António de Oliveira Salazar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
António de Oliveira Salazar
Antonio Salazar-1.jpg
António de Oliveira Salazar in 1940
Coat of arms of Portugal.svg
President of Portugal
In office
18 April 1951 – 21 July 1951
Preceded by Óscar Carmona
Succeeded by Francisco Craveiro Lopes
Head of Government of Portugal
In office
5 July 1932 – 25 September 1968
President Óscar Carmona
Francisco Craveiro Lopes
Américo Tomás
Preceded by Domingos Oliveira
Succeeded by Marcelo Caetano
Minister of Defence
In office
13 April 1961 – 4 December 1962
Preceded by Júlio Botelho Moniz
Succeeded by Gomes de Araújo
Minister of War
In office
11 May 1936 – 6 September 1944
Preceded by Abilio Passos e Sousa
Succeeded by Fernando dos Santos Costa
In office
5 July 1932 – 6 July 1932
Preceded by António Lopes Mateus
Succeeded by Daniel Rodrigues de Sousa
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
6 November 1936 – 4 February 1944
Preceded by Armindo Monteiro
Succeeded by José Caeiro da Mata
Minister of Finance
In office
28 April 1928 – 28 August 1940
Prime Minister José Vicente de Freitas
Artur Ivens Ferraz
Domingos Oliveira
Preceded by José Vicente de Freitas
Succeeded by João Lumbrales
In office
3 June 1926 – 19 June 1926
Prime Minister José Mendes Cabeçadas
Preceded by José Mendes Cabeçadas
Succeeded by Câmara de Melo Cabral
Minister of the Navy
In office
30 January 1939 – 2 February 1939
Preceded by Manuel Ortins de Bettencourt
Succeeded by Manuel Ortins de Bettencourt
In office
25 January 1936 – 5 February 1936
Preceded by Manuel Ortins de Bettencourt
Succeeded by Manuel Ortins de Bettencourt
Minister of the Colonies
In office
3 November 1930 – 6 November 1930
Prime Minister Domingos Oliveira
Preceded by Eduardo Marques
Succeeded by Eduardo Marques
In office
21 January 1930 – 20 July 1930
Prime Minister Domingos Oliveira
Preceded by Eduardo Marques
Succeeded by Eduardo Marques
Personal details
Born (1889-04-28)28 April 1889
Vimieiro, Santa Comba Dão, Portugal
Died 27 July 1970(1970-07-27) (aged 81)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political party Academic Centre of Christian Democracy (Before 1930)
National Union (1930–1970)
Spouse(s) None
Alma mater University of Coimbra
Profession Professor
Religion Roman Catholicism

António de Oliveira Salazar GCSE, GCIC, GCTE, GColIH (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ̃ˈtɔniu dɨ oliˈvɐjɾɐ sɐlɐˈzaɾ]; 28 April 1889 – 27 July 1970) was a Portuguese professor and politician who served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. His Council of Ministers briefly served as acting President of the Republic in 1951; he was never President of the Republic, but was the virtual dictator of the country in the manner of Spain's Francisco Franco and Italy's Benito Mussolini. He founded and led the Estado Novo (New State), the authoritarian, right-wing government[a] that presided over and controlled Portugal from 1932 to 1974. In 1940, Life called Salazar "the greatest Portuguese since Prince Henry the Navigator" [2] and Oxford University conferred him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Civil Law.[3][4]

Opposed to communism, socialism, anarchism and liberalism,[b] Salazar's rule was corporatist, conservative, and nationalist in nature, defending Portugal as Catholic. Its policy envisaged the perpetuation of Portugal as a pluricontinental nation under the doctrine of lusotropicalism, with Angola, Mozambique, and other Portuguese territories as extensions of Portugal itself, with Portugal being a source of civilization and stability to the overseas societies in the African and Asian possessions.

Historian Neill Lochery claims Salazar was one of the most gifted men of his generation and hugely dedicated to his job and country.[6] According to Lord Templewood, Salazar was a learned and impressive thinker and a man of one idea, the good of his country. “Salazar detested Hitler and all his works” and his corporative state was fundamentally different from Nazism and Fascism.[7] Historian Carlton Hayes, who met Salazar in person, also describes him as someone who “didn't look like a regular dictator. Rather, he appeared a modest, quiet, and highly intelligent gentleman and scholar (...) literally dragged from a professorial chair (...) to straighten out Portugal's finances.”[8] Salazar lived a life of simplicity, dying as a poor man after 40 years of public service.[c] Portuguese right-leaning or conservative scholars like Jaime Nogueira Pinto[11] and Rui Ramos,[12] claim his early reforms and policies allowed political and financial stability and therefore social order and economic growth, after the politically unstable and financially chaotic years of the Portuguese First Republic. Even the communist historian, António José Saraiva, a lifelong opponent of Salazar, recognizes that “Salazar was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable men in the history of Portugal and had a quality that not all remarkable men have: the right intention”.[13]

On the other hand, historians like leftist politician Fernando Rosas claim that Salazar's policies from the 1930s to the 1950s led to economic and social stagnation and rampant emigration, turning Portugal into one of the poorest countries in Europe, however, recognizing "that industrial growth throughout the 1950s and 1960s was generally quite positive and, given Portugal's basic problems, could probably have only been improved slightly by a more creatively liberal regime".[14] From 1960 until Salazar's death economic growth and levels of capital formation were characterized by unparalleled robust annual growth rates of GDP (6.9 percent), industrial production (9 percent), private consumption (6.5 percent), and gross fixed capital formation (7.8 percent).[15]

In March 2007, Salazar was elected the "Greatest Portuguese Ever" with 42% of votes on the RTP1 TV show Os Grandes Portugueses[16] as well as "Worst Portuguese Ever" on the parody TV show "Axis of Evil" from rival channel SIC Notícias.

Early life and career[edit]

Salazar was born in Vimieiro, near Santa Comba Dão (Viseu District), to a family of modest income.[17] His father, a small landowner, had started as an agricultural labourer and became the manager for a family of rural landowners of the region of Santa Comba Dão, the Perestrelos, who possessed lands and other assets scattered between Viseu and Coimbra.[18] He had four older sisters, and was the only male child of two fifth cousins, António de Oliveira (17 January 1839 to 28 September 1932) and wife Maria do Resgate Salazar (23 October 1845 to 17 November 1926).[17] His older sisters were Maria do Resgate Salazar de Oliveira, an elementary school teacher; Elisa Salazar de Oliveira; Maria Leopoldina Salazar de Oliveira; and Laura Salazar de Oliveira, who in 1887 married Abel Pais de Sousa, whose brother Mário Pais de Sousa was Salazar's Interior Minister, sons of a family of Santa Comba Dão.


Salazar attended his small village primary school, later he went to Viseu’s primary school and at the age of eleven he won a free place in Viseu’s seminar where he studied for eight years. Salazar studied at the Viseu Seminary from 1900 to 1908[19] and considered becoming a priest, but, like many who enter the seminary very young, he decided, after minor orders, not to proceed to priesthood.[19] He went to Coimbra in 1910 in order to study law at the University of Coimbra,[20] during the first years of the republican government. During his student years in Coimbra he developed a particular interest for finance, becoming a law graduate with distinction and specializing in finance and economic policy at the Law School.[d] In 1914, he graduated with 19 points out of 20,[21] and in the meanwhile became an assistant professor of economic policy at the Law School. In 1917, he became the regent of economic policy and finance by appointment of the professor José Alberto dos Reis. In the following year Salazar was awarded his doctorate.[22][21]

Rise to power[edit]

As a young man, his involvement in politics stemmed from his Catholic views, which were aroused by the new anti-clerical Portuguese First Republic. He became a member of a non-party Catholic movement known as the Academic Centre for Christian Democracy. He rejected the monarchists because of the doctrines of Pope Leo. He was a frequent contributor to journals[e] concerned with social studies.[23] Local press described him as “one of the most powerful minds of the new generation”.[21]

In 1921 Salazar was persuaded to stand for parliament though he did so reluctantly. He made one appearance in the chamber and never returned there. He was struck by the disorder and futileness. He was convinced that liberal individualism had led to fragmentation of society and a perversion of the democratic process.[24]

The record of the Republic between 1910 and 1926 may be summarized in facts and figures: during those sixteen years there were eight Presidents of the Republic, forty-four cabinet reorganizations and twenty-one revolutions.[25] The first Government of the Republic did not last ten weeks; the longest lasted little over a year. Revolution in Portugal became a byword in Europe. The cost of living increased twenty-fivefold, and the currency fell to one thirty-third part of its gold value.The gaps between rich and poor continued to widen. The Catholic Church was relentlessly hounded by the anti-clerical Freemasons of the Republic. Terrorism and political assassination became general. Between 1920 and 1925, according to official police figures, three hundred and twenty-five bombs burst in the streets of Lisbon.[26] The British diplomat, Sir George Rendell described the “political background as anything but deplorable... very different from the orderly, prosperous and well-managed country that it later became under the government of Senhor Salazar”[27] The nation rose against this chaos in the bloodless May 1926 military coup that was a reflection of widespread public dissatisfaction and general erosion of support for the republican ideas. The coup was widely popular among all civilian classes including middle and lower sections as well and no one attempted to defend the Republic.[28]

After the 28 May 1926 coup d'état, Salazar briefly joined José Mendes Cabeçadas's government as Minister of Finance. On June 11 a small group of officers drove from Lisbon up to Santa Comba Dao to persuade him to be Minister of Finance. Salazar spent five days in Lisbon. His conditions to control spending were refused, he quickly resigned, and in two hours he was on a train back to Coimbra University, explaining that since disputes and social disorder existed in the government, he could not do his work properly.[29]

Several times between 1926 and 1928 Salazar was to turn down the finance ministry. He pleaded ill-health, devotion to his aged parents and a preference for the academic cloisters. He finally agreed to became the 81st Finance Minister on 26 April 1928, after the republican and Freemason Óscar Carmona was elected president. However, before accepting the position, he personally secured from Carmona a categorical assurance that as finance minister he would have a free hand to veto expenditure in all government departments, not just his own. Salazar was financial dictator virtually from the day he took office, paving the way for him to be appointed the 101st Prime Minister in 1932. He remained Finance Minister until 1940, when World War II consumed his time.

