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Revista Brasileira de História

On-line version ISSN 1806-9347

Rev. Bras. Hist. vol.31 no.62 São Paulo Dec. 2011

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-01882011000200008 

DOSSIER: FESTIVITIES

 

The commemoration speeches of the '1964 Revolution'

 

 

Lucileide Costa Cardoso

Associate Professor of History, Universidade Federal do Recôncavo da Bahia. Centro de Artes, Humanidades e Letras. Rua Ariston Macarenhas, s/n - Centro. 44300-000 Cachoeira - BA - Brasil. lucileidecardoso@terra.com.br

 

 


ABSTRACT

The article discusses relevant aspects of the commemoration speeches of the '1964 Revolution,' made by the Brazilian military between 1964 -1999. During these years, they sought to explain the reasons for the the coup d'état, the structuring of the subsequent regime and its ending in 1985. The discursive matrixes assume contours of radicalism to justify the 31 March revolution in opposition to the 'Communist revolution' which was being carried out by the João Goulart government. The research material represents a significant 'place of memory,' leading the army to formulate hypotheses that nowadays still intend to legitimize a positive memory of the 'revolutionary' deeds. The aim of this study is, thus, to analyze concepts of history, and the meaning and the character of the commemorations, establishing regularities that might elucidate the structure of the authoritarian and anti-communist thought disputed in the field of memory for a specific appropriation of the past.

Keywords: speech; commemoration; '1964 Revolution'.


 

 

The article found in the pamphlet entitled "The Nation that Saved Itself. 31 March: 1964-1978," an offprint from Seleções do Reader's Digest, can be considered as the foundation stone for the various military publications published a posteriori.1 This was reissued during the commemorations of the fourteenth anniversary of the revolution (1978) and published by the Army Library (Biblioteca do Exército Editora) with the following recommendation: "Since this is a document with special meaning, but published in a limited numbers, read it and make it reach the hands of other people." The article, written in 1964 and widely divulged, tried to respond to people who at that time were asking whether or not Brazil was undergoing a process of revolutionary warfare. They thus sought to understand if the country really was suffering from a new communist threat, or if this was nothing but exaggeration on the part of the military involved in the coup, alarmed by the 'red peril' in service of American interests and their militarism. As the following extract tells us, these uncertainties and doubts were soon dissipated, giving way to the valorization of the glorious deed:

The inspiring history of how a people rebelled and prevented the communists from taking over their country.

Very rarely has a great nation been so close to disaster and recovered from it as Brazil has in its triumph over red subversion. The elements of the communist campaign for domination - propaganda, infiltration, terror - were going ahead a full steam.

Surrender seemed imminent ... and then the people said: No!

... In the calendars of the red chiefs of Brazil - like those in Moscow, Havana and Peking - the steps to win power were marked with a red circle: first, chaos; second, civil war; and finally, total communist dominion.

There were years when the reds drooled over this great country... The capture of this fabulous power would disastrously change the balance of forces against the West. Compared to ... [Brazil], the communization of Cuba was insignificant. (1964, p.1, 5)

The article held intellectuals and other leftwing extremists responsible for sowing the idea that revolution was inevitable in Brazil: "dozens of learned volumes were written about the descending spiral of Brazil into economic and social chaos" (1964, p.6). The fight against the 'red plan' began among the middle class, who had carried out their own revolution, saving Brazil from chaos and serving as a model for the free world: "The secret history of this legitimate revolution of the people is a model for any nation similarly threatened, animating proof that communism can be defeated in a single blow, when energetically confronted by a people who are sufficiently provoked and decided" (1964, p.7). The victory of the movement counted on a conspiracy which began in 1961, involving businessmen and professionals.

The meetings of the conspirators led to the creation of the Institute of Economic and Social Research (Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas e Sociais - Ipes), aimed at discovering what was going on in the political field and intervening when necessary. Other associations which already existed, such as the Superior Council of the Productive Classes (Conselho Superior das Classes Produtoras - Conclap), the Group for Political Action (Grupo de Ação Política - GAP), the Industrial Center (Centro Industrial) and the Commercial Association (Associação Comercial) were also involved in anti-communist activities. However, Ipes played the most important role, forming its own Information Service (Serviço de Informações), 'a task force of investigators' to collect information inside and outside the government about communist infiltration. It is thus obvious that there was long term preparation for the coup, principally encouraged within civilian circles, and that the victory of the 'counter-revolution' was only possible with the participation of the middle-class, the principal revolutionary agent. The intention of the text in question was undoubtedly to minimize the role of the military in the process, since these had only responded to the appeals of society...

Around the time of the fourth anniversary of the 'revolution,' before the reissuing of this text, the Brazilian presidency prepared a collection of articles in the book O Processo Revolucionário Brasileiro (1969).2 It was intended to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the 'revolution,' providing historical explanations, based on studies and evaluations of the soldiers and intellectuals who had conceived the 'Brazilian Democratic Revolution.' According to the book the victory of the 'military and civilian movement' was the result of numerous failed attempts in previous epochs, strengthened by the immediate causes which had unleashed 'popular emotions.' Despite becoming independent in 1822, Brazil experienced a gap between a legal order transplanted from Europe and a completely different social reality. Social achievements came in stages: abolition of slave labor; the Republic and religious liberty; 1930 and the winning of the secret vote. However, the balance of 1930 also included labor legislation and the distortions of the electoral process could not be eliminated. In 1964 the problem of the lack of representativeness of the political body remained which led to 'subversion' within the Executive, against which the Armed Forces acted in the name of the 'helpless people.' The 'revolution' thus was part of an episode dating back to 1930 in particular, correcting the errors of the past and consolidating democratic authenticity.

The first article, by General Carlos de Meira Mattos, "Ensaio sobre a Doutrina Política da Revolução" (Essay on the Political Doctrine of Revolution) sought to systematize the revolutionary ideology and its doctrinaire and programmatic aspects. The core of this ideology was the survival of democracy, nurtured by anti-communist and anti-Jango (as President João Goulart was known) feelings. The Political Doctrine of Revolution was divided into the concept, purpose, principles and strategy of the Brazilian Revolution. The process of formulating the doctrine and its plan of action led to a consensus on National Objectives. The ESG (Escola Superior de Guerra - Higher School of War), founded in 1949, established the National Objectives, which were crystallized in aspirations for independence, sovereignty, international prestige, democracy, the preservation of the moral and spiritual values of nationality and social peace.

