938, they were naturally alarmed. The Vargas government necessarily had to pay more attention to its citizens' interests than to the complaints of the United States about unfair trading practices. It gave in to German desires to continue the Aski trade. Fortunately, the trade pattern during 1938 had allowed the Brazilians to reduce their surplus of Aski marks to about 5,000,000. Trade between the two countries continued to be based on the system until the war brought it to an end.7

Washington provided credits to flnance exports to Brazil, without increasing Brazilian exports to the United States. American quotas for coffee and cacao, and exclusion of cotton, did not permit expansion, while Germany's system encouraged continuous expansion of Brazilian exports. The Brazilians interpreted American policies as intended to hold back the Brazilian economy. The United States sold more than it bought, demanded dealing in hard currencies, and extended loans and credits that could be used only for purchases in the American market. While it was not helping Brazil earn hard currencies, the Roosevelt administration protested that Brazil was not paying on its hard-currency bond issues and debts. The policy conflict was heightened by Washington's objections to Brazil's arms purchases in Germany, made with mixed hard-currency and Aski marks. American refusal to sell arms because of congressional prohibitions against exporting them was difficult for the Brazilian military, then intent on modernization, to understand. In the mid-1930s, Brazilian intelligence estimates pointed to the United States as a possible security threat, so American objections to purchases in Germany and refusal to sell aroused suspicion as well as irritation. [Moreover, the military was fearful of Argentine intentions and nervous that, after Paraguay's mobilization for the Chaco War (1932-35) with Bolivia, it could use its 77,000 man army to seek a more favorable definition of its boundary with Mato Grosso.] In addition, officers worried about Nazi organizations among German immigrants in the southern states. As a result, top military leaders were intimately involved in shaping trade policy. The military also supported the idea of securing foreign assistance to develop a steel industry as the basis for future industrialization and independent arms production.

The United States did not apply strong economic pressures on Brazil to end the Aski trade. It was personally embarrassing for Secretary of State Cordell Hull to have the largest country in the Good Neighborhood undermining the reciprocal trade treaty system around which he had molded Washington's foreign policy. The State Department contented itself with hearing Brazilian leaders' constant protestations of loyalty to pan-American ideals and refrained from the strong actions necessary to bring the Brazilians to heel. The Americans accepted rhetoric over action because they wished to preserve the fa~ade of a successful Good Neighbor policy, even though Brazil's participation in the Aski system was effectively a rejection of the principles of that policy.

As early as November 1938, the Brazilian Ambassador in Washington, Mario de Pimentel Brandáo, advised Foreign Minister Oswaldo Aranha that "we have to decide: the United States or Germany."8 But Vargas saw Washington's worries about Germany and its desire to maintain a fagade of pan-American unity, and Germany's need for raw materials and markets, as windfall sources of new leverage that he used to expand trade, obtain arms and assistance in building the Volta Redonda steel complex, all the while maintaining an internal political balance among the social, economic, and military groups supporting his Estado Novo. His government's policy was to avoid placing all of its eggs in one basket until it absolutely had to, so that, in the words of American Ambassador Jefferson Caffery, it could "squeeze the maximum out of the United States on the one hand and the Fascist powers on the other."9

Brazilian trade with Germany flourished until the outbreak of hostilities, and thereafter was shut off by the British naval blockade. As German armies triumphed in Europe, Berlin offered to increase its purchases in Brazil after the war from a pre-war annual average of 170 million Reichmarks to 300 million Reichmarks. It promised arms, railroad equipment, and a steel mill.10 Everything depended on the outcome of the war and on Germany's postwar intentions. As conquest added new millions to Germany's economic sphere, its importance as a post-war trading partner increased. But what if victory also brought Germany a colonial empire in tropical Africa that might one day supply the cacao, coffee, tea, tobacco, cotton, rubber, woods, etc., that it now obtained in Brazil? German analysts predicted that, eventually, trade with Brazil would "undergo certain changes and a contraction." The Nazi government intended to invite German immigrants living in Brazil to move to the new colonies.11

From his post in Berlin, Brazilian Ambassador Cyro de Freitas Valle warned that the Reich's plans called for global spheres of influence based on "Europe for Berlin, the Americas for Washington and Oriental Asia for Tokyo." Russia would be the country-balance to the United States.12 He thought that it would be better for the Germans to concentrate on winning the war rather than spinning such schemes, but it surely raised the question of where Brazil fitted into such a post-war world order. If a victorious Third Reich planned to leave Brazil in the American sphere of influence, would not the South American republic's leaders be wise to solidify ties with the United States?

The Brazilians intelligently carried on simultaneous negotiations with Berlin and Washington, seeking the best support for their plans to construct an industrial infrastructure. 1 have told the story of these negotiations elsewhere,13 suffice to say here that in September 1940, the Roosevelt administration carne up with a funding package that did the trick. Washington, not Berlin, provided the wherewithal to build the Volta Redonda steel mill, which was both symbol and substance of Brazil's industrial coming of age.14

Brazil's Course to Military Involvement

American willingness to commit financial, technical, and physical backing for Brazil's industrialization derived from more than concern over German trade proposals. Throughout 1940, Washington had grown steadily more alarmed at the European situation. With the fall of France, it took seriously the possibility that if Britain collapsed, Germany might launch an attack on the Western Hemisphere. Berlin did not have such plans, but in mid-1940 anything seemed conceivable, and it was perhaps best to imagine the worst. In late May, reports of a pro-Nazi coup plot in Argentina and a British report of a possible German move against Brazil galvanized Washington. Roosevelt ordered the army to plan operation Pot of Gold, that would rush a 100,000 man force to secure points from Belém to Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian military was decidedly cool to the idea of letting American troops into the country, and Pot of Gold did not go beyond the planning stage, but continuing conversations over the next two years led to permitting American naval and air bases.

Interestingly enough, though the steel mill agreement was crucial to close Brazilian-American ties, four days before the agreement was signed in Washington, on September 26, 1940, the Vargas government decided that, in case of German aggression, it would place all of Brazil's resources on the American side. And because it could not supply arms immediately, Washington showed its good will, and concern for its budding ally, by convincing the British to allow German arms destined for Brazil to pass through their naval blockade.15

The steel mill agreement linked Brazil irrevocably to the United States and firmed its attitudes toward Germany. The Brazilian government ended talks with Germany about post-war trade, tightened controls on German- subsidized newspapers, and allowed Pan-American Airways to fly overland from Belém to Rio de Janeiro, thereby shortening the trip from Miami from five to two days. As the two countries literally moved closer together, the United States now took up the Rio government's 1939 offer of bases in the northeast, including on Fernando de Noronha island.

Tied to the question of bases was that of civilian airlines. From late 1938 onward, the American government worried about the possibility of Axis military bases being set up in the Western Hemisphere. Today we are more familiar with the limitations of air transport and with the difficulties of maintaining distant bases, but in the 1930s the sudden spurt of developments in aviation made the idea of Axis bases seem possible. After all, were not a number of the private airlines in Latin America, including Brazil, the creation of German pilots and capital? Three government-controlled airlines linked Brazil to Europe: Lufthansa, the Italian Lati, and Air France. The latter built the first landing strips at Natal and Salvador. Pan-American Airways connected Brazil to the United States via a coastal seaplane route. Lufthansa fully owned the oldest Brazilian airline, Condor, and held influential interest in Varig and Vasp. Pan-Am's subsidiary, Panair do Brasil, flew a number of internal routes and acted as a feeder for the parent's international flights. The outbreak of hostilities forced Lufthansa to end its operations, and the fall of France in 1940 eliminated Air France. Lati filled the transoceanic gap, while inside Brazil, Condor expanded its flights using German pilots and receiving equipment from blockade runners. Washington wanted German influence eliminated from Varig, Vasp, and Condor, and offered inducements of aircraft, financial credits, and technical assistance. In the second half of 1941, Varig and Vasp fired its German personnel. But Condor was more of a problem. The Vargas government and its military aviation officials regarded Condor as a pioneer that had opened valuable routes through the vast interior, and were unwilling to agree to American demands that it be grounded because of its German ties. Only after Brazil entered the war in August 1942 did the government act to liquidate Condor's financial links to Lufthansa. Reorganized as Servicos Aereos Cruzeiro do Sul, the United States removed it from the black list.16

As for a grand-scale aerial attack or invasion, the hemisphere's one accessible point seemed to be the northeastern tip of Brazil, which was closer to French West Africa than to the nearest of the Antilles. The region was undefended, beyond the range of American aircraft in the Caribbean, and inaccessible by land to the Brazilian forces concentrated in the south. In November 1940, to secure the Brazilian bulge, the United States Army negotiated a secret agreement with Pan-American Airways to build two chains of airfields from North America to the northeast. In January 1941, Vargas gave verbal authority for Panair do Brasil to undertake Airport Development Program (ADP) construction at points such as Belém, Fortaleza, Natal, Recife, Maceió, and Salvador. However, because important military figures as yet were unwilling to throw themselves into the arms of the Americans, he delayed issuing a formal decree until July 1941. During that six-month period, General Erwin Rommel's tanks were sweeping across North Africa, and Natal became key to the supply of the beleaguered British forces. In mid-1941, Pan-Am set up a dummy corporation, Atlantic Airways Ltd., to ferry aircraft to the British. Because both the United States and Brazil were still neutral, American air corps pilots could not fly outside the country, and Brazil could not allow belligerent crews to man the planes through its airspace. As it was, the first flight of ten aircraft involved some embarrassment for Brazilian neutrality because their registry was changed to British before they reached Brazil, and the planes carried American pilots and British navigators familiarizing themselves with the route. If the Brazilians had not cooperated, it is very possible that the United States would have occupied the area forcibly, as the drawing up of the earlier Pot of Gold plan would suggest. Not surprisingly, Brazilian leaders were reluctant to allow large numbers of American troops to garrison the airfields. Eventually, such problems were amicably resolved, and the huge Parnamirim field at Natal became the focal point in the Allied air transport system that ran west then north through Belém and the Guianas, across the Caribbean to Miami, and east over the Atlantic via Ascension Island and across Africa to the China-Burma-India theater. As traffic intensified, so, too, did Brazilian willingness to give the Americans more control over the bases.