His rise to power was due to the image he was able to build as an honest and effective Finance Minister, President António Óscar Carmona's strong support, and shrewd political positioning. Within one year, armed with special powers, Salazar balanced the budget and stabilized Portugal's currency. Restoring order to the national accounts, enforcing austerity and red-penciling waste, Salazar produced the first of many budgetary surpluses, an absolute novelty in anyone´s memory.[30]

In July 1929 Salazar again presented his resignation. His friend Mario de Figueiredo, Minister of Justice, passed new legislation that facilitated the organization of religious processions. The new law outraged the republicans, triggered a cabinet crisis, and Figueiredo threaten to resign. Salazar advised Figueiredo against his resignation but told his friend he would join him in his fate. Figueiredo resigned and indeed Salazar, at that time hospitalized due to a broken leg, followed suit on 3 July. Carmona went personally to the hospital on the 4th and asked Salazar to change his mind. Salazar stayed but prime minister José Vicente de Freitas disagreeing with Carmona's actions left the cabinet. Salazar remained in cabinet as more powerful than ever Minister of Finance.[31]

On July 5, 1932 President Carmona appointed Salazar Prime Minister. Salazar, like any effective politician, started to operate close to the mainstream of political sentiment of his country.[32] The authoritarian government consisted of a right-wing coalition, and Salazar was able to co-opt the moderates of each political current while fighting the extremists, using censorship and repression. The real fascists were jailed or exiled.[33] The conservative Catholics were his earliest and most loyal supporters. The conservative republicans who could not be co-opted became his most dangerous opponents during the early period. They attempted several coups, but never presented a united front, so these coups were easily repressed. Never a true monarchist, Salazar nevertheless gained most of the monarchists' support, as the exiled deposed king was given a state funeral at the time of his death. The National Syndicalists were torn between supporting the regime and denouncing it as bourgeois. They were given enough symbolic concessions to win over the moderates, and the rest were repressed by the political police. They were to be silenced shortly after 1933, as Salazar attempted to prevent the rise of National Socialism in Portugal.

At the time the prevailing view in Portugal was that political parties were elements of division and parliamentarianism was in crisis. This led to general support, or at least tolerance, of an authoritarian regime.[34] The Portuguese anti-parliamentarism was based on the unfortunate Portuguese experience with the parliamentarism system. If liberalism and Parliamentarism worked in Great Britain and the United States, then so be it. What the Portuguese were arguing was that in their nation and in their culture liberalism was inappropriate.[35] The men who came to power in the Estado Novo were genuinely concerned with the poverty and backwardness of their nation, with divorcing themselves from Anglo-American political influences while developing a new indigenous political model and with alleviating the miserable living conditions of both rural and urban poor.[36]

In 1933, Salazar introduced a new constitution, approved in a national plebiscite, which established an anti-parliamentarian and authoritarian government that would last four decades. The president would be elected by popular vote for a seven years period. On paper, the new document vested sweeping, almost dictatorial powers in the hands of the president, including the power to appoint and dismiss the prime minister.[37] The president was elevated to a position of preeminence as the “balance wheel”, defender, and ultimate arbiter of national politics.[37] However, President Carmona had allowed Salazar more or less a free hand since appointing Salazar prime minister and continued to do so; Carmona and his successors would largely be figureheads. In fact, Salazar’s position was one of power not just because of the constitution but also because of his character: domineering, absolutist, ambitious, hardworking and intellectually brilliant.[38]

Estado Novo[edit]

Required elements of primary schools during the Estado Novo: a portrait of Salazar, a crucifix and a portrait of Américo Thomaz.

The Corporative Constitution was approved in a national plebiscite on 19 March 1933.[37][39] A draft had been published one year before and the public were invited to state their objections in the press.[39] The objections tended to stay in the realm of generalities and only a handful of people voted “no” (less than six thousands votes).[39] For the first time in Portugal women were allowed to vote although secondary education was a requirement for women to vote while men needed only to read and write.

The 1933 constitution was drafted by a group of lawyers, businessmen, clerics and university professors, but Salazar was the leading spirit and Marcelo Caetano also played a major role.[40] The 1933 constitution created the New State, in theory a corporate state representing interest groups rather than individuals, with some similitudes to Mussolini’s fascism but with considerable differences in mentality. [41] Although Salazar admired Benito Mussolini and was influenced by Mussolini’s carta del lavoro published in 1927,[40] he distanced himself from the Italian Fascism in what he considered to be a pagan caesarism that tended towards a state that knows neither legal nor moral limits, and he found the "pagan" elements in German nazism repugnant. Salazar wanted a system in which the people would be represented through corporations rather than through divisive parties. National interest should be given priority over sectional claims. Salazar thought that the party system had failed irrevocably in Portugal. [42]The legislature, called the National Assembly, was restricted to members of the UN, a single party. It could initiate legislation but only concerning matters that did not require government expenditures.[43] The parallel Corporative Chamber included representatives of municipalities, religious, cultural and professional groups and of the official workers' syndicates that replaced free trade unions.[43]

Salazar's regime was rigidly authoritarian. He based his political philosophy around a close interpretation of Catholic social doctrine, much like the contemporary regime of Engelbert Dollfuß in Austria.[44] The economic system, known as corporatism, was based on a similar interpretation of the papal encyclicals Rerum novarum (Leo XIII, 1891)[45] and Quadragesimo anno (Pius XI, 1931),[45] which was supposed to prevent class struggle and make economic concerns secondary to social values. Rerum novarum argued that, like the family, labor associations were part of natural order. The rights of men to organize into trade unions and to engage in labor activities were thus inherent and could not be denied by employers or the state. Finally Quadragesimo anno published in 1931 provided the blue print for the erection of the corporatist system.[46] Salazar himself banned the National Syndicalists, a more purely Fascist party. Salazar's own party, the National Union, was formed as a subservient umbrella organization to support the regime itself, and was therefore lacking in any ideology independent of the regime. At the time many European countries feared the destructive potential of Communism. Salazar not only forbade Marxist parties, but also revolutionary fascist-syndicalist parties. The great criticism of his regime has always been that stability was bought and maintained at the expense of suppression of human rights and liberties. [43]

The year 1933 marked a watershed in Portuguese history. Under Salazar’s supervision, Teotónio Pereira , the Sub secretary of State of Corporations and Social Welfare, reporting directly to Salazar enacted extensive legislation that shaped the corporative structure and initiated a comprehensive social welfare system .[47] The system was as strongly as anti-capitalist as it was anti-socialist and the corporatization of the working class was accompanied by almost equally strict legislation regulating business. Though it is fair to say that workers organization were subordinated to state control they were also granted a legitimacy that they had never enjoyed and were beneficiaries of a variety of new social programs.[48]Nevertheless it is important to recognize that even in the enthusiastic early years, corporative agencies have never been at the center of power and therefore corporatism was not the true base of the entire system.[49]

According to American scholar J. Wiarda, despite the problems and continued poverty in many sectors the consensus among historians and economists is that the Salazar’s 1930s brought some remarkable developments in the economic sphere, public works, the social services and in terms of governmental honesty, efficiency and stability.[50][51]

Salazar has traditionally been widely accused of having had a basically negative influence on the level of education and instruction in Portugal, for ideological and political reasons. Although the republican militants who took over in 1910 elected education as one of their finest banners, the evidence shows that the more democratic First Republic was substantially less successful than the authoritarian Estado Novo in expanding elementary education. Under the First Republic literacy levels in children age 7 to 14 registered a modest increase from 26% in 1911 to 33% in 1930 while under the Estado Novo it increased to 56% in 1940, 77% in 1950 and 97% in 1960.[52]

The Spanish Civil War and the radicalization of the regime[edit]