Also part of the collection were two articles from the sociologist Gilberto Freyre. The first, "Em torno de uma Sociologia de Processos Revolucionários de Transformação Social: exemplos brasileiros" (Towards a Sociology of Revolutionary Processes of Social Transformation: Brazilian Examples) is concerned with describing the period between 31 March 1964 and 1968 as a revolution. He analyzes the 'pacific nature of the Brazilian people,' who did not sympathize with the horror of revolutionary violence, driving them away from the Russian, Chinese, and Cuban techniques of revolution. In this way the author sought the Brazilian variant of revolution, within the current sociological meaning of the term, drawing on foreign and Brazilian authors, especially Celso Furtado (Pré-Revolução Brasileira) and Florestan Fernandes (A Sociologia numa era de Revolução Social). Although both were brilliant, Freyre states that the former was a technocrat and the latter a defender of empirical sociology at the service of a closed ideology. For Freyre, the '1964 revolution' caused a 'readjustment of the social order,' in other words this readjustment was possible without having to resort to violence or revolution in the strict sense. The revolution was thus differentiated from rebellion and insurrection. Not having apologized for violence, the so-called 'white revolutions' acquired greater dignity. According to Gilberto Freyre, 1964 was thus a 'white revolution,' and promoted social and political order.

In the second article, which repeats the title of the first, Gilberto Freyre states that for more than a century Brazil had gone through its own revolutionary process. The movement of 31 March completed this wide-ranging process of technological and economic transformation, adapting it to a set of political forms favorable to social acceleration. Development and revolution with 'inter-regional' and 'pan-Brazilian' planning brought together tendencies for re-urbanization and the diversification of production. The '1964 revolution' justified its acts in the achievements of these two sectors (Freyre, 1969, p.32). In this way the author of the great sociological work Casa-grande & Senzala, a representative of Brazilian culture, revealed himself to be an intellectual with clearly reactionary political positions.

Another article in the same collection, "Para a Normalização do Brasil" (Towards the Normalization of Brazil), by Gustavo Corção, refers to communism as a disease to be extirpated from the social body, in order to return to 'spiritual' and 'civilized' normality. "Democratism is a utopian aberration of this type" (1969, p.36). The author justifies his preference for the term normality instead of democracy to define the 1964 movement stating that the Castelo Branco government carried out redemocratization, the 'cure' and the 'normalization' of the country. The concept of normality necessary implied human progress and the struggle against 'leftwing radioactivity.' Gustavo Corção's principal target is the Church and leftwing clerics. He states that throughout the world the Church has faced the heresy called 'progressivism' and that in Brazil this heresy found greatest resonance with Marxist ideas. The Educação de Base (Grassroots Education) movement, the socialism of directors of Petrobrás, Ação Popular (Popular Action) and the 'deliriums' of socialists bishops and Dominican priests involved in 'subversive' actions were responsible for 'perverting' the youth, principally in the student area. Therefore, the central question of the analysis is an examination of the relations of the Church with 1964 movement.

In the following article, "Lembrança de um pesadelo e de um Milagre," (Remembrance of a nightmare and a Miracle), Gustavo Corção sought to understand the laws which rule history. Breaking with the past, in other words, denying history, is a 'barbarous' attitude, meaning breaking with man himself. From a Freudian perspective it is wishing for the death of the father; in the theological vision desiring the death of God. In any of the approaches it is an infra-human attitude. Without a doubt the author's positivist concept of history is expressed in his notion of human progress: "it is only what lasts that progress, and only those who look towards the great deeds and commitments of humanity advance in the direction of real progress" (1969, p.45). It is with this conviction that he considers March 1964 as a 'miracle' in the life of the country. Communism was already in power with the 'sinister' Goulart government and Brazil was 'befouled with Marxism.' The Rally of 13 March is described in a phantasmagoric manner: "in the heavy sky were seen omens of the disgrace" (1969, p.47). 'Redemption' would come with the great spectacle that was the Marcha da Família com Deus pela Liberdade (March of the Family with God for Liberty): "And then I felt possessed by an enormous admiration for this singular people who had just won a World Cup in the fight against communism" (1969, p.52, 53).

In the same book, O Processo Revolucionário Brasileiro, there are two articles by General Octávio Costa, "A Revolução que não tem dono" (The Revolution which has no owner) and "A Hora Zero da Mudança" (The time of change), both of which discuss the nature of the concept of revolution. In the first the author starts with the concept that the revolution does not belong to men, but to their ideas: "the Revolution is an idea on the march. It is a process" (1969, p.57). The particularity of the 'miracle of 31 March' was the absence of spontaneous and parallel leaders. The '1964 revolution' had institutionalized military leaders, invested with their prerogatives and limitations, structured along rigid lines of hierarchy. In the second article the praising of the revolution is intermixed with a fierce criticism of those who tried to denigrate its image:

Never has a revolution been said so often not to be a revolution, despite its multi-dimensions - in time, in space, in consequence - at the deepest level of men and things in this country. No revolutionary episode was ever more denigrated, unwelcome and thus so denied by the most obsessive minority. (Costa, 1969, p.65)

General Octávio Costa lamented the existence of historiographic writing which describe the causes of what had detonated the 'revolution' as a 'quixotic spectacle.' These texts, according to the author, the irrational component of the principal events which had banished the phantasmagorical spirit of communism from the country was emphasized. In other words, these writings did not take into account that the '1964 revolution' was structural and that the armed forces had been aware of and desired change for a long time accelerating the road to development and democracy.

In the middle of the 1970s the ecumenical tone that had clothed the '1964 revolution' with a power above men came to be replaced by a more resentful and grumbling discourse. Complained about were the writings of former activists from the so-called esquerda armada (the armed left) and part of the historiographical criticism which sought - and continues to do so today - to denigrate the image of the military and their work. Therefore, as well as the articles and discourses already examined, a commemorative leaflet was produced by the Ministry of the Army, presenting the origins, intentions and objectives of the '1964 revolution.' 3 In the first paragraph we can read this salvo:

Much has already been said and written, both in Brazil and abroad, about the movement of 31 March 1964. Interviews with civilian and military leaders. Reports of foreign correspondents accredited in Brazil. Explanations and justifications of those exiled and banished. Parliamentary speeches. Reports, short stories and articles. Almost all written according to the objectives and tendencies of each writer. The truth of each one often made from interests that had been upset, pride that had been hurt, over-excited vanity. Coup d'etat. Revenge. Quartelada (attempted coup). Reactionary coup. Military Coup. Rightwing coup. Golpe dos Gorilas (Coup of the gorillas - as the generals who sometimes called) Revolução dos Caranguejos (Revolution of the crabs). Counter Revolution. Democratic Revolution. After all what does the Movement of 31 March 1964 mean? (1977, p.1)

