Rio Pact

Pax Americana

South America 1948.0312

Rio Pact

South America in WWII, the Cold War, and today (12 March 1948)

Historical Map of South American nations

Following the end of World War II, suspicion and hostility grew between the United States and the Soviet Union. In this so-called Cold War, the US sought to establish anti-Communist alliances around the world to contain the Soviet threat. The first such alliance was the Rio Pact, a treaty signed between the US and the nations of Latin America to safeguard the Western Hemisphere.

Main Events

German Instrument of Surrender

Representatives of the German armed forces signed the Instrument of Surrender in Berlin, along with representatives of the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom (on behalf of the Western Allies, who had also overseen a surrender ceremony in Reims earlier that day). This act brought an end to World War II in Europe.

Jewel Voice Broadcast

Japanese Emperor Hirohito read out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War in a radio broadcast, announcing to the people of Japan that their government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration and agreed to unconditional surrender. The speech was the first time the Emperor had spoken to the common people.

First Perón Presidency

The popular politician and former lieutenant general, Juan Perón, was elected President of Argentina in the February 1946, despite being briefly arrested by his rivals in the armed forces. Perón would be reelected in 1952, with his second term prematurely ending when he was deposed by a military coup (although he would return from exile and regain the presidency in 1973). His quest for social justice and rejection of both capitalism and communism would form the basis of the powerful Peronist movement in Argentina.

Second Paraguayan Civil War

In 1946, six years after suspending the constitution and banning political parties, Paraguayan President Higinio Morínigo legalized political activity and formed a cabinet with the Febrerista Revolutionary Concentration and the Colorado Party. However, the Febreristas resigned from the coalition on 11 January 1947, leading a rebellion with the Liberals and Communists the following month. Despite support from the navy and four of eleven army divisions, the rebels were defeated by Morínigo by August.

Truman Doctrine

In an address to United States Congress, President Harry Truman outlined his policy of supporting "free peoples" against "attempted subjugation armed minorities or by outside pressures", insisting the US assist them "primarily through economic and financial aid". The speech was an attack on Soviet attempts to destabilize Greece and Turkey, leading the US to give financial support to those nations. As a general policy of containing Soviet expansionism by backing those it threatened, this so-called Truman Doctrine would become the foundation of US foreign policy during the Cold War.

Costa Rican Civil War

In response to President Teodoro Picado's annulment of presidential elections in Costa Rica, the rebel National Liberation Army of José Figueres rose against the government. In a short but bloody war, the government was overthrown and Figueres took over at the head of a provisional government junta, which would abolish the military and restore democracy after one and a half years.

Rio Pact

On 2 September 1947, the United States of America signed the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance with the independent countries of the Americas, excluding Canada, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The treaty considered an attack against a signatory nation to be an attack against all and came into force on 12 March 1948.

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