The Spanish Civil War which began in July 1936 was the ostensible reason for the radicalization of the regime. Internally the regime had to face a Monarchist revolt in 1935, a threatened leftist coup in 1936 and several bombs and conspiracies in 1936 and 1937 including an attempt to assassinate Salazar in 1937. At the same time Spanish Republican agents were active in Lisbon, Spanish troops were parked in Portugal’s vulnerable border and the threat to Portuguese sovereignty seemed severe.[53]

Salazar supported Francisco Franco and the Nationalists in their fight against the left-wing groups of the Spanish Republic. The Nationalists lacked ports early on, and Salazar's Portugal helped receive armaments shipments from abroad – including ammunition early on when certain Nationalist forces were virtually out. Because of this, "the Nationalists referred to Lisbon as 'the port of Castile.'"[54]

Later General Franco spoke in glowing terms of Salazar in an interview in Le Figaro newspaper: “The most complete statesman, the one most worthy of respect, that I have known is Salazar. I regard him as an extraordinary personality for his intelligence, his political sense and his humility. His only defect is probably his modesty.”[55]

In the beginning of the Spanish Civil War Salazar took up additional portfolios as minister of war and minister of foreign affairs while retaining under his own direction the Ministry of Finance, thus concentrating even more power in his hands. [53] On September 9, the crews from two naval Portuguese vessels, connected with the Communist Party, attempted to desert to Spanish Republican forces fighting in Spain. Salazar ordered the ships to be destroyed by gunfire.[53] The following day loyal oaths become mandatory for all of the members of the civil service, and censorship was severely tightened. Every government functionary was forced to declare that he repudiated communism. The “anti-Communist” crusade served to root out communism but also democratic opposition as well. [53] Salazar established prison camps for opponents of the Estado Novo. The Tarrafal in the Cape Verde Islands was one of them. The prisoners included Anarchists, Communists, anti-colonial agitators and guerrillas from Portugal's African colonies. Many died or were held for many years.

Salazar relied on the secret police, first the PVDE (Polícia de Vigilância e de Defesa do Estado – "State Defence and Surveillance Police") set up in 1933 and modelled on the Gestapo. The PIDE (Polícia Internacional e de Defesa do Estado) was established in 1945 and lasted until 1969. (From 1969 to 1974, under Marcelo Caetano, the Estado Novo's police were the DGS - Direcção Geral de Segurança, "General Security Directorate"). The job of the secret police was not just to protect national security in a typical modern sense but also to suppress the regime's political opponents, especially those related to the international communist movement or the USSR which was seen by the regime as a menace to Portugal. The PIDE was efficient, and it was less overtly brutal than its predecessor and the foreign police forces it was modelled after.

In January 1938 Salazar appointed Pedro Teotónio Pereira as special Agent of Portuguese government near Franco's government during the Spanish Civil War where he achieved immense prestige and influence.[56] And in April 1938, Teotónio Pereira officially become Portuguese full rank ambassador to Spain, where he remained throughout World War II.[57] Just a few days before the end of the Spanish Civil War (3/17/1939), Portugal and Spain signed the Treaty of Friendship and Non-Aggression (the Iberian Pact), a treaty which marked the beginning of a new phase in Iberian relations, in which the meetings between Franco and Salazar played a fundamental part. The pact proved to be a decisive instrument in keeping the Iberian Peninsula out of Hitler’s continental system.[58]

World War II[edit]


From the very beginning of World War II in 1939, Salazar was convinced that Britain would stand hurt but undefeated, that the US would step in and that the Allies would win. The American journalist Henry J. Taylor commented: "I found not another continental European leader who then agreed with him".[59]

Salazar’s dislike of the Nazi regime and its ambitions was tempered only by his view of the German Reich as a bastion against the spread of Communism. He had favoured the Nationalist cause, fearing a Communist invasion of Portugal, yet he was uneasy at the thought of Spanish government enjoying strong ties with the Axis.[60]

Upon the declaration of war in September 1939, the Portuguese Government announced on 1 September that the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance remained intact, but since the British did not seek Portuguese assistance, Portugal would remain neutral. In an aide-mémoire of 5 September 1939 the British Government confirmed the understanding. British strategists regarded Portuguese non-belligerency as "essential to keep Spain from entering the war on the side of the Axis.[61]

Britain recognised Salazar's important role on May 15, 1940 when Douglas Veale, Registrar of the University of Oxford, informed Salazar that the University's Hebdomadal Council had "unanimously decided at its meeting last Monday, to invite you [Salazar] to accept the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Civil Law".[3]

In July 1940 Life magazine called Salazar "the greatest Portuguese since Prince Henry the Navigator" and added that "[t]he Dictator has built the Nation. Most that has been built in Portugal can be credited to Dr. Salazar… he has balanced the budget, built roads and schools, torn down slums, cut the death rate and enormously raised Portugal self-esteem. Unambitious Salazar took the dictatorship by army request and holds it by popular will. The Salazar dictatorship is easygoing and paternalistic, with wide freedom of speech allowed to his enemies… Friends of democracy may deplore Salazar the dictator but they cannot deny that under the republic Portugal made an unholy mess of itself and Salazar pulled it out."

July 1940 Salazar's decision to stick with the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance allowed the Portuguese island of Madeira to help the Allies: that month around 2,500 Gibraltar evacuees were shipped to Madeira.[62]

September 1940, Winston Churchill wrote to Salazar congratulating him on his ability to keep Portugal out of the war, asserting that "as so often before during the many centuries of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance, British and Portuguese interests are identical on this vital question".[3]

Samuel Hoare, 1st Viscount Templewood, the British Ambassador in Madrid from 1940 to 1944, recognised Salazar's crucial role in keeping Iberia neutral during the war. Lord Templewood asserted that in his thirty years of political life he had met most of the leading statesmen of Europe and that he placed Salazar very high on the list of those who impressed him. Salazar was to him a learned and impressive thinker, a man part professor, part priest, part recluse of unshakable beliefs in the principles of European civilization. He regarded him as an ascetic, concentrated mind and body upon the service of his country, a man with an encyclopedic knowledge of Europe and indifferent to ostentation or luxury or personal gains. Lord Templewood strongly believed in Salazar as "being a man of one idea – the good of his country – he was convinced that the slightest step from the narrow path of neutrality would endanger the work of national regeneration to which he had devoted the whole of his public life", further adding that "Salazar detested Hitler". According to Lord Templewood the Portuguese regime was fundamentally different from Nazism and Fascism with Salazar never leaving a doubt of the desire for a Nazi defeat on his mind.[7]

Carlton Hayes, the American Ambassador in Spain during World War II, shared a similar opinion. In his book Wartime Mission in Spain Hayes wrote of Salazar: Salazar “didn't look like a regular dictator. Rather, he appeared a modest, quiet, and highly intelligent gentleman and scholar… literally dragged from a professorial chair of political economy in the venerable University of Coimbra a dozen years previously in order to straighten out Portugal's finances, and that his almost miraculous success in this respect had led to the thrusting upon him of other major functions, including those of Foreign Minister and constitution-maker." Hayes greatly appreciated Portugal's constant endeavours to draw Spain with Portugal into a really neutral Peninsular bloc, an immeasurable contribution - at a time when the British and the United States had much less influence - toward counteracting the propaganda and pleas of the Axis. Later in the same book, Hayes wrote of Portugal's role in supporting the thousands of French military refugees who tried in 1943 to get from Spain to North Africa in order to join the Allied forces there.[63]

During World War II Salazar steered Portugal down a middle path, but nevertheless provided aid to the Allies. The British Ambassador in Lisbon, Ronald Campbell, saw Salazar as fundamentally loyal to the Alliance and stated that "he [Salazar] would answer the call if it were made on grounds of dire necessity". When in August 1943 the British requested base facilities in the Azores and invoked the alliance that had existed for over 600 years between Portugal and Great Britain, Salazar responded favorably and virtually at once:[64] Portugal granted naval bases on Portuguese territory to Britain, in keeping with the traditional Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, letting them use the Azorean ports of Horta (on the island of Faial) and Ponta Delgada (on the island of São Miguel), and the airfields of Lagens Field (on Terceira Island) and Santana Field (on São Miguel Island).[64]

In November 1943 the British Ambassador in Lisbon, Sir Ronald Campbell, wrote (paraphrasing Salazar) that "strict neutrality was the price the allies paid for strategic benefits accruing from Portugal's neutrality and that if her neutrality instead of being strict had been more benevolent in our favour Spain would inevitably have thrown herself body and soul into the arms of Germany. If this had happened the Peninsula would have been occupied and then North Africa, with the result that the whole course of the war would have been altered to the advantage of the Axis."[65]

From November 1943, when the British gained the use of the Azores, to June 1945, 8,689 U.S. aircraft departed from Lajes base in the Azores, including 1,200 B-17 and B-24 bomber aircraft ferried across the Atlantic. Cargo aircraft carried vital personnel and equipment to North Africa, to the United Kingdom and - after the Allies gained a foothold in Western Europe - to Orly Field near Paris. Flights returning from Europe carried wounded servicemen. Medical personnel at Lajes, Azores, handled approximately 30,000 air evacuations en route to the United States for medical care and rehabilitation.

