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"Brazil: The Military Calls the Tune"

Course of Our Times, Series V



Program Number

Date Aired
ca. 1971

30 min.

One of the five largest countries in the world, Brazil had long been wretchedly poor, its wealth concentrated among a few families. When Getúlio Vargas assumed the presidency in 1930, unemployment was at its peak and the state's credit was in jeopardy. Despite various reforms to stabilize the economy, Vargas's political acumen was called into question, and he was ousted in 1945. Vargas's successor, Juscelino Kubitschek (1956-61) was popular among Brazilians. He co-opted the military by protecting its funding and involving it in the decision-making process. Kubitschek's unlimited credit expansion, however, aggravated inflation and depreciated the currency to almost zero within a year. The new president, Jânio Quadros, was unable to eliminate corruption, and his bid for more presidential power ended with his sudden resignation on August 25, 1961. Vice President João Goulart was the automatic heir to the throne, but his policies on nationalization and elimination of wage restrictions led to capital flight and further devaluation of the cruzero. In 1964, at the brink of civil war, Brazil experienced a bloodless coup and the Chief of Staff, General Castello Branco, was named President. Brazil's potential for leadership in South America remained stymied by its political and economic instability.

Recording Location
WGBH, Boston

1 VHS use copy [In Course of Our Times Collection, Box 2]
U-Matic copy is MISSING