Juan Doming Peron became the President of Argentina in 1946. Peron was born in October 8, 1895 near Lobos, a town in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was a colonel in 1941 and a brigadier-general in 1946 (Hodges, D.C).
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Peron was one of the chief leaders in the military coup and overthrow President Ramo Castillo in his position. He became the Secretary of Work and Social Welfare. Before he became Argentina’s president, he was both a Minister of War, a Vice-president of the republic and also the president in National Department of Labor in 1943-1944 under General Edelmiro Farell. (Hodges, D.C) He established rapport to the people especially from the under privilege workers or what they called “descaminados.” He also gained the army support during that time (Whitaker, A.P).
Peron was fired and jailed in 1945 due to the military coup against him which resulted to government crisis. Eva Duarte Peron, or as known as Evita, wife of Juan Peron, was the one who formed unions in which a large number of workers in Buenos Aires, stipulated his liberation. When was Juan Peron already free, he spoke to a crowd of thousands were these people supported him. In the end of 1945 or eventually in February of 1946, he was elected as President of Argentina which was nominated by the Partibo Laborista (The Labor Party) and inaugurated in his position in June of the same year. He greatly enhances the number of unions and and helped established the General Configuration of Labour (CGT) which is created in 1930 (Hodges, D.C.).
People supported Juan Domingo and Eva Duarte Peron because of a promise that he will build a prosperous nation. He started to build Argentina’s steel and iron industries. He even embarked his plan to an industrialized nation. Argentina at that time also began to make airplanes and ships for merchants marine. He was in the government for about 6 years with an extremely authoritarian position which intensify divisions and hatreds among the people in Argentina.(Wynia, G.W) Evita as the first lady of Argentina, was a notable woman. She has a great impact on Juan’s political decision since she was an actress and loved by her fans at their time. She even gave the poor opportunities which she did not experienced in her life such as schools, marriage licenses, job opportunities and even homes.
Peron was called a “nationalist dictator and a demagogue” due to his political way of ruling over the Argentines. (Whitaker, A.P ) Peronismo was his political and movement which supported by the Justicialist Party. Eva Peron, wife of Juan Peron was the one who helped him established the Peronist Party. Peronismo or Peronism is known as a humanistic action and a new political doctrine by which all the political ills of the previous is to be rejected. Under this kind of humanistic action, the only privileged one was the children. It also stated that the true democracy is only determine if the Government of Argentina carries out the people of Argentina’s will which is primarily the interest of the people. And also under Peronism, the only one class of men is the workers. These people are the men who work together for the nation’s (Argentina) welfare (Norden, D.L).
In World War II, the republic became the harbor of the Nazi criminal with the protection of Juan Peron. Together with French, Nazis and Belgian collaborationists formed the networking in Casa Rosada which it benefited from the Immigration Service and diplomatic civil servants. Roman Catholic priest Krunoslav Draganovic also helped and organize the ratline (Norden, D.L).