The objective of this text is to provide an explanation based on an "interpretation of the facts that we witnessed and in which we took part" (1977, p.1). This does not involve yet another version, but rather re-establishing the historical 'truth.' In narrating the developing of the revolution concern was taken with systematizing three interpretations of the movement, presenting military and 'leftwing' analysts. The interpretative matrices of the 1964 movement were presented as follows:

a) According to the statements of some revolutionary exponents, the movement is said to have started on the day of the inauguration of the former president João Goulart. This interpretation, far from exalting the deed and the heroes, belittles the revolution, reducing it to the proportions of a simple rematch, quartelada or Coup d'Etat.

b) According to the communists of HAVANA, of MOSCOW, of PRAGUE, of PEKING, of ALBANIA or of PARIS, the philo-communists and their national remnants, we were facing a great conspiracy of bad Brazilians, the rich and the powerful, against the reformist ideals of the people. We were thus irreversibly marching to military dictatorship. It was the counter-revolution, as is the true revolution was the communizing process which had been operating in Brazil, during the government of Sr. João Goulart.

c) For the military analysts in the second half of March we were undergoing one of the final phases of the subversive process, of Marxist-Leninist ideology, which technically is commonly called guerilla warfare. The movement of 31 March 1964 is thus the counter-revolutionary war. This understanding also belittles the revolutionary purposes, limiting them solely to the proscription of communism.

d) In truth the revolution of 31 March 1964 cannot be considered as an isolated episode. It was only one act, the most recent, in the Brazilian democratic revolution. (1977, p.2, 3)

In this way an inversion in the historic discourse can be noted, structured around the use of the concepts of coup, revolution and war to define what happened in 1964. In the text the real meaning of the movement was based on a reading of the history of Brazil in search of its democratic roots. 15 November 1889 was recalled, and it was said that the Old Republic had not brought democracy. Rather it was believed that the true democratic revolution in Brazil had been that of 1930, with structural reforms aimed at "moral and civic purification, extirpating and disabling the agents of corruption" (1977, p.4). The ideals of 1930 still existed in 1964. Therefore, 1964 followed a revolutionary tradition uninterrupted by the Communist Uprising (Intentona Comunista) in 1935 and the installation of a dictatorship in 1937. Getúlio Vargas, in decreeing the Estado Novo (New State), had demonstrated with full vigor his 'Caudilho vocation.' His act had been a violent betrayal of the democratic ideals of the Liberal Alliance, causing divisions among the 1930 revolutionaries. Deposed on 29 October 1945, he would return to power 1951, elected by the people and compromised by 'unscrupulous adventurers.' At this time there emerged in public life 'the strange figure of João Goulart', waving the 'banner of subversive sindicalism', creating a powerful machine in the Ministry of Labor. Under the threat of an 'intended coup' Getúlio's trajectory came to an end.

In the international sphere, a vigorous expansion of communism towards the Middle East, Africa and Latin America was being experienced. This new phase of the Cold War preached colonized-colonizer and nationalism-imperialism antagonism, both subordinated to the logic of internal class conflict. In Brazil the negative effects of this expansion were momentarily neutralized by the victory of Jânio Quadros at the ballot box: "This was the revolution by vote. The white revolution. The Brazilian democratic revolution restarting its march" (1977, p.9). Unfortunately there occurred the 'treason of resignation,' and Brazil was left to the mercy of João Goulart and his addictive political party and trade union apparatus. His chaotic government unleashed a 'subversive' process so explosive in the first months of 1964 that the 'communist revolution' was already considered victorious. The preliminary acts of the imminent revolution were the rally on 13 March, the navy movement during Holy Week and the Assembly in the Automobile Club. At that moment the Armed Forced intervened in accordance with the popular will:

This was the Brazilian Democratic Revolution. The Revolution through arms. From a short term perspective it was the counter-revolution, the counter-revolutionary war. From a more profound historical vision, the return of the Brazilian democratic revolution, enriched by the lesson of time and the social message of our days... This was the miracle of victory in a few days, without the spilling of blood. The miracle of cohesion. The miracle of the popular will. The miracle that is it necessary to understand and respect, to assure the already threatened cohesion and to consolidate the democratic victory. (1977, p.11, 12)

This discourse celebrated the revolution as something above mankind. Men carried out actions, but divine help prevailed. In 1964 the true Brazilian democratic revolution occurred, representing all over the world resistance to the irradiation of communism in Latin America. Following the Cuban Revolution, Brazil was to be the principal strategic base of the communists. The text thus explains the reason for the 'irritation of the communist governments' and the international press 'sold to communism' with the events of 1964:

Those defeated in 1964 did not accept their defeat. They analyzed their failure planned and are now active again. Their tactics have been perfected. They seek to act in all the fields of power, especially psycho-social, educational and economic. They are trying to destroy what we are building to afterwards set up their own regime in the rubble. There is thus a need for everyone to be permanently vigilant and alert to all evidence of subversive actions, so that these can be quickly and effectively neutralized. (1977, p.14)

Victorious 13 years previously the 'revolution' had transformed Brazil into an 'emerging power' with accelerated development. Nevertheless, according to the commemorative leaflet, it had become necessary to increase security, since the opposition and contestation of 'bad Brazilians' had grown in an attempt to prevent the task of national reconstruction.

This line of reasoning also prevailed in the order of the day issued by the Minister of the Army General Walter Pires, and also the order of the day of the Minister of the Air Force, Brigadier Délio Jardim de Mattos.4 Both affirmed the civic authenticity of the 1964 movement which resided in saving the country from the imposition of a totalitarian government with a communist appearance. Brigadier Délio asked his comrades that they be prudent in order to prevent the repetition in the air force of the atmosphere of suspicion, 'lack of coordination' and inversion of values which had reigned in Brazilian barracks in 1964. The commitment to Brazil at that moment was to identify in the "flags that are unfurled the colors of order and progress, the colors of nationality. Apart from this, it is law" (Mattos, 1984, p.7). In other words, in 1984 the brigadier warned sectors of the air force to remain attentive to the provocations of left wing groups. The political transition would be duly controlled by the military, keeping watch over and repressing the social movements.

The anniversaries of the '1964 revolution' were moments of the widespread production and diffusion of writings that sought to give meaning to the past. General Walter Pires de Carvalho e Albuquerque, minister of the army in the Figueiredo government, for example, published an article in 1984 commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the "Democratic Revolution of 31 March 1964.5 The historical meaning and civic authenticity of the movement resided for him in the support of various sectors of society to protect the country from the imposition of a "totalitarian communist regime" (1984, p.1). The '1964 revolutionaries' carried out a serious reconstruction of the country. On the other hand, at that moment (1984) the country was experiencing the worst crisis of modern times and there prevailed interests that were less worthy or of foreign inspiration which sought to congest the path of political transition which the nation had chosen to follow for its democratic improvement.

