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By Jose Murilo de Cavalho

The paper discusses the transformation of the Brazilian armed forces, particularly the army, into a crucial political actor during the period 1930-1945. This transformation involved changes in the dimensions and structure of the military organization, in its ideology, and in its relations with state and society. Out of the political turmoil that followed the 1930 revolution, and for which the army was in part responsible, a military faction, playing on the interests of the organization as a whole, was able to establish its hegemony and conceive of a project of political intervention that was to affect many sectors of national life. The development of this project coincided with the growth of the role of the state and with the need to cope with the increasing importance of political mobilization.

The paper also briefly suggests that a dynamic similar in its military and political components to that which led to the Estado nova dictatorship of 1937 can be found in the events that preceded the 1964 military takeover.


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