Juan Peron 1895-1974

Juan Peron
Populist Leader
• Political leader who claims to side with the
common person
• Often supported by working class and Labor
• Claim to fight against the elite and wealthy
• Born lower Middle class family
Buenos Aires Argentina
• Made his way up the military ranks
through acceptance in a military
Academy at age 16
• Toured Fascist Europe 19381940(Germany, Italy, and Spain)
• Admired Mussolini
1943 Military Coup
• Participated in Military coup of government
• Was rewarded with high level appointments
(secretary of Labor)
– Liberal changes that helped the working class
increased his support
Power of his Wife
• Wife was a Evita Peron
popular actress from
working class origins
• With her support he was
freed from failed coup
• She helped him rule and
was loved by the masses
Terms as President
• 1st Term-Became president
– Changed the constitution and
regained power
• 2nd Term- 1951-1955
– Made increasingly liberal social
– Economy was not improving
– Forced into Exile by more
conservative Military Coup
In Exile 1955-1971
• Still had large support
base “Peronistas”
• Final Term
– Elected President 1973
died in office 1974
– After his death political
instability until Military
Junta Assumed power
Background to Argentina
 Argentina Gained independence from
Spain in 1816.
 The Argentine economy and early
20th centuries developed based on the
export of food such as wheat and
meat and the importation of
manufactured and luxury goods, from
 Industrial development was mostly
restricted to meatpacking and
refrigerating factories to facilitate the
exports of food to distant markets.
Economic Growth early 1900’s
 immigrants from Europe provided the country with a
rural working class and skilled urban laborers,
 European – and later US – capital was invested in
developing the Argentine railways and meatpacking,
communications and service industries,
 Buenos Aires became a major port for exports.
 sustained level of growth until the Great Depression of
Argentina’s Fall
• Great Depression caused political instability.
• Argentine Presidents came to office either through coups
d’état or fraud in elections. 1930-1943
Juan Peron's Rise to Power
• June 1943- there was a coup
d’etat against the conservative
President by the GOU (United
Officer’s Group)
• Peron, as a colonel, had a large
role in the coup d’etat.
Peron Was given title Sec of Labor
• labor laws long desired by the working class
were promoted
• Peron used celebrities and propaganda to
fundraise for the new government,
• gaining him strong public approval.
• Grew a large base of support form the working
class (descamisados)
Peron Gains
More Power
• 1944 president Farrell
appointed him Vice
President and Secretary
of War
Attempt to Oust Peron
• Peron gave an anticonservative speech in
1945 that solidified his
opponents dislike of him
• October 1945 forced to
resign and was arrested
by military opponents
fearful of his changes
Perons Populist Base
 Gained support after an
earthquake in San Juan that
killed thousands of people.
 Key part of the relief effort
and large amounts of
money from celebrities and
other fundraising.
(Met future wive Evita)
 As Secretary of Labor
Promised improvement in
wages, hours, safety, and
Demands for freedom of Juan Peron
 Mass demonstrations by the
people to regain his freedom
 The General Confederation
of Labor. The GCT helped
Peron gain support for the
presidential elections.
 support through Evita’s
connection with labor groups
and common person
 She gave passionate speech
and rallied support for his
 Peron was Released in 1945
days after his arrest. and
would be elected President
Peron’s Populist Regime
• In 1947 Peron disbanded the Labor Party and
replaced it with the Sole Party of the National
• Women received the vote in 1947 and Peron had
Congress pass legislation that increased women’s
access to education and improved their wages and
working conditions.
• From 1941 to 1950, the number of women
admitted to universities more than doubled.
• In the presidential election of 1951, 90% of
registered women, eligible to vote for the first
time, voted and 65% cast their votes for Peron.
• 7 women senators and 24 women deputies were
elected to Congress, the largest female delegation
of government representatives in the Americas.
• Peron changed the name of his party to the
Partido Peronista ( Peronist Party)
3 key
1. Economic Policies
• his goal as a free, just and
independent Argentina -independent economically from
foreign influence.
• He embarked on a five-year plan
to industrialize the country
• His regime started building
Argentina's steel and iron
industries and subsidizing the
manufacture of farm and
industrial machinery.
• Argentina began making
airplanes, and ships for its
merchant marine.
