Military Review

Portugal - the country of permanent coups


Perhaps, in no other European country, power in the twentieth century has changed so many times.

We continue the series of articles on stories coups. Today, the object of our study will be Portugal.

In our country, the term "October Revolution" is usually associated with rebel sailors, the Winter Palace, the cruiser Aurora and Lenin.

However, there was another “October revolution” in Europe. It is about the overthrow of the Portuguese monarch in 1910 year.

The Republicans had a powerful slogan: fighting against English domination. He was simple, everyone knows and everyone understands.

Indeed, back in 1703, the English envoy, Lord Methuen, had signed a very interesting document from the Portuguese authorities.

Everything was arranged as mutually beneficial cooperation. The Portuguese got the privilege to trade in wine in England, and in return opened the English market for the import of woolen goods. The piquancy of the situation was that in England there was no developed winemaking. The British did not lose anything from the import of cheap wine, but the Portuguese industry was destroyed almost completely.

Moreover, Portugal paid for imports with gold and silver from its colonies. England used these precious metals for trade and even more enriched. British merchants brought oriental goods to Europe, in Europe they bought raw materials, and the raw materials were shipped to England. There, industrial products were produced from it, which was then sold on foreign markets.

Notice how strictly England herself adhered to the protectionist rule: buy raw materials, make and sell finished products. On each such turn, the English industry rose more and more, and Portugal turned more and more into a supplier of raw foods.

The entire XIX century Lisbon’s dependence on London only grew, and the anti-monarchist opposition had every opportunity to preach ideas based on the following logic: kings brought the country to the position of a British semi-colony, so it is necessary to get rid of kings. The people themselves must take up their own destiny, select their best representatives and put them at the head of the country.

In the package with democracy, there was also a well-known slogan of fighting anti-theft in the highest echelons of power. The regime, of course, was “rotten,” the king, of course, was “not fit anywhere,” and his entourage was “universal thieves.”

Why would the people elect precisely the best representatives, not the demagogue populists? How they can get rid of English domination and, finally, why the new elite will not steal - these are already “minor details”. The main thing is to overthrow the monarchy, and then come the benevolence of the airs. In general, a familiar picture.

Republican shares rose particularly high when Portugal suffered a loud diplomatic defeat in 1890. And the essence of the matter is as follows.

At the end of the XIX century, Portugal sharply intensified its colonial expansion. Like other European powers, it joined the bitter struggle for ownership in Africa. Angola and Mozambique - the two countries on the opposite African shores belonged to Portugal, but between them there were vast territories, not yet divided between the great powers of the world.

The Portuguese tried to take them and create a large colonial possession, which would connect Mozambique and Angola. It was a kind of rematch for the loss of Brazil, but the Portuguese were faced with the interests of Britain, which blocked the Portuguese claims at a specially convened Berlin 1884 conference of the year.

Defeated, Lisbon did not give up immediately, and tried to act sly. Under the guise of a scientific expedition, the Portuguese military Serpa Pinto explored the territories of southern Africa with a view to their subsequent annexation. London saw these things and protested to Lisbon.

The Portuguese tried to drag out time, emphasizing the peaceful nature of their activities, but the British, without further ado, pulled up their fleet to Gibraltar, and then to Mozambique and Cape Verde, while the Portuguese colonies. Lisbon had to yield to the pressure of London and abandon its territorial inclinations.

Strictly speaking, it could not be otherwise. In those years, the British Empire was the largest state in the world, an industrial giant and a mistress of the seas. Portugal was unable to fight it, and the fact that it retained many of its colonies and even tried to increase their size indicates the high level of its diplomacy and courage of the Portuguese monarchs.

However, the opposition demagogues did not want to hear anything - they received a visual "proof" of the "insignificance of the king", who, they say, is unable to defend the interests of the country on the world stage. The authority of the monarchy really shaken, and the Republicans increased the pressure on the government, up to and including the unleashing of terrorist actions.

And in 1908, the militants attacked the carriage in which King Carlos I, his wife Amelia Orleans, and their two sons were. The criminals killed the monarch and his eldest son. The younger son Manuel II ascended to the throne. He held democratic elections in which supporters of republican rule won. As you know, democracy is not the power of the people, but the power of the democrats, and having achieved victory in the elections, they began to prepare the overthrow of power.

