Paraguayan Chaco Offensive

Border disputes and the Powers

South America 1935.0415

Paraguayan Chaco Offensive

The Acre dispute, Venezuela crises, South America in WWI, and the Chaco War (15 April 1935)

Historical Map of South American nations

The first year of the Chaco War favored the Bolivians, but when their offensive collapsed in late 1933, Paraguay seized the initiative. By 1935, the Paraguayans had conquered most of the Chaco region. Nonetheless, both nations suffered heavily, each losing 2-3% of their population (some 100,000 over all). A treaty in 1938 confirmed Paraguay's gains, but it would not be until 2012 when commercial amounts of oil would be discovered in the territory.

Main Events

Battle of Campo Vía pocket

General José Félix Estigarribia's Paraguayan forces cut off and encircled the 4th and 9th Bolivian Divisions under General Hans Kundt at Campo Vía in the disputed Chaco region. Bolivian break out and relief attempts failed in confusion, leading to the loss of almost all the 9,000 defenders (including 7-8,000 surrenders). The defeat ended Bolivian efforts to contest the eastern Chaco and forced Kundt's resignation.

End of League embargo on Bolivia

At the start of the Chaco War, the League of Nations had imposed embargoes on both Bolivia and Paraguay. After Bolivian President Daniel Salamanca was arrested and deposed while visiting his demoralized troops in November 1934, the League decided to end its sanctions on Bolivia; the embargo was lifted on 16 January 1935, just as Paraguayan troops reached the western boundary of the Chaco. In response, Paraguay withdrew from the organization on 25 February 1935.

Clipperton restored to France

After a 1931 arbitration by King Victor Emanuel of Italy ruled in French favor, Mexico restored Clipperton Island to France.

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