From Moderator to Director,
There is a debate over whether the military appropriated the moderating
power during the Old Republic (1889-1930). Many historians emphasize
the moderating role as early as 1889, with the argument that the
army claimed the emperor's moderating power, which had allowed him
to intervene in and resolve political conflicts. Some argue that
the military did not assume a moderating role until after 1930,
primarily during the 1937-45 period of the quasi-fascist New State
(Estado Novo) of Getúlio
Vargas (president, 1930-45, 1951-54). According to the revisionist
view, the army in 1889 did not intend to play a moderating role.
However, after the collapse of the army in 1930 and its subsequent
rebuilding, the military accepted the ideology of the poder moderador
. The debate is important because the revisionist view suggests
a more grudging acceptance by the military of the moderating role.
According to political scientist Alfred C. Stepan, the military
played a moderating role in civil-military relations during the
coups of 1930, 1945, 1954, and 1964; during the abortive intervention
of 1961; and in 1953, when the minister of war, General Henrique
Teixeira Lott, guaranteed President Juscelino Kubitschek's inauguration
as the democratically elected president (1956-61) on January 31,
1956. The pro-Kubitschek faction within the military was actually
the largest and most influential. The military viewed itself as
"the people in uniform" (o povo fardado ), inextricably
a part of the political system. Civilians, in turn, generally accepted
the military's moderating function as legitimate.
In the 1930 coup, military officers of a reformist bent supported
Vargas after he declared the previous elections fraudulent and assumed
the presidency. As the army reorganized itself, discipline was shaky.
During the decade, there were sixteen barracks revolts and seventy-two
other instances of agitation, conspiracy, and protest. Between 1931
and 1938, at least 624 officers and 1,875 soldiers were expelled
from the army. Thus, one of the principal reasons for General Góes
Monteiro and General Eurico Gaspar Dutra's support of the dictatorial
Estado Novo in November 1937 was to reestablish control and discipline
in the army. Whereas the turmoil of the 1890s had ended in the "politics
of the governors," that of the 1930s ended in the imposition
of Brazil's first long-lived authoritarian regime (1937-45).
Ironically, the second coup in 1945 was against Vargas. The military
moved to intervene a third time in 1954, again to remove Vargas
from office, an action that led to his suicide. In its fourth intervention,
in 1955, an anti-Kubitschek faction of the military, defeated by
the larger pro-Kubitschek military faction led by General Lott,
failed to stop Kubitschek from assuming the presidency. In the fifth
intervention, in 1961, three military ministers were unable to block
João Goulart (president, 1961-64) from succeeding Jânio
Quadros (president, January-August 1961). The sixth intervention
came on March 31, 1964, when the military overthrew left-of-center
Goulart. By that action, the military shifted from the moderator
model of civil-military relations to direct military government.
The 1964 military coup was clearly different from that of the previous
five military interventions. For the first time in the twentieth
century, the Brazilian military assumed political power. As Stepan
has noted, the military became the director and not the moderator
of politics. Instead of maintaining the status quo, the military
sought to transform the system. That transformation required a new
professionalism (profissionalismo novo ) for the military, which
had no experience in long-term governing. The major vehicle for
that new role was the War College (Escola Superior de Guerra--ESG).
Emphasizing internal security and national development, the ESG
is an advanced training program for senior officers and civilians.
Political scientist David V. Fleischer, referring to the security
and development ideology of the military regime from 1964 to 1985,
points out the continuity in the evolution of civil-military relations
that can be traced to the nineteenth-century positivism of the military
activists who founded the republic under the slogan of "Order
and Progress." This continuity extends, Fleischer notes, through
the growing economic nationalism in the 1930s and the Estado Novo
to the Kubitschek era. In the latter era, autonomous development
became a priority to ensure national security.
From 1964 to 1985, the military dominated the presidency. The army
imposed its candidates for president and governor, and a docile
Congress or an electoral college approved them. These candidates
included Humberto Castelo Branco (president, 1964-67), Artur da
Costa e Silva (president, 1967-69), Emílio Garrastazú
Médici (president, 1969-74), Ernesto Geisel (president, 1974-79),
and João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo (president, 1979-85).
Both Médici and Figueiredo were former intelligence chiefs.
The military based its original plan of government on a moderate
degree of civilian support and complete military unity. With time,
military government exacerbated factionalism within the military.
That division centered on adherents to and dissenters from the ESG
ideology. The pro-ESG members of the military, the so-called Sorbonnists,
were politically moderate and wanted to maintain democratic forms
and institutions. They aided in returning the presidency to civilian
government. Presidents Castelo Branco and Geisel best represented
this faction. In contrast, the hard-liners within the military favored
suspension of democratic processes and were more nationalistic.
They argued against a high degree of foreign political and economic
dependence in attaining the goals of security and development. The
hard-liners were hesitant to return political power to civilians.
Presidents Costa e Silva and Médici best represented this
faction within the military.
Data as of April 1997