In the context of the political transition, General Walter Pires believed that the political elites and the pacific democratic nature of the Brazilian people were responsible for the duty to operate the changes in an orderly manner, overcoming the crisis at that moment and preparing a promising future for Brazil. In addition to these considerations he makes instigating observations in his integration of the '1964 revolution' in the context of the political evolution of Brazil. It was a mark coming from the country's historical origins due to its Christian and democratic content, to which the country's popular roots were committed. The 1964 was made from the same ideals as those of the soldiers who fought in the Prata and in Italy and which inflamed the nativists and the builders of Brazil's independence. The ideals of the '1964 revolution' was not the exclusive privilege of the generations of patriots opposed to the communist uprisings of 1935 and 1964. Nor were these ideals the privilege of those who combated the acts of 'terrorism' which violated the country between 1968 and 1974. In fact, they still survived in the long duration of the struggles of the Brazilian people.

Annexed to this publication was an icongraphic album with the aim of preserving the memory of the 'revolution.' At the end there was added a propaganda poster from the Brazilian army dividing the history of Brazil with a black band: on the one side 1964 (images of the 13 March rally with PCB banners, denouncing the communist threat); on the other 1984 (images of the modernizing work of the revolution, made concrete in Security, Work and Education). In the middle the following was stated: "The Democracy we are building is the fruit of work based on truth and as such its dividends are assured. It is solid and long-lasting, capable of defending itself" (1984, p.4).

In 1987 General Tasso Villar Aquino6 stated that seriousness and respect always guided the commemorative spirit of the '1964 revolution.' The less noble feelings of provocation, threats and 'vile revenge' were always absent from the commemorative contexts. The general criticizes leftwing groups who indignantly reacted to the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the '1964 revolution,' held by Clube Militar. They had acted senselessly and with preconceived and vengeful ideas: "Why the angry manifestation, or one full of irony in some cases, by the agents of subversion, by the heralds of disorder and anarchy, the beneficiaries of the total and unrestricted 'opening' that provoked the Revolution?" (Aquino, 1987, p.1). The angry reactions of the 'radical left' and their false interpretations were not capable of contesting the fact of the "Democratic Revolution of 31 March," which was the most "eloquent example of national union in the history of Brazil" (1987, p.2). It had been the nation which had rebelled against the manner organized and planned by the left to incorporate Brazil in the "imperialist totalitarian Soviet system, both inhuman and a slaveocracy" (1987, p.2). Opposing the left's version of 1964 Movement, the General stated:

It was not a 'coup,' as the servants of Moscow, who have been active in Brazil since 1922, have tried to impinge on the nation. Actions that will never cease because Brazil is a 'target state' of great important to totalitarian Soviet imperialism, because of the exceptionally favorably geopolitical characteristics of its physical space. (1987, p.2)

General Tasso Villar Aquino chose the joint order of the day of the military ministers as the principal document would trigger the conscience and mobilization of the Armed Forces, revealing the true meaning of the '1964 revolution.' The text expresses the recognition for the accelerated process of modernization. However, he considers that its process of defiguration and distortion was compromised at the end by the military governments responsible for the policy of opening and reducing tension. Coronel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra's 1987 book, Rompendo o silêncio,7 is credited with providing exact information about urban guerrilla warfare in São Paulo and the measures the government was forced to take to confront guerilla action in the country. It was also considered that the 'spirit of 1964' and the objectives practiced and applied by the 'revolution' deserved continuity. Here was manifested the permanence of the hard line political group in the time of the Nova República (New Republic).

In 1989 General Tasso Villar de Aquino wrote another special article for the newspaper Letras em Marcha in which he stated that the 25th anniversary of the 'Democratic Revolution of 31 March' was appropriately commemorated by the Armed Forces.8 He highlighted in an eloquent manner the principal commemorative ceremonies: in Rio de Janeiro commemorations had been held in the barracks of the 1st Battalion of the Army Police, involving the awarding of decorations to soldiers and civilians. In addition, the reading of the Order of the Day by military ministers related to the important date when Brazilians murdered by 'urban terrorism' were being honored, evoking the names of those who belonged to the Military Command of the East (Comando Militar do Leste). In addition, the army, naval and air force clubs had sponsored a mass for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Democratic Brazilian Revolution, held in the Igreja da Santa Cruz dos Militares church.

General Tasso Villar de Aquino's article released the names of the victims of 'terrorism:' 33 civilian and military victims in Rio de Janeiro alone. Also included were the murders in São Paulo, comparatively much larger than in Recife, Salvador and Porto Alegre. Furthermore, a contingent of 'terrorist comrades' suffered 'justice' for the 'crime' of treason to the cause. At that time (1989) it was demanded that the Ministry of Justice do something, since the actions of 'terrorists of the left' continued openly and daringly among the militants of the 'noxious left' and their candidates to the Presidency of the Republic.9

Also in 1989 the ministers for the armed forces from the Sarney government signed an Official Note celebrating 25 years of the 1964 Revolutionary Movement, emphasizing the triumph of democracy:

We are experiencing moments of unquiet, the dearest institutions have collapsed and with them social peace and the development of the country. Propaganda machines are being used seeking agitation: political strikes have spread causing irreparable damage to economic growth and to the welfare of the population; the institutional foundations of the Armed Forces were affected: hierarchy and discipline.10

The ceremonies, together with the eloquent speeches, marked the circularity of ideas within the armed forces. The created memorials that were commemorative, as well as those which had analytical pretensions, dignified the actions of the '1964 revolutionaries.' The Order of the Day was considered to be a sober, secure, impartial and dignified document in its evaluation of the facts and concepts and in its honoring of the victims of the 'terrorist savagery'.

The speech given in Clube Militar by General Carlos de Meira Mattos in the middle of the 1990s, with the title "Do caos para a revolução e da revolução para a reconstrução" (From chaos to the revolution, and from the revolution to reconstruction),11 remembered on its 30th anniversary the tradition of military movements. This tradition was legitimated in the 1920s, culminating with the 1930 Revolution, maintaining in the democratic restoration of 1945, and after 1962 reawakened patriotism in light of the 'communo-socialist' threat. In this version two strands summarized the aspirations of the military: the first was to construct a Brazilian nation that corresponded to the potentialities of its people and its territory; the second, to guarantee the vocation of democratic life with order and progress. The balance of these 21 years was the impulse of development, despite the two oil shocks and the global recession. The principal objective of the conference was to understand the "permanence of patriotic and democratic ideas which populated our minds and warmed our hearts in 1962, 1963 and 1964 and which are still there, still alive, preserved, untouched" (1994, p.4).

General Carlos Meira Mattos identified two matrices of the ideals of the 1964 Revolution: Democracy and Development. The 'Political Opening' was a free and spontaneous concession of the revolution, true to these ideas. During the text the author clarifies his conception of the revolution as a rupture, seeing 1964 as the starting point of a profound transformation in the Brazilian economic, political and social structure. The errors committed are justified as being inherent to all revolutions: "in its own dynamism roads were opened and solutions imposed which are not always those of normality or of previous expectations... this is the itinerary for peoples to save themselves from their crises and launch the victorious lines of their history" (1994, p.6).