Without Natal serving as the "trampoline to victory", the Allied supply problems of 1942 and 1943 might have been insurmountable. If Vargas and the Brazilian military had not cooperated, the United States might have used force, which would have likely caused serious and prolonged flghting in Brazil, and would have certainly shattered pan-American unity. So this cooperation was an important element in the successful prosecution of the war. Considering Brazil's contribution to the war effort, it is well to recall that six months before Pearl Harbor and fourteen months before Brazil was in the war, the ADP fields were part of the Allied supply system and the anti- submarine campaign.17

Parallel with the airbase development, the U.S. Navy's South Atlantic Force (in March 1943 raised to the Fourth Fleet), under Vice-Admiral Jonas H. Ingram, began operating in Brazilian waters in late 1941, after Pearl Harbor. The Germans responded to the above activities, and to Brazil's break in diplomatic relations at the Rio Conference in January 1942, with submarine attacks on Brazilian merchant ships. In February and March, four vessels went down off the coast of the United States. Nearly the entire Brazilian commercial fleet was circulating between Brazil and the northern republic. Vargas demanded that the United States provide naval convoys and arms for his merchantmen, or he would embargo them. He took that drastic step in April 1942, but, aater that month, he met with Admiral Ingram to discuss protection for Brazilian vessels. He so liked and trusted Ingram that calling him his "Sea Lord," he made him his secret naval advisor and opened all ports, repair facilities, and airfie1ds to the American navy, and ordered Brazilian air and naval forces to operate according to Ingram's recommenda- tions. The American admiral was thereafter responsible for Brazil's seaward defenses.

This arrangement was in the old tradition of American naval commanders, who in the last century had often worked out their own basing and operations. It was negotiated without the prior knowledge of other officials on either side. With the army generals giving top priority to defense in the south along the Argentine border, Vargas acted to forestall Axis naval attacks. This secret pact between the two men did more to protect Brazil and to solidify military cooperation than any other action of the two governments. Vargas's "Sea Lord" sent the president reports and used his direct line to him to request his intervention in various situations. Thereby, the U.S. Navy had a level of access to the Brazilian president that the U.S. Army did not have.

In May 1942 the German navy stepped up its submarine campaign and four more Brazilian vessels went to the bottom. On June 16, Hitler ordered a submarine blitz against Brazil, believing that its cooperation with the United States indicated that it was not neutral but in a state of war. Ten submarines left French ports for the South Atlantic. The ensuing campaign saw the tally of sunken Brazilian vessels increase. As the ships went down, public demonstrations in favor of the Allies became frequent.

Meanwhile, resistance against going farther with the United States also stepped up. Unfortunately, on May 1 Vargas was seriously injured in an automobile accident, suffering a broken jaw and a dislocated hip. Pro-Axis agitators whispered that he was no longer capable of governing. In May, a military-political agreement with the United States established a still secret alliance between them, but, with Vargas in bed, little was done to fulfill its commitments. After losing two of its ships to German torpedoes, Mexico declared war, increasing the pressure on Brazil, which at that point had lost eight ships. In late June, German forces poured into the Soviet Union, emboldening the pro-Axis elements to claim that the Reich's military was invincible. A plot to depose Vargas developed among high-ranking officers, who wanned him not to identify himself any closer with the Americans. This was counteracted with changes in the command of the Rio police and by American response to Brazilian losses.

The United States, by this time, was counting on the Lend-Lease program to keep the Brazilians happy with shipments of arms and equipment, but because of the German submarines, it was having difficulty delivering the goods. Utimately, Lend-Lease would help turn Brazil into the principal military power of South America; it was a problem of getting started. The these-way relationship among Brazil, Argentina, and the United States was also of concern. The Brazilians wanted a total commitment from Washington to stand with them if Argentina attacked; the Americans were willing to support Brazil only if such aggression was "sympathetic to, or instigated by, the Axis powers."18 The Roosevelt administration wanted to tighten its friendship with Brazil without completely alienating Argentina. In 1943, their positions would be reversed. The Americans frequently had difficulty understanding Brazilian fears of a possible Argentine attack. They seemed unaware that American intelligence reports had been saying for a couple of decades that this was a basic Brazilian security worry. Perhaps these reports did not get read by the correct people?

By mid-August, the ten German U-boats went into action against coastal shipping, attacking in quick succession six vessels off Segipe and Bahia. In five days the Germns cut maritime communications with the northeast, and succeeded in doing what diplomacy had been able to do only superficially, namely, uniting Brazil against them. One ship, the Baependi, went down with two-hundred and fifty soldiers and seven officers, along with two artillery batteries and other equipment. The army cried for revenge. Another vessel sank with pilgrims en route to a Eucharistic Congress in Sáo Paulo. The patient Brazilians erupted in a wave of revulsion, as city after city saw anti- Axis demonstrations and violence. Roosevelt sent submarine chasers for the Brazilian navy and instructed the embassy to buy unexportable surpluses of coffee, cacao, and Brazil nuts. In the streets, Brazilians burned Axis flags and chanted "We want war!". On August 22, the presidenfs cabinet approved a declaration saying that a state of war existed with the Axis.

The decision for war rallied domestic opponents around the Vargas regime, put pressure on the neighboring countries to reconsider their own positions, and further weakened ties to Europe and tightened them with the United States. Prior to August 1942, Brazil had gone well beyond benevolent neutrality in favor of the United States. As noted above, before the Japanese attack had forced the Americans into the conflict, Brazil had helped the United States Navy to replenish its warships, had cooperated in the anti- submarine campaign, and had allowed construction of military air bases and the flight of war planes through its air space. It is incorrect to say that unwarranted German aggression compelled Brazil to become a belligerent. Vargas's policies were unfolding to their logical conclusion. Brazil had embarked on the route to war when Vargas permitted the Airport Development Program to start construction. Recall that he gave oral permission on January 19, 1941, nine days before approving the break in relations with the Axis.19 However, weighing domestic doubts about, and resistance to, joining the Allies, if the Germans had not attacked, it is possible that Brazil would have delayed action and might well have experienced political turbulence akin to that which afflicted Argentina. The attack stimulated public support for mobilization, and for unreserved alignment with the Allies to the point of sending troops to Europe.

In early September 1942, the degree of Brazilian commitment was indicated when Vargas gave American Admiral Ingram full authority over Brazilian navy and air forces, and complete responsibility for the defense of the long Brazilian coastline. As naval historian Samuel E. Morison declared, Brazil's entry into the war was "an event of great importance in naval history." Without Brazilian participation, it would have been impossible to shut the "Atlantic Narrows" to Axis blockade-runners.20 The Brazilian confldence in the American navy did not extend to the American army. Brazilian naval officers had served on American warships in World War 1 and, since the early 1920s, the United States had a naval mission working with the Brazilian navy. The Brazilian army had sent officers to train in Germany from 1906 to 1912, and had hosted a French military mission from 1919 to 1939. Only in the mid- 1930s had it begun to develop links with its American counterpart in the limited areas of coastal artillery and health services. Moreover, it had come apart in the Revolution of 1930 and was not a well-trained and equipped force in 1942. Indeed, in the strategic region from Belém to Salvador it then had only 18,600 troops, with a scant fifty-two guns larger than.30 caliber. So it was slow to allow the American army to expand its ferrying activities or establish headquarters on their soil. Much to its chagrin, the American army was able to do both things only by navigating in Admiral Ingram's diplomatic wake. By the end of the year, the United States Army had located its South Atlantic Wing of the Air Transport Command at Natal and the United States Armed Forces, South Atlantic, at Recife, where Ingram's Fourth U.S. Fleet was also based.21

Some American officials, such as Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, could not believe that Vargas was serious about giving Ingram operational command of Brazil's coastal defense forces. Ingram had to threaten to resign to convince the Secretary that it was not some sort of Brazilian trick.22 The American and Brazilian leaders looked at military cooperation differently. Once committed, the Brazilians wanted respect even while recognizing that theirs was the weaker side of the relationship. The Americans tended to think that no selPrespecting country would place its forces under foreign command. Likely, Vargas would not Nave taken such a step if he had understood American attitudes better. He knew that Brazil was weak, but in the manner of a "patron," he believed that the weak should seek the shadow of the strong, and that the strong had a duty to protect the weak. Probably, too, he knew that his army had not yet drawn up its war plans and that it was about to enter a realm that its officers had only read about.23 Vargas understood that the Americans would levy a price for therr protection but, because it was in the national interest of the United States to have Brazil securely at its side, he believed that he could keep the accounts relatively balanced. Even as he placed Brazil's defense in American hands, he put pressure on Washington to keep the work on the Volta Redonda steel mill moving forward.24 He did not let the war distract him from the basic goal of industrializing the country.

