Vargas Era

Vargas Era

Republic of the United States of Brazil (1889–1937)
República dos Estados Unidos do Brasil

United States of Brazil (1937–1967)
Estados Unidos do Brasil

Flag Coat of arms
"Ordem e Progresso"
"Order and Progress"
Hino Nacional Brasileiro
Brazilian National Anthem
Globe focused on South America with Brazil highlighted in green
Capital Rio de Janeiro
Languages Portuguese
Government Single-party state totalitarian dictatorship
 •  1930–1945 Getúlio Vargas
 •  1945–1946 José Linhares
Provisional Military Junta
 •  1930 Augusto Tasso Fragoso
Isaías de Noronha
Mena Barreto
Historical era Interbellum · World War II
 •  Established 24 October 1930
 •  Disestablished 31 January 1946
Part of a series on the
Coat of arms of Brazil
Brazil portal

The Vargas Era (Era Vargas) is the period in the history of Brazil between 1930 and 1945, when the country was under the leadership of Getúlio Dornelles Vargas.

The Brazilian Revolution of 1930 that marked the end of the Old Republic (with the deposition of President Washington Luís; the abrogation of the country's 1891 Constitution with a view to the establishment of a new constitutional order; the dissolution of the National Congress; Federal intervention in State governments and the alteration of the political landscape, with the suppression of the hegemony until then enjoyed by the oligarchies of São Paulo and Minas Gerais), signals the beginning of the Vargas Era (given that, upon the triumph of the Revolution, a provisional military junta ceded power to Vargas, recognized as the leader of the revolutionary movement).

The Vargas Era comprises three successive phases: the period of the Provisional Government (1930–1934), when Vargas governed by decree as Head of the Provisional Government instituted by the Revolution, pending the adoption of a new Constitution for the country; the period of the Constitution of 1934 (when, in the wake of the adoption of a new Constitution by the Constituent Assembly of 1933–34, Vargas – elected by the Constituent Assembly under the transitional provisions of the Constitution – governed as President, alongside a democratically elected Legislature); and the Estado Novo period (1937–1945), that began when, in order to perpetuate his rule, Vargas imposed a new, authoritarian Constitution in a coup d'état, and shut down Congress, assuming dictatorial powers.

The deposition of Getúlio Vargas and his Estado Novo regime in 1945 and the subsequent redemocratization of the country with the adoption of a new Constitution in 1946 mark the end of the Vargas Era and the beginning of the period known as the Republic of 46.


  • Great Depression 1
  • Revolution of 1930 2
  • Rise of Getúlio Vargas 3
  • Era of populism 4
  • Toward dictatorship 5
    • Suppression of Communist movement 5.1
    • Economic development 5.2
  • Estado Novo 6
  • World War II 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Bibliography 10

Great Depression

The tenente rebellion did not mark the revolutionary breakthrough of Brazil's bourgeois social reformers. But the ruling paulista coffee oligarchy could not withstand the near-breakdown of world capitalism in 1929. Brazil's vulnerability to the Great Depression had its roots in the economy's heavy dependence on foreign markets and loans. Despite limited industrial development in São Paulo, the export of coffee and other primary products was still the mainstay of the economy.

Days after the U.S. stock market crash on October 29, 1929 (see Black Tuesday), coffee quotations immediately fell 30% to 60%. The subsequent decline was even sharper. Between 1929 and 1931, coffee prices fell from 22.5 cents per pound to 8 cents per pound.[1] As world trade contracted, the coffee exporters suffered a vast drop in foreign exchange earnings. The Great Depression possibly had a more dramatic effect on Brazil than on the United States.

The collapse of Brazil's valorization (price support) program, a safety net in times of economic crisis, was strongly intertwined with the collapse of the central government, whose base of support resided in the landed oligarchy. The coffee planters had grown dangerously dependent on government valorization. For example, in the aftermath of the recession following World War I, the government was not short of the cash needed to bail out the coffee industry. But between 1929–30, world demand for Brazil's primary products had fallen far too drastically to maintain government revenues. By the end of 1930, Brazil's gold reserves had been depleted, pushing the exchange rate down to a new low. The program for warehoused coffee collapsed altogether.

Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa's government faced a deepening balance-of-payments crisis and the coffee growers were struck with an unsellable harvest. Since power ultimately rested on patronage, wide-scale defections in the delicate balance of regional interests left the regime of the Washington Luís vulnerable. Government policies designed to favor foreign interests exacerbated the crisis as well, leaving the regime alienated from just about every segment of society. Following the Wall Street panic, the government attempted to please foreign creditors by maintaining convertibility according to the money principles preached by the foreign bankers and economists who set the terms for Brazil's relations with the world economy, despite lacking any support from a single major sector in Brazilian society.

Despite capital flight, Washington Luís clung to a hard-money policy, guaranteeing the convertibility of the Brazilian currency into gold or British sterling. Once the gold and sterling reserves were exhausted amid the collapse of the valorization program, the government was finally forced to suspend convertibility of the currency. Foreign credit had now evaporated.

Revolution of 1930

Getúlio Vargas after the 1930 revolution, which began the Vargas Era.

Aside from the depression and the emergence of the Brazilian bourgeoisie, Brazil's historic dynamic of interregional politics was a significant factor encouraging the alliance that Getúlio Vargas forged between the new urban sectors and the landowners hostile to the government in states other than São Paulo during the Revolution of 1930.

Along with the urban bourgeois groups, Northeastern sugar barons were left with a legacy of longstanding grievances against the paulista coffee oligarchs of the South. Northeastern landowners bitterly opposed Washington Luís' 1930 discontinuance of the drought projects of his predecessor. These tensions, however, can be traced back far earlier. The decay of established sugar oligarchies of the Northeast began dramatically with the severe drought of 1877. The rapid growth of coffee-producing São Paulo state was the flip side of the same coin. After the abolition of slavery in the 1880s, Brazil saw a mass exodus of emancipated slaves and other peasants from the Northeast to the Southeast, thus ensuring a steady supply of cheap labor for the coffee planters.

Under the Old Republic, the politics of café com leite rested on the domination of the republic's politics by the Southeastern states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, which were Brazil's largest states in terms of population and richest. The first presidents of the republic were from São Paulo and thereafter succeeded by an alternation between the outgoing governors of the two leading states in the presidency.

Given the grievances with ruling regime in the Northeast and Rio Grande do Sul, Liberal Alliance opposition leader Getúlio Vargas chose as his vice-presidential candidate in 1930 João Pessoa of the Northeast state of Paraíba. With the understanding that the dominance of the landowners in the rural areas was to be absolute under any Liberal Alliance government, the Northeastern oligarchies were thus integrated into the Vargas alliance in a subordinate status via a new political party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD).

However, behind the façade of Vargas' populism lies the intricate nature of his coalition—ever-changing from this point onward. Consequently, these locally dominant regional groups—effectively the gaúchos of Rio Grande do Sul and the sugar barons of the Northeast—themselves ushered the new urban groups into the forefront of Brazilian political life in a revolution from above, tilting the balance of the central government in favor of the Liberal Alliance.

Rise of Getúlio Vargas

A populist governor of Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil's southernmost state – Vargas was a cattle rancher with a doctorate in law from the most politically influential of Brazil's peripheral states and the 1930 presidential candidate of the Liberal Alliance.

Vargas was a member of the gaucho-landed oligarchy and had risen through the system of patronage and clientelism, but he had a fresh vision of how Brazilian politics could be shaped to support national development. He hailed from a region with a positivist and populist tradition, and was an economic nationalist who favored industrial development and liberal reforms.

Moreover, Vargas understood that with the breakdown of direct relations between workers and owners in the expanding factories of Brazil, workers could become the basis for a new form of political power—populism. Using such insights, he gradually established such mastery over the Brazilian political world that he stayed in power for 15 years. As the stranglehold of the agricultural elites eased, new urban industrial leaders acquired more influence nationally, and the middle class began to show some strength.

Vargas built up well-established political networks, and was attuned to the interests of the rising urban classes. In his early years, Vargas even relied on the support of the tenentes of the 1922 rebellion.

Era of populism

As a candidate in 1930, Vargas had utilized populist rhetoric to promote middle class concerns, thus opposing the primacy—but not the legitimacy—of the paulista coffee oligarchy and the landed elites, who had little interest in protecting and promoting industry.

