Brazil Under Vargas

By Karl LoewensteinMACMILLAN
KARL LOEWENSTEIN, ex-German with the German scholar’s capacity for piling up facts, has given us the first sound interpretation of current Brazilian politics. Liberals have kept busy damning Getulio A argas for his fascism, and sloppy good-willers with praising his good neighborliness; no one until now has bothered to find out what Getulio is about. Loewenstein plays fair with the Brazilian president. Vargas is no villain, his “energy, good will, circumspection, and moderation” are notable. Of course, he is no democrat; he holds no elections; he picks all officials, from top to bottom; he has a “ghost constitution . . . born, yet it. never has lived.” Nor is Vargas a fascist in any European sense; the Brazilian still has room in which to move around; no totalitarianism there. Furthermore Vargas deserves credit for appointing unusually sound men to office, for permitting considerable debate in high circles, and for making substantial contributions to the lot of the common man. As a guide to the understanding ol Brazil s probable course in the present war, the book is indispensable. On the whole, it stiffens our hope that Brazil will be able to make a substantial contribution towards policing South America against possible thrusts from Africa.
This book, like Mr. White’s study of the Argentine, will help the reader to ponder two of the chief questions about the role of South America in the war. Will Argentina, under its present rather fascistminded administration, furnish aid and comfort to the Axis? Will Brazil, because of its size and poverty, prove the exposed heel to outside attack? No one can answer these questions, but Mr. White and Mr. Loewenstein give us plenty to chew on. H. H.