In June 1910 of the Year, the “Resistance Committee” was created, later renamed the Revolutionary Junta. As it should be, the coup began with mass demonstrations. 1 October 1910 of the year in Lisbon Republicans brought the crowd to the street. Then two cruisers shelled the king’s palace, parts of the capital’s garrison went into action. The troops loyal to the king capitulated, the monarch Manuel II himself fled. October 7 The Provisional Government announced the overthrow of the monarchy, and at the same time an amnesty for prisoners.

What happened next? “Unexpectedly,” it turned out that the revolution itself does not solve economic problems, does not provide work, and does not defeat corruption. As for the "English domination", the dependence of Lisbon on London has not decreased, but, on the contrary, has increased.

For example, the Republicans themselves turned to Britain with a request to take the Portuguese colonies under protection when there was a threat from Germany. In return, Portugal entered the First World War on the side of the Entente, although neighboring Spain managed to maintain neutrality and thereby save its economy from military ruin.

Not only that, the 1910 revolution of the year caused managerial chaos. In the period of the republic, that is, from 1910 to 1926, the year the country replaced the 41 government. From 1921 to 1926 the year 10 attempted military coups, and that is not counting the promonarchist insurgencies of 1918-19. The workers, in whose interests the revolution was supposedly made, quickly became disillusioned with republican ideals, and the very idea of ​​parliamentarism was discredited.

Dissatisfaction with the established order grew in the army. A number of generals began to prepare a coup. 28 May 1926, the troops loyal to the rebels got up and went to Lisbon. The next day, officers from the capital garrison on behalf of the “Committee of Public Security” called for the overthrow of the government.

The soldiers refused to protect the current regime, and when the leadership was left without the support of the military, the cabinet of ministers simply resigned. The interim prime minister was the leader of the Lisbon conspirators naval officer José Kabezadas. It was the "eternal revolutionary." It was he who played a major role during the overthrow of the monarch. He led the rebellious sailors on the cruiser that shelled the king's palace.

Fifteen years later, Kabezadash again raises a rebellion on the ship, but this time he is unsuccessful and is arrested. Amazingly, Kabezadash came out unscathed, that is, he was acquitted by a military court. After some time, he again took up his favorite thing - coups and entered the secret organization that was preparing another rebellion.

1 June 1926 of the conspiracy leaders: Kabezadash, da Costa and Ochoa formed the ruling triumvirate. However, the junta members soon quarreled. First, Ocho fell out of the cage, General Carmona took his place in the triumvirate, then da Costa overthrew Kabezadash, and a little later than da Costa himself deposed Carmona. Thus ended the story of the first Portuguese republic, which did not solve a single serious problem of the country, but demonstrated the wonders of political instability. A dictatorship came, and a rather peculiar one. Carmona retained the presidency, but the Prime Minister Antonio Salalazar had dictatorial powers.

Power in Portugal has changed: the monarchy was replaced by democracy, democracy - authoritarianism, but all those claims that were presented to the kings of the XIX century remained unchanged. The English dominance under Salazar was expressed in the fact that Britain received more and more new concessions, and Lisbon generously took out loans from London.

England continued to dominate the economy and Portugal, and its colonies. Of course, a large proportion of the colonial wealth settled in Portugal itself, but the development of diamonds, coffee trade, strategic railways in “Portuguese Africa”, and many other key areas were in the hands of the British.

In addition, under Salazar, the English domination was supplemented by the American domination, and then the German domination. In other words, the dictatorship also failed to bring Portugal into the club of economic leaders of the world. It is not surprising that the leading corporations of the West dominated the Portuguese markets under Salazar. But notice that no one overthrew him, unlike the king.

In the 60's, wars of independence began in the Portuguese colonies. Lisbon did not give up at once and for many years tried to retain its overseas possessions with an armed force. Military spending grew steadily, victory was never given; on the contrary, the rebels were expanding their control zones more and more, and in the colonial troops there was a dull discontent with the regime. Somewhere we have already seen, is not it? Remember Algeria and de Gaulle? Exactly. Something similar happened in Portugal.

