Socialist High Modernity and Global Stagnation: A shared history of Brazil and the Soviet Union during the Cold War
Title: Socialist High Modernity and Global Stagnation: A shared history of Brazil and the Soviet Union during the Cold War
Author: RUPPRECHT, Tobias
Citation: Journal of Global History, 2011, 6, 3, 505-528
ISSN: 1740-0236; 1740-0228
This article questions a prevailing bipolarity of traditional Cold War History by examining commonalities and interactions between the Soviet Union and Brazil in the 1950s and 60s. After outlining the common characteristics of both states around 1960, it analyses the cultural diplomacy of the post-Stalinist Soviet Union towards Brazil. Transforming its hitherto prevailing image as the cradle of world revolution and communist class struggle, the USSR now represented itself as a role model for the quick industrialisation of the economy and education of the masses. Many Brazilian intellectuals and political reformers from Presidents Kubitschek to Goulart shared with the Soviets an interest in what is called here Socialist High Modernity. Contacts with the Soviet Union were a chief reason for the putsch and the end of Brazilian democracy in 1964. But the new military leaders also had their own interests in and surprisingly good relations with the stagnating Soviet Union – again based on a set of commonalities in the historical development of the two ostensibly idiosyncratic and distant states on either side of the Iron Curtain. Eschewing teleological interpretations of the period and exploring the ideational basis of actors in the conflict, this shared history – based on new documents from Moscow archives and recently declassified sources from the Brazilian Foreign Ministry – aims to contribute not only to Cold War historiography, but also to link it to the debates on Global History, which have lately neglected both Latin America and Eastern Europe.
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