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The War Has Brought Peace to Mexico

World War II and the Consolidation of the Post-Revolutionary State

Halbert Jones

Publication Year: 2014

Although the battlefields of World War II lay thousands of miles from Mexican shores, the conflict had a significant influence on the country’s political development. Though the war years in Mexico have attracted less attention than other periods, this book shows how the crisis atmosphere of the early 1940s played an important part in the consolidation of the post-revolutionary regime.

Through its management of Mexico’s role in the war, including the sensitive question of military participation, the administration of Manuel Avila Camacho was able to insist upon a policy of national unity, bringing together disparate factions and making open opposition to the government difficult. World War II also made possible a reshaping of the country’s foreign relations, allowing Mexico to repair ties that had been strained in the 1930s and to claim a leading place among Latin American nations in the postwar world. The period was also marked by an unprecedented degree of cooperation with the United States in support of the Allied cause, culminating in the deployment of a Mexican fighter squadron in the Pacific, a symbolic direct contribution to the war effort.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

I fear that over the long lifetime of this project, I have accumulated many more scholarly and personal debts than I can properly acknowledge. Though I must therefore apologize in advance to colleagues and friends whose contributions I might fail to mention, I would like to assure all...

Abbreviations and Acronyms

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pp. xv-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

On the eve of Mexico’s Independence Day in September 1942, the large crowd gathered in the Zócalo, the capital’s main square, witnessed a remarkable sight. Above them, on a platform erected in front of the National Palace, the country’s six living ex-presidents stood shoulder...

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1. Ávila Camacho’s Difficult First Year: December 1940–December 1941

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pp. 11-30

During the first year after his inauguration on December 1, 1940, President Manuel Ávila Camacho faced considerable challenges as he sought to establish his authority as the head of the Mexican state and as the leading figure in Mexican public life. Many of the conservative...

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2. Increasingly Tenuous “Neutrality”: December 1941–May 1942

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pp. 31-56

Although Pearl Harbor lies more than 2,500 miles from the nearest point on the Mexican coast, the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base there brought World War II much closer to Mexico. Indeed, the fact that the country’s powerful neighbor to the north had...

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3. Mexico Enters the Global Conflict: May-June 1942

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pp. 57-94

Just before midnight on May 13, 1942, a torpedo launched by a German U-boat struck the bridge of the Mexican oil tanker Potrero del Llano as it steamed northward off the Atlantic coast of Florida. Thirteen men, including the ship’s captain and most of its officers, perished in the...

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4. “Orienting” the Public: June 1942–July 1943

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pp. 95-140

Recognizing that most Mexicans still viewed the Second World War as something far-off and abstract even after the country formally entered the conflict, the Ávila Camacho administration took various steps during the latter part of 1942 to convince the public that Mexican...

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5. Toward Direct Participation: July 1943–July 1944

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pp. 141-174

W ith the midterm elections safely concluded, the Ávila Camacho administration continued to make subtle moves to prepare the population for the possibility of direct participation in World War II, but also, for the first time, it began to take concrete steps behind the...

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6. Preparing for Peacetime: July 1944–November 1945

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pp. 175-214

During the latter part of 1944, it became increasingly clear that the Allies would win the Second World War. The success of the Normandy invasion in June and the steady advance of the Red Army on the Eastern Front after it had turned back the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad...

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Epilogue

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pp. 215-222

On July 7, 1946, less than eight months after the triumphant return of the men of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force to their homeland, Miguel Alemán Valdés won election as president of Mexico for the 1946– 1952 term. For the first time since the Revolution, the contest for the...

Notes

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pp. 223-268

Bibliography

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pp. 269-288

Index

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pp. 289-296

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780826351326
E-ISBN-10: 0826351328
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826351302

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2014

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Subject Headings

  • Mexico -- Foreign relations -- 1910-1946.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Mexico.
  • Avila Camacho, Manuel, 1897-1955.
  • Mexico -- Politics and government -- 1910-1946.
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