XXXIII - ESTADO INTEGRAL
THE IRON EAGLE
The Carnaval was perhaps one of the most famous events in the Brazilian cultural calendar, five days, although the celebrations could easily last over a week, where it felt like everything was allowed. That was also one of the most controversial dates in a country that claimed itself as Catholic. While the previous regime was secular, the military rule of Góes Monteiro sometimes even encouraging the event as a great distraction, this new one was not. Integralists have opposed the Carnaval as a symbol of all they opposed, the "cosmopolitan" culture that attracted tourists from all over the world and played the greatest hit songs from the United States, the alcoholism and "degenerate" behaviors being widespread and growing ever since the 1910s, all that was forbidden was allowed and that also increased the criminality around this time. It is no surprise that the Greenshirts were known as "Desmancha Festa", or Party Breakers, there was a fair share of growing incidents in the late 1940s where Integralist militias disrupted the celebrations and, in one occasion in São Paulo, attacked one of the parade cars that was considered insulting of Christianity, considering it "Satanic", the car was set on fire but no one died despite some injuries. It was quite clear that many in Brazil also hated this tradition and the Integralists were seen as the only ones capable of taking action against it.
In 1952, the Carnaval week began in late February under a very tense climate. The Capital had a new leadership and the Catete Palace was just a few miles from the location such celebrations were supposed to be held. Not only did Salgado get elected as President, therefore the Greenshirts were included in the Presidential Guard, but Monteiro, the real power of the country, was dead and the military was now under Mourão Filho, a devout Integralist who was already finishing a new Constitution together with Salgado, Barroso and Miguel Reale, the last being a known Jurist. Some feared what action could be taken and decided to skip the event, spending the holidays at home. Those who went were mostly members of the Liberal middle class of Rio, known musicians and representatives of the most vanguardist movements thought that the Integralists would not be much different from the military once in power, that the money from Tourism generated by the carnaval was going to appease them. One of these was the young singer João Gilberto, who was invited to make a recording on the Copacabana radio, he was walking by the city with an inspiration already in mind when everything started. The parade was not forbidden that year, but some of the organizers thought that was a blank cheque to continue as they always did, and this year there was a particularly insulting piece of the street carnaval that insulted the Integralist Catholicism, one that showed a caricature of Salgado being hit on his back by a man dressed like a red devil with a pitchfork. He knew what was going to happen the moment the cars began arriving and hurried out of the scene. By the time he arrived at the radio, his recording was suspended due to an urgent news being announced that several were wounded and even three died when the Greenshirts came down on that parade. The celebrations, including the traditional contest of allegorical cars, was canceled by the President due to security concerns as bomb threats were made.
That was only the beginning, as the New "Ano Bissexto" Constitution, known as the "Dispositive of the Integral State", would be approved on the 29th of February that year and change the political framework of the nation, showing that this would not be a continuation of the old order. First the Council of Ministers was abolished, which was a popular idea of the time and ironically one of the demands of the newly defunct UDN. But in compensation all powers were now centralized in the "Chefe Nacional", which some compared to the position of Duce and even Führer, a figure above political squabbles that were cracked down upon. All political parties were abolished, ironically even the AIB itself was declared defunct. Congress was organized into a new corporate structure, fully elected by categories instead of an universal suffrage. There would be representatives of the different classes, teachers, urban workers, rural workers, companies, doctors, all were given a designated number of seats. The influence of the military was drastically curtailed compared to the "Stratocracy" which existed before as all were to be commanded by the Head of State, who also chose the commanders of the 3 armed branches, those initially being Mourão Filho in the Army, Augusto Rademaker in the Navy, and Márcio de Sousa Melo in the Air Force. The Greenshirts were officially named as a branch of the Brazilian police in order to curtail the power of the Military Police, being given extensive extra-judicial power as the Chief of State was also head of Police officially. The Judiciary branch was changed as the Supreme Court had it's number changed to just 7 members, all appointed by the Chief of State and while they could still judicially review proposals of the Congress, they could not do so to State Decrees or to a law once approved by Salgado. State governors had their powers even more weakened, but in compensation there was a boon to municipalism as the municipalities gained several new powers including receiving funding directly from the Federal Government, not from the State governments who were essentially reduced to a ceremonial position. Speaking of ceremonies, State traditions also came under assault in some states such as Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo and Pernambuco, as the date of celebration for them referred to events supporting "Separatism" as the Government claimed.