Adopting the guiding principles of military conduct, the Circular of 20 March 1964 written by General Castelo Branco was emphasized. This document was considered decisive in the almost unanimous positioning of the armed forces in favor of the 1964 movement. The Circular expressed democratic and legalistic preaching and warned about the dangers of the ongoing 'communo-sindicalist subversion.' It reproduces an extract from the document in which Castelo Branco defends legality in light of João Goulart's plan for a coup, subverting discipline and hierarchy and putting at risk the historic role of the armed forces. Complained about were the civilian politicians who supported the 1964 coup and afterwards changed the 'color of their socialism,' reneging on the past and encouraging workers to support a sindicalist regime: "Victorious, the Revolution did not get drunk from the amount of power that came to its hands. The political parties were maintained, the Legislature was kept open and the Judiciary was untouched" (Mattos, 1994, p.6).

Published in Revista do Clube Militar, the Circular became a significant historic document, expressing the conspiratorial character of the movement. It is also presented as a response of the military to the 13 March Rally,12 weaving an analysis of the context and defining the ideological profile of the 'revolution.' The officers sought to preserve the constitutional apparatus and denied the creation of a dictatorship. The commemorative event sought to sanction the Circular and its revolutionary principles as the foundation stone of the 'birth' of the '1964 revolution' and to allow the continuity of the tradition of the Democratic Revolution. At the beginning of the letter, Castelo Branco stated that there were two threats to Brazil: the advent of the Constituent Assembly as the initial step to implement the Base Reforms proposed by President Goulart and the escalation of agitation by the illegal power of the CGT (Comando Geral dos Trabalhadores - General Command of Workers). As a result the Brazilian armed forces were invoked to prevent them.

In this document the military's conduct is based on the defense of constitutional legality and its behavior once again is justified, since insurrection is a legitimate response of a people threatened by the communism of Moscow and its 'anti-nation,' 'anti-patria,' and 'anti-people' designs. In the same anti-democratic line, also criticized were the privileges of the rich classes who served the 'fascist' or 'sindico-communist' dictatorships, while the struggle against corruption was defended. It was understood that the current political situation of Brazil required from the armed forces the proper functioning of the three constitutional powers and laws which respected Congress, elections and victorious candidates taking their seats. In this declaration, made ten days before the fateful 31 March, it can be seen that the coup planners intended to initially preserve alliances with rightwing civilian politicians in the name of legality. The concern with dressing the military dictatorship with a legalistic façade, widely discussed in the historiography, constitutes one of the particularities of Brazilian dictatorship, guaranteeing the permanence of the military in five consecutive governments and the conservative transition in 1985.

The speeches were repeated in the commemorative events held by Clube Militar to mark the anniversaries of the 'revolution.' Looking for a positivistic style of history in the documents, we selected a pamphlet distributed in Clube Militar during the 1999 commemorations of the 'revolution:' "This pamphlet is being distributed aiming a reminding all members of the true Brazilian history in the second half of the twentieth century." 13 The pamphlet which contains an Official Note from the army and various talks given by generals, seeks to restore the true history against the writings of 'those beaten in 1964 and now amnestied.' These, according to the pamphlet, were seeking to conquer power with another face and transmitted "a false image that they had been victims and the military their tormentors" (1999, p.3). The 'defeated' had forgotten that the '1964 revolution' had been supported by the people. In this document the danger of Brazil coming to be dominated by these 'traitors' is mentioned.

On the first page 31 March 1964 is highlighted as a "magna date in the entire History of Brazil," and compared to 7 September 1822 and 15 November 1889. It prevented Brazil from becoming communist before the world discovered the bankruptcy of the Soviet regime. In a section called the Official Word of the Army "31 March 1964 - History is neither deleted nor rewritten," it is stated that the civilian and military movement of 31 March prevented institutional desegregation, economic collapse and the rupture of the social fabric that threatened to throw the country in the abyss of civil war. Therefore, the evidence of the facts shows that the smear of 'quartelada', 'coup d'état' or 'usurpation of power' cannot be attached to the civilian and military movement of 31 March. In the speeches produced by the means of communication and by leftwing groups the true history is denied, since it is not acknowledged that the movement was born in and "strengthened in the breast of the people, in whose name it was unleashed, to prevent the nation from being led into chaos" (1999, p.4).14

The 35 page long pamphlet presents various talks given by generals in 1999 during the commemoration of the anniversary of the 'revolution,' in Clube Militar. Editorials and articles published in magazines and newspapers - such as Ombro a Ombro, Letras em Marcha and Inconfidência - had provoked the wrath of those who tried to denigrate the image of Clube Militar associating its political position at that moment with that of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers' Party). In relation to this the general answered: "It is said that we are very PT ... The convergence of arguments that speak the TRUTH is very easy. We are not going to change them if they coincide with those of the PT. We did not copy them! What to do? Abandon them? Never!" (1999, p.5).

We also have talks given by General Jonas Correia Neto. The first, "Nós, os Militares" (We, the Military), seeks to discuss the identity of the military based on the hierarchical structure and the need to maintain disbelief in the communist doctrine, preventing its propagation. In the second, "A Revolução de 31 de Março de 1964 - Os Antecedentes" (The Revolution of 31 March 1964 - Background) the general sought to explain the causes which had determined the explosion of the movement. The political and military crisis which had unleashed the movement resulted from the 'grey years of 1962 and 1963,' when the country experienced a typical revolutionary war. The context of the Cold War and the fight against this war, influenced by the Czech model (constitutional model) or the Soviet and Chinese model (general and total armed struggle), made the armed forces a missionary institution. This institution was responsible for democratic indoctrination and anti-communist clarification of the troops. According to Jonas Correia Neto, this attempt by the Armed Forces to stop the ongoing 'communizing' process, suffered some retaliations from the Jango government during the critical year of 1963.

