Latin America between the Second World War and the Cold War: Crisis and Containment, 1944-1948

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The aim of this volume is to establish that the period between the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War (1944-5 to 1947-8), hitherto neglected, represents an important conjuncture in the political and social history of Latin America in the twentieth century. The volume contains, besides an introduction and a conclusion by the editors, case studies of eleven of the twenty Latin American republics. Despite differences of political regime, different levels of economic and social development, and different relations with the region's hegemonic power - the United States - there are striking similarities in the experiences of the majority of the Latin American republics in this period. For most of Latin America it can be divided into two phases. The first, coinciding with the Allied victory in the Second World War, was characterized by three distinct but interrelated phenomena: democratization, with a relatively high level of middle-class and working-class participation; a shift to the Left, both communist and noncommunist; and unprecedented labor militancy. In the second phase, coinciding with the onset of the Cold War and completed almost everywhere by 1948, labor was disciplined by the state and in many cases excluded from politics; communist parties almost everywhere suffered proscription and severe repression; reformist, "progressive" parties moved to the Right - the democratic advance was for the most part contained, and in some cases reversed. An opportunity, however limited, for significant political and social change, as well as for the first steps perhaps toward a Latin American version of social democracy, was lost. Instead, the institutional and ideological foundations were laid for Latin America's postwar "model" of economic growth without equity within a context of, at best, fragile and intermittent democracy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...what seemed an auspicious moment for social democratic forces soon gave way in most countries to authoritarian repression, restrictions on the left, military coups and conservative consolidation. This illuminating volume analyzes why this occurred, concentrating on the interplay between domestic economic and social factors and the influence of U.S. policy." Foreign Affairs

"...the eleven essays in this volume are remarkably even in their high quality....a valuable addition to the relatively sparse historical literature on the early Cold War years in Latin America." Daniel Masterson, The Americas

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521430326
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Series: Cambridge Latin American Studies Series
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

List of contributors
Introduction: The postwar conjuncture in Latin America: democracy, labor, and the Left 1
1 Brazil 33
2 Chile 66
3 Argentina 92
4 Bolivia 120
5 Venezuela 147
6 Peru 170
7 Mexico 190
8 Cuba 217
9 Nicaragua 243
10 Costa Rica 280
11 Guatemala 300
Conclusion: The postwar conjuncture in Latin America and its consequences 327
Index 335
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