Brazilian Wartime Economy

The war brought an almost immediate improvement in Brazil's interna- tional trade status. Even though cut off from most of continental Europe, its exports elsewhere rose dramatically. An increasingly favorable balance of trade gave Brazil large hard currency reserves for the first time since the Great Depression. Its 1942 exports were valued about $388,000,000, giving it a surplus of $148,000,000, more than double the 1941 figure. At the end of 1942, it held gold reserves of $121,000,000 compared to $40,000,000 in 1939. Its textile factories especially were finding ready customers in Argentina and South Africa. Various sectors of the economy responded to the stimulus of domestic demand caused by the sudden inability to import foreign manufactures. The American publication Business Week proclaimed that "... there is no question but that Brazil has the biggest potential of any nation in Latin America." The war benefitted Brazil financially and at the same time increased the political clout of industrial workers and their unions. Vargas used the onset of war to broaden popular support for the regime, promising better protection for workers. Almost inconspicuously, government autho- rities began using Estado Nacional in place of Estado Novo.25

When Brazil joined the Allies, it was their economic dependant. Of the $2,242,200,000 foreign investment, the British held 48%, the Americans 25%, the Canadians 18%, and a mix of others 9%. Foreigners controlled street car lines, electric power, coal and oil importation, much of the flour milling, all of cement production, many of the tugs and barges in Rio's harbor, and telegraphic communications with the rest of the world. A British company had owned the sewers of the older parts of Rio since 1857. Many of the movie theaters in big cities were owned by Paramount, RKO, and Twentieth- Century Fox, who actively discouraged development of the national cinema industry. Newspapers received subsidies from foreign embassies, the news wire services were foreign -Associated Press, United Press, Reuters, and the German Trans-Oceanic- and all newsprint was imported. The air force's aircraft carne from abroad, as did the army's heavy weapons, equipment, and 50% of expendable ordnance. Moreover, because a high proportion of inter- state commerce travelled by sea, rather than overland, the economy was overly exposed to potential collapse due to well-aimed torpedoes.26

The war highlighted Brazil's dependency on foreign investments, imports, and markets, but it also offered a unique occasion to construct an infrastructure that would allow nationally-controlled economic development. With Europe occupied by Nazi legions and Britain weakened, Brazil was more dependent on the United States. No longer able to juggle European and American interests, it now bargained comprehensively with Washington. Clearly, this potentially threatened national sovereignty, but Brazil had the distinct advantage that the United States desperately needed certain Brazilian products and the strategically important air and naval bases. Brazil was then the sole source, for example, of quartz crystals used in military communica- tions equipment. The American war factories also needed Brazilian íron ore, rubber, chrome, manganese, nickel, bauxite, tungsten, industrial diamonds, and thorium-rich monazite sands (this last used in atomic energy research). The Brazilians, therefore, held some important cards and their president was a good poker player. They negotiated guaranteed price agreements with the United States that, for the fírst time, assured Brazil of a consistent return on its exports. Moreover, Washington wanted to reduce Brazilian dependency on American goods because its factories were straining to supply the Allied forces and it required its over-burdened shipping for other missions. It encouraged import substitution and the improving of internal transportation. The war was an opportunity for Brazil to move towards development, and, until 1944, the United States had the motivation to assist.

One of the results of this scenario was the late 1942 American Technical Mission, headed by Morris Llewellyn Cooke, a respected New Deal administrator, and composed of a chemical engineer, an economst, an industrial relations specialist, a geologist, a lawyer, and fuel, power, metallurgical, transportation, and production technicians. These experts worked with a highly talented and well-connected Brazilian team to draw up a comprehensive set of recommendations that sought to satisfy both the immediate demands of wartime and long-range growth with a carefully drawn development program that employed electrical power, light metals, and the airplane to substitute coal, steel, heavy industry, and railroads. The joint report made proposals related to such diverse subjects as cargo planes and gliders, land transportation, fuel, petroleum, electric energy, textiles, paper, mining, metallurgy, the chemical industry, commercial associations, food production, markets and prices, education, translation of books into Portuguese, industrial financing and sources of credit, manufacture of electrical equipment, economic mobilization, and regional development planning. The Cooke Mission's work, combined with the activities of the Rubber Reserve Company in Amazonia, the Basic Economy Program to improve food supply, health and sanitation in the northeast, and the wide- ranging projects of Nelson Rockefeller's Office of the Coordinator of Inter- American Affairs created a revolution of rising expectations that caused Brazilians to think that the oft-predicted era of future greatness was about to dawn. An example of the startling proposals that carne out of the wartime emergency was one to build an elaborate system of canals, railroads, and highways through the interior of South America, linking the Orinoco, Amazonian, and Rio de La Plata river systems. Once the Allies had neutralized the submarine threat in the Atlantic, the idea was filed in the archives. United States officials stimulated the belief that industrialization, electrification, increased trade, housing, and education would be among the immediate consequences of Allied victory. Post-war relations would be soured by the rapid decline of American interest in such expensive ventures in peacetime.27 But even if all the dreams did not become real, the wartime centralized planning set a powerful example that influenced post-war economic development efforts.

The wartime economic boom was somewhat limited geographically to the south-central region, with the greatest impacts being felt in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sáo Paulo. The urban working class expanded apace with the increase in factories. In 1945, about 2,000,000 could be classified as urban workers (about 15%) out of the approximately 14,000,000 salaried employees in the 40,000,000 plus population. Two decades earlier, manufacturing had been limited largely to textiles and food and beverage processing. By 1945, some 70,000 small and medium-sized factories employed more than 50% (1,100,000) of urban workers, who were producing, in addition to textiles, food, and drink, metal goods, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cement, tires, and assembled vehicles. The growing government agencies employed a consider- able number of white-collar workers. But the bulk of the working population, two-thirds of it, was still found in rural areas, in agriculture, stock raising, and collection of rubber, nuts, and herva mate.28 As industrialization stepped up its pace after the war, it would cause a huge rural to urban migration that would make Brazil, a half-century later, a highly urbanized country.

Brazil's War Aims

By late 1942, Brazil was securely in the American camp and its military officers were talking about committing combat troops. Oddly, after having been pursued since 1938, the Brazilians now found that the cadence and direction of the dance had shifted, they now had to hurry after the Americans, whose concern for Brazil declined as the Germans were driven back across North Africa. At the start of 1942, Northeast Brazil had stood on the front lines, but as 1943 opened, it was a rear area trampoline that bounced personnel and supplies to where the action was. Brazil's leaders saw that in order to benefit from the war, the country could not content itself with providing raw materials, pass-through bases, and diplomatic support; Brazil had to make the blood sacrifice. It also had to clarify its objectives, so that it could better coordinate the multiple agencies that were interacting with the Allies.

The architect of the alliance with the United States, Foreign Minister Oswaldo Aranha, penned an analysis of Brazil's international situation for President Vargas on the eve of his secret meeting with President Roosevelt at Natal on January 28, 1943. This statement is one of the most important documents in the history of Brazilian foreign relations. Aranha advised his old friend that the traditional policy of "supporting the United States in the world in exchange for its support in South America" should be maintained "until the victory of American arms in the war and until the victory and consolidation of American ideals in the peace." The United States would lead the world when peace was restored and it would be a grave error for Brazil not to be at its side. Both nations were "cosmic and universal," with continental and global futures. Aranha knew that Brazil was yet "a weak country economically and militarily," but its natural growth, or post-war migration, would give it the capital and population that would make it "inevitably one of the great economic and political powers of the world." He advised against frightening badly needed American and British capital with overly nationalistic economic policies. Brazilians should, he wrote, accept the difflcult war economy without restraint, so that by "ceding in war," they would "gain in peacetime" reciprocal arrangements of mutual benefit. Postwar economic policies should seek the liberalization of international trade, the deepening of American collaboration with the "Vargas program" of industrialization, and the free movement of capital and immigrants to Brazil. He urged intimate contact between the two countries and continuous exchanges of views at the ministerial level. They should prepare the military for combat, because "this preparation by itself, without our being called to battle, will be counted as one or more victories at the peace table."

Brazil should adhere to the Atlantic Charter and the United Nations Declaration, and it should join the United Nations study committees, and seek a place in the Allied supreme military councils. Brazil should also be attentive to the future of European colonies and mandates, especially Portuguese ones and the Guianas. If the Portuguese empire collapsed, Brazil should demand Washington's backing for the "defense of a patrimony that is hereditarily Brazilian." All European colonies in the Western Hemisphere should either be given independence or absorbed by neighboring states. Brazil must play a key role in this process. It should particularly express its interest in French Guiana, because of its importance for the security of the Amazon region. And given Africa's relevance for Brazilian security, Brazil should demand a voice in the future of the continent.