On the cultural side, there was an odd mix of reactionary and progressive policies to fit Brazil into the Integralist vision. Racism, or as it was called "Promotion racial disunity and hatred", was added to the legal code as a crime with up to 6 years of imprisonment. There were protections given to both black and indigenous peoples against discrimination on several areas including employment, in some ways the Brazilian Constitution of 1952 was used as a model against racial discrimination, although same could not be said of religious discrimination as that was practically enshrined in the Constitution. Catholicism was declared as the single State religion, while there was a certain level of tolerance towards other Christian denominations, most protestants were considered a foreign influence from Northern Europe and the United States. Ironically, while black and indigenous peoples were safe from racial hatred by law, the law forbade their religious traditions. In places such as Bahia, with a strong tradition of religious syncretism with African religions, there was a crackdown by the Greenshirts against religions such as Umbanda and Candomblé, while in the Amazon and indigenous reserves, religious ceremonies were under state scrutiny and missionary work by the Catholic church was heavily encouraged by the State. While the Carnaval was not officially banned, there was a lot of restriction as freedom of speech was tightened under the "Blasphemy Law" and the National Security Act was expanded to include any allusions against members of government to be an incitement of hatred and violence. Foreign music was not exactly banned either, but there were several mentions of opposition to "Cultural Imperialism" that gave the police, and Greenshirts by consequence, a lot of leeway in enforcing this prohibition, for instance there were some states where Jazz was banned, there were also restrictions on alcoholic beverages, although not to the extent of the American prohibition.
The new order was not the first Fascist-style of government in Latin America, although there were some substantial differences between Integralism and Fascism, but it was the first time it was implemented on that scale. Suddenly Brazil was the largest "Fascist" nation on earth, with a territory larger than the Continguous US and a booming population numbering over 50 million people in 1950. The reactions around were mixed, some were condemning as the US, others such as Higino Moínigo's Paraguay were praising Brazil, Peron in Argentina had a cautiously supportive mindset but feared a Brazilian entry into the Linz Pakt. Salgado quickly dismissed the fears of both Peron and Long when he banned the Brazilian branch of the NSDAP, which was once part of the effort established by Hess in the 1930s to connect with German immigrant communities, he would then crackdown on privileges given to some immigrant groups by the Monteiro Junta in order to enforce assimilation through the Portuguese language. Furthermore, a state visit by Mussolini would prove to be underwhelming to the prospects of the Fascists. Salgado would spend much of the meeting locked in an argument with Benito away from cameras, accusing the Italian of "Atheism" and claiming that the spiritual health of a nation depended on traditions that Italian Fascism attempted to replace or destroy. They officially would leave with trade agreements, but clearly both left off with a bitter taste that was reported to the American government by spies with some optimism "We have no reason to fear this new Brazilian government will be anymore closer to Germania than they were before". Anti-Americanism could be survived if it meant the Reich did not have an even greater foothold in the Continent. French Guiana was already a bad enough trouble for Washington which would only grow in time.
The Integralists were not uniform, contrary to what their marches said, Salgado was the leader but he did have different branches growing within the former AIB that continued in the New government: Minister of Education Gustavo Barroso, Minister of Justice Miguel Reale and Minister of War Mourão Filho all had their differences between one another. Barroso was perhaps the most germanophile member of Government, even if that was a low bar, due to his anti-semitism. It was undeniable that the man was an accomplished intellectual, perhaps possessing a sense of superiority that attracted him towards a "Tropical Fascist" movement, among his works was the portuguese translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He used to give a more anti-semitic spins on his denouncement of American Imperialism, also wishing for a more German-inspired model such as the creation of a single party, opposing the Anti-politicism of Salgado. Reale was a representative of the young guard of the Integralists, but that did not mean he was a radical in the firebrand revolutionary sense, he was a legalist who was more similar to a "Wegener" than a "Goebbels". He was a jurist above all, who believed in Integralism as a more rational evolution of Brazilian nationalism that was completely divergent from Nazism and Fascism, claiming that by the time the AIB was founded nobody even knew Hitler's doctrines in the country. Reale desired to create what he called the "Integral State" as an organic democracy where corporations were not linked to the State but formed on their own, while also applying his own personal "Integral Theory of Law" to the functioning of the State and the Supreme Court. He was constantly at odds with Barroso, claiming that he was "more obsessed with the symbols, militia and sigma" rather than Theoretical Integralism. Finally there was Mourão Filho and Rademaker, the Minister of War and the Chief of Navy respectively, who advocated for a greater militarization of Integralism, with a greater unity of the Ideology and the Military, with some having expansionistic tendencies although that was a fringe idea.