By using Lajes Field in the Azores it was possible to reduce flying time between the United States and North Africa from 70 hours to 40 hours. This considerable reduction in flying hours enabled aircraft to make almost twice as many crossings per month between the United States and North Africa and demonstrated clearly the geographic value of the Azores during the war.

The British diplomat, Sir George Rendell stated that the Portuguese Republican Government of Bernardino Machado was “far more difficult to deal with as an Ally during the First War than the infinitely better Government of Salazar was as a neutral in the Second”. [27]


Portugal's Nationalism was not grounded on race or biology. In 1934 Salazar made it clear that Portuguese Nationalism did not include pagan anti-human ideals that glorified a race, and in 1937, he published a book where he criticized the ideals behind the Nuremberg laws[66] and in 1938 he sent a telegram to the Portuguese Embassy in Berlin ordering that it should be made clear to the German Reich that Portuguese law did not allow any distinction based on race and therefore Portuguese Jewish citizens could not be discriminated against.[67]

In 1937, Adolfo Benarus, Honorary Chairman of COMASSIS[f] and a leader of the Lisbon’s Jewish Community, published a book wherein he rejoiced with the fact that there was no anti-Semitism in Portugal.[68] In 2011, Yad Vashem historian Avraham Milgram said that modern anti-Semitism failed "to establish even a toehold in Portugal"[69] while it grew racist and virulent elsewhere in early twentieth-century Europe.

Portugal, particularly Lisbon, was one of the last European exit points to the U.S.,[g] and a huge number of refugees found shelter in Portugal, some of them with help from the Portuguese consul general in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

According to the testimony of a Sousa Mendes’ son Salazar lost political trust in Sousa Mendes and stripped the diplomat of his title, subsequently ordering that no one in Portugal show him any charity.[70] However Sousa Mendes never lost his title as he kept on being listed in the Portuguese Diplomatic Yearbook[71] until 1954 and, after the one-year punishment with half-pay, he kept on receiving a salary: 1,593 Portuguese Escudos per month. According to Rui Afonso, "although it was not a salary of a prince, one should not forget that at that time, in Portugal, the salary of a school teacher was only 500 Escudos”.[72] When he died, in 1954 he was receiving a monthly salary of 2,300 Portuguese Escudos.[73]

Sousa Mendes' actions were far from unique. Issuing visas in contravention of instructions was widespread at Portuguese consulates all over Europe.[74]On the other hand some cases were supported by Salazar. The Portuguese Ambassador in Budapest, Carlos Sampaio Garrido helped an estimated 1,000 Hungarian Jews in 1944. Along with Carlos de Liz-Texeira Branquinho, they rented houses and apartments to shelter and protect refugees from deportation and murder. On April 28, 1944 the Hungarian Gestapo raided the Ambassador's home, arresting his guests. The Ambassador, who physically resisted the police, was also arrested, but managed to have his guests released on the grounds of extraterritoriality of diplomatic legations.[75] In 2010 Garrido was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

Other Portuguese who deserve further credit for saving Jews during the war are Professor Francisco Paula Leite Pinto and Moisés Bensabat Amzalak. A devoted Jew, and a Salazar supporter, Amzalak headed the Lisbon Jewish community for more than fifty years (from 1926 until 1978).

The main reason for the neutrality of Portugal in World War II was strategic. The country still held overseas territories that, due to its poor economic development, could not adequately defend from military attack. Siding with the Axis would have drawn Portugal to a conflict against Britain, whose result would have been the loss of its colonies; siding with the Allies might have risked the mainland. As the price to pay to keep Neutrality, Portugal continued to export tungsten and other goods to both the Axis (partly via Switzerland) and Allied countries.[76][77]

Large numbers of political dissidents, including Abwehr personnel after the 20 July plot of 1944, sought refuge in Portugal. Until late 1942 immigration was very restricted; in those cases where there were fears that the refugees would not be just in transit and would settle in Portugal the consulates would need to get a previous authorization from Lisbon. Such were the cases of: foreigners of indefinite or contested nationality; the stateless; Russians; or Jews expelled from their countries of origin.[78] All those refugees in transit through Lisbon on their way to the Americas were allowed to use the country as an escape route.

The number of refugees who escaped through Portugal during the war has been estimated to range from a few hundred thousand to one million, impressive numbers considering the size of the country’s population at that time (circa 6 million).[79]

In essence, Portugal remained neutral within the overall objectives of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance; and this modest but complex role made it possible for Portugal to contribute to the rescue of a large number of refugees.[61]

After the war Portugal kept on welcoming and supporting war refugees. Perhaps the most touching story is the one of 5,500 Austrian children,[80] most of them orphans, that in 1948, in an operation organized by Caritas Portugal, were transported by train from Vienna to Lisbon and were then distributed by Portuguese families all over the country.

Post-war Portugal[edit]

Portuguese soldiers on patrol in Angola.

Portugal did not experience the same levels of international isolation as its Spanish neighbor following the Second World War. Its status as a founder member of NATO and participant within other international organizations, such as the European Organization for Economic Co-operation (EOEC) and the European Payments Union (EPU), and its receipt of Marshall Plan funds are all examples of the country’s international acceptance.

The colonies were in disarray after the war. In 1945, Portugal had an extensive colonial Empire, including Cape Verde Islands, São Tomé e Príncipe, Angola (including Cabinda), Portuguese Guinea, and Mozambique in Africa; Goa, Damão (including Dadra and Nagar Haveli), and Diu in India (the Portuguese India); Macau in China; and Portuguese Timor in Southeast Asia. Salazar, a fierce integralist, was determined to retain control of Portugal's colonies.

The overseas provinces were a continual source of trouble and wealth for Portugal, especially during the Portuguese Colonial War. Portugal became increasingly isolated on the world stage as other European nations with African colonies gradually granted them independence.

Salazar wanted Portugal to be relevant internationally, and the country's overseas colonies made this possible, while Salazar himself refused to be overawed by the Americans. Portugal was the only non-democracy among the founding members of NATO in 1949, which reflected Portugal's role as an ally against communism during the Cold War. Portugal was offered help from the Marshall Plan because of the aid it gave to the Allies during the final stages of World War II; aid it initially refused but eventually accepted.

Throughout the 1950s, Salazar maintained the same import substitution approach to economic policy that had ensured Portugal's neutral status during World War II. The rise of the "new technocrats" in the early 1960s, however, led to a new period of economic opening up, with Portugal as an attractive country for international investment. Industrial development and economic growth would continue all throughout the 1960s. During Salazar's tenure, Portugal also participated in the founding of OECD and European Free Trade Area.

The Indian possessions were the first to be lost in 1961. After India gained independence on 15 August 1947, the British and the French vacated their colonial possessions in India. Soon after India’s independence, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru initiated moves for a diplomatic solution to the Goa case. The Portuguese had been in Goa for 451 years, since 1510, while independent India had only just been established. Nehru argued that the Goans were Indians by every standard and Goa was a colony ruthlessly administered by a racist, fascist and colonial regime, “just a pimple on the face of India”, in Nehru’s famous phrase.

On the other hand Salazar argued that despite Goa's location and Portugal's political system, it was a province of Portugal as integral to his nation as the Algarve. Salazar further argued that Goans do not anywhere consider or call themselves Indians but Portuguese of Goa; Goans were represented in the Portuguese legislature and some even served in the Portuguese cabinet; Goans had become ministers, provincial governors and ambassadors, they had risen to the top of Portugues universities, they were citizens of Portugal. The Goans had Portuguese citizenship with all rights, having access to all posts, carrying out all functions and earning their living throughout the Portuguese territory. Salazar also asserted that to confer on the Indian Union the political representation of the geographic expression, India, is to undermine the very basis of the independent existence of Pakistan, if not of Ceylon and Burma, for all of these states could then be held to be illegitimate incrustations in the territory of the Union.[81]

Throughout the debate between Salazar and Nehru, Goans seem to have been apathetic to either position.[82] and there were no signs in Goa of discontentment with the Portuguese regime.[83] Reports from “Times” correspondent suggested that not only were the residents of Goa unexcited with the prospects of Indian sovereignty, but that even the diaspora was less enthusiastic than the Indian government was prone to suggest. [83]

With an Indian military operation imminent, Salazar ordered Governor General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva to fight until the last man, and adopt a scorched earth policy.[84] Eventually, India launched Operation Vijay in December 1961 to evict Portugal from Goa, Daman and Diu. 31 Portuguese soldiers were killed in action and a Portuguese Navy frigate NRP Alfonso de Albuquerque was destroyed, before General Vassalo e Silva surrendered. Salazar forced the General into exile for disobeying his order to fight to the last man and surrendering to the Indian Army.

Statements deploring India's resort to force in Goa, Daman, and Diu were made by governmental leaders and official spokesmen in many countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Western Germany. On the other hand, full support for the Indian action was expressed by the Soviet Union and all Soviet-bloc countries, Yugoslavia, the Arab States, Ghana, Ceylon, and Indonesia.