Also part of the pamphlet is a text by General Rubens Bayma Denys, entitled "A Contra Revolução de 31 de Março: A preparação e o Levante Armado" (The Counter-Revolution of 31 March: preparation and the armed uprising), which highlights the strategic plan of the preparation of the conspiracy. The action counted on the support of two revolutionary wings: the 'statics', officials - some of whom held command positions - who fought against communism, but defended legality; and on the other the 'dynamics,' a group formed by general and officers who prepared who prepared an action plan with five points to be implemented:

1 - start the movement shortly after a great motivation; 2 - depart from a large state; 3 - the beginning of the movement should be given by surprise on the commercial radio, which in the information should state that 'Marshall Denys is there' - this is the codeword; 4 - the garrisons or bodies rebel and join with the closest other rebels; 5 - the forces will dominate their areas and march against Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Curitiba and Recife. (1999, p.16)

In the planning resistance was predicted on the part of the Goulart government. The root of this resistance was the fear of the support of 'Marxist' countries (Russia and Cuba) and internal adhesions of politicians and soldiers, who for their own interests, did not differentiate between democratic and Marxist governments. However, after these deliberations, General Rubens Bayma Denys' real intention was to restore the memory of his father Marshal Odylio Denys. He was the founding agent of the 1964 armed uprising and had proposed the date of 31 March and counted on the decisive support of General Carlos Luís Guedes. General Rubens was combating versions which stressed the role of General Olympio Mourão Filho as the one who started the movement.

The leaflet also reproduced another speech given by General Aricildes de Moraes Motta, entitled "Os Governos presididos por Generais" (The Governments Led by Generals), praising the principal achievements of the military governments, especially the 'Brazilian miracle.' Another speech included was the one given by Coronel Luiz Guilherme Bastos Sodré de Castro, called "Os anos que se seguiram ao período presidido por Generais" (The Years that Followed the Period Presided by Generals), which divides the 1964 movement into two periods of national actions: first the counter-revolution (three phases); second the actual revolution that would transform Brazil.

The generals stated that the media attacked the military institution and the 'selected soldiers,' creating the greatest problem to be faced by those who wanted to preserve the 'real memory' of the events. The media made efforts to spread a false image. They worked in conjunction with the education system to do this and had obtained supported from high ranking people in the post-amnesty governments. For this reason Coronel Luiz Guilherme questioned how to react to these infamies. He proposed the implementation of a 'truth project,' which could reconstruct the memory of the facts, as well as preparing texts to spread this. In 1999 the preservation of the memory and the publicizing of the truth were the principal objectives of a group of officers based in Clube Militar who established the principal actions aimed at fighting the power of the media. These were:

1. Create a directional/coordination team with three members.

2. Define priorities: first: historic or political aspects? Or first the achievements? The economic aspects? The social?

3. Choose ten themes.

4. Create work groups with 'tentative deadlines' to prepare the chosen themes. Priority to recreate the memory and afterwards to prepare the texts and elements derived from them.

5. Establish phases.

6. Use all means for publicity (after the initial work). The actual media (not just choosing the large newspapers); - Monthly review (60,000 readers? How to expand its readership?); Monthly bulletin?; - Posters... Exhibitions, Festivals and Symposiums, Competition: Thunder and Writing - AMAN, EN, AFA and military schools?; Look for allies; Internet; Look for sponsorship - very difficult. (Castro, 1999, p.32)

This project for restoring the memories of the military was put into practice by a Ministerial Edict dated 3 March 1999 and began to be implemented in January 2000, under the overall coordination of Aricildes de Moraes Motta. Interviews were carried out with 210 soldiers and 40 civilians (judges, engineers, journalists and professors, amongst other professionals) resulting in a collection of 15 volumes each containing an average of 350 pages.15 This large project of the military to restore the memory of the events is not isolated from a series of other initiatives, which are being maintained, in addition to Clube Militar, as a 'place of memory.' 16

Finally, there is the publication contained the so-called Order of the Day and the Public Order, given respectively by ministers Olavo de Carvalho and Themistocles de Castro e Silva. The former wove harsh criticisms of those who sought to criminalize the 'March Revolution' with historical falsities, compounding these with features of 'Tupiniquim Nazi-fascism.' These slanders, Olavo de Carvalho stated, were common among leftwing groups and center-left governments in a country without a rightwing. The media, taken over by the 'communist church', sought to consecrate the 'red' version as if it were the "only one thinkable, the only one worthy of attention, the only one that ever existed" (1999, p.33). After years of silence imposed by the establishment, the 'March Revolution' was once again being celebrated in an Order of the Day on 31 March 1999, commemorated the Minister of the Army, General Olavo de Carvalho.

General Themistocles de Castro celebrated the 1964 regime and made severe criticisms of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's government. He commented that if there were an honest plebiscite this would show that the majority of the Brazilian people 'missed' the 1964 military regime. The fact was without 1964, Brazil at that moment would have been a type of Albania. He commented on the great achievements of the regime and questioned the works of the "democracy of Ulisses Guimarães-FHC-Mário Covas. These are its principal achievements: a broken Brazil, bankrupt, and without any credit" (Castro, 1999, p.35). He concluded that at that moment the generals, retired and on pensions were being persecuted and the people 'longed' for the old times of the military regime. The longing and the resentment at the distorted historical memory imposed on society through the media profoundly marked the political discourse of members of Clube Militar.

Clube Militar, located in Rio de Janeiro, became the official 'spokesperson' for the memory of the officers involved in the coup. As well as the statements there was a series of other commemorative events: masses, parties, courses, medals and plaques insisting on perpetuating the '1964 revolution' as a 'place of memory.' We started with a concept of political memory as a field of strength that could comprehend the plurality of narratives, whether published or unpublished. In this specific case, we have presented visions and assessments of the military regime as strongly ideologized memories. Therefore, we took into account the dimension of confrontation between the governing and the governed, winners and loser, requiring critical positions from the historian in search of truths that vary with time.

From the 1980s onwards the cycle of manifestations of Clube Militar in the dispute in the field of memory began to be confronted by relatives of the death and missing, former activists of the armed left and students, amongst others. In 2003 the then president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, suspended the commemoration of the date, a suspension which remained in force during his first mandate, when the commander of the army was General Zenildo Lucena. In the four years of his second mandate, Clube Militar continued with the commemorations, but not without facing demonstrations. In 2009 around 40 students held a demonstration, alleging that the seminar on economic development being held by the club was nothing but a pretext for officers to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the coup. The students waved posters calling for the opening of the military archives. In 2010 on the 46th anniversary of the revolution, Clube Militar issued an invitation to a lecture, "O Clube Militar e a Revolução Democrática de 31 de Março de 1964" (Clube Militar and the Democratic Revolution of 31 March) by General Jonas de Morais Correia Neto. However, the reaction of civil society was immediate, the human rights group Tortura Nunca Mais (Torture Never Again) said that the organizing of a cocktail, the preparation of placards, and the celebration of the 1964 coup had been a 'provocation' of the Brazilian people. The president of OAB (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil - Brazilian Bar Society), Cezar Britto, defended the opening of the archives of the military dictatorship and condemned the event.