But even within the movement there were other groups, such as the Catholic Fundamentalists and the Patrianovists The first was organized around the "Catholic Legion" of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, a Zealot catholic inspired in the Romanian Legions and with appraising of the Pope, with the spiritual leadership of the Archbishop of Olinda D. Hélder Câmara, a fervorous Integralist with close connections to the Vatican. Growing as a part of the Catholic reaction to Socialism and Progressivism, the Legion received support and praising of the Government as "Christ's Warriors", being known for their marches and loud opposition to syncretic religions, who were considered pagan, and especially the "Moral and Spiritual Decadence" of the Brazilian people. Unsurprisingly they were linked to and grew within the Integralist movement, especially after the AIB took over and the Legion was free to pursue direct action with no fear of State reprisals, many of their more extreme actions received a Constitutional blank cheque as Catholicism was the State religion and there was no clause to protect minority religions in law except for Christian churches.
The Patrianovists were a different type of reactionarism, although still linked to Integralism and Catholic tradition, their members did not think as far back as the middle ages, but to a closer time in the 19th century when Brazil had a different leadership. The Brazilian Empire had a certain nostalgic appeal for those who saw the oligarchical old republic and the military dictatorship, the age of Pedro II was considered by many as a golden age, the Royal family were considered champions of Brazilian values and were behind many changes such as the end of slavery, which aligned with the Integralist racial policies to support miscegenation. Led by the black intelectual Arlindo Veiga dos Santos, a known supporter of Black rights in the old republic who refused any political membership out of belief that the Republican system was illegitimate. The Brazilian Republic, he argued, was made out of an unpopular military coup backed by reactionary oligarchs after the abolition of slavery, claiming that the system only brought the deaths of many brazilians both phisically and spiritually through the support of secular positivism in both the Old Republic and the Monteiro regime. The black population in Brazil also had a greater support for the descendants of Princess Isabel "the Redeemer", who abolished slavery and planned to push for a land reform to black citizens when the coup happened a few days before Parliament was opened up again.
The support for Monarchism was not reduced to only the black population of course, as the Integralist victory was a victory of reactionary movements as a whole, allowing relatively fringe groups such as the Catholic Legion and the Patrianovists to rise to a national level of prominence by loudly raising the flag of the victorious movement. Brazil as a whole was being swept by a wave of reaction that would only become far more intense in 1956 when the Catholic church was directly assaulted by the Third Reich and many feared the Fascists could be the next ones to attack the Vactican. In fact the movement in Brazil, as in many times in history, would be reflected by it's neighbors. The nation's status made it almost inevitable that it's influence would be felt by the rest of South America, just like Vargas and Monteiro would later inspire the coup of the Argentine military in 1943.
Internally, many changes would begin in 1952 and the first of them was the destruction of political opposition. The Integralists planned to do so by destroying the means of organization of both the October 3rd Movement and the National Democratic Union. The Democrats was the easiest to deal with, considering they were already a controlled opposition by the last regime, the new Forces of Order arrested several politicians from the UDN in their homes, many under made up charges of corruption, most of them with real charges of corruption. While the prohibition of political parties ended the UDN per se, different organizations and unions linked to the UDN would be targeted using the files captured from raids against the party headquarters. The October 3rd movement was harder, it was more entrenched through regional Oligarchs, sympathies in the military sector, and links of the establishment over the last 20 years. The death of Monteiro and the Integralist takeover of the military leadership would prove to be instrumental in cracking down on such groups, which primarily thanks to the existing sympathies for Salgado's ideology within the Armed Forces especially the Navy. There was already prexisting plans to crack on Liberal groups by the Monteiro government ever since the 1940 election, such plans were put into action with the arrest of several intelectuals. But as for the existing Oligarchs, Salgado had to either appease them or go to a direct confrontation against said elites, he opted for the latter.