Adlai Stevenson, the American Ambassador to the United Nations,spoke as follows: “we are confronted by the shocking news that the Indian Minister of Defence Mr. Krishna Menon, so well known in these halls for his advice on peace and his tireless enjoinders to everyone else to seek the way of compromise, was on the borders of Goa inspecting his troops at the zero hour of invasion.” Stevenson further accused India of violation of one of the most basic principles of the U.N. Charter, stated in Article 2. On the other hand Valerian Zorin, the Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations, maintained that the Goan question was wholly within India's domestic jurisdiction and could not be considered by the security Council.[85] The integration of Goa could only reduce the local standards of living. During the years that followed complaints poured out of Goa. There were wholesale confiscations of land, journalists were under pressure, the cost of living double within three years. [86] In January 1967 when the only opinion poll in the country was held in Goa by the Indian government, Goans overwhelmingly decided against the merger of Goa into Maharashtra and it eventually became the 25th independent state of India on 30 May 1987. In 2014 Goa was ranked as the richest state in India with a per capita income of almost three times that of the average for the country as a whole.

After Goa, Salazar had to face problems in Africa. In the 1960s, armed revolutionary movements and scattered guerrilla activity had reached Mozambique, Angola, and Portuguese Guinea. Except in Portuguese Guinea, the Portuguese army and naval forces were able to effectively suppress most of these insurgencies through a well-planned counter-insurgency campaign using light infantry, militia, and special operations forces. Most of the world ostracized the Portuguese government because of its colonial policy, especially the newly independent African nations.

At home, Salazar's regime remained unmistakably authoritarian. He was able to hold onto power with reminders of the instability that had characterized Portuguese political life before 1926. However, by the 1950s, a new generation emerged which had no collective memory of this instability. The clearest sign of this came in the 1958 presidential election. Most neutral observers believed the democratic opposition's candidate, Humberto Delgado, would have defeated the regime's candidate, Americo Thomaz, had the election been conducted fairly. Delgado had let it be known that if elected, he would dismiss Salazar; the president's power to dismiss the prime minister was theoretically the only check on Salazar's power. Salazar was frightened enough to transfer election of the president to the legislature, which was firmly under his control. In the 1960s, Salazar's opposition to decolonization and gradual freedom of the press created friction with the Franco dictatorship.

Economic policies[edit]

Salazar (centre, with glasses) observing Edgar Cardoso's Santa Clara Bridge maquette in Coimbra.

After the chaotic years of the Portuguese First Republic, financial stability was Salazar's highest priority.[87] His first incursions into Portuguese politics as a member of the cabinet were during the Ditadura Nacional, when Portugal's public finances and the economy in general were in a dreadful mess due to the continuous state of imminent default since at least the 1890s.[2][88]

After Salazar became Prime Minister, he instituted numerous taxes in order to balance the Portuguese budget and pay off external debts. The first era of Salazar's rule was marked by an economic program based on the policies of autarky and interventionism, which were popular in the 1930s as a response to the Great Depression.[89] Under Salazar the Portuguese budget went from insolvency to showing a substantial surplus every year from 1928. Portugal’s credit worthiness rose in foreign markets; the external floating debt was completely paid off. In March 1935 Times Magazine asserted that "it is impossible to deny that the economic improvement recorded in Portugal since 1928 is not only without parallel anywhere else in the world, but is an achievement for which history can show but few precedents".[88] Economically Salazar's first years were marked by the great depression and the world war and despite Salazar's best efforts, and despite a 3% average growth between 1928 and 1938,[90] Portugal remained largely underdeveloped and its population relatively poor and with low education attainment when compared to the rest of Europe.

In July 1940, Life Magazine called Salazar "the greatest Portuguese since Prince Henry the Navigator". Life Magazine said that: "The Dictator has built the Nation. Most that has been built in Portugal can be credited to Dr. Salazar… he has balanced the budget, built roads and schools, torn down slums, cut the death rate and enormously raised Portugal self-esteem. Unambitious Salazar took the dictatorship by army request and holds it by popular will. The Salazar dictatorship is easygoing and paternalistic, with wide freedom of speech allowed to his enemies… Friends of democracy may deplore Salazar the dictator but they cannot deny that under the republic Portugal made an unholy mess of itself and Salazar pulled it out."

From 1950 until Salazar's death, Portugal saw its GDP per capita rise at an average rate of 5.66% per year. In 1960 Portugal formally joined EFTA marking the initiation of Salazar's more outward-looking economic policy due to the influence of a new generation of technocrats with a background in economics and technical-industrial know-how. Portuguese membership of EFTA was a natural consequence of its presence from the very outset in the OEEC. Portugal’s participation in EFTA is regarded as highly satisfactory at virtually all levels. Portuguese foreign trade increased by 52% in exports and 40% in imports. The economic growth and levels of capital formation in the 1960-73 were characterized by an unparalleled robust annual growth rates for GDP (6.9 percent), industrial production (9 percent), private consumption (6.5 percent), and gross fixed capital formation (7.8 percent).[15]

Portuguese economic growth in the period 1960–1973 under the Estado Novo regime (and even with the effects of an expensive war effort in African territories against independence guerrilla groups), created an opportunity for real integration with the developed economies of Western Europe. In 1960 Portugal's per capita GDP was only 38 percent of the European Community (EC-12) average; by the end of the Salazar period, in 1968, it had risen to 48 percent; and in 1973, under the leadership of Marcelo Caetano, Portugal's per capita GDP had reached 56.4 percent of the EC-12 average.[91] Through emigration, trade, tourism and foreign investment, individuals and firms changed their patterns of production and consumption, bringing about a structural transformation. Simultaneously, the increasing complexity of a growing economy raised new technical and organizational challenges, stimulating the formation of modern professional and management teams.[92][93]

The slowing down of economic growth that followed is attributed to the aftermath of the revolution that ended the dictatorship, in 1974, and the nationalization spree in 1975.

Since the fall of the Estado Novo in 1974 and until 2014, Portugal experienced twenty five governments in just forty years of democracy. After the forty years of unusual financial stability during the Estado Novo the Portuguese economy experienced again budget problems, external debt problems and financial turmoil. Since the carnation revolution Portugal has had three economic programs that were supported financially by the IMF. In 1977-78, Portugal requested assistance to mitigate deficits and sharp increases in unemployment. In 1983, Portugal requested again IMF support to cope with a recession, high interest rates abroad, trade imbalances, and high deficits. In 2009 Portugal's budget deficit hit a record 9.3 percent of GDP. In 2011 the Portuguese economy collapsed sparking a sharp rise in borrowing costs which forced Lisbon to seek a bailout. Portugal then agreed a three-year, 78-billion-euro ($116 billion) bailout with the European Union and IMF. In 2013 Portugal recorded an all-time high Government Debt to GDP of 129 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

Colonial views[edit]

The last years of Monarchy in Portugal and those of the First Republic (1910-1926) were marked by the effort to obtain actual control over the claimed African possessions. Portugal had entered in World War I to defend the African empire considered part of national identity and the scene of countless costly and deadly military campaigns.

Salazar briefly served as minister of colonies before assuming the premiership, and as minister of colonies in 1930, Salazar prepared the Colonial Act,[94] centralizing the administration of the overseas territories to his system and proclaiming the need to bring indigenous peoples into western civilization and the Portuguese nation. Assimilation was proclaimed as the main objective, except for the colonies of Cape Verde (seen as an extension of Portugal), India and Macau (seen as having their own forms of ‘civilization’). As it happened before Salazar a clear legal distinction continued to be made between indigenous and “civilized citizens” – the latter being mostly Europeans, some Creole elites and a few black Africans. A special statute was given to native communities, accommodating their tribal traditions, while in theory establishing a framework that would allow natives to be gradually assimilated and brought into the fullness of Portuguese culture and citizenship. However by 1961 when the system was finally abolished, and citizenship was granted to all Africans, less than one percent of the African population had been assimilated.[95]

Despite the fact that many authors credit Salazar for fostering the growth of a new, responsible, incorruptible and wholly committed generation of colonial servants, in 1947 Captain Henrique Galvão, a Portuguese parliamentarian, submitted a report disclosing the situation of forced labor and precarious health services in Portuguese colonies in Africa. The natives, it said, were simply regarded as beasts of burden. Galvão’s courageous report eventually led him to a downfall and in 1952 he was arrested for subversive activities.[96] Although the "Estatuto do Indigenato" (Indigenous Statute) set standards for indigenes to obtain Portuguese citizenship until it was abolished in 1961, the conditions of the native populations of the colonies were still harsh and they suffered inferior legal status under its policies.[97][98]Under the Colonial Act African Natives could be forced to work. By requiring all African men to pay a tax in Portuguese currency the government created a situation in which a large percentage of men in any given year could only earn the specie needed to pay the tax by going to work for a colonial employer. In practice this enabled settlers to use forced labor on a massive scale leading many times to abuses and horrific results.

Portuguese overseas territories in Africa during the Estado Novo regime (1933–1974): Angola and Mozambique were by far the two largest of those territories.