He ended with eleven policy objectives that Brazil should pursue:
  1. a better position in world politics;
  2. consolidation of its superiority in South America;
  3. a more secure and intimate cooperation with the United States;
  4. greater influence over Portugal and its possessions;
  5. development of maritime power;
  6. development of air power;
  7. development of heavy industries;
  8. creation of war industries;
  9. creation of industries -agricultural, extractive, and light mineral- complementary to those of the United States and essential for world reconstruction;
  10. expansion of Brazil's railways and highways for economic and strategic purposes;
  11. exploration for essential combustible fuels.
This list reads like a summary of Brazilian foreign and domestic policy of the next two decades. Aranha was aware that close collaboration with the United States could be dangerous, but, as he commented to Minister of War General Eurico Dutra, Brazil was at the mercy of more powerful nations and, unless it had a mighty ally, "the future of Brazil will be everyone's, except the Brazilians."29

The Brazilian Expeditionary Force

At the Natal meeting, Roosevelt encouraged the idea of Brazil committing troops, telling Vargas that he wanted him with him at the peace table. If Brazil sent its soldiers to fight, it could legitimately claim a larger role in postwar restructuring of the world. After the first war, in which it was an ally but without a combat role, it played a minor part at the conference, and although active in the League of Nations, it had resigned in frustration at not obtaining a permanent council seat in 1926. In addition to international reasons, Vargas likely thought that distracting the military with a foreign campaign would give him some political space in which to develop a populist base with which to preserve the gains of the freshly labelled Estado Nacional. The dictatorship's opponents quickly regarded a combat role as guarantee that the regime would not outlast the war. They asserted that Brazilians could not fight against tyranny overseas and return to live under it at home.

Foreign Minister Oswaldo Aranha saw the war and an expeditionary force as a way to expand Brazil's historic cooperation with the United States into "a true alliance of destinies." That policy of cooperation had been, Aranha noted, "a source of security" for Brazil, that by giving the United States assurance of Brazil's support in international questions, Brazil could "count on them in [South] American ones." The FEB would, in his view, convince the Americans that Brazil was committed to an alliance "materially, morally, and militarily." The alliance was his strategy for gaining United States assistance in Brazilian industrialization, which he saw as "the first defense against external and internal danger." He argued that the FEB was the start of a wider collaboration, involving Brazil's total military reorganization. More- over, he did not believe that they could restrict themselves solely to an expeditionary force if they wanted to insure American involvement in other Brazilian military matters, such as development of the navy and air force, and defense of Southern Brazil. Looking ahead, he believed that Brazil would have to keep its forces mobilized for some time after the peace to help maintain the post-war order. In a cabinet meeting, he asserted that they should work to convince the Americans that "having chosen the road to follow and our companions for the journey we will not after our course or hesitate in our steps."30

For some Brazilian officers, especially the Escola Militar graduates of the Class of 1917, committing troops would vindicate their not having fought in World War 1; it would also revenge the deaths of friends and colleagues killed in Axis submarine attacks, and, perhaps more importantly, it would increase the army and air force's effective strength and ability to deal with various contingencies. Among the latter were the strong United States military and naval bases in Northeast Brazil, which the Brazilians wanted to insure that the Americans would vacate after the war; the German immigrant populations in Southern Brazil, which they wanted to be able to control; and, the ever-present fear of Argentina, which was then under a military regime. But the army was not about to ship overseas and trust that all would be well at home or on the frontiers. Its leaders were particularly concerned about Argentina. In July 1943, Minister of War Dutra declared that whatever number of troops went abroad, he wanted an equivalent force left in Brazil "to guarantee sovereignty and the maintenance of order and tranquility here." Clearly, the home front had to be secure, but to achieve that objective Brazilian leaders would have to pry sufficient weapons from the Americans, who then were struggling to arm their own troops and to produce arms for the Allies. The Brazilian government decided that it would have to send troops to the batfefields.

Washington favored the idea because if the largest Latin American country fought with the Allies, it would enhance the image of the United States as leader of the hemisphere. The Roosevelt administration also hoped that it would make Brazil a pro-American bulwark in South America. Secretary of State Cordell Hull saw Brazil as a counterweight to Argentina. Both the Brazilians and the Americans adroitly played on the other's worries about Argentina to bolster their policy goals. But, of course, the closer Brazil and the United States became, the more nervous the Argenntnns grew.31

Some American army leaders were reluctant to accept the Brazilian offer of troops. Their willingness to accommodate the Brazilians was in direct proportion to what they wanted from them. By the end of 1942, the army had its Brazilian air bases and related supply lines through them to North Africa, so why worry about the Brazilians? A debate took place in American military and diplomatic circles over the merits of accepting or deflecting Brazilian desires. Earlier in 1942, the two governments considered a Brazilian occupation of French and Dutch Guiana and, at Natal (Jan. 1943), Roosevelt suggested to Vargas that Brazil replace Portugal's troops in the Azores and Madeira, so that the Portuguese could reinforce their home defenses. Nothing came of these talks, but after the Natal Conference, it was not if Brazil would fight, but where? In mid-April 1943, the Brazilian military representative in Washington, General Esteváo Leitáo de Carvalho, told Chief of Staff George Marshall that Brazil wanted to form a three or four division expeditionary Corps, and, in May, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the idea.32

It is important to emphasize that the expeditionary force was a Brazilian idea, that it resulted from a calculated policy of the Vargas government and not from an American policy to draw Brazil directly into the fighting.

Organization and Commitment of the Expeditionary Force

There was some difference of opinion between the Brazilians and Americans over which troops should be used to form the expeditionary force. The American military, and the Joint Brazil-United States Defense Commission, which had been set up to coordinate military relations, thought it logical to use the units in the Northeast, but the Brazilians looked at the 15,000 American personnel at bases in that region and thought differently. Minister Dutra wanted to build three regional training camps to prepare three divisions simultaneously, thereby creating valuable facilities for the postwar era. But the United States could not provide the weapons and equipment necessary to outfit three camps, that is to say, 50% of the equipment for three divisions. Moreover, because neither Brazil nor the United States had enough ships to carry even one full division all at once, the Pentagon carne up with the idea of providing 50% of a division's equipment for training, which would be left behind for the training of each successive division. They would all be armed and equipped in the Theater of Operations.

Just before he visited the United States in August 1943, Minister of War Dutra, who wanted to command the planned corps, sounded out various generals as to their interest in leading one of the divisions. General Joáo Baptista Mascarenhas de Moraes, who had commanded the northeastern military region (the 7th) from June 1940 to January 1943, responded immediately, while the others hesitated. Eventually two other division commanders were designated and preparations begun, but the plans were not carried out, and the force was fixed at one division.33

The Brazilian army of 1943 did not have standing divisions ready for intensified training and transportation, but rather was organized in static geographic regional commands which presided over dispersed regimentalized units. These, in turn, were quartered in barracks that often had scant room to receive additional mobilized troops, and little space for training of the sort the American army was then receiving. Moreover, most of the barracks were in urban areas. And because the troops were mainly drafted from the locality, to form a division from one region would place a politically unacceptable sacrifice on that region. So the unwillingness to use northeastern units was related to more than worry about the American presence.

To form the expeditionary division, units were called in from across the map of Brazil. On the negative side, this meant that these units were not accustomed to working together. On the positive side, planners argued that since the army had been trained and organized on a French model since 1919, it would be easier to shift to an American model if the division was composed of units which had no previous joint experience. Adaptation would be faster.

Oddly, instead of using the coming combat experience to enhance the professionalization of a maximum number of regular junior officers, the army called up a considerable number of reserve officers, many of whom were professional men in civilian life. Of the 870 infantry line officers in the force, at least 302 were reservists. Fortunately for historians, a group of them produced one of the most useful books on the expeditionary force.34 It is not clear whether this was a political decision or a purely administrative one. But it does seem that there were not enough junior officers to staff the expeditionary force. Later, in Italy, referring to the shortage of military school graduates and to the professional deficiencies of the reserve officers, Mascarenhas requested, as late as April 1945, to commission sixty infantry sergeants to serve as platoon leaders.35

There was also considerable difficulty filling the ranks of the designated units. Lacking military police units, the army took in policemen from Sáo Paulo's Forja Publica, it created signal units with men from electric and telephone companies, and it organized a nursing detachment by public recruitment of interested women.36 The fact that draftees were being sent overseas persuaded many to escape service, but, since the draft was imposed in 1916, the army always had large numbers who evaded duty. For example, in the 7th Military Region in Northeast Brazil, while Mascarenhas was commander, the 1941 call-up of 7898 men had an evasion rate of 48.9%, and of those who did present themselves, fully 41 % were medically unfit. Indeed, this was an improvement, the previous year the evasion rate had been 68%! Among the 3434 volunteers in that region, 2201 or 64% were found fit for service. These figures were fairly typical of the national experience. The rejection rate for medical and health reasons was high for both draftees and active duty troops. In forming one of the later echelons, 18,000 soldiers in regular units were examined to obtain 6,000 men. In the case of the fourth echelon, the 10,000 active-duty soldiers examined netted only 4,500 physically fit for embarkation. I have discussed elsewhere in more detail the recruitment and medical examinations, suffice to say here that it was the nation's poor health that stalled the mobilization. In January 1945, General Ralph Wooten observed that the Brazilian army was "near the bottom of the barree' in finding combat personnel and that it was "a mistake to expect any additional assistance from Brazil in this respect."37