In 1951 election, Juan Peron was then re-elected as a president. His second term in the office, he faced a social and economic problems. The employers and the unions were called by Peron to a Productivity Congress which it has the objectives to regulate social conflicts to social dialog unfortunately the congress failed. Under their power and authority over the Argentine people, the press was extremely controlled, one of which is the La Prensa, a famous newspaper in Argentina. The constitution was then changed in favor to their party in order to increase his political power over the republic. The foreign business also, was then changed that resulted to inflation and crisis of the country. On the other hand, benefits such as paid vacations, retirements, health care and insurance, allowing females to vote, and even the presidential reelection was then sustained (Hodges, D.C.). He also embraced the anti-British and anti-United States policy because of the “third-position virtue,” one between communism and capitalism. In other words, there was a sweeping of social, political and economic changes happened during his reign. Evita was the one who took charged in the social area of the government. (Whitaker, A.P). Government corruption and dictatorship was bare out and continued until the time of Eva’s death in 1952. Juan Peron signed an American oil company contract which was the Standard Oil Company in 1955. It is the opening of the economy policy of development by which it would help the foreign industrial investments. It was considered as anti-patirotic decision by the radical party leader Arthuro Frondizi. However, he also signed several contracts after three years. Moreover, during his second term, there were several terrorist acts were committed against civilians. There were 7 killed and 95 injured civilians during the bombing in Plaza de Mayo on April 15, 1953. A coup de etat failed that was formed by the anti-Peronists and bombed again Plaza de Mayo on June 15, 1955 which resulted to 364 citizens killed. At that time, the Catholic Church had opposed him because of the but still become more unbridled. The support of the church, the army, and the middle classes was being forfeited by Peron. The Roman Catholic church opposed to Peron in 1954 because of the enactment of the divorce law following his expulsion of the two priests from the republic. On September 16, 1955, General Eduardo Lonardi, General Pedro Aramburu, and Admiral Isaac Rojas together with the nationalistic group of the Catholics of the Army and Navy forces, formed the coup which they called the Revolucion Libertadora or the Liberating Revolution against Juan Peron’s administration. Eventually in September 1955, he was exiled by the military coup and left to Madrid for many years (Norden, D.L).
The first Peron Government or the Peronismo remained a popular and a vital political force in Argentina. The working class remembered that it is the only regime in Argentina to introduce an extensive policy of social welfare. Peronismo remained as a resilient force during his exile in Madrid, Spain. (Norden, D.L) None of his successors extended his way of rulings to any great extent. Reduced consumption of local foodstuffs in Argentina exports happened thus far, it created devaluations and savagely inflation in their economic status (Hodges, D.C.).
In March 11, 1973 election, Peron was to run and attempted in the political office but was then unsuccessful because he was banned for running. However, on the same year, he was elected again. He overwhelmingly won for about 65 percent of the total Argentine’s votes and showed an unspectacular performance and viewed by a lot of people as their salvation and prosperity (Wynia, G.W.).
In July of 1974, Juan Peron died due to heart attack. Isabel Peron, his second wife was there to take the regime of his husband. Unfortunately, she did not succeed because she is incapable of managing social and economic problems. A military coup which was led by General Jorge Videla overthrew the Peronista Coalition. (Hodges, D.C.) A state terrorism was established, there was a death toll rose of thousands (approximately 9,000-30,000 according to the human rights organizatons), and also a number of people kidnapped and killed without trial and record (Wynia, G.W.).
The life of Juan Domingo Peron was such a controversial one. Together with the images with his wife Eva Peron, there first administration will always be remembered among the Argentines. Even though he was hated because of being a demagogue and a dictator but still a lot of people loved and admired him and his wife Eva on their regime. Eva Peron on the other hand, is considered to be a mythical woman because even though she was poorly educated, fanatical, and a woman who is hungry for power but still she gained people’s love and admiration through her way of how to handle social crisis. She even helped the charity through investing money that in which she was called social assistance or social justice. She even extracted her enemies in giving them a life that is very impossible in their country. Until the time of her death, she was idolized by a millions of Argentine people because of what she did most specifically on the poor and women of Argentina. Through their political power, Argentina has been a great and famous country in their time. The authority and regime will always be remember not only for the Argentine but also for the people all around the world. This served as a moral lesson primarily because they touches Argentina in negative and in a positive manner. Juan and Eva Peron was avid for authority and power during his time in which he never knew how to keep it but he knew what he really wanted for his people (Whitaker, A.P.).
- Hodges, D.C. Argentina, 1943-1976: The National Revolution and Resistance.University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque, 1976. Web.
- Norden, D.L Military Rebellion in Argentina: Between Coups and Consolidation.University of Nebraska Press. Lincoln, NE., 1996. Web.
- Whitaker, A.P. The Argentine Paradox,1956. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 334, Latin America’s Nationalistic Revolutions (1961). Web.
- Wynia, G.W. Argentina: Illusions and Realities “The Peronist Invention“.Holmes & Meier. New York, 1992. Web.