Salazar's reluctance to travel abroad, his increasing determination not to grant independence to the colonies and to stand against the "winds of change" announced by the British in their move to give up their major colonies, and his refusal to grasp the impossibility of his regime outliving him, marked the final years of his tenure. "Proudly alone" was the motto of his final decade. For the Portuguese ruling regime, the overseas empire was a matter of national identity.[99]

In this particular case, with the exception of the Portuguese Communist Party that was backed up by the Soviet Union, most of Salazar’s political opponents also favored colonialist policies. Such were the cases of Joao Lopes Soares (father of Mario Soares) who had been minister of colonies and also General Norton de Matos, the leader of the opposition supported by Mario Soares. Norton de Matos, who had been governor-general of Angola during the First Republic, in 1953, published a book titled “Africa Nossa” (Our Africa) where he defended colonialist policies far more aggressive than those of Salazar and supported the idea of massive territorial occupation by Portuguese white settlers.[100]

In order to support his colonial policies, Salazar adopted Gilberto Freyre's notion of Lusotropicalism, maintaining that since Portugal had been a multicultural, multiracial and pluricontinental nation since the 15th century, if the country were to be dismembered by losing its overseas territories, that would spell the end for Portuguese independence.[101] In geopolitical terms, no critical mass would then be available to guarantee self-sufficiency to the Portuguese State. Salazar had strongly resisted Freyre's ideas throughout the 1930s, partly because Freyre claimed the Portuguese were more prone than other European nations to miscegenation, and only adopted Lusotropicalism after sponsoring Freyre on a visit to Portugal and its colonies in 1951-2. Freyre's work "Aventura e Rotina" was a result of this trip.

Salazar was a close friend of Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith: after Rhodesia proclaimed its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain, Portugal – though not officially recognizing the new Rhodesian state – supported Rhodesia economically and militarily through the neighbouring Portuguese colony of Mozambique until 1975, when FRELIMO took over Mozambique after negotiations with the new Portuguese regime which had taken over after the Carnation Revolution. Ian Smith later wrote in his The Great Betrayal that had Salazar lasted longer than he did, the Rhodesian government would have survived to the present day, ruled by a moderate black majority government under the name of 'Zimbabwe-Rhodesia'.[99]

Catholic Church[edit]

Lateral view of Cristo-Rei, Almada.

While in Spain during the Franco years, Roman Catholicism was the only religion to have legal status; other worship services could not be advertised, and only the Catholic Church could own property or publish books, by contrast the Portuguese constitution recognized religious freedom, proclaimed Portugal as both a Republican and a Corporative State and under the terms of the constitution the church was not formally recognized.[102]

Salazar's goal was to establish a Catholic Social Order even in a nominally secular state. To Salazar, a Catholic Portugal would be a strong contrast to the atheistic communism he so greatly opposed. In this process, Salazar dissolved Freemasonry in Portugal in 1935. He permitted the Catholic religion to be taught in all schools, not just parochial schools (however, non-Catholic parents who did not wish their children to receive this instruction could have their children removed from these classes); but throughout Portugal, the Catholic education of the youth was greatly favoured. Another policy at this time was Salazar's legislation on marriage which read “The Portuguese state recognizes the civil effects of marriages celebrated according to canonical laws.” He then initiated into this legislation articles which frowned upon divorce. Article 24 reads, “In harmony with the essential properties of Catholic marriages, it is understood that by the very fact of the celebration of a canonical marriage, the spouses renounce the legal right to ask for a divorce.” Divorce was allowed only if it had been a purely civil marriage. The effect of this law was that the number of Catholic marriages went up, so that by 1960 nearly 91 percent of all marriages in the country were canonical marriages.[citation needed]

On 13 May 1938, when the bishops of Portugal fulfilled their vow and renewed the National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cardinal Cerejeira acknowledged publicly that Our Lady of Fatima had "spared Portugal the scourge of Communism". After Portugal avoided the devastation of both the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, Salazar's propaganda machine and the Catholic Church also connected this to a miraculous dimension which made them profit from the Catholic fervor of the masses. The Cristo-Rei, a Catholic monument in Almada, was inaugurated on 17 May 1959 by Salazar. Its construction was approved by a Portuguese Episcopate conference, held in Fátima on 20 April 1940, as a plea to God to prevent Portugal from entering World War II. However, the idea had originated on a visit by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro in 1934, soon after the inauguration of the statue of Christ the Redeemer in 1931.

The relationship of Salazar with some sectors of the Catholic Church, more in accordance with the social doctrine of the Holy See, worsened after World War II. Some prominent oppositionist priests, like Abel Varzim and Joaquim Alves Correia, openly supported the MUD in 1945 and the granting of more social rights to the workers. Abel Varzim, who had been a supporter of the regime, had his newspaper closed, while Joaquim Alves Correia was forced into exile in the United States, where he died in 1951. The Democratic Opposition main candidate in the 1958 Presidential Elections, General Humberto Delgado was a Roman Catholic and a dissident of the regime, who quoted Pope Pius XII to show how the social policies of the regime were against the social teachings of the Church. The same year, Salazar suffered a severe blow from the bishop of Porto, Dom António Ferreira Gomes, who wrote a critical letter to the Council President in July 1958 being forced to exile for 10 years. After the Second Vatican Council, a large number of Catholics became active in the Democratic Opposition.

Assassination attempt[edit]

On 4 July 1937, Salazar was on his way to Mass at a private chapel in a friend's house in the Barbosa du Bocage Avenue in Lisbon. As he stepped out of the car, a Buick, a bomb exploded only 3 metres away (the bomb had been hidden in an iron case). The bomb-blast left Salazar untouched, but his chauffeur was rendered deaf. The bishops argued in a collective letter in 1938, that it was an "act of God" that had preserved Salazar's life in this attempted assassination. Emídio Santana was the anarcho-syndicalist, founder of the Metallurgists National Union (Sindicato Nacional dos Metalúrgicos), behind the assassination attempt. The official car was replaced by an armoured Chrysler Imperial.[103]


In 1968, Salazar suffered a brain hemorrhage. Most sources maintain that it occurred when he fell from a chair in his summer house. In February 2009 though, there were anonymous witnesses who confessed, after some research about Salazar's best-kept secrets, that he had fallen in a bath instead of from a chair.[104] As he was expected to die shortly after his fall, President Thomaz replaced him with Marcello Caetano. Despite the injury, Salazar lived for a further two years. When he unexpectedly recovered lucidity, his intimates did not tell him he had been removed from power, instead allowing him to "rule" in privacy until his death in July 1970.[105] Tens of thousands paid their last respects at the funeral and the Requiem Mass that took place at the Jerónimos Monastery and at the passage of the special train that carried the coffin to his hometown of Vimieiro near Santa Comba Dão, where he was buried according to his wishes in his native soil, in a plain ordinary grave. As a symbolic display of his views of Portugal and the colonial empire, there is well-known footage of several members of the "Mocidade Portuguesa," of both African and European ethnicity, paying homage at his funeral.

Post-Salazar Portugal[edit]

After Salazar's death, his Estado Novo regime persisted under the direction of Thomaz as well as his successor and longtime aide, Marcelo Caetano, who co-wrote the Constitution of 1933. Despite tentative overtures towards an opening of the regime, Caetano balked at ending the colonial war, notwithstanding the condemnation of most of the international community. Eventually the Estado Novo fell on 25 April 1974, after the Carnation Revolution.

After the carnation revolution the country lived a turbulent period of provisional governments and a near disintegrated state. Historian Kenneth Maxwell considers that on many accounts Portugal was closer to Nicaragua than it was to any other South American transition.[106]

The retreat from the colonies and the acceptance of their independence terms which would create newly independent communist states in 1975 (most notably the People's Republic of Angola and the People's Republic of Mozambique), which promptly started to expel all white Portuguese citizens from the nearly-independent Portugal's African territories (mostly from Portuguese Angola and Mozambique),[107][108] created over a million destitute Portuguese refugees — the retornados.

Since the Carnation Revolution in 1974, economic uncertainty has been the norm in Portugal. After almost 50 years of balanced public budgeting, a debt-strapped Portugal has been forced to seek international financial aid under IMF tutelage in 1978 and in 1983 and in 2011 with credit ratings agencies downgrades Portugal's public debt to junk status, Portugal was forced to seek third bailout since 1974.