The 1930 Revolution ushered in a coalition favoring protection of Brazilian manufacturers, backed by the bourgeoisie and landed interests. Between 1930–1934, Vargas followed a path of social reformism to attempt to reconcile these radically diverging interests. Reflecting the influence of the tenentes, he even advocated a program of social welfare and reform with striking parallel to New Deal in the United States, prompting U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt to proudly refer to him as "one of two people who invented the New Deal."

Vargas sought to bring Brazil out of the Great Depression through statist-interventionist policies. He satisfied the demands of the rapidly growing urban bourgeois groups, voiced by the new (to Brazil) mass-ideologies of populism and nationalism. Like Roosevelt, his first steps focused on economic stimulus, a program on which all factions could agree.

Favoring a state interventionist policy utilizing tax breaks, lowered duties, and import quotas to expand the domestic industrial base, the populist gaúcho linked his pro-middle class policies to nationalism, advocating heavy tariffs to "perfect our manufacturers to the point where it will become unpatriotic to feed or clothe ourselves with imported goods!" In his early years, Vargas also relied on the support of the tenentes. His policies can best be described collectively as approximating those of fascist Italy under Mussolini, with an increased reliance on populism.

Vargas sought to mediate disputes between labor and capital. For instance, the provisional president quelled a paulista female workers' strike by co-opting much of its platform and requiring their "factory commissions" to use government mediation in the future.

Opposition arose among the powerful paulista coffee oligarchs to these unprecedented mass interventionist policies, as well as to the increased centralization of the government, its increasing populist and fascist stance, its protectionist/mercantilist policies (protecting politically favored producers at the expense of consumers) and the increasing dictatorial stance of Vargas himself . His tenuous collation also lacked a coherent program, being committed to a broad vision of "modernization", but little else more definitive. Having to balance such conflicting ideological constituencies, regionalism, and economic interests in such a vast, diverse, and socio-economically varied nation would, thus, not only explain the sole constancy that marked Vargas' long career—abrupt shifts in alliances and ideologies—but also his eventual dictatorship, modeled surprisingly along the lines of European fascism, considering the liberal roots of his regime. By 1934, however, many shifts were still awaiting Brazil.

Vargas's appeasement of the landed wing of his coalition soon revealed the reactionary nature of his government, especially after 1934. To placate friendly agrarian oligarchs, the modernizing state not only left the impoverished domains of the rural oligarchs untouched, the government even helped the sugar barons cement their control over rural Brazil.

Likely to the detriment of that region's long-term economic development, Vargas' static conservatism on matters of the countryside arguably exacerbated the disparities between the impoverished, semi-feudal Northeast and the dynamic, urbanized Southeast to this day. In return for the support of the sugar barons, the state crushed a wave of peasant revolts in the Northeast known as the cangaço, marking the reversal of the drastic but gradual decline of the Northeastern latifundios from the 1870s to the 1930 revolution. Northeastern latifundios had been collapsing from within amid inexorable decline and peasant revolts. In the more prosperous past during the reign of Dom Pedro II (1831–1889), the peasantry under this system remained quite subordinate to the farmers. Each planter retained his own private militia responsible for the maintenance of law and order within his domain, and these private militias were often responsible for kin feuds that arose between various dynastic groups. Consequently, the Northeastern farmers had grown accustomed to their iron grip on the rural countryside.

But the peasantry, to the surprise of many accustomed to overlooking Brazil's peripheral regions, was not that servile. Banditry was a common form of peasant protest. Other forms included messianism, anarchic uprisings, and tax evasion, each of which was common practice before 1930. With the Northeastern oligarchies now incorporated into the ruling coalition, the government focused on restructuring agriculture. The increasingly reactionary state intervened, suppressed the cangaceiros, and restored order to the Northeast.

At the expense of the indigent peasantry—85 percent of the workforce—not only did Vargas renege on his promises of land reforms, he denied agricultural workers in general the working class' gains in labor regulations, a strategy reminiscent of contemporary leaders Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, and António de Oliveira Salazar.

