USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945

The Rise of Getulio Vargas

1930 was a presidential election year in Brazil and pitted a candidate from the dominant coffee-interest against the governor of the non-coffee producing region of Rio Grande do Sul, Getulio Vargas. Vargas had everything on his side – except the power to manipulate the election. Vargas lost to the coffee candidate, who represented the interests that had controlled Brazilian politics for decades. Instead, Vargas turned to the army for support and with its help overthrew the elected president, thus bringing about the “Revolution of 1930” in Brazil. From 1930 to 1937, Vargas retained power by skillfully managing the conflicting interests within his coalition. Throughout this period, he operated at least nominally under the authority of the country’s constitution.  Challenges, however, began to mount  -- from ultra-nationalists on the one hand who began to imitate fascist-style politics they heard about in Italy and Germany, and from the rising power on the left – the communist Alliance for National Liberation (ANL).

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