2. Social Policies
 The goal behind
peronism was to create
social equality for all
people of Argentina.
 Focus on the working
 The people were to
work to better the
 He expanded the number
of unionized workers
• began buying the seventy percent of the
nation's railways that had been British
• foreign ownership that had been
denounced as imperialism.
• And the government bought the British
owned trolley system.
• nationalized the U.S. owned telephone
company, and he nationalized other key
sectors of the economy.
• He put limits on the amount of profits
that foreign-owned firms could take out
of the country.
• A dramatic drop followed in foreign
investing in Argentina.
 He tried to achieve economic independence
through a five year plan, that would increase
the workers pay and improve industrialization
by 40%.
 Peron used heavy taxes for the rich, and
lowered the poor and working class tax.
 The lack of involvement in WWII helped
Argentina decrease much of its debt.
3. Political Policies
• Peron dictated the political life of the country by
his command of the armed forces.
• Control of union
– In return for wage and benefit increased Peron gained
control of the Unions independence
• He severely restricted and in some areas
eliminated constitutional liberties.
• Also, in 1949 he arranged a convention to write a
new constitution that would permit his reelection.
Foreign affairs
• Peronism also lacked a strong interest in matters of
foreign policy
• Strong belief that the political and economical
influences of other nations should be kept out of
– This would change 1950’s when Argentina needed more
capitol to drive economy
Treatment of Opposition
• The limited opposition of Peron was allowed
for a while,
• was quashed very effectively until later in first
presidential term.
• The opposition was mainly found in the richer
areas of Argentina and in many of the
1950’s Placed severe pressure on
opposing parties became more
• Peron imprisoned many of the opposition
leaders and fired hundreds of teachers who
opposed him.
• imprisoned many of the opposition leaders for
long periods of time.
– Some were killed or tortured
• These tactics of Peron were incredibly
successful in quashing the opposition.
• However, in later years, Peron was not able to
control the military, who eventually ousted
him from power.
• Taking advantage of government leniency if
not outright support, trade unions were formed
in every industry.
• Social Security was made universal.
• Education was made free to all who were
• Vast low-income housing projects were
• Paid vacations became standard.
• All workers (including white-collar employees
like bank tellers, etc.) were guaranteed free
medical care and half of their vacation-trip
• Workers recreation centers were constructed
all over Argentina, including vast resort in the
lower sierras.
• He paid off Argentina’s foreign debt and
launched a 5-year plan in 1946 that covered
everything from the woman’s right to vote to
• Peron failed to sustain these progressive
changes over the long haul.
• All of the gains of the Peron era have
disappeared as workers’ lives and fortunes
have gone downhill.
• For example, although he raised rural wages
and forced landlords to sell cheap
• He did not nationalize the land.
• Thus, the amount of land under cultivation
• Also, steel and meat production stopped.
Economic Down Fall
• after 1949 Argentina entered a period of severe
recession which included several drought-induced
bad harvests.
• The 1948 Marshall Plan helped Western Europe
trade with US and Canada
– Money did not reach Argentina
– Created more competition
• Exports dropped so low that in 1952 Argentina
actually had to import wheat.
Slow Economy and Foreign
• Real wages dropped 20% from 1949 to 1952 as
inflation reached 30 % per annum.
• Starting in 1951, the regime grew more repressive.
Peron went against old views of and keeping
foreign influence out
– 1953 Peron gave Standard Oil the rights for
exploration, drilling, refining, and distribution in
Argentina and this was the last straw for the
nationalist military.
His Overthrow
Become more repressive
Working class suffered from unemployment
wage freeze and inflation
3. Wealthy and middle class had high taxes and
a falling Economy
4. Went Against Industrialist in trying to keep
wages up
5. Allowed Foreign investment against what
military wanted
1955 Military Coup forces him out of Power and
into Exile
The return of Peron
• 1971 Military Government set to re-establish
• 1973 - The Peronist party wins elections in March.
Hector Campora is inaugurated president.
– Campora resigns and Peron becomes president in a special
• 1974 - Peron dies in July. His third wife, Isabel,
succeeds him. Terrorism from right and left escalates,
leaving hundreds dead. There are strikes,
demonstrations and high inflation.
• A Milttary Junta takes power in 1976

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