The "Nazi Menace" in Argentina, 1931-1947

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Stanford University Press, 1992 - History - 520 pages
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One of the unanswered questions in the history of the 1930's and 1940's concerns just what the Nazis were up to in Argentina. Here was a country whose population was almost entirely European in origin and outlook, led by a conservative landed elite determined to retain power against the rising forces of socialism and "bolshevism". Here, too, was a substantial German-speaking minority numbering some quarter of a million. Could Argentina, then, have "gone Nazi"? This is the first complete, thoroughly researched investigation into the myth and reality of Nazi Germany's influence and activities in Argentina. It covers Nazi attempts to penetrate and convert Argentina's German-speaking population, to proselytize the Argentine military and right-wing political groups, and to influence the governments of the period. It also penetrates the maze of forgeries, propaganda, and assorted "dirty tricks" propagated by both the Allies and the Axis, thus providing a factual account of clandestine activities during the war years, and the alleged movement of Nazi war criminals and treasure to Argentina at the war's end. Among the author's major findings are that Germany in fact had no strategic designs on Argentina, but saw it as a market for export sales and a source of raw materials; that the response of German-Argentines and Argentines in general to Nazism was limited and dictated mostly by opportunism; and that both the British and Argentine governments took the measure of the German challenge calmly and rationally, and that it was the United States that became alarmed over the "Nazi menace". Despite what the author demonstrates were the reckless and foolish activities of Nazi agents, the U.S.government and media were ignorant and gullible concerning Argentina. The British and anti-fascist exiles were consequently able to manipulate the United States skillfully through a series of hoaxes, several of which this book exposes. And though Argentina did provide sanctuary to ex-fascists after World War II, Germans were almost certainly outnumbered by Italians, Croats, and East Europeans. The book is illustrated with some 20 photographs.

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