The training functioned on multiple levels. Brazilian officers had been sent to the United States for courses since 1938, mostly in coast artillery and aviation. Indeed, in early 1941, well before Pearl Harbor, Brazil was sending groups of officers for training in a variety of specialties. The pace continued to accelerate to the point where, by the end of 1944, somewhat over 1000 Brazilian military personnel had gone to the United States. The American army created a special Brazilian course at its Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, that enrolled 259 officers, the largest contingent of any one foreign nation to pass through its classrooms. The school commandant said that the Brazilians, who had already completed their own three-year general staff course, "knew more than most of his instructora."38

The troops sent to Italy in five echelons eventually totalled 25,334. In July 1944, the first echelon arrived in Naples. After some delays with equipment and training, on September 15, the 6th Infantry Regiment and support troops, under Brigadier General Euclydes Zenobio da Costa, went into the line of the Fourth Corps of the U.S. Fifth Army. Army commander, Mark Clark, decided on this partial commitment because he needed to beef up the Fourth Corps, that had dwindled to barely the level of a reinforced division because of units being detached for the Seventh Army's invasion of southern France in July. The Fifth Army had lost fully seven divisions to the French operation, so the Brazilians' arrival at that moment was opportune. The American Fifth and British Eighth Armies were readying a drive on the German's Gothic Line, in an attempt to reach the Po Valley and Bologna before Christmas. The Fifth Army's three corps (from west to east: U.S. Fourth, U.S. Second, and British Twelfth) were to attack with the Second Corps as spearhead and the Fourth immobilizing and harassing the Germans before it. Clark thought that this would give the Brazilians a relatively smooth introduction to combat.

It is interesting to note the different reactions of the Brazilians and the Americans to the subsequent action. The Brazilians moved along nicely pursuing retreating German units from September 16 to October 30, when they suffered a sudden counterattack that they held back for about ten hours, until they ran short of ammunition and were forced to fall back. From the American records, we can see that this was perceived as a normal combat occurrence, but the accounts published by Brazilian officers are full of finger- pointing and acrimony. On the scene, Mascarenhas blamed and reprimanded the troops for their lack of caution and fleeing before a Memoralized enemy." Of course, he was anxious that they do well, and he was still a bit inexperienced himself in the nature of this war. They had done about as well as anyone could have under the circumstances. The U.S. 92d Division which replaced them, when they moved over to the Reno Valley, was likewise unable to drive the Germans from the ridge line that they held for the next five months.39

Performance of the Expeditionary Force The expeditionary force's (FEB from here on) role was a tactical one; the bulk of its combat experience was at the platoon level. The division's combat diary is largely a summary of patrol actions, as was the case for the Fifth Army generally in the autumn and winter of 1944-45. The Brazilians recognized this; they did not claim that their role or its impact was strategic, although, with age, a few veterans have made that assertion. In his memoirs, the division's chief of staff, Floriano de Lima Brayner, observed that at "no time did the FEB engage in strategic level operations."40 And after the war, to symbolize the level of the role they had played, the army erected a monument to the FEB lieutenants at the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how one division could have played anything but a tactical role in the campaign in northern Italy.

This point has been lost sight of by some observers, such as journalist William Waack, whose As duas faces da glória: A FEB vista pelos seus aliados e inimigos 41 seems based on the premise that the Brazilians claimed a greater importance for the FEB than they actually did. He contrasts some German veterans' lack of knowledge and remembrance of the Brazilian force and the sharp criticism of American liaison and inspection reports with the "grandiloquence" of Brazilian narratives on the FEB.

The principal German division facing the Brazilians had a large number of very young and rather old soldiers, and was commanded by officers who had served long years and had survived the rigors of the Russian front. Some of these men may have been worn out, but most were veterans who had immeasurably more combat experience than the Brazilians. Indeed, the FEB sailed from Brazil with most of its troops untrained. The officers were startled by the intense training program that the Americans insisted upon.

The literature on the FEB makes much of its struggle to take an elevation called "Monte Castello" during the winter of 1944-45. In combat, everything is a matter of perspective and scale. The front for an army commander is measured in miles, for a corps commander it is narrowed to a mountain ridge, for a division commander the focus is a hill, for a company commander the objective is part of the slope, for platoon leaders it is a matter of certain pillboxes and gun positions, and for the soldier it is the few feet and inches ahead of him. Each one experiences a different battle. The Italian campaign was brutal because the Allies had to fight continuously uphill to dislodge the Germans from commanding elevations. When the FEB reached division strength in November, it took its place with the U.S. Fourth Corps in the mountains north of Florence and west of Bologna. The Fifth Army's objective was to break through the German's so-called Gothic Line and descend into the Po Valley to take Bologna. The Fourth Corps confronted an imposing mountain ridge known as Mt. Belvedere - Mt. Torraccia, from which German artillery and mortars could harrass traffic on the west to east highway #64, that cuts its narrow way through the mountains from Pistoia to Bologna. It is difficult to imagine driving defenders from such a place. Just beyond the spa-town of Porretta Terme, the mountains open into a huge basin flanked by low elevations on its right and left, and blocked by the suddenly rising Belvedere-Torraccia to the front. On its left, the ridge is a sheer rock wall that appears smooth from a distance, to the right the ridge becomes jagged and broken, with a road winding upward around it off in the direction of Montese, a key point before descent into the Po Valley. The American 92d "Black Buffalo" Division and then the l0th Mountain Division faced Belvedere. The FEB confronted a hill that juts out below the top of Torraccia. From that hill, the Germns could rake the lower slopes to the west (left) from well-prepared positions. That hill, which German maps labelled simply "101/19", was what local people called Monte Castello. Walking up it today is hardly even tiring, but going up it under artillery, machine-gun, mortar, and rifle fire would be suicidal. Monte Castello held the Brazilians at bay in four assaults - November 24, 25, 29, December 12- before falling to them on February 21. They spent four out of their nine months of combat under its guns. The German defenders admired their stubbornness. After the failed December 12th assault in which the Brazilians suffered 145 casualties, compared with a German loss of 5 killed and 13 wounded, a German captain told a captured FEB lieutenant: "Frankly, you Brazilians are either crazy or very brave. I never saw anyone advance against machine-guns and well-defended positions with such disregard for life ... You are devils."42 Though the elevation itself pales beside its neighbors, it became symbolic of the FEB's combat ability and, in a bigger sense, of Brazil's coming of age as a country to be taken seriously. The Rio newspaper, A Manhd, editorialized that "The young Brazilians who implanted the Brazilian banner on its summit will conquer for Brazil the place that it merits in the world of tomorrow."43

Monte Castello was and is a minor elevation lost amidst some of the ruggedest terrain in Italy. It does not show up on large-scale maps of Italy and one has to search out local hiking maps to fmd it. It was not labelled clearly on American battle maps, and likely the German defenders did not even know its narre. In fact, in the FEB war diary, the first mention of that name was the day of its capture, February 21. It would be surprising if anyone besides the Brazilians remembered the narre. Naturally they gave more importance to the narres of the terrain that they captured than did either the defending Germans or the Americans concerned with the broader front. The American liaison detachment diarist commented that "this feature had been the objective of two previous Brazilian attacks, in which they suffered considerable casualties, its capture was a distinct loss to the enemy, since it deprived him of his last good observation" point in the area.44

After the war, the Brazilian veterans and the Brazilian army made much of Monte Castello. For them the battle had great symbolic importance. Their part in the capture of Belvedere-Castello convinced the Brazilians that they were up to the task that they had taken on. The fact is that the FEB and the U.S. l0th Mountain Division were effective in the joint operation which drove the Germans off important elevations that allowed the Allied spring offensive to move forward. lf either of the two divisions had failed, that offensive would have been delayed.45

Relations between the Brazilian troops and the Americans were sometimes tense. It was awkward for the Brazilians to be totally dependent on the American forces for training, clothing, arms, equipment, and food. The American stress on training, training, and more training, even of frontline personnel, bemused the Brazilians. lt was a clash between two cultures, one that so believed in education that its army's terminology was drawn from the language of the school house,46 and the other that left most of its people unschooled. The outcome was a successful example of coalition warfare, which always requires determined effort and understanding to blend national styles into a winning combination. But the FEB went beyond the standard idea of coalition warfare because of its total integration into the American army. It was not a colonial unit, as were the British Indian ones, or a Commonwealth military, such as the Canadian, New Zealander, or South African, nor a Free "this or that," such as the Polish or French contingents. lt was a division from an army of an independent, sovereign state that voluntarily placed its men and women under United States command. The connection could not Nave been tighter and still have preserved the FEB's integrity of command and its Brazilian identity. It never lost either.