Salazar's Writings[edit]

The Portuguese literary historian, António José Saraiva, a communist and a fierce political opponent of Salazar. once said that one who reads Salazar’s “Speeches and Notes" is overwhelmed by the clarity and conciseness of style, the most perfect and captivating doctrinal prose that exists in Portuguese, underscored by a powerful emotional rhythm. According to this scholar, Salazar`s prose deserves a prominent place in the history of Portuguese literature, and only political considerations have deprived it of its rightful place. Saraiva says it is written with the clarity of the great prose of the seventeenth century, cleansed of all the distractions and sloppiness that often obscures the prose of the Portuguese scholars.[109][110][111]

Critics and interpretation[edit]

The Estado Novo regime has been described by the American socialist author David L. Raby as a far-right leaning regime of para-fascist inspiration, although general labeling of Portugal as "fascist" declined after the defeat of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in World War II, in which Portugal remained strictly neutral.[1] According to some Portuguese right leaning or conservative scholars like Jaime Nogueira Pinto[11] and Rui Ramos,[12] his early reforms and policies allowed political and financial stability and therefore social order and economic growth, after the politically unstable and financially chaotic years of the Portuguese First Republic (1910–1926). Other historians, like leftist politician Fernando Rosas, claim that Salazar's policies from the 1930s to the 1950s led to economic and social stagnation and rampant emigration, turning Portugal into one of the poorest countries in Europe, one that was also thwarted by scoring lower on literacy than its peers of the Northern Hemisphere.[112]

Awards and honours[edit]

Salazar was made member of the following Portuguese Orders.[113]

He also received several other similar distinctions from countries including France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Romania and Spain.[115][116]

The "Bridge across the Tagus" connecting Lisbon to Almada was named Bridge Salazar upon completion. Built by Estado Novo 6 months ahead of schedule and under budget, it was the 5th longest suspension bridge in the world and the longest outside of USA. It was then renamed "25th of April Bridge". Stadium Salazar, a noteworthy multi-purpose stadium built in Mozambique during Estado Novo, was named after Salazar. With 1975's new government it started to degrade. It was renamed Stadium of Machava.[117] Many places across the country (streets, avenues, squares) were named after Salazar. They were renamed since 1974, specially in district capitals. Around 20 localities still reference Salazar today.[118] There are also some azulejos with quotes of Salazar.

In popular culture Salazar's Cake (Bolo de Salazar) is the name given to a cake that Salazar used to eat sometimes. It is cheap and simple, perhaps with similarities to sponge cake.

A wine brand called "Lands of Salazar" (Terras de Salazar) was approved in 2011 by the national institute. It never reached the market due to the owner's economic troubles.[119] In 2012, the City Council of Salazar's hometown Santa Comba Dão announced a brand called "Memories of Salazar" for a range of regional products, notably wine. It was rejected by the same institute for offensiveness and the possibility of public disorder. The Mayor claimed the refusal was ridiculous and will not give up or drop the name "Salazar" from future brand name proposals. He is considering submitting "Vineyards of Salazar", as "memories" of the regime could be one reason to add to the refusal.[120]

The brand "Salazar - Fatherland's Workman" (Salazar - O Obreiro da Pátria) is registered and runs the website, an archive of various documents related to Salazar.

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Estado Novo regime was described by socialist author David L. Raby as a far-right leaning regime of para-fascist inspiration.[1]
  2. ^ Before World War II, Salazar declared: "We are opposed to all forms of Internationalism, Communism, Socialism, Syndicalism and everything that may divide or minimize, or break up the family. We are against class warfare, irreligion and disloyalty to one’s country; against serfdom, a materialistic conception of life, and might over right". Salazar criticized Fascist dictatorship that according to his opinion was leaning towards pagan Caesarism and towards a new state which recognized no limitations of legal moral order.[5]
  3. ^ For additional similar descriptions of Salazar as a scholar, hard worker, austere, devoted to his country, etc. see [9] [10]
  4. ^ Salazar was not an economist, economics in its modern sense was a relatively new academic discipline in Portugal and was not taught at the time as an independent field in the University of Coimbra (the first pure Portuguese university degree in economics was created in 1949 by the modern-day Technical University of Lisbon (ISEG/UTL); the University of Coimbra founded its own autonomous School of Economics (FEUC) just in 1972.
  5. ^ Especially the weekly “O Imparcial” directed by his friend and later Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira.[23]
  6. ^ Portuguese Committee for the Assistance of Jewish Refugees in Portugal (COMASSIS), which was led by Augusto d´Esaguy and Elias Baruel, and had Moses Amzalak and Adolfo Benarus as its honorary chairmen.
  7. ^ In one of the most memorable movie scenes of all times star-crossed Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman part as he sends her off into the foggy night to join her husband on a flight from Casablanca. Bogart (Rick) sacrifices the life they might have had together to ensure her safety. Where were Ingrid Bergman and husband headed? It was Lisbon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b David L. Raby, Fascism and Resistance in Portugal: Communists, Liberals and Military Dissidents in the Opposition to Salazar, 1941–1974,
  2. ^ a b "Portugal: The War Has Made It Europe's Front Door". Life. 29 July 1940. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Meneses 2009, p. 240.
  4. ^ "Oxford In Portugal 1941". British Pathé. 1941. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Kay 1970, p. 68.
  6. ^ Lochery 2011, pp. 14-15.
  7. ^ a b Hoare 1946, pp. 124-125.
  8. ^ Hayes 1945, p. 36.
  9. ^ Derrick 1938.
  10. ^ Egerton 1943.
  11. ^ a b (Portuguese) Grandes Portugueses – Entender Salazar e o Estado Novo on YouTube., Jaime Nogueira Pinto in the The Greatest Portuguese
  12. ^ a b História de Portugal. A luta de facções entre os salazaristas "Até os americanos já o tinham abandonado, temendo "recriar o caos que existia em Portugal antes de Salazar tomar o poder".", from História de Portugal (2009), Rui Ramos, Bernardo de Vasconcelos e Sousa, and Nuno Gonçalo Monteiro, Esfera dos Livros, cited in
  13. ^ Saraiva, Antonio Jose, Jornal “Expresso” de 22 de Abril de 1989. In the original: “Salazar foi, sem dúvida, um dos homens mais notáveis da História de Portugal e possuía uma qualidade que os homens notáveis nem sempre possuem: a recta intenção.”
  14. ^ "Historian Stanley Payne on Fernando Rosas works and Anne Pitcher’s works". Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Mattoso, José; Rosas, Fernando (1994). História de Portugal: o Estado Novo (in Portuguese) VII. Lisbon: Estampa. p. 474. ISBN 9723310864. 
  16. ^ [1] Technically correct poll made by the TV station RTP and Eurosondagem, following the victory of Salazar in its TV Show "Os Grandes portugueses", at
  17. ^ a b Kay 1970, pp. 10-11.
  18. ^ Meneses 2009, p. 12.
  19. ^ a b Kay 1970, p. 11.
  20. ^ Kay 1970, p. 12.
  21. ^ a b c Kay 1970, p. 24.
  22. ^ (Portuguese) António de Oliveira Salazar, HistóriaDePortugalinfo
  23. ^ a b Kay 1970, p. 23.
  24. ^ Kay 1970, p. 32.
  25. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 46.
  26. ^ Derrick 1938, pp. 38-44.
  27. ^ a b Rendel 1957, p. 37.
  28. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 47,92.
  29. ^ Kay 1970, p. 38.
  30. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 94.
  31. ^ Menezes 2009, p. 64.
  32. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 80.
  33. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 79.
  34. ^ Duthel, Heinz Duthel (2014). Global Secret and Intelligence Services III: Hidden Systems that deliver Unforgettable Customer Service. BoD – Books on Demand. p. 33. ISBN 9783738607840. 
  35. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 82.
  36. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 88.
  37. ^ a b c Wiarda 1977, p. 100.
  38. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 101.
  39. ^ a b c Kay 1970, p. 49.
  40. ^ a b Wiarda 1977, p. 98.
  41. ^ Kay 1970, pp. 50-51.
  42. ^ Kay 1970, p. 53.
  43. ^ a b c Kay 1970, p. 55.
  44. ^ Meneses 2009, p. 162.
  45. ^ a b Kay 1970, p. 63.
  46. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 97.
  47. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 109.
  48. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 132.
  49. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 155.
  50. ^ Wiarda 1977, p. 156.
  51. ^ See other laudatory comments for the 1930s achievements in Time Magazine 1935, Life Magazine 1940, and books from: Derrick “The Portugal Of Salazar”, William C. Atkinson “The Political Structure of the Portuguese New State pp.346 - 354” , Jacques Ploncard d'Assac “Salazar”, Freppel Cotta “Economic Planning in Corporative Portugal”.
  52. ^ CANDEIAS, António; SIMOES, Eduarda (1999). "Alfabetização e escola em Portugal no século XX: Censos Nacionais e estudos de caso.". Aná. Psicológica [online]. (in Portuguese) 17 (1): 163–194. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  53. ^ a b c d Wiarda 1997, p. 160.
  54. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Spanish Civil War. p. 97. ISBN 0-911745-11-4
  55. ^ Lochery 2011, p. 19.
  56. ^ Hoare 1946, p. 45.
  57. ^ Kay 1970, p. 117.
  58. ^ Hoare 1946, p. 58.
  59. ^ Henry Jay Taylor, Milwaukee Sentinel, 2 October 1968, as cited in
  60. ^ Kay 1970, pp. 121-122.
  61. ^ a b Leite 1998, pp. 185-199.
  62. ^ Mascarenhas, Alice (9 January 2013). "Madeira Gold Medal of Merit for Louis". Gibraltar Chronicle The Independent Daily. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  63. ^ Hayes 1945, p. 119.
  64. ^ a b Kay 1970, p. 123.
  65. ^ Leite, "Document 2: Telegram From Sir Ronald Campbell
  66. ^ Salazar, António de Oliveira – “Como se Levanta um Estado”, ISBN 9789899537705
  67. ^ Dez anos de Politica Externa, Vol 1, pag 137. Edicao Imprensa Nacional 1961
  68. ^ Benarus, Adolfo – “O Antisemitismo” - 1937 ( Lisboa : Sociedade Nacional de Tipografia)
  69. ^ Milgram 2011, p. 11.
  70. ^ [2] Words of Remembrance by one of his sons, Luis Felipe], at
  71. ^ Portuguese Diplomatic Yearbook, 1954
  72. ^ Afonso p. 257
  73. ^ Several secondary and primary published sources mention that Mendes was receiving a salary. Secondary: Afonso p.257, Lochery p. 49, Wheeler p.128, and Primary: a) Sousa Mendes Personal File, online archive, Portuguese Ministry of Finance b) A letter that Sousa Mendes wrote to the Portuguese Bar Association, Ordem dos Advogados - Secretaria do Conselho Geral, Lisboa, Cota - Processo nº 10/1931 Date 1946.04.29 where he says that he is receiving a monthly salary of 1,593 Portuguese Escudos. Fralon also mentions that in 1950 Mendes wrote to his twin saying the following “Pedro Nuno [his son], Maria Adelaide [his daughter in law] and their children [his grand-children] are in financial straits. My salary has been used up to pay for their outings” p. 133.
  74. ^ Milgram 2011, p. 89.
  75. ^ Milgram 2011, p. 264.
  76. ^ The Price of Neutrality: Portugal, the Wolfram Question, and World War II Douglas L. Wheeler Luso-Brazilian Review Vol. 23, No. 1 (Summer, 1986), pp. 107-127 Published by: University of Wisconsin Press Article Stable URL:
  77. ^ Wilson, Robert (3 December 2011). "The Capital of Intrigue in a World at War". The Wall Street Journal (New York). Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  78. ^ Spared Lives, The Action of Three Portuguese Diplomats in World War II – Documentary e-book edited by the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
  79. ^ Neil Lochery estimates a high end number of one million
  80. ^ Sobral, Claudia (2013). "Depois da guerra, o paraíso era Portugal" [After the war the paradise was Portugal]. Público (in Portuguese) (Portugal). Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  81. ^ "Goa and the Indian Union". Foreign Affairs. 1 Apr 1956. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  82. ^ Bravo, Philip (1998). "The Case of Goa: History, Rhetoric and Nationalism". Past Imperfect (University of Alberta) 7. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  83. ^ a b Kay 1970, p. 305.
  84. ^ "Ancient Goan History - GOACOM - GOA - INDIA - INFORMATION AND SERVICES IN GOA. Goa News, Goa Konkani News, Goa Sunaparant News, Goan Konakani News, Goa Video News, Goa Yellow Pages". GOACOM. 1916-04-04. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  85. ^ "India, Portugal, Indian, Page 18659". Keesing's Record of World Events. March 1962. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  86. ^ Kay 1970, p. 326.
  87. ^ (Portuguese) Oliveira Salazar, "Salazar é assim novamente convidado a integrar o Governo, mas, desta feita, impõe as suas condições: por um lado, e como técnico de Finanças, exige o exame de todas as iniciativas que impliquem receitas e despesas", Infopédia (Porto Editora)
  88. ^ a b Derrick 1938, p. 39.
  89. ^ Mattoso, José; Rosas, Fernando (1994). História de Portugal: o Estado Novo (in Portuguese) VII. Lisbon: Estampa. p. 251. ISBN 9723310864. 
  90. ^ Mattoso, José; Rosas, Fernando (1994). História de Portugal: o Estado Novo (in Portuguese) VII. Lisbon: Estampa. p. 268. ISBN 9723310864. 
  91. ^ [Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, Juan José Linz,M1]
  92. ^ [3], Joaquim da Costa Leite (Aveiro University) – Instituições, Gestão e Crescimento Económico: Portugal, 1950–1973
  93. ^ (Portuguese) Fundação da SEDES – As primeiras motivações, "Nos anos 60 e até 1973 teve lugar, provavelmente, o mais rápido período de crescimento económico da nossa História, traduzido na industrialização, na expansão do turismo, no comércio com a EFTA, no desenvolvimento dos sectores financeiros, investimento estrangeiro e grandes projectos de infra-estruturas. Em consequência, os indicadores de rendimentos e consumo acompanham essa evolução, reforçados ainda pelas remessas de emigrantes.", SEDES
  94. ^ Colonial Act, original text, in Portuguese, in Diário do Governo.
  95. ^ Kay 1970, pp. 212-215.
  96. ^ Kay 1970, p. 215.
  97. ^ Armando Marques Guedes; María José Lopes; Stephen Ellis (2007). State and traditional law in Angola and Mozambique. Almedina. p. 60. 
  98. ^ Bernard A. Cook (2001). Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1033–1034. ISBN 978-0-8153-4058-4. 
  99. ^ a b Heinz Duthel (23 July 2008). Global Secret and Intelligence Service - III. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-4092-1090-0. 
  100. ^ Norton de Matos, José (1953). África Nossa: O que Queremos e o que não Queremos nas Nossas Terras de África (in Portuguese). Oporto: Marânus. ASIN B004PVOVDW. 
  101. ^
  102. ^ Manuel, Paul Christopher; Reardon, Lawrence C.; Wilcox, Clyde (2006). Catholic Church and the Nation-State: Comparative Perspectives. Georgetown University Press. ISBN 9781589011151. 
  103. ^ (Portuguese) Agência Lusa, Único atentado contra o ditador Oliveira Salazar foi há 70 anos, in
  104. ^ "Salazar fell in a bathtub, not from a chair" (Portuguese language)
  105. ^ Meneses, Filipe de. Salazar: A Political Biography. pp. 608–609. ISBN 978-1-929631-90-2
  106. ^ Maxwell, Kenneth (1986) “Regime Overthrow and the Prospects for Democratic Transition in Portugal” in Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Prospects for Democracy, ed. Guillermo O’Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins), p. 113
  107. ^ "Flight from Angola". The Economist (London). 16 August 1975. 
  108. ^ "Dismantling the Portuguese Empire". Time (New York). 7 July 1975. 
  109. ^ António José Saraiva (22 April 1989). "Salazarismo". Revista Expresso (in Portuguese) (Lisbon: Expresso) IV (22): 15. ...a sua prosa digna de entrar na história da literatura portuguesa. 
  110. ^ João Medina (2000). Salazar, Hitler e Franco: estudos sobre Salazar e a ditadura (in Portuguese). Livros Horizonte. p. 245. ISBN 978-972-24-1074-8. 
  111. ^ James A. Moncure (July 1992). Research guide to European historical biography, 1450-present. Beacham Pub. p. 1734. ISBN 978-0-933833-28-9. 
  112. ^
  113. ^
  114. ^ Meneses, Filipe. Salazar: A Political Biography. Enigma Books. pp. 76 and 77. 
  115. ^
  116. ^$FILE/2C58_4S_Lotes962a1048.pdf
  117. ^ Estádio da Machava (antigo Salazar)
  118. ^
  119. ^
  120. ^