The press was silent, most newspapers such as Roberto Marinho's "O Globo" were instead attempting desperately to not be shut down, laying off several editors and employees in order to change their own agenda into becoming from a Liberal to a Reactionary organization almost overnight to appease the government, ironically they began to condemn the Carnaval in 1952 when it was praising the organization of the event in 1951. Assis Chateaubriand's "Associate Diaries", the largest media conglomerate in Latin America, spent years closely connected with the October 3rd Movement and would go through their own "adaptation" process to parrot the ideology of the government while attempting to keep their own reputation and sway over the readers and spectators.
The Liberals were suppressed, the Press was under control, time came for the State apparatus to turn on both the remaining agrarian oligarchies and the growing Industrial interest groups. The fact the Unions were mostly under State control would help Salgado to push for a "Controlled Revolution", using Integralism, rather than Socialism, to radicalize the workers against many groups which opposed his policies in other States. On the 1st of May 1952, a General Strike was launched in Urban areas with workers raising blue and green flags rather than red ones, roads were locked down and factories were halted. Worse of all was the fact the police force stood with the strikers, backing them and even direct their fury for the "Decadence of Brazil" against Salgado's rivals. There were Greenshirt groups which used the mass action day to strike at synagogues and Jewish stores, but these elements were quickly being put down under control. There were elite groups which did side with Salgado, such as the Matarazzo family, owners of the largest Industrial conglomerate of Latin America, founded by Italian Immigrants in the Imperial era and known admirers of Mussolini. The Government used the crisis to enact the "Decreto Nacional II", the Second National Decree, Nationalizing several assets and companies considered "Neglectful" of their workers, with State agents listening to the complaints of the workers, although the fact is that the list of companies had already been made. In fact, before the end of the week only the workers in those companies had continued their strikes.
Plinio wanted Integralism to retake the masses from the idea of Socialism, that Class struggle would be replaced with cooperation, he did so by scapegoating several adversaries such as foreign companies and placing such industries under State Control. The reactions outside were of outrage, but hardly anything could be done other than sanctions being placed until the government eventually compensated such companies. That was a small price to rid the nation of propagators of cosmopolitan ideologies, as Salgado said, he wanted a method that showed the awakening of the Brazilian masses in favor of Integralism, showed the strength of the nation against foreign enemies, without resorting to "German" methods similar to the Night of the Long Knives. It was underhanded, manipulative and dirty, but it was also relatively bloodless and achieved it's propaganda goal of making the foreigner into an enemy. Salgado would use this first scapegoat to his advantage to pursue ideological goals, forbidding any language but Portuguese to be spoken on National territory, a measure from the Monteiro Regime which was driven to such an extent that the remaining American companies had to change their names and titles, even the menu in restaurants was changed and not just in words but content, as restaurants which did not serve "Brazilian food dishes" were considered unpatriotic by Greenshirts.
Furthermore, in that year of repression, Northern and Northeastern Brazil, especially Bahia, would see scenes taken from Salem, with the cult of syncretic and african-origin religions being banned, the Greenshirts were unleashed, with the enthusiastic support of the Catholic Legion, stopping ceremonies and arresting cultists on the spot, labeling them as Satanists to be exposed on the streets as such, in some cases there were incidents of overzealous members branding them with pentagrams or even burning them alive. The New Year of 1953 was put under watch of these zealots for anyone dressed in white on the beach, as it was a superstition of some groups that jumping seven waves on water while dressed in white would bring good luck, the more stubborn ones of these traditions would be arrested for breaching the Blasphemy Law. The Government labeled all these "divergent" religions into a single category, the 1955 Census would see an enormous reduction of worshippers of said religions, either by fear, or because they fled the country.
The Integralists would begin to diverge from Fascism soon after taking power, after the nationalization of Industries there was a great change in focus from the cities to the countryside as the priority was no longer the reckless progressivism of the last government when it came to the economy. There was an idea of Brazil as an Industrial giant in the Monteiro government that just was never the intention of the Integralists, Salgado despised much of that modernist philosophy that led to an enormous urbanization and disorganization of cities, linked to a decline in life-quality in the short term as industries spread across the land with terrible sanitation conditions and housing issues in places such as Rio de Janeiro. The Solution of the Integralists was to focus on Brazil as an Agrarian giant, a nation which could serve as the breadbasket of the world and explore it's enormous potential to plant crops of all types in rich soil. Naturally there would be problems in doing so, especially as much of Central Brazil was still underpopulated, with arid savannas and tropical jungles clashing to make a hostile environment to large plantations, something which would in time be corrected, especially with the adoption of the Borlaug process and new fertilizers between 1950 and 1970.
