Estado Novo (Portugal)

From Academic Kids

Estado Novo (New State) is the name of the Portuguese Conservative Authoritarian regime installed in 1933, following a Coup d'Etat against the democratic Republic by the army in 1926. The Estado Novo was developed by António de Oliveira Salazar, ruler of Portugal from 1932 to 1968.

The Estado Novo was a dictatorial regime with a fascist orientation, which differed from other fascist-oriented regimes, like Nationalist Spain or Italy by its more moderate use of state violence. Salazar was a Catholic traditionalist who believed in the necessity of control over the forces of economic modernisation in order to defend the catholic and rural values of the country, which he imagined under threat. One of the pillars of the regime was the PIDE, the secret police which murdered dissenters and oppositors. Many others were interned away at the Tarrafal prison in the African archipelago of Cape Verde, on the capital island of Santiago, or in local jails. Strict state censorship was in place.

The Estado Novo enforced Nationalist and Catholic values onto the Portuguese population. The whole Education System was directed to the exaltation of the Portuguese Nation and its overseas colonies (the Ultramar). The motto of the regime was Deus, Ptria e Familia (meaning God, Fatherland and Family). Later on the main raison d'etre of the regime came to be an attempt to resist the wave of decolonization which swept Europe after the end of WWII.

The Estado Novo accepted the Italian Corporativist economic style, in order to protect the elites and defend oligarchic Capitalism as the economical system, under state paternalist supervision. Although Salazar refused to sign the Anti-Comintern pact in 1938, the Portuguese Communist Party was intensely persecuted. The only allowed party was the Unio Nacional (National Union), which comprised a wide range of right-wing politics, passing through monarchism, fascism, nationalism and extreme-capitalism.

The Legio Nacional was a Popular Militia similar to the Italian Blackshirts. The Mocidade Portuguesa replaced the boy scouts and was an organization similar to the Hitler Youth. These 2 organizations were heavily supported by the State and imposed a martial style of life.

During 40's and the 50's Portugal saw great economic growth due to increased raw-material exports to war-ravaged and recovering Europe. Salazar managed to discipline the Portuguese economy, after the chaotic First Portuguese Republic of 1910-1926. A brand new road system was built, new bridges crossed the rivers and the Educational Program was able to build a Primary School in each Portuguese town. Further education was disencouraged except for a tiny elite, and was closely supervised. Salazar believed that education destroyed the basic conservative and religious values of the people and should only be accessible to a minority with close ties to the regime. With the economic recovery of Europe in the 60s, the Portuguese economy stagnated with Portugal becoming one of the most backward countries in the continent. Liberal economic reforms advocated by some of the elements of the ruling party, which were successfully implemented under similar circunstances in neighbouring Spain, were rejected out of fear that industrialization would destabilize the regime and its ideological base and would strengthen the Communists and other left-wing movements. The economic dead-end forced hundreds of thousands of Portuguese workers each year to seek better economic and political conditions in other countries, or to escape conscription. In all, over 15 years nearly one million emigrated to France, another million to the U.S.A., many hundreds of thousands to Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., Luxemburg, Venezuela or Brazil. Political parties, such as the Socialist Party, persecuted at home, were established in exile.

The end of the Estado Novo began with the uprisings in the colonies in the 60's. The Independence Movements in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea were supported both by the USSR and the USA, which wanted to end all Colonial Empires and expand their sphere of influence. The colonial war had the same effects in Portugal as the Vietnam War in the United States: an unpopular, messy and lost war which killed many thousands and struck at the ideological foundation of the regime.

Although Portugal was able to mantain some superiority in the colonies by the use of elite paratroopers and special-operations troops, the foreign support to the guerillas made them more maneuvrable, inflicting losses in the Portuguese army.

The whole situation was aggravated with the death of Salazar. In 1970, the strong man of the regime died and was replaced by one of his closest cooperators, Marcelo Caetano. Although Marcelo Caetano tried to slowly democratize the country, he could not hide the obvious dictatorship that oppressed Portugal. In 1974, a coup d'etat organized by left-wing military officers overthrew the Estado Novo.

See also

ca:Estado Novo (Portugal) pt:Estado Novo (Portugal) ja:エスタド・ノヴォ ru:Португалия: Новое государство

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