Americanization of Brazil: A Study of U.S. Cold War by Gerald K. Haines

By Gerald K. Haines

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27 The presidential election of 1950 was a critical test. If Vargas won, the Brazil watchers within the Truman administration constantly asked themselves, would he be content to govern within the constitution? S. 28 Vargas, indeed, did win and took office in 1951. 30 Moreover, despite some reservations, most Department of State policymakers believed that Vargas would be pro-American in his foreign policy and would continue the cooperation and loyalty that he had exhibited during the Second World War.

Forming a strong, centralized government, he embraced authoritarian corporatism and abandoned liberal democracy. Page 13 In 1937, Vargas imposed his Estado Novo. Under this "New State," he dissolved congress and all political parties and ruled as a dictator. He established an authoritarian government internally and, after flirting with the Axis powers, adhered to a pro-Allied foreign policy. 5 This new political system was a highly personal creation despite the corporatist trappings. S. opinion makers painted a favorable picture of Vargas.

To them, Brazil traditionally had been the closest ally of the United States in Latin America. Despite its flirtation with fascism Page 12 during the 1930s, Brazil had sided with the United States against the Nazi menace and had cooperated more fully than any other South American government in the war effort. It had sent an expeditionary force to Italy and had allowed the United States to build and operate air and naval bases within its boundaries for the conduct of military operations in the south Atlantic and Africa.

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