Peron, President Juan Domingo, 1895-1975

In 1943 Peron began his climb to power by joining a military coup to make sure Argentina remained pro-Axis. Argentina stood apart from the rest of Latin America in its support of the Axis powers—both because of strong nationalist distrust of US interference in internal affairs and because of the belief that Germany would win the war. Despite fears in the British Foreign Office that trading links with Argentina would be damaged and that information on British shipping movements might be passed on to the Germans, in February 1943 Argentina again reaffirmed her neutrality.

On 26 January 1944, in the face of Argentina’s increasing isolation in comparison with Brazil, and the realization that a German victory was less likely, the government broke off relations with Germany and Japan. Any hopes amongst the Allies that a more democratic and co-operative regime might overthrow the increasing power of Colonel Peron were quickly shattered; in fact it only strengthened his position. In 1945 Peron became Vice-President and Minister of War. His aim was to achieve undisputed power based on the support of the underprivileged laborers and on his popularity and authority in the Army. He was elected President in 1946.

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