Appeasement of landed interests, traditionally the country's dominant forces, thus required a realignment of his coalition, forcing him to turn against its left-wing. After mid-1932 the influence of the tenente group over Vargas rapidly waned, although individual tenentes of moderate tendency continued to hold important positions in the regime. With the ouster of the center-left tenentes from his coalition, his rightward shift would become increasingly pronounced by 1934.

Toward dictatorship

By 1934, Vargas developed in response what Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith called "a legal hybrid" between the regimes of Mussolini's Italy and Salazar's Portuguese Estado Novo. Vargas copied repressive fascist tactics, and conveyed their same rejection of liberal capitalism, but attained power baring few indications of his future quasi-fascist policies.

Changing conditions forced Vargas to eventually abandon the arrangements of the "provisional government" (1930–34), that were characterized by a path of social reformism that appeared to favor the generally left wing of his revolutionary coalition, the tenentes.

Opposition from the right, however, marked Vargas' earliest moves away from the social reformism of his early years. A conservative insurgency in 1932 was the key turning point. After the July 1932 Constitutionalist Revolution — a veiled attempt by the paulista coffee oligarchs to retake the central government — Vargas tried to recover support of the landed elites, including the coffee growers, in order to establish a new alliance of power. The revolt reacted to Vargas' appointment of João Alberto, a center-left tenente as "interventor" (provisional governor) in place of the elected governor of São Paulo. The paulista elite loathed Alberto, resenting his centralization efforts and alarmed by his economic reforms, such as a mere 5 percent wage increase and the minor distribution of some land to participants of the revolution. Amid threats of revolt, Vargas replaced João Alberto with a civilian from São Paulo, appointed a conservative paulista banker as his minister of finance, and announced a date for the holding of a constituent assembly. The coffee oligarchs were only emboldened, launching the counterrevolutionary revolt in July 1932, which collapsed after 3 months of combat.

Regardless of the attempted counterrevolution, Vargas was determined to maintain his alliance with the original farmer wing of his coalition and to strengthen his ties with the São Paulo establishment. The result was further concessions, again alienating the left wings of his coalition. The essential compromise was failing to honor the promises of land reform made during the campaign of 1930. Vargas also pardoned half the bank debts of the coffee planters, who still had a significant grip on the state's electoral machinery, alleviating the crisis stemming from the collapse of the valorization program. To pacify his old paulista adversaries after their failed revolt, he ordered the Bank of Brazil to take over the war bonds issued by the rebel government.

Yet Vargas was increasingly threatened by pro-Communist elements in labor critical of the rural latifundios by 1934, who sought an alliance with the countries peasant majority by backing land reform. Despite the populist rhetoric of the "father of the poor", the gaúcho Vargas was ushered into power by planter oligarchies of peripheral regions amid a revolution from above, and was thus in no position to truly meet substantive popular demands. By 1934, armed with a new constitution drafted with extensive influence from European fascist models, Vargas began reining in even moderate trade unions and turning against the tenentes. His further concessions to the latifundios pushed him toward an alliance with the Integralists, Brazil's mobilized fascist movement. Following the end of the provisional presidency, the reactionary nature Vargas' regime between 1934 and 1945—characterized by the co-optation of Brazilian unions through state-run, sham syndicates, suppression of opposition (particularly) leftist opposition thus was strongly becoming evident.

As a result of this appeasement of the rural farmers, Vargas was increasingly threatened by pro-Communist elements in labor critical of the latifundios by 1934 who were actually serious in their demands for

  • Castro, Celso; Izecksohn, Victor; Kraay, Hendrik (2004). Nova História Militar Brasileira. Fundação Getúlio Vargas. in Portuguese  
  • Ready, J. Lee (1985). Forgotten Allies: The European Theatre, Volume I. McFarland & Company.  
  • Brazil Now.Info Estado Novo.
  • Garfield, Seth. "The Roots of a Plant That Today Is Brazil: Indians and the Nation-State under the Brazilian Estado Novo" Journal of Latin American Studies Vol. 29, No. 3 (Oct., 1997), pp. 747–768


  1. ^ Fridell, Gavin. Fair Trade Coffee. (pg 120)
  2. ^ De Mattei, Roberto. The Crusader of the 20th Century, 1998. (pg 52)
  3. ^ "Tribunal de Segurança Nacional (TSN)". 