 

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

Safeguarding democracy, fighting corruption and eradicating subversion forged a platform which sustained the process of the construction of the political memory of the '1964 revolution' from the point of view of the agents of power. We found that the ultra-patriotism expressed in the desire to see Brazil as a world power was the principal ideological component in the discourses of the formative elements from the three forces. A fatalistic view of the history of Brazil was presented, since the perspective of the narrator is that of victory. It is denied that power was achieved through a coup d'état, rather it was classified as a revolution. The armed forces presented themselves as subjects carrying out, as delegates, of the popular will. The 'people' wanted to overthrow Goulart. By disqualifying Goulart, they emphasized the armed forces, highlighting the opposition between the Brazilian people and communism, between 'order' and 'chaos,' and whether or not revolution existed. The operation of converting a particular content into its contradictory term presented itself at the level of manifestation as a concept of history structured into antagonisms: the struggle between 'villain' and the 'hero.' It thus masked the existence of social classes and 'naturalizes' the social process, with contradictory values being affirmed and negated: order versus chaos.

Events are chronologically organized with the purpose of ordering a civic calendar to be remembered by Brazilians, the sense of which is the search for the democratic revolution. In the craving to explain the identity of the Brazilian people, there prevailed the idea of racial inter-mixing, which inevitably characterized a society aimed at conciliation and not at conflict. Brazilians were considered to be conservative by 'nature,' not wanting any change in law or in order. This supposed Brazilian character served as a guide wire in the implementation of propaganda policies during the military governments and in the publicizing of the myth of the 'red peril,' the ideological base of which justified the 'war' against the 'internal enemies' of the regime. Furthermore, it justified all the persecutions of intellectuals who were adepts of 'exogenous theories' who did not respect the essence of the Brazilian 'being.' The state thus came to incarnate the will of the nation and the people, being at the service of the common good, and this to be above private interests or groups and social classes, defining their aims and adapting their means.

By contemplating the ideal of Brazil as a major power, represented in the binomial 'development and security,' the past is seen as continual progress, oscillating optimistic and pessimistic visions of Brazil, so characteristics of the so-called 'official history.' 17 In general, the vision of the future always appeared as a greater present that is better in relation to the past, as well as an almost obsessive search for explanations about our identity. The idea persisted of continuity, originating for some in the tenentista revolutionary tradition of the 1920s, which prescribed interventions in opposition to corrupt civil political parties. This historic determination, successive in various generations of the military, justified the inevitability of the 1964 coup and the logical unfolding of events narrated as cause and effect, explaining the permanent need to remain in government. Furthermore, these discourses are not mere rebirths or restorations of the glorious deeds of the 'revolution;' they are innovations which use or intend to use elements from a real or imagined historical past to justify political positions in the present and to project the future.

Some phrases are used in the discourses in an attempt to define 31 March 1964 in conceptual terms: '1964 Revolution,' 'Civilian and Military Movement of 31 March 1964' - which involved two actions: the counter-revolution (three phases) and the revolution which transformed Brazil, the 'Counter-Revolution of 31 March,' the ' Glorious Revolution,' the 'Revolutionary Movement of 31 March,' the 'Political Revolution of 31 March;' and finally we can find a very different terms: ' the Vigorous Movement of 1964-1985.' The movement which culminated with the overthrow of Goulart, has received a series of simplified interpretations, as shown in this paper. In the discourse of the memorialists of power, it is always exalted as a 'revolution;' in the memorialism of opposing powers, the repression is condemned as a Coup d'état.

Understanding the different versions that sought to analyze the causes and consequences becomes more important for the understanding of the object in question that analyzing superficial concepts, both those who consider the overthrow of Goulart as the result of a political rupture in accordance with revolutionary dictates, and those who reduce it to the simple result of a military backed coup.18 Those who use the term 'revolution' promote a broadening of the concept, which does not apply to events before or after the overthrow of Jango in 1964. The concept of revolution, with the precise modern form it has received from Marxist theory, assumes revolutionary action to be an instrument to overthrow existing political authorities and their consequent replacement, in order to transform political, social and cultural relations, the economic structure and the legal and institutional order.

Therefore, 1964 was not created by a mere accident in the Brazilian political process (a military coup), nor was it, due to its own nature, a revolution. We have used the concept of military regime, or also civilian and military dictatorship, which better expresses the potentials of the developments of 31 March 1964. From the point of view of the political and institutional crisis, it is identified as a conservative political and military movement, in opposition to the populist national 'base reforms' and the political participation of the poorer sectors. It was also capable of expressing the interests of the ruling classes with the support of the middle classes. It guaranteed the linking of the national business class to international capitalism, corresponding to the modern extract of the industrial bourgeoisie.

Furthermore, the analysis of the enormous mass of discourses produced by the military involved in the coup allows us to state that in their versions they do not mention the interruption of the democratic process in 1964, culminating with the usurpation of liberties and the disrespecting of human rights. They do not credit the economic achievements and results, the so-called 'Brazilian miracle,' to international conditions or to internal potentials. Nor do they remember the costs of this development arising out of the raising of levels of poverty. For this it is sufficient to look at the health, education and income distribution indicators of the present, fruit of the exclusionary and marginalizing economic model implemented by the military. They refused to admit that the Brazilian Congress lost its power of inspection and the press was censored in this period. They forget on purpose that for the opposition, after the 'political opening' in the 1980s, all that was left was to count the victims of the repression: dead, disappeared, impeached and exiled, as well as the purging of civilians and the army.

 

NOTES

1 At the end of 40 pages there is an note that says that the document is part of the summarized text of an article by Clarence W. Hall, with the authorization of Seleções do Reader's Digest, 1964. We can also find in the book by General Adolpho João de Paula Couto, A Revolução de 1964: a versão e o fato, published in 1999, references to Clarence W. Hall's article and the pamphlet A Nação que se salvou a si mesma on pages 144 and 172, in which it is stressed that Brazil was the key to communist domination in Latin America. General Raymundo Negrão Torres, in the book Nos "porões" da ditadura: fato que a esquerda finge ignorar e a falácia do militarismo no Brasil, also considers this article to be a faithful portrayal of events at that time, later confirmed by the 'impartial' reports that had been published. General Nelson Werneck Sodré confirmed that the propaganda task in planning the 1964 coup was based on publications such as Reader's Digest, subsidized by the State Department. This text was published in May 1964, and represents a "picturesque narrative of the military coup in Brazil ... This was while Operation Brother Sam remained with its documentation in the archives. For Brazilian military naivety, intensely worked on by propaganda, this naturally involved saving the country from anarchy." In: SODRÉ, N. W. Vida e morte da Ditadura: 20 anos de autoritarismo no Brasil. Petrópolis (RJ): Vozes, 1984. p.35.