The FEB completed all the missions confided to it and compared favorably with the American divisions of the Fourth Corps. Unfortunately, the heavy symbolism of Monte Castello has obscured the FEB's victory at Montese on April 16, in which it took the town after a four-day gruelling battle, suffering 426 casualties.47 In the next days it fought to a standstill the German 148th Division and Fascist Italian Monte Rosa, San Marco, and Italia Divisions, which surrendered to General Mascarenhas on April 29-30. In a matter of days the Brazilians trapped and took the surrender of 2 generals, 800 officers, and 14,700 troops. The 148th was the only intact German division to surrender on that front.48 Although they had little preparation and served under foreign command, against a combat-experienced enemy, the "Smoking Cobras," as the FEB was nicknamed, had shown, as one of their songs put it, the "fiber of the Brazilian army" and the "grandeza de nossa gente" [greatness of our peoplej.49

American leaders wanted the FEB to stay in Europe as part of the occupation forces, but Brazilian military and civilian leaders rejected that role. Unhappily, over American objections, the Brazilian government decided to disband the FEB upon return to Brazil. The American military had hoped that the division would be kept together to form the nucleus for a complete reformation of the Brazilian army. FEB veterans would slowly introduce the lessons of the war finto the General Staff School and Military School curricula. But the chance to use the FEB experience to project Brazilian influence on the post-war world order was lost. Those making the rapid decisions in late 1945 that led to the FEB's demise could not know how quickly the United States would demobilize, or how quickly the alliance with the Soviet Union would collapse. Perhaps if Brazil had maintained occupation troops in Europe and a standing cadre of combat-hardened troops at home, it would have had a different post-war international position.


Brazil took an active part in World War II as a supplier of strategic raw materials, as the site of important air and naval bases, as a skillful supporter of the United States in pan-American conferences, as a contributor of naval units, a combat fighter squadron and a 25,000 strong infantry division. It lost 1,889 soldiers and sailors, 31 merchant vessels, 3 warships, and 22 fighter aircraft. It carne out of the war with modernized armed forces, thanks to its receipt of 70% of all United States Lend-Lease equipment sent to Latin America.

Zé Carioca, Walt Disney's dapper parrot, who was Hollywood's cartoon characterization of Joe Brazilian, taught Donald Duck how to samba in the film Three Caballeros, but the Americans, like Donald, could not quite catch the beat. So with the restoration of peace, instead of the wartime alliance heralding an era of two national destinies bound together for mutual benefit, as Foreign Minister Oswaldo Aranha had dreamed, the Cold War turned Americans in other directions and left Brazilians with a vague sense of having been exploited. Brazil's rejection of further overseas military operations in the Korean and Vietnam wars is partly related to a national perception that the United States did not adequately appreciate its contribution in World War II.

Even so, the war changed Brazil. The wartime air and naval bases were turned into civilian airfields and port facilities, the joint operations set new standards for military education and training, and the experiences abroad that the thousands of veterans brought back began a process of modernizing the nation's mentality. The industrialization spurred by the building of the Volta Redonda steel mill propelled Brazil during a single generation from the age of the bull-cart to that of the internal combustion engine. Without the infrastructure, experiences, import-substitution processes, and transfer of know-how acquired during the war, it is difficult to imagine how Brazil would be today.50 It may not really matter whether the rest of the world knows what Brazil did in World War II, but the Brazilians would be pleased if it did, because they are legitimately proud of their multiple contributions to Allied victory.

ACS Army Chief of Staff
AGV Arquivo Getúlio Vargas, CPDOC
AHMRE Arquivo Histórico do Ministério das Relapóes Exteriores, Rio de Janeiro
AOA Arquivo Oswaldo Aranha, CPDOC
CDOC-EX Centro de Documenta~áo do Exército, Brasilia
CPDOC Centro de Pesquisa e Documentagáo de História Contemporánea do Brasil, Fundagáo Getúlio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro
DGFP Documents on German Foreign Policy
FDRL Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.
FEB (BEF) Forga Expedicionária Brasileira
GS General Staff (U.S. Army)
MID Military Intelligence Division (U.S. Army)
MMB Modem Military Branch (U.S. Army)
NA National Archives, Washington
OPD Operations Plans Division, U.S. Department of War
RG Record Group


  1. Carmen Miranda, who was recruited in Rio by Broadway impresario Lee Shubert to appear in the musical The Streets of Paris in 1939, was acclaimed by The New York Times critic as the play's "most magnetic personality." Twentieth-Century Fox sent a film crew to New York and inserted a few scenes of her into its nearly ready feature Down Argentine Way (with Betty Grable and Don Ameche; 1940). Therefore her career in American films began with the replacement of her Brazilian identity with a Hollywoodized Latin American one. In 1945 she was the highest paid female entertainer in the Unites States, but her roles told movie-goers little about her country. A new documentary by prize-winning cinematographer Helena Solberg, Carmen Miranda: Bananas Is My Business, examines her life and career. Walt Disney went to Brazil as part of the propaganda efforts of the wartime Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (Nelson Rockefeller, director) and created the parrot Zé Carioca to symbolize Brazil. The feisty bird still appears in Brazil on everything from newspaper comic pages to T-shirts; a national symbol created by a foreigner. Hitchcock's Notorious features footage of Rio street scenes, but the stars' performances were superimposed on them in a studio. See Sergio Augusto, "Hollywood Looks at Brazil: From Carmen Miranda to Moonraker", in Randal Johnson & Robert Stam, eds., Brazilian Cinema (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1988), pp. 352-362. Given Brazil's wartime roles, Rio was an odd choice of location, especially when the United States was in the midst of securing cheap access to Brazil's ores. Luis Alberto Moniz Bandeira provides insight into the post- war climate in his Brasil-Estados Unidos: A Rivalidade Emergente (1950-1988) (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Civilizado Brasileira, 1989). At the time the Department of State was concerned that Vargas might return to power and that his resentment over United States involvement in his 1945 deposition could influence his policies towards American interests; see Office of Intelligence Research, Dept. of State, "An Estimate of the Political Potential of Getúlio Vargas," Report No. 4324, May 9, 1947, 097.3, Z1092, RG59, NA. Ira Levin's The Boys From Brazil (New York: Random House, 1976) was also strangely timed. In it, he told a story about the infamous Dr. Mengele, who during the war had conducted cruel experiments on concentration camp prisoners, and who, in the novel, cloned ninety-four babies from Hider's genes in his laboratory in Paraguay in hopes of producing a new FÜhrer to "fulfill the destiny of the Aryan race" (40). The novel implied that the Nazi fugitives could move about openly in Brazil. Levin depicts a neo-Nazi organization holding a dinner in a Florianópolis hotel, complete with Swastica flags and Nazi uniforms, in January 1975 (188-195). If such had occurred, it would have been featured on the front pages of Brazilian and international newspapers. Curiously, at that time U.S.-Brazilian relations had soured because the Carter Administration was pressuring both Brazil and West Germany to drop their agreement to build atomic plants in Brazil. See Norman Gall, "Atoms for Brazil, Danger for All," Foreign Policy 23 (Summer 1976), pp. 44-77. The subsequent film of the same title located the action in a generic tropical Latin country. Oddly, in the mid-1970s, according to a conversation 1 had with U.S. Ambassador Robert White, who was then in Paraguay, a neo-Nazi group did meet with banners displayed at a rural hotel resort near Encarnación, which is in Paraguay. Brazil had been under a military regime since 1964. The president at the time was Ernesto Geisel (1974-79), a retired army general, descendant of German immigrants, who was seeking to end military dominance of the government. In World War II, he had prepared to go to Italy by taking the special Brazilian course at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff School in early 1945. He did not go because the Brazilian commitment was reduced from three to one combat division. His rise to power marked the shift away from the repression of 1967-73 towards the path to elected, democratic government. His nationalist stance on atomic energy and the Carter administration's misunderstanding of the internal fight over human rights abuses led to a hardening of attitudes and Geisel's abrogation of the military alliance with the United States. For biographical information see my essay "Ernesto Geisel," in David Eggenberger, ed., Encyc1opedia of World Biography (McGraw-Hill, 1987), pp. 22-24. BACK

  2. General de Divisáo Francisco Ramos de Andrade Neves (Chief of Staff), Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 3, 1934: Estado-Maior do Exército, Exame da Situapdo Militar do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa do Estado-Maior do Exército, 1934), Centro de Documentagáo do Exército, Brasilia (CDOC-EX). BACK

  3. See, for example: Estado-Maior do Exército, 2a Grande Regiáo Militar, Rio de Janeiro, n.d. Dec. 1936, Memo ##1 (Situado do Paiz), Correspondéncia Pessoal, Acervo Pessoal Gen. Pedro de Góis Monteiro, Caixa 1, Arquivo do Exército (Rio). It noted (in section IV) that Brazil would not be able to maintain neutrality in the event of a world conflict, that it would have to associate itself with one of the sides, and that, because it lacked war materials, its mobilization would provide soldiers that would have to be equipped by another power, "which could not be other than the United States of America." BACK