See also

Once Vargas was deposed, the military summoned his legal deputy, José Linhares, the President of the Supreme Federal Court (Brazil's chief justice), to assume the Presidency (the office of Vice-President had been abolished, and no legislature had been elected under the 1937 Constitution, so that the President of the Supreme Court was the first person in the line of succession). José Linhares immediately summoned elections for President and for a Constituent Assembly. The elections were held in December, 1945, and José Linhares remained in office only until the inauguration of the Assembly and of the elected President (General Eurico Gaspar Dutra) which took place on January 31, 1946.

The events related to Brazilian participation in the war and the ending of the conflict in 1945 strengthened pressures in favor of redemocratization. Although there were some concessions by the regime, such as the setting of a date for presidential elections, amnesty for political prisoners, the freedom to organize political parties, and a commitment to choose a new Constitutional convention, Vargas was not able to retain support for the continuation of his presidency and was deposed by the military in a surprise coup launched from his own War Ministry on October 29, 1945.

Soon after the war, however, fearing the BEF's popularity and possible political use of the allied victory by some BEF members, the then Brazilian government decided to make demobilization effective, with the BEF still in Italy. Returning to Brazil, its members were also subjected to some restrictions. Civilian veterans were forbidden from wearing military decorations or uniforms in public, while military vets were transferred to regions far from great cities or to border garrisons.

After the sinking of Brazilian merchant ships by German and Italian submarines throughout 1942, popular mobilization forced the Brazilian government to abandon its passiveness and declare war on Germany and Italy in August, 1942. Popular mobilization to make the war declaration effective, with the despatching of Brazilian troops to Europe, continued, but a decision by the Brazilian Government to actually send troops to fight the enemy was only made in January 1943, when Vargas and the U.S President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met in Natal, where the first official agreement was made to create an expeditionary force (BEF). In July 1944 the first BEF group was sent to fight in Italy, and, despite being poorly equipped and trained, it accomplished its main missions.

Carmen Miranda was a symbol of the "Good Neighbor Policy", which consisted of a closer relationship with the United States to Latin America.

With the start of World War II, in 1939, Vargas maintained neutrality until 1941, when an agreement, proposed by Brazilian foreign relations minister Oswaldo Aranha, was formed between American continental nations to align with any American country in the event of an attack by an external power. Due to this agreement, from Pearl Harbor Brazil's entering the war became just a matter of time. North American policy also financed Brazilian iron and steel extraction and placed military bases along the Brazilian North-Northeast coast, headquartered in Natal. With the conquest of Southeast Asia by Japanese troops, Getúlio signed a treaty, the Washington Accords, in 1942, which provisioned the supply of natural rubber from the Amazon to the Allies, resulting in the second rubber boom and the forced migration of many people from the drought-stricken northeast to the heart of Amazônia. These people were known as Soldados da Borracha ("rubber soldiers").

World War II

In 1943, Vargas promulgated the CLT ("Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho", Consolidation of the Labor Laws), guaranteeing that a job would be stable after ten years of service. It also provided weekly rest, regulated the work of minors and women, regulated night-time work and set a working day to eight hours.

A series of measures were used to restrain opposition, such as the nomination of Intervenors for the States and censorship of the media, performed by the DIP ("Departamento de Imprensa e Propaganda", Department of Press and Propaganda). This agency also promoted the ideology of the Estado Novo, designed the official propaganda of the government and tried to direct public opinion.

The Estado Novo had a powerful effect on Curitiba, received its first planning during the Estado Novo. One notable urban planner was Alfred Agache.

In this period, a number of industrial bodies were created:

Between 1937 and 1945, the duration of the Estado Novo, Vargas gave continuity to the formation of structure and professionalism in the State. He oriented the state to intervene in the economy, promoting economic nationalism. The movement towards a "New State" was significant, in that along with the dismissal of Congress and its political parties, he wanted to recognize the indigenous population. He gained great favor in their eyes, and was called the "Father of the Poor". Besides gaining popularity with them, he provided them with tools to assist them in the improvement of their agrarian lifestyles. He felt that if the country were to progress that the Indians, the very symbol of Brazilianness, should reap the benefits, ridden the label of oppression the country. This was important to establish a unified society. The intention was to form a strong impulse toward industrialization.