In August, 1968, an old Salazar, had a stroke, and he retired. His place was taken by Marcelo Caetano, Professor of Law at the University of Lisbon. The main problem he faced was the preservation of the Portuguese empire. What only he did: he made political concessions, tried to play on the contradictions of the tribal African leaders, widely used the armed forces, but all without success.

Within Portugal, among industrialists, the movement for cooperation with the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the current European Union, expanded. Caetano signed an association agreement, but they demanded more from him. The slogan of "European choice" has become popular in business circles. Their well-being was already less dependent on the exploitation of colonial resources.

In turn, the adherents of the old order with irritation reacted to the policy of Caetan, who was striving to modernize the Portuguese “empire”, turning it into a federation of equal (at least relatively) equal subjects. Among the left and right, the regime was losing support, and Caetanu seriously damaged relations with the regular military when he provided university graduates who were called up for military service with special privileges compared to other officers. In the army, the contours of the opposition movement began to take shape.

In September, 1973 held a secret meeting of officers, then followed a number of meetings. At first, they discussed the problems of preserving the prestige of the military, but soon the range of issues expanded and acquired a political dimension related to the struggle for freedom and democracy. And then there's the 1973 oil crisis of the year. Arab countries have extended the energy embargo to Portugal, because the United States used the Azores airbase to support Israel against Egypt. It is clear that this has worsened the economic situation of Portugal.

7 February 1974, the military opposition published its first manifesto. And on February 22, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, General Antonio de Spinola, published a program book that said that reforms had matured from above, that the country needed democracy and a European choice. 5 March 1973, the army opposition took shape in the "Armed Forces Movement".

What is the answer power? She fired Spinola, but this only added fuel to the fire. Spinola moved his loyal parts to Lisbon. They were few and fit on 15 trucks. Not far from the capital, they met with a regiment of light artillery, who, although he refused to fire on the rebels, didn’t miss them, and the Spinola riot quickly ran out of steam. However, this did not stop the “Armed Forces Movement”, which was preparing its own coup.

So, on the night of April 25, 1974, the rebels seize the radio station Portuguese Radio Club and broadcast the first Communique of the Armed Forces Movement. It calls on the population to remain calm and sit at home. The listeners did exactly the opposite and flooded the streets of Lisbon. Moreover, crowds of civilians blocked the movement tank columns loyal to the government. It is believed that this came as a surprise to the organizers of the coup, although I personally doubt it. As we have repeatedly seen, a combination of the actions of the military and the “indignant people” is typical for coups.

Meanwhile, cadets of the military administration school who also participated in the conspiracy seize television. Infantry cadets take control of the Lisbon airport. The insurgent units surround the general headquarters, a number of military institutions, seize the ministries and the “Banca di Portugal”. Rebel tanks take positions at the Ministry of Defense. Already by five in the morning all the key points of the capital are in the hands of the rebels. In the morning, the second Communique of the putschists comes out, where the purpose of the coup is already explicitly stated: to liberate the country from the ruling regime.

Premier Caetano took refuge in the barracks of the National Republican Guard, but there is nowhere to wait for help from him, government forces are massively switching to the side of the putschists, and those commanders who are trying to defend power are arrested by their subordinates. In 18: 00, General Spinola, as chairman of the Revolutionary National Salvation Council, meets at the barracks with Caetana, and there is a formal transfer of power. The coup that went down in history as the “carnation revolution” was a success.

It should be noted that in the Council of National Salvation there was not a single civilian, he united representatives of the Ground, Naval and Air Forces.
1 comment
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  1. andrei332809
    andrei332809 1 October 2015 15: 53 New
    well, no one doubts the "honesty" of gentlemen
  2. iliitchitch
    iliitchitch 1 October 2015 16: 04 New
    1: 7 remember. So what ??? What kind of bolt did Vespucci climb all over the world with all sorts of Amerigues in order to rob the helpless? And the Portuguese are normal guys when they sit at home. And Danny in the “Zenith” is quite good. Let them continue to sit, even though they will not rob anyone.
  3. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 1 October 2015 18: 44 New
    Thanks to the author. Article +++++