A mocidade e os princípios, 1889–1928 (3. ed. com estudo prévio pelo Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão) 1 (3a ed. ed.). Porto [Portugal]: Civilização Editora. 2000 [1977]. ISBN 972-26-1839-3. 
Os tempos áureos, 1928–1936 (2. ed.) 2. Porto: Livraria Civilização. 1977. ISBN 972-26-1840-7. 
As grandes crises, 1936–1945 3 (5a ed. ed.). Porto: Livraria Civilização. 1978. ISBN 972-26-1843-1. 
O ataque, 1945–1958 4 (4a ed. ed.). Porto: Livraria Civilização. 1980. ISBN 972-26-1844-X. 
A resistência, 1958–1964 5 (4. ed. ed.). Porto: Livraria Civilização. 1984. ISBN 972-26-1841-5. 
O último combate (1964–1970) 6. Porto [Portugal]: Civilização Editora. 1985. 

Further reading[edit]

In English[edit]

  • Bagger, Eugene Szekeres (1947). Portugal: Anti-Totalitarian Outpost. Lisbon: Edicoes S.N. I.  also Published in "The Catholic World" December 1946
  • Salazar, António de Oliveira (1939). Doctrine and action: Internal and foreign policy of the new Portugal, 1928-1939. London: Faber and Faber. ASIN B00086D6V6. 
  • West, S. George. "The Present Situation in Portugal," International Affairs (1938) 17#2 pp. 211–232 in JSTOR
  • Wright, George (1997). The destruction of a nation: United States' policy towards Angola since 1945. London: Pluto Press. ISBN 0-7453-1029-X. 

In Portuguese[edit]

  • Coelho, Eduardo Coelho; António Macieira (1995). Salazar, o fim e a morte: história de uma mistificação ; inclui os textos inéditos do Prof. Eduardo Coelho "Salazar e o seu médico" e "Salazar visto pelo seu médico" (1. ed. ed.). Lisboa: Publ. Dom Quixote. ISBN 972-20-1272-X. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Domingos Oliveira
Prime Minister of Portugal
Succeeded by
Marcelo Caetano
Preceded by
António Óscar Carmona
Interim President of Portugal
Succeeded by
Craveiro Lopes