In December 1937, one month after the Estado Novo coup, Vargas signed a Decree disbanding all political parties, including the fascist-like Ação Integralista Brasileira (AIB). The Brazilian Integralists had until then been supportive of Vargas' anti-communist measures. On May 11, 1938, the integralists, unsatisfied with the closing of the AIB, invaded the Guanabara Palace, attempting to depose Vargas. This episode is known as "Integralist Attempt" and was far from successful.

The Estado Novo dictatorship also greatly curtailed the autonomy of the Judicial branch, and suppressed the autonomy of the Brazilian States, that were governed by federal interventors, who discharged (on a formally temporary basis), the legislative and executive powers.

Although the 1937 Constitution provided for elections to a new Parliament, as well as a referendum to confirm the actions of the coup, neither were held — ostensibly due to the dangerous international situation. Instead, under an article of the Constitution that was supposed to be transitional pending new elections, the President assumed legislative as well as executive powers. For all intents and purposes, Vargas ruled for eight years under what amounted to martial law. Also, under the 1937 Constitution Vargas should have remained President for only six more years (until November 1943), but instead he remained in power until his overthrow in 1945.

Under this dictatorial regime the powers of the National Security Tribunal were streamlined, and it focused on the prosecution of political dissenters. Also, the powers of the police where greatly enhanced, with the establishment of DOPS, a powerful political police and secret service. When created in 1936, the National Security Tribunal was supposed to be a temporary Court, and defendants could file appeals against its judgements to the Superior Military Court (Superior Tribunal Militar), Brazil's Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which was in turn subordinate to the Nation's Supreme Court. Thus, Communists and other defendants accused of plotting coups were judged by the military court-martial system (with the National Security Tribunal as the trial court of first instance for those cases), and not by the ordinary courts. With the advent of the Estado Novo regime, the National Security Tribunal became a permanent Court, and became autonomous from the rest of the Court system. It gained authority to adjudicate not only cases of Communist conspirators and other coup plotters, but it now tried anyone accused of being subversive or dangerous to the Estado Novo regime. Also, several extrajudicial punishments were inflicted by the police itself (especially by the DOPS political police), without trial.

In his address of 10 November 1937, Vargas, invoking the supposed Communist threat, performed several acts that were contrary to the 1934 Constitution: he decreed a state of emergency, dissolved the Legislature, and announced the adoption by Presidential fiat of a new, severely authoritarian Constitution, that effectively placed all governing power in his hands. The 1934 Constitution was thus abolished, and Vargas proclaimed the establishment of a "Estado Novo" (New State).

The Communists had indeed attempted to take over the Government in November 1935, in a botched coup attempt known as the Intentona Comunista (Communist Attempt). In the wake of the failed Communist uprising, Congress had already given greater powers to Vargas, and approved the creation of a National Security Tribunal (Tribunal de Segurança Nacional), established by a statute adopted on 11 September 1936.[3]

Vargas' four-year term as President under the 1934 Constitution was due to expire in 1938, and he was barred from reelection. However, on November 10, 1937, Vargas made a national radio address denouncing the existence of a communist plot to overthrow the government, called the Cohen Plan (Plano Cohen). In reality, however, Plano Cohen was forged in the government with the objective of creating a favourable atmosphere for Vargas to stay in power, perpetuating his rule and assuming dictatorial powers.

Estado Novo

The constitution of 1934 thus established a more direct mechanism for the federal executive to control the mining, oil, steel, electric power, and chemicals.

The 1934–37 constitution, and especially the Estado Novo afterwards, heightened efforts to centralize authority in Rio de Janeiro and drastically limit provincial autonomy in the traditionally devolved, sprawling nation. This was its more progressive role, seeking to consolidate the 1930 revolution, displacing the institutional power of the paulista coffee oligarchs with a centralist policy that respected local agro-exporting interests, but created the necessary urban economic base for the new urban sectors. The modernizing legacy is firmly evident: state government was to be rationalized and regularized, freed from the grips of coronelismo.