  4. An interesting analysis of the internal political situation is in EME, 2a Grande Regiáo Militar, n.d. Jan. 1937, Memo #2 (Situagáo do Paiz), Correspondéncia Pessoal, Acervo Pessoal Gen. Góis Monteiro, Caixa XI, Arquivo do Exército. For 1932, see Stanley E. Hilton, A Guerra Civil Brasileira (História da RevoluFio Constitucionalista de 1932) (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Nova Fronteira, 1982). For 1935, there are: Hélio Silva, 1935: A Revolta Vermelha (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Civilizapáo Brasileira, 1969); Dario Canale, Francisco Viana, & José Tavares, Novembro de 1935: Meio Século Depóis (Petrópolis: Ed. Vozes, 1985); and Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Estratégias da Ilusdo RevoluFdo Mundial e o Brasil, 1922-1935 (Sáo Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1991); and Robert M. Levine, who examined the turmoil coming from both the left and the right in, The Vargas Regime:: The Critical Years, 1934-1938 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1970). Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the opening of archives in Moscow has proven that orders to rebel came from there; see "Os papéis de Moscou, Documentos inéditos revelam a agá da Internacional Comunista em 1935," Veja (Sáo Paulo), Sept. 8, 1993, pp. 58-60. The best study of the creation of the Estado Novo is Aspásia Camargo, et al., O Golpe Silencioso: As Origens da República Corporativa (Rio de Janeiro: Rio Fundo Ed., 1989). BACK

  5. Stanley E. Hilton, Brazil and the Great Powers, 1930-1939 (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1975), p. 140. BACK

  6. It should be observed that highly detailed reports from the Brazilian embassy in Berlin located in the Arquivo Histórico do Ministério das Relagóes Exteriores, Itamaraty Palace, Rio de Janeiro (AHMRE), are a largely untapped source on Germany before and during the early years of the war. They are especially useful because the Brazilian diplomats felt less directly threatened by the Nazi regime than did therr European and American counterparts. BACK

  7. There is detailed documentation on the Aski trade in the AHMRE: see Carlos Alberto Gonpalves (2d Secretary), Memo: "O Intercámbio de Alemanha com o Brasil," in Themistocles da Grapa Aranha (Counselor of Embassy), Berlin, April 27, 1939, #152; Gongalves, Memo: "O Cacau na Alemanha," in Grapa Aranha, Berlin, August 9, 1939, #282; Gongalves, Memo: "A Borracha no Mercado Alemáo," in Grapa Aranha, Berlín, June 20, 1939, #210; Gongalves, Memo: "A La na Alemanha," in Cyro de Freitas Valle (Ambassador), Berlin, Sept. 9, 1939, #197, AHMRE. Typical of American views are those in Jefferson Caffery (U.S. Ambassador to Brazil), Rio, May 6, 1938, Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1938, V, pp. 344-347; the importance that the Germans attached to trade can be seen in U.S. Dept. of State, Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945, Series D, V (Washington: GPO, 1949- ), pp. 863-864, 874-875, 880-882, 886-889, 891-893 (hereafter DGFP). The Brazilian position was stated by Foreign Minister Oswaldo Aranha in Aranha to Sumner Welles, Rio, September 14, 1938, Arquivo Oswaldo Aranha (AOA), Centro de Pesquisa e Documentagáo Histórica Contemporánea (CPDOC), Rio. I analyzed these issues more extensively in The Brazilian-American Alliance, 1937-1945 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973), pp. 148-175. BACK

  8. Mario de Pimentel Brandáo to Oswaldo Aranha, Washington, Nov. 8, 1938, AOA, CPDOC. BACK

  9. Jefferson Caffery to Cordell Hull, Rio, April 22, 1939, 832.00/1255, RG59, National Archives (NA) Washington. BACK

  10. Auswártiges Amt to Kurt PrÜfer, Berlin, July 10, 1940, DGFP, D, X, pp. 177-178. BACK

  11. DGFP, D, IX, pp. 499-501. BACK

  12. Cyro de Freitas Valle, Berlin, July 3, 1940, #238, AHMRE. BACK

  13. See McCann, The Brazilian-American Alliance, pp. 176-212; and my essay "Brazil, the United States and the Second World War: A Commentary," Diplomatic History 3, 1 (Winter 1979), pp. 59-76. BACK

  14. John D. Wirth, The Politics of Brazilian Development, 1930-1954 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1969). BACK

  15. McCann, The Brazilian-American Alliance, pp. 208-211. BACK

  16. Frank McCann, "Airlines and Bases: Aviation Diplomacy; The United States and Brazil, 1939-1941," Inter-American Economic Affairs, XXI, 4 (Spring 1968), pp. 35-50. BACK

  17. In addition to McCann, The Brazilian-American Alliance, pp. 213-239, readers will find interesting a contemporary account by William A.M. Burden, The Struggle for Airways in Latin America (New York, 1943), and the U.S. Army's official history, Stetson Conn and Byron Fairchild, The Framework of Hemisphere Defense (Washington, 1960). Researchers will want to consult the manuscript "Official History of the South Atlantic Division, Air Transport Command," in the Amy's Center for Military History in Washington. BACK

  18. Sumner Welles (Under-Secretary of State) to Norman Armour (U.S. Ambassador to Argentina), Washington, July 7, 1942, 832.20/418, RG-59, NA. BACK

  19. Cauby C. Araujo, the general counsel and later president of Panair do Brasil, carried on these negotiations and organized the contruction program. Details carne from an interview with him in Rio, Oct. 4, 1965. For description of the session at the Jan. 1942 Rio Conference at which Foreign Minister Oswaldo Aranha announced the break, see Jornal do Brasil (Rio), Jan. 29, 1942; and for the speech, see the Brazilian "Green Book": Ministerio das Relagóes Exteriores, O Brasil e a Segunda Guerra Mundial, 2 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: MRE, 1944). Aranha later discussed the situation in his letter to Sumner Welles, Vargem Alegre, May 24, 1945, AOA, CPDOC. For a fuller discussion, see my The Brazilian-American Alliance, pp. 225-226, 256-257. BACK

  20. Samuel Eliot Morison, The Battle of the Atlantic, 1939-1943 (Boston, 1964), p. 376. For the Brazilian navy, see Dino Willy Cozza, "A Marinha do Brasil na II Grande Guerra," Revista do Exército Brasileiro, Vol. 131, No.3 (Jul./Set. 1994), pp. 64-66; Herbert Campbell, "A Marinha Mercante e a II Grande Guerra," ibid., pp. 71-77. Campbell provides a listing and data on the ships sunk. BACK

  21. For troop strength and contemporary discussion, see "Official History of the South Atlantic Division, Air Transport Command" (in Center for Military History, Washington), Part II, IV, 82; General Eurico G. Dutra (Minister of War) to Ministers of State, Rio, Sept. (n.d.) 1942, AGV, CPDOC. BACK

  22. U.S. Navy, "Commander South Atlantic Force, United States Naval Administration in World War IV' Copy in U.S. Navy Library, Washington. The author of this was historian Charles Nowell, then in navy service, who was later at the University of Illinois. BACK

  23. On the war plans, see Chief of Staff General Pedro de Góes Monteiro's account in, Lourival Coutinho, O General Góes Depóe (Rio de Janeiro, 1956), pp. 382-384. BACK

  24. Alzira Vargas to Carlos Martins (Brazilian Ambassador to the U.S.), Rio, Sept. 28, 1942, AGV, CPDOC. She told him that "O Patráo" said to tell the Americans that "the steel mill cannot stop." It was "essential for Brazil." BACK

  25. "Brazilian Trends," The Inter-American Monthly, II, No. 7 (July 1943), pp. 43-44; "Brazil-A 20-Year Boost," Business Week (Nov. 18, 1942), p. 18; Vargas's speech entitled "O Primeiro Lustro do Estado Nacional," Nov. 10, 1942, in Getúlio Vargas, A Nova Política do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, 1938-47), IX, pp. 311-317; Jefferson Caffery (U.S. Ambassador to Brazil), Rio, Nov. 6, 1942, 832.00/4314, RG-59, NA. BACK

  26. U.S. War Department, "Survey of the Rio de Janeiro Region of Brazil," (S 30-772), Aug. 6, 1942, Vol. I; "Survey of the Para Region of Brazil," (S 30-770), June 6, 1941, Vol. I. BACK

  27. Morris L. Cooke, Brazil on the March, A Study in International Cooperation (New York, 1944). Morris Cooke and Joáo Alberto Lins de Barros to F.D. Roosevelt and G. Vargas, n.p., Dec. 1, 1942, Cooke Papers, 0283; Basic Economy Report, 1942-43, Box 1, OF 4512; on the interior canal system, see Berent Friele to Cooke, n.p., Nov. 28, 1942, Cooke Papers, 0283, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library (FDRL), Hyde Park, N.Y. BACK

  28. For a discussion of these changes and their effects on politics, see Leslie Bethell, "Brazil," in Leslie Bethell and Ian Roxborough, eds., Latín American Between the Second World War and the Cold War, 1944-1948 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 40-41. BACK

  29. Aranha to Vargas, Rio, Jan. 25, 1943; Aranha to Dutra, Rio, Aug.1l, 1943, AOA, CPDOC. BACK

  30. Oswaldo Aranha to Eurico Dutra (Minister of War), Rio, Aug. l l, 1943, AOA, CPDOC. He wrote this to Dutra, who was visiting the U.S. to negotiate details of the FEB. He admitted that such a close alliance carried dangers potentially incompatible with Brazilian sovereignty and interests, but that it was the course with the fewest risks and greatest security. It was a lesser evil and they would have to be constantly vigilant to avoid pitfalls. BACK