The foreign relations between Brazil and it's neighbors had a cold start, but in time many countries had started approaching the Integralists with bilateral agreements, namely Peron's Argentina which had a working relationship with Monteiro's junta in the years prior and now the President feared that this soft coup would inspire his own opposition. Meanwhile, the Paraguayans had been elated at fist, Morínigo's Regime, which had tried as much as possible to imitate the aesthetics of the Third Reich and approach the Germans, had the support from the previous government which was crucial to prevent the country's isolation. Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia were considered in 1951 to be the growth of a "Latin Axis", Authoritarian states which held in common a fierce independent atitude towards the US and close relations with the Germans, with Uruguay being an exception due to their closer links with Britain. However the Integralist takeover changed things enormously, first by cutting support towards Hugo Ballivián's regime in Bolivia as the military dictatorship fell apart to the Bolivian Social Revolution of 1952. Then pressure was applied on Paraguay, Morínigo faced the need to condemn Nazism, seeking closer links with the Catholic church and distancing himself from Germania due to the pressure from Rio de Janeiro. Peron and Salgado did not have a very good relationship, Salgado was skeptical of Peron's close links to Labor movements, however the two would grow a working relationship that linked the three nations together, as Paraguay depended on Brazil and Argentina to acess foreign markets from the River basin, a lesson they harshly learned in the previous century. In 1954, the Three States would come to sign, in the small city of Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil where the countries shared a common border. The "Pact of Friendship and Cooperation of the Platinean Basin", also known as the Pacto del Plata, was part of the Integralist beliefs of South American cooperation, and with that agreement the majority of the continent was now linked in common agreement to stand for one another, lowering tariffs and working to build upon their shared "Christian Values of compassion, temperance and diligence".
There was also a growing cooperation between Brazil and Portugal, as Salazar was a source of inspiration for creating one of the first "Catholic Cooperative" States, and considering the unenviable position held by the Portuguese Minister, a third axis of allies was badly needed. While the Germans attempted pressuring the Portuguese into full membership in the Linz Pakt and the Americans threatened the Portuguese colonial holdings if that were to happen, the last time something similar happened in Lisbon resulted in the Portuguese government fleeing to Brazil of all places. Certainly there was some sympathy, both were regimes with authoritarian, although Anti-Nazism, tendencies that condemned Germania's "paganism" in favor of a less ambitious project of a nation allied with Catholic principles and ideals. Salgado went to Lisbon in 1953, the meeting being considered one of the greatest shows of Lusotropicalism, the idea of a close relationship between Portuguese-speaking nations. The two would come into new commercial agreements that allowed for Brazilian investment on Angola and Mozambique at new levels, while the Portuguese were afforded exceptions in the "Autarquia", the Autarky economical policies. Salgado refused to go to Spain after the rise of the Falange, while he did praise Franco before this was not the case with the more Linz-alligned Secular Fascists under Rivera. He did not go as far as cutting relationships with Germany until 1956.
When the Germans unleashed their purge and anti-catholic rhetoric in 1956, the first nation to react, before even Italy of the Vatican itself, was Brazil. Salgado ordered all former members of the Brazilian cell of the NSDAP to be arrested, despite the fact they were dissolved years ago. He cut all diplomatic ties and fiercely condemned Germania, also openly provoking Mussolini, alongside the Spanish and the French, who "Claimed to follow the Holy Church and yet sit idle while the forces of Satan strike it". Brazilian troops had even conducted a military exercise in French Guiana and offered to Pope Pius XII to shelter and protect the Catholic Church in Brazil if worst came to Rome. That was a radical response, perhaps this show was what decisively separated Integralism from Fascism in the eyes of the world, the fact that Brazil also cut several agreements to sell agricultural goods to Europe was also an unnerving prospect to the Reich who saw their influence in Latin America almost vanish overnight once Peron and Morínigo followed their ally and many other nations distanced themselves from Rudolf Hess to avoid the wrath of their populations. This distancing from the Germans lead to a settlement of sorts with the United States, Huey Long was seen as a lesser evil and Peron greatly admired the American President, suggesting to Salgado that the Americans would be a viable market to sell their products to. Previous barriers erected in 1952 were reduced, indemnities for the nationalization of American assets were paid (not to the companies of course, but to Long's Federal Government) and Salgado even gave Huey a public support over his health, claiming that the whole nation was praying for him.