The constitution established a new Chamber of Deputies that placed government authority over the private economy, which established a system of state-guided capitalism aimed at industrialization and reducing foreign dependency. These provisions essentially designated corporate representatives according to class and profession, organizing industries into state syndicates, but generally maintained private ownership of Brazilian-owned businesses.

The strong parallels between the political economy of Vargas and the European police states thus began to appear by 1934, when a new constitution was enacted with direct fascist influence. After 1934, fascist-style programs would serve two important aims: stimulating industrial growth (under the guise of nationalism) and suppressing the working class. Passed on July 16, the Vargas government claimed that the corporatist provisions of the constitution of 1934 would unite all classes in mutual interests—its stated purpose in Fascist Italy. Actually, this propaganda point had somewhat of a basis in reality. In practice, this meant decimating organized labor and co-opting the working class. Of course, the advance of industry and urbanization, enlarged and strengthened the ranks of urban laborers, presenting the need to draw them into some sort of alliance committed to the modernization of Brazil. Vargas, and later Juan Perón in neighboring Argentina emulated Mussolini's strategy of consolidating power by means of mediating class disputes and co-opting workers' demands under the banner of nationalism.

Economic development

Marxism and liberalism, and espousals of fanatical nationalism (out of context in the heterogeneous and tolerant nation) and "Christian virtues". Like the European fascists, they were essentially petit bourgeois. In particular, they drew support from military officers, especially in the navy.

With center-left tenentes out of the coalition and the left crushed, Vargas turned to the only mobilized base of support on the right, elated by the atrocious, fascist-style crackdown against the ANL. As his coalition moved to the right after 1934, Vargas' ideological character and association with a global ideological orbit remained ambiguous. Integralism, claiming a rapidly growing membership throughout Brazil by 1935, began filling this ideological void, especially among the approximately one million Brazilians of German descent.

Vargas's attention focused on the rise of two nationally based and highly ideological European-style movements, both committed to European-style mass-mobilization: one pro-Communist and the other pro-fascist—one linked to Moscow and the other to Rome and Berlin. The mass-movement intimidating Vargas was the Aliança Nacional Libertadora (ANL), a leftwing popular front launched in 1935 of socialists, communists, and other progressives led by the Communist Party and Luís Carlos Prestes, known as "cavalier of hope" of the tenente rebellion (though not a Marxist at the time). A revolutionary forerunner of Che Guevara, Prestes led the legendary but futile "Long March" through the rural Brazilian interior following his participation in the failed 1922 tenente rebellion against the coffee oligarchs. This experience, however, left Prestes, who only died in the 1990s, and some of his comrades skeptical of armed conflict for the rest of his life. Prestes' well-cultivated skepticism later helped precipitate the 1960s schism between hard-line militant Maoists and orthodox Marxist-Leninists in the Brazilian Communist Party, which endures to this day.

Vargas could unite with all sectors of the landed elites, however, to control the urban proletariat and the peasantry. With the cangaço thoroughly repressed in the Northeast, all segments of the elite— the new bourgeoisie and the landed oligarchs— shifted their well-founded fears toward the trade unionism and socialist sentiments of the burgeoning urban proletariat. The urban proletariat, often composed of immigrants, was from the more European (in terms of population, culture, ideology, and level of industrial development) and more urbanized Southeast. In 1934, following the disintegration of Vargas' delicate alliance with labor, Brazil entered "one of the most agitated periods in its political history". According to Skidmore and Smith, Brazil's major cities began to resemble the Nazi-Communist battles in Berlin of 1932–33. By mid-1935 Brazilian politics had been drastically destabilized.

The same Great Depression that had ushered Vargas into power in a wave of disillusionment with the First World War, as an ominous threat to established interests.

Aside from these recent political disputes, long-term trends suggest an atmosphere in São Paulo conducive to ideological extremism. The rapidly changing and industrializing Southeast, and the seething class conflict underlying this change, had been brewing an atmosphere conducive to the growth of European-style mass-movements; Brazil's Communist Party was established in 1922 and the postwar period witnessed the rise of the country's first waves of general strikes waged by viable trade unions. The Great Depression intensified their strength.

Suppression of Communist movement