Early Republic

The primitive republican government was nothing more than a military dictatorship, with the army dominating the affairs both in Rio de Janeiro and in the states. Freedom of the press disappeared and the elections were controlled by those in power. Only in 1894, after the development of two severe crises, one economic and one military, civilians rose to power there until October 1930.

If, in relation to its foreign policy, the country in this first republican period maintained a relative balance characterized by the success in the resolution of border disputes with neighboring countries, only broken by the Acre War (1899-1902) and its participation in World War I (1914-1918), followed by a failed attempt to play a prominent role in the League of Nations; Internally, since the crisis of Encilhamento and the Armada revolts, a prolonged cycle of financial, political and social instability began until the 1920s, keeping the country besieged by several rebellions, both civil and military.

Little by little, a cycle of general instability caused by these crises undermined the regime to such an extent that, following the assassination of his comrade, the defeated presidential opposition candidate, Getúlio Vargas, supported by the majority of the military, led with success on October 1930 Blow. Vargas and the military had to assume power temporarily, but instead closed the Congress, extinguished the Constitution, ruled with emergency powers and replaced the governors of the states with their own supporters.

In the 1930s, there were three failed attempts to eliminate Vargas and his supporters of power. The first was the constitutionalist revolution in 1932, led by the São Paulo oligarchy. The second was a communist uprising in November 1935, and the last was an attempted coup by local fascists in May 1938. The 1935 uprising created a security crisis in which Congress transferred more power to the executive. The coup of 1937 resulted in the cancellation of the 1938 elections, formalized Vargas as dictator, beginning the Estado Novo. Era, which was highlighted by government brutality and censorship of the press.

The foreign policy during the years of Vargas was marked by the antecedents and the Second World War. Brazil remained neutral until August 1942, when the country entered the Allied side, after suffering reprisals from Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, in a strategic dispute over the South Atlantic. In addition to its participation in the Battle of the Atlantic, Brazil also sent an expeditionary force to fight in the Italian campaign.

With the allied victory in 1945 and the end of the Nazi-fascist regimes in Europe, Vargas’ position became untenable and was quickly overthrown in another military coup, with democracy “restored” by the same army that had ended 15 years earlier. Vargas committed suicide in August 1954 in the midst of a political crisis, after having returned to power by election in 1950.

Several brief interim governments followed the suicide of Vargas. Juscelino Kubitschek became president in 1956 and assumed a conciliatory position towards the political opposition that allowed him to govern without major crises. The economy and the industrial sector grew significantly, but its greatest achievement was the construction of the new capital city of Brasilia, inaugurated in 1960.

Kubitschek’s successor, Jânio Quadros, resigned in 1961 less than a year after taking office. Its vice-president, João Goulart, assumed the presidency, but aroused strong political opposition and was ousted in April 1964 for a coup that resulted in a military regime.

The new regime was intended to be transitory, but it was gradually closed and became a complete dictatorship with the enactment of the Fifth Institutional Law in 1968. The oppression was not limited to those who resorted to guerrilla tactics to combat the regime, but also reached institutional opponents, artists, journalists and other members of civil society, inside and outside the country through the infamous “Operation Condor”. Despite its brutality, like other authoritarian regimes, due to an economic boom, known as an “economic miracle,” the regime reached a peak of popularity in the early 1970s.

However, slowly, the wear and tear of years of dictatorial power that had not stopped the repression, even after the defeat of the leftist guerrillas, plus the inability to deal with the economic crises of the period and the popular pressure, made an opening. inevitable policy, that from the side of the regime was directed by the generals Ernesto Geisel and Golbery do Couto e Silva. With the enactment of the Amnesty Law in 1979, Brazil began a slow return to democracy, which was completed during the 1980s.