2 Collection of articles - various authors. O Processo Revolucionário Brasileiro. Brasil. Presidência da República. Assessoria Especial de Relações Públicas da Presidência da República. Brasília, 1969. 118p. Other articles in the collection were concerned with the analysis of certain military governments, as well as dealing with specific questions of economic, social and political policy which are not significant in this investigation. These and other publications consisted of books, articles, leaflets, correspondence, journals, and monographic texts can be found in the 1964 Revolution collection, belonging to the Historical Archive of the Army, Rio de Janeiro.

3 Ministério do Exército - Dep. DEE Escola de Saúde do Exército. O Que é o Movimento Revolucionário de 31 de Março de 1964. Unknown author. Mimeographed Doc.- Folheto comemorativo, 1977. 15p.

4 The two orders of the day are part of the annexes to the speech given by General Carlos de Meira Mattos, published in the Revista do Clube Militar in March- April 1984 for the twentieth anniversary of the 'revolution'.

5 NOTICIÁRIO DO EXÉRCITO - Centro de Comunicação Social do Exército. Brasília, 31 mar. 1984. Ano XXVII, n.6.489. "31 de Março de 1964: 20 ANOS". Author: General Walter Pires de Carvalho e Albuquerque - Ministro do Exército.

6 Arquivo Histórico do Exército - Texts extracted from different sources. Caixa. 43 - Revolução de 64 - Defesa em 1987 - mimeografado. "O 23º Aniversário da Revolução Democrática Brasileira". General Div. Ref. Tasso Villar de Aquino.

7 Coronel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra commanded DOI-Codi in São Paulo between 1970-1974. Afterwards he headed the Operations Section of the Army Center of Information (Centro de Informações do Exército - CIE), between 1974 and 1977. Known as Major Tibiriçá, the coronel has been recognized as a torturer during the military regime of Brazil by the court system of São Paulo and is accused of being responsible for around 50 deaths and hundreds of cases of torture that occurred on the premises of DOI-Codi under his command. In 2008 he was the target of a legal case in which he was accused of the killing of the journalist Luiz Eduardo Merlino. This case was thrown out by the Tribunal of Justice of São Paulo. Ustra wrote the book Rompendo o Silêncio in 1987, and 19 years later published his second book of memoirs, A verdade sufocada (2006). In relation to Coronel Ustra's memoirs see CARDOSO, Lucileide Costa. Construindo a Memória do Regime de 1964. Revista Brasileira de História, São Paulo, v.14, p.179-196, 1994.

8 "Os 25 Anos da Revolução Democrática de 31 de Março". Jornal Letras em marcha, abr. 1989, p.3.

9 A reference to Luís Inácio Lula da Silva on the eve of the electoral process which guaranteed victory to Fernando Collor de Mello in 1989.

10 NOTICIÁRIO DO EXÉRCITO - Centro de Comunicação Social do Exército Brasília, 31 March 1989 - ano XXXII, n.7713, Ordem do Dia - 31 March. "Aniversário da Revolução Democrática de 1964". Authors: Fleet Admiral Henrique Sabóia - Minister of the Navy, General de Exército (General) Leônidas Pires Gonçalves - Minister of the Army; Tenente-Brigadeiro (Air Marshal) Octávio Júlio Moreira Lima - Minister of the Air Force.

11 Revista do Clube Militar. Editorial. Speech given in Clube Militar by General Carlos de Meira Mattos in the commemoration organized by the three military clubs to mark the 30th anniversary of the '1964 Revolution.' "O Ideário da Revolução de 31 de Março", 1994. p.4-7.

12 Revista do Clube Militar. "Revivendo 30 Anos Depois!". Transcription of a document from the Ministry of War written by General Humberto Castelo Branco, dated 20 March 1964. Also found in: BONAVIDES, Paulo; AMARAL, Roberto. Textos Políticos da História do Brasil. Sumário do v.7. Terceira República (1956-1964). 268. Antecedentes do 31 de Março. Circular reserved to the Head of the General Staff of the Army, Castelo Branco (20 March 1964), sent to the generals and other officers on the General Staff of the Army and subordinate organizations.

13 Revista do Clube Militar. Evento Comemorativo do Movimento Cívico-Militar dia 31 de Março de 1999. Rio de Janeiro, 35p.

14 This note was also transcribed in the document issued by the Ministry of the Army to be published in (the Noticiário do Exército newspaper) on 31 March 1999. "Informar e esclarecer é dever do Comando". Impresso do Clube Militar, cit., Rio de Janeiro, 1999. 35p. Here we should emphasize that the two newspapers expressed the thought of the planners of the of the 1964 coup: Diário de Notícias, a UDN newspaper which circulated between 1961 and 1963, serving as a base for the conspiracy to propagate the Doctrine of National Security and Noticiário do Exército, which in 1964 publicized the principal ideals of the new revolutionary doctrine.

15 We can now quantify the memory of power - writings by officers and civilians - as approximately sixty books, in their various formats: autobiographies, biographies, confessions and diaries, amongst others. There is also a large project of interviews with the military developed by the army, of which we can mention the most significant, which is directed by CPDOC. The project was organized by the social scientists Maria Celina D'Araújo and Gláucio Ary Dillon Soares and by the anthropologist Celso Castro, from Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil (CPDOC - Center for the Research and Documentation of the Contemporary History of Brazil), in Getúlio Vargas Foundation, the result of which was the publication of three volumes, with the texts of 38 interviews given by 14 officers between 1991 and 1994, which aimed to show the military memory of the 1964 coup, the repression and the 'opening.' A fourth volume, with interviews given by another 14 officers between 1997 and 1999, dealt with the military memory of the New Republic. The same group of researchers also organized and published a long interview with the former president Ernesto Geisel, held over 19 sessions between July 1993 and March 1994.

16 In other sources produced by the army and on the www.ternuma.com.br there is a list with the names of 33 soldiers who were supposedly victims of the left. The military defended the right of family members of soldiers who were the victims of 'terrorism of the left,' to receive compensation from the state. In addition, partial information can be found about memorialist production, critical speeches in relation to governmental policy and comments intended to convince large social sectors of the continuity of subversion in the country, as expressed in the manifesto of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT - Workers' Party), founded in 1980.

17 The so-called 'official history' is divulged in civic commemorations and transmitted in schoolbooks. It emits the vision of the memory of the winner, passing on dates, characters and events that were marked by the victories that propelled its reading of history. The 'official history' relegates the 'memory of the defeated' to being forgotten or committed, contributing to the exercise of domination.

18 We used the entry "1964 Revolution" (p.5013-5024). In: DICIONÁRIO HISTÓRICO-BIOGRÁFICO BRASILEIRO PÓS-1930. Also part of this systematization is the DICIONÁRIO DE POLÍTICA, used to explain the concepts which guided the paper: Authoritarianism; Dictatorship; Coup d'état; Political Regime and Revolution.

 

 

Article received in March 16, 2011.
Approved in October 10, 2011.