Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Allende, Nazi's and Chile's Military

Well, seems like this whole "Allende" myth is going the tubes, with these news stories about Allende's 'past', also in this article.

Allende's early flirtation with Nazi ideology during the 30's and 40's, was not uncommon for intellectuals in that time in Latin America. What really makes it stand out is how as a Cabinet minister he tried to pass legislation that was full of Nazi nonsense, at a time when people everywhere had no illusions about Nazism. Not surprisingly the regime he served had fascist backing

But then again, Allende's pro-Nazi attitudes were also widely shared in the military that ended up overthrowing him. Victor Frias' prior work showed how pervasive Nazi influence was in Chile, a country with a large German community. Military links between both countries, went back to the 1880's. ) Several German officers, had experience in Chile before WWI, and returned after the war.

Well before 1933, some of these officers in Chile had become ardent Nazi's. So strong was their influence on the Chilean military, that a Chilean General founded a "Nacional Socialist Party" - recognized by the Nazi party - in 1932. The German 'ex-pats' had there own party as well, and Chilean officers routinely wrote articles - in German- for it.

The Nazi propaganda machine, published Spanish-language military and medical (Doktor Allende) magazines, which were widely distributed in Latin America. Some of the editors of the military magazine were German officers who had served in Chile, and Chilean officers and diplomats in Germany often pitched in to correct grammar and spelling before publication.

With the depression affecting the US and France, and Spain in turmoil, these were about the only foreign publications available, besides the translation of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" that Henry Ford spread around the Continent.

Ten years of direct Nazi presence and propaganda, superimposed over long-held Prussian military influence, led to a 'Nazified' military. This pattern also repeated itself in countries like Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. When your officer corps read Wehrmacht magazines religiously, its no surprise the 1980 Constitution the Armed Forces reads that the Armed Forces "exist for the defense of the fatherland, are essential for national security, and guarantee the institutional order of the Republic" (Article 90).

Little wonder that the Pinochet regime was really, really, creepy. These guys were monsters, the stuff they did took military brutality in Latin America to new levels. It shocked the hell out of many Latin Americans, especially given Chile's reputation as a democratic country.

The U.S. looked really bad after the coup. Allende's messy and chaotic government, was 'Constitutionally Elected' after all. The US looked dumb supporting the overthrow of the 'legal' government, and replacing it with Pinochet's brutal gorillas. The State Department should have known better about what Pinochet and Co. were capable of, and at least tried to rein him in.