Another factor that influenced the anti-germanism was the death of Gustavo Barroso, one of the main leaders of the Integralists who was also a germanophile inside Salgado's cabinet. Barroso, an admirer of Hitler's anti-semitism and the discipline of the SS parades in the 1930s, greatly influenced the creation of the Greenshirts, he would be an important member of the AIB ranks and was also a prestigious writer and member of the Brazilian Academia. But there were not many tears when his funeral came, Salgado and Reale both saw it as a positive that the movement could be rooted out of his influence. Severino Sombra, a former lieutenant and known Integralist who had been a member of the organization since it's early days, was named as the chief of the Greenshirts, or as they called themselves now "Policia da Moral e Civismo" (Morality and Civics Police) as they became a part of the Brazilian police at the beginning of the government.
The Integralists continued to make changes in the domestic scenario that began to be felt, although it was not the radical increase in life quality that some expected. Inflation was greatly decreased as well as the deficit spending of the Government, thanks to the reduced priority of mass industrialization. Agricultural output was increased, a new capital project began to be drafted by the Government, Education became more ideological and Christianity was given a much greater influence in the politics of the nation, in opposition to the previous secular Republic. But overrall there was no mass revolution or change from the previous order as there was from the Weimar Republic to Hitler's regime, Brazil had already been a centralized authoritarian state before with nothing but a sham democracy that meant little in the grand scheme. All the Integralists did was to be rid of the political parties and switch the "Sword" to the "Cross", although there was always the element of Force. Could it be called a Totalitarian State? There were certainly many elements to it that did link Brazil towards Totalitarianism, but the government became more decentralized, there was the lack of a central formal party structure, the State was placed in a less prominent role compared to the Catholic Church, there were still relatively free elections on a local level due to the Integralist belief in Municipalism, although candidated had to be vetted by Government officers. It was a very Authoritarian State, but one more in line with Salazarist Portugal than with Hitler or Mussolini, there was much influence and propaganda inside the State to change the thoughts and beliefs of the people, but it was largely an encouragement to many beliefs the Brazilians already held at the time.
When the Ural War happened, Brazil was eager to support the Russians against the Germans, although the Orthodox church was still a schismatic Church, it was painted as a shared Christian struggle against a Heathen enemy, some may even call it a Crusade. There were over 7.000 Brazilian volunteers in Russia, alongside vital shipments of food, with Brazilian coffee becoming a known commodity amongst Russian soldiers that helped to fight off the cold winters. By 1959 nearly a decade had passed of Integralist rule, Industrialization followed a more steady growth, although surpassed by a growing agricultural boom, inflation was contained and there was still a certain optimism towards the future. Salgado also pushed towards the values of "Pity and Charity", which included some degree of Social Welfare. Culturally is perhaps the one place where Integralism had truly come to revolutionize Brazil, as the Carnaval slowly dwindled to practically fade out by the 1960s, as representation in the change of atitudes by the government which condemned sexual liberation movements (one particularly known measure being the banning of bikinis), as well as the bans to gambling and drugs, the restrictions in alcohol consumption, and the overwhelming propaganda driven to increase church attendance and promote Catholic events. One example was the ban in the internal sale of meat during Easter Week and restrictions during Lent, as well as government charity programs during Christmas. Several songs were banned, while other types were promoted, with young singers such as João Gilberto either having to readequate themselves and their songs or go into exile. Soon singers who attempted to go around censorship would find out that their messages were not well received to the people either, as a decade encouraging Catholic values which were inherent to most Brazilians, as well as the ongoing movement of religious revival on the Western world, led to many being almost chased out of the country for controversial songs.
Some may claim Brazil became an embodiment of a fusion between values of the Middle Ages and the Modern State, and only time would tell if such project could be successful.