Were Eva and Juan Peron really Nazi sympathisers

(Personal anecdote)

Nine years ago when I was in Year 10 my history class went on a trip to the Sydney Jewish Museum as part of our unit on Genocide. I have a mild disability and I ended up walking around the museum with our teacher (because it meant I wouldn’t have to walk too much). Somehow she (the teacher) and I ended up talking about Eva and Juan Peron and she said that Eva Peron was a fascist. She said Juan was a fascist because of “the laws he passed.”

Now for the point of this debate:

Googling “eva peron fascist” turns up loads of sites which claim that Eva and Juan had a large numbered bank account in Switzerland where a percentage of donations to Eva’s charity were deposited and used to fund their lavish lifestyle and purchase her huge designer wardrobe and jewellery collection, also that Juan was an anti-Semite who allowed Nazis into the country and supported Hitler. The one about the Nazis is true and I know he supported Mussolini, but Hitler?

Also I was under the impression that the Swiss bank account rumour was just that: a rumour.

But were the Perons fascists? What’s the evidence they were or weren’t? Personally I’m leaning towards “Eva wasn’t a fascist but Juan was”. Or at least he was a Mussolini sympathiser)

I used to study Argentine politics, but it’s been a while. Let’s see how much I remember :slight_smile:

  1. Juan Peron was certainly influenced by fascism and was stationed in Italy when Mussolini was in power. But I don’t think Peronism/Justicialism was fascism in any strict sense. It was more of a hybrid of fascism, populism, and caudillismo. Now, in a more general sense, and this may have been what your teacher was referring to, Peron was harsh to his political opponents. Although democratically elected, he made full use of the state to silence dissent against him by, for example, severely restricting freedom of the press. Think of him as being something like Chavez in Venezuela was, though Peron didn’t go quite so far and wasn’t a clown.

  2. There’s no question that a number of Nazis flocked to Argentina after the war. Unfortunately, what exactly Peron did or did not do in the course of this is a subject laden with conspiracy theories and little hard evidence. Similarly, while there have been allegations and rumors of secret Swiss bank accounts and widespread embezzlement through the Eva Peron Foundation for decades, no one’s found any actual evidence, as far as I know.

  3. Was Peron a Nazi sympathizer? Not in the sense of supporting Nazism as a political philosophy and I don’t think that he was an anti-Semite (or at least not remarkably so for the time.) But he was certainly at the very least aware that there were Nazi war criminals in hiding in Argentina and was okay with that.

Wasn’t Peron also the first Argentine president to appoint Jews to public office?

Peron spