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BRAZIL: The Good Soldier

2 minute read

In the days of Brazil’s uneasy pro-Brazilian neutrality, her rotund, sparse-haired, convivial Chief of Staff, General Pedro Aurelio de Goes Monteiro, was popularly supposed to be hedging Brazil’s bets, on the German side. He openly admired the German army and once was reported to have drunk a toast to its honor and glory. In April 1940 he received the Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle, for “valued services by Brazil to Germany.” If the Axis had won before the U.S. became involved, Brazilian Patriot Goes Monteiro would have been in a position to make the best of a situation potentially dangerous to Brazil.

When Brazil broke relations with the Axis last January, when she declared war on Germany last August, Goes Monteiro remained Chief of Staff. But last week it was announced that, because of ill health (heart trouble), General Goes Monteiro, had been granted an indefinite leave of absence.

The third of Brazil’s great triumvirate (the others: President Getulio Vargas, Foreign Minister Oswaldo Aranha), Goes Monteiro was a leader, with Vargas and Aranha, of the 1930 revolution. In 1931 he was appointed Minister of War. He became Brazil’s Chief of Staff in 1937. His successor, General Eduardo Guedes Alcoforado, is neither so astute nor so politically ambitious as Goes Monteiro. The Brazilian Army, which wants to fight, and the increasingly belligerent Brazilian people hoped that General Alcoforado would lead them soon, somewhere, into contact with the Axis, and that he would be as good a soldier as their old chief.

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