  31. Ronald C. Newton, The `Nazi Menace' in Argentina, 1931- 1947 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1992), p. 299. He notes that the U. S. "artfully generated" the Argentine "alarms of war with Brazil," which were increasing in "frequency and intensity" in 1943. For Brazilian views of Argentina, see Gary Frank, Struggle for Hegemony in South 55 America: Argentina, Brazil, and the United States during the Second World War (Coral Gables: University of Miami, Center for Advanced International Studies, 1979), pp. 45-60. BACK

  32. McCann, The Brazilian-American Alliance, pp. 349-353. BACK

  33. Carlos de Meira Mattos, O Marechal Mascarenhas de Moraes e sua época (Rio de Janeiro: Biblioteca do Exército, 1983), pp. 89-90; Meira Mattos comments to author, Rio, December 1991. The other two divisions were to be led by Generals Newton Cavalcanti and Heitor Borges. BACK

  34. The book was Democrito Cavalcanti de Anuda, et al., Depoimento de Oficiais de Reserva Sóbre a F.E.B. (Rio de Janeiro: Cobraci Publicagóes, 1949). On the number of reservists, see McCann, The Brazilian-American Alliance, p. 368, n. 40. BACK

  35. J.B. Mascarenhas to E. Dutra, Cifrado #33-G.1, 7 Apr. 1945, Cifrados FEB, de 15/9/44 a 5/ 7/45, 433.40, "1944/1945", MG665c, CDOC-EX, Brasilia. He saw the FEB's prestige at stake. The Americans, too, were concerned about junior officers. Mascarenhas's report as commander of the 7th Mil. Region indicated a shortage of lieutenants (165 authorized, but 123 on duty = 46 shortfall), Mascarenhas, "Relatorio...7RM, l941" (Recife, 12 Feb. 1942), p. 25 in CDOC-EX, Brasilia. General Ralph Wooten, who played a large role in relations with the Brazilians, called General Dutra's attention "to the lack of leadership in the lower officer and non-commissioned officer grades," suggesting various remedies. MG Ralph H. Wooten to ACS OPD, Recife, 23 Jan. 1945, "Resume of Situation in this Theater," OPD 336 Latin American Section IV, Cases 80-93, RG 165, Modem Military Branch, NA. BACK

  36. Virginia Maria de Niemeyer Portocarrero, "A Mulher Brasileira Apresentou-se Voluntar- iamente," Revista do Exército Brasileiro, Vol. 131, No. 3 (Jul./Set. 1994), pp. 59-63. BACK

  37. For the recruitment data on the 7th Military Region, see Joáo B. Mascarenhas de Moraes, "Relatório apresentado ao Exmo. Sr. General de Divisáo Ministro de Guerra pelo General de Brigada Joáo Batista Mascarenhas de Moraes Comandante da 7a. Regioo Militar, Ano de 1941" (Recife, 12 Fevereiro de 1942), CDEX- Brasilia, pp. 32-34. On FEB selection, see Lt. Col. Carlos Paiva GonQalves, Selepdo Medica do Pessaol da F.E.B., Histórico, Funcionamento e Dados Estatisticos (Rio de Janeiro: Biblioteca do Exército, 195 l), pp. 67-142. For American reports, see MG Ralph H. Wooten to ACS OPD, Recife, 23 Jan. 1945, "Resume of Situation in this Theater," OPD 336 Latin American (Sec. IV) Cases 80-93; and Col. Charles B.B. Bubb to Commanding General MTOUSA (Mediterranean Theater), Rio, 6 Dec. 1944, "Medical Report on the Fourth Echelon of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force," OPD336.2 Brazil (Sec. IV), RG165, MMB, NA. McCann, The Brazilian-American Alliance, pp. 369-372. BACK

  38. Gen. Eurico Dutra to Col. Edwin L. Sibert, Rio, 8 Jan. 1941, 2257 K18/247; and Col. Edwin L. Sibert to ACS G2, Rio, 18 Mar. 1941, No. 2650, "Student Officers from Brazil to US Service Schools," 2257 K18/306, RG165, WD, GS, MID, NA. McCann, The Brazilian- American Alliance, pp. 353-354, n. 18. By comparison, the Chinese sent 249 officers to Ft. Leavenworth, the British 208, the Venezuelans 73, the Mexicans 60, and the Argentines 31. Command and General Staff School Commander General Truesdell's comment about quality of Brazilian officers was reported by Major General J.G. Ord in a speech to the staff of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, August 11, 1944, BDC 5400, RG218 (Records of the US Joint Chiefs of Staft), NA. BACK

  39. Entries for 30-31 October 1944, Combat Diary, Report l/Inf. Div. BEF, Center of Military History, Washington; José Alío Piason, "Alguns Erros Fundamentais Observados na FEB," Depoimento de Oficiais da Reserva, pp. 103-107. Piason was a subcommander of one of the companies involved (3d Co. 1/6 IR). Mascarenhas, Memórias, I, pp. 183-188. On an aerial observer's report of German build-up prior to the action, see Elber de Mello Henriques, A FEB Doze Anos Depois (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Biblioteca do Exército, 1959), pp. 72-74. The most balanced account is Manoel Thomaz Castello Branco, 0 Brasil na II Grande Guerra (Rio de Janeiro: Biblioteca do Exército, 1960), pp. 206-214. BACK

  40. Floriano de Lima Brayner, A Verdade Sóbre a FEB: Memórias de um Chiee de Estado- Maior, na Campanha da Itália, 1943- 1945 (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Civilizagáo Brasileira, 1968), p. 234. BACK

  41. William Waack, As duas faces da glória: A FEB vista pelos seus aliados e inimigos (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Nova Fronteira, 1985). The underlying tone of the book questions the importance of the FEB. It is interesting that the Germana took it seriously enough to broadcast a daily radio program called "Duro e Verde" over Radio Victoria from near Como, Italy, that used two Brazilian nationals as commentators - Margarida Hirschmann and Emilio Baldino, who were tried and given jail sentences after the war. Daniels to Secretary of State, Rio, Dec. 9, 1946, 832.203/12-946, RG 59, NA. BACK

  42. Emilio Varoli, "Aventuras de um prsonero na Alemanha Nazista," in Depoimento de Oficiais da Reserva Sóbre a F.E.B., p. 447. This contemporary participant account is at variance with Waack's report that German veterans in the 1980s did not recall fighting Brazilians. Unhappily, the pertinent German army records reportedly were destroyed in a postwar fire. BACK

  43. A Manhd (Rio de Janeiro), Feb. 27, 1945. I visited the battlesite in late Feb., 1994. BACK

  44. Waack concluded that because German veterans he interviewed decades later did not remember a Monte Castello, it must have been insignificant; see As Duas Faces, pp. 90-93; FEB Combat Diary, 35 entry for 21 February 1945 in "Report on the lst Infantry Division Brazilian Expeditionary Forces in the Italian Campaign from 16 July 1944 to the Cessation of Hostilities in May 1945," 301 (BEF)-033, NA. BACK

  45. It may be worth noting that this was the l0th Mountain Division's "first major engagement with the enemy." "Fourth Corps History," p. 512. In May 1994, Brig. Gen. Harold W. Nelson, Chief of Military History, U.S. Army, and General de Divisáo Sérgio Ruschel Bergamaschi, Director of Cultural Matters, Brazilian Army, led a joint American-Brazilian "Staff Ride" to retrace the side-by-side campaigning of the l0th Mountain and the FEB; see Sérgio Gomes Pereira, "A9áo conjunta 1 DIE (BR) / loa Div MTH (EUA), Revista do Exército Brasileiro, Vol. 131, No. 3 (Jul./Set. 1994), pp. 54-56. BACK

  46. For a valuable discussion of the "school of the soldier," see Paul Fussell, Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 52-65. BACK

  47. Newton C. de Andrade Mello, A Epopéia de Montese (Curitiba: Imprensa Oficial do Estado, 1954). BACK

  48. The Brazilians completed this feat on their own and with considerable pride waited until the surrender was complete and the prisoners under guard before calling the American headquarters. Gen. Mascarenhas ordered his men: "Only after the Germana are here we will inform the Americana." Aspásia Camargo & Walder de Góes, Meio Século de Combate: Diálogo com Cordeiro de Farias (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Nova Fronteira, 1981), p. 368. Gen. Oswaldo Cordeiro de Farias commanded the FEB artillery. BACK

  49. On the songs of the Febianos, see McCann, The Brazilian-American Alliance, pp. 432,435; and the recording "20 Anos Depois: Expedicionarios em Ritmos," Chantecler Records, Sáo Paulo, release CMG 2397, 1965. BACK

  50. The changes included such common things as ice cream. The popular Kibon ice cream products appeared on the market in 1942. An American company (Cia. U.S. Harkson do Brasil) fled Japanese occupied China and set itself up in Brazil. Kibon comes from que bom, how good! "Ice Cream in Brazil," Business Week (November 21, 1942), p. 24. BACK