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On Guard Against the Red Menace

Anti-Communism in Brazil, 1917–1964

In the Series
The Portuguese-Speaking World: Its History, Politics and Culture

Rodrigo Patto Sá Motta is Titular Professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. He has been a visiting professor at various universities, and was Simón Bolivar Chair at L’Institut des Hautes Etudes de l’Amérique latine (IHEAL– Université Paris III — Sorbonne Nouvelle). He is a Researcher, Level I, at the National Research Council (CNPq) and is former president of Brazilian National Association of History (ANPUH).

This book focuses on the values, beliefs, fears and actions of Brazilian groups that throughout the twentieth century fought the “red menace”. It is based on broad and diversified documentary sources, including police files, archives of political leaders, traditional press periodicals, newspapers and brochures of right-wing organizations, monuments, caricatures, and photographs. The work is a major contribution to better understanding the political impact of right-wing movements in Brazil and the justifications made for the authoritarian coups of 1937 and 1964.

The author explains the intricacy of the political movements, leaderships and organizations that gathered around the fight against communism, as well as the ideas and images used to disseminate their arguments, including international sources of inspiration. The argument presented is nnot one of mere condemnation, but as dictatorship has reared its head post 1964 an assessment is long overdue in order to understand the political impact of anti-communist movements which have contributed to enable the longstanding police-military repressive machine of the Brazilian State. The current return of anti-communism to the Brazilian political scene is evidence of the book's thesis that this phenomenon took root in Brazilian society during the first decades of the twentieth century. On Guard Against the Red Menace helps to understand why a candidate of military origin who promises to rid the country of the reds won the October 2018 elections in Brazil, by adopting a discursive strategy that represents the appropriation of the anti-communist tradition analyzed in this book.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-000-2
Hardback Price: £80.00 / $99.95
Release Date: May/June 2020
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: Yes






Chapter 1. Anti-communism's beginnings in Brazil: 1917–1935

Chapter 2. Anti-communist matrices     
            2.1. Catholicism
            2.2. Nationalism
            2.3. Liberalism

Chapter 3. The anti-communist imaginary
            3.1. Demons
            3.2. Pathological agents
            3.3. Foreign menace
            3.4. Moral challenge
            3.5. Soviet inferno
            3.6. The Communist Intentona
            3.7. The 'Knight of Hopelessness'

Chapter 4. Anti-communist iconography
            4.1. Diabolic communism
            4.2. Communism and religion
            4.3. Violence, slavery and disease
            4.4. International communism
            4.5. The 1935 Insurrection
            4.6. Prestes
            4.7. Electoral disputes
            4.8. Infiltration in Goulart's government

Chapter 5. Anti-communist organizations
            5.1. The Brazilian Anti-Communist Crusade
            5.2. Brazilian Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property
            5.3. Terrorist organizations

Chapter 6. The anti-communist industry

Chapter 7. The first major anti-communist wave: 1935–1937
            7.1. The uprising
            7.2. The reaction
            7.3. The great ruse

Chapter 8. The second major anti-communist wave: 1961–1964

            8.1. Goulart's rise to power
            8.2. Anti-communists organize
            8.3. Representations
            8.4. War of position
            8.5. The crisis worsens
            8.6. Denouement




The author was interviewed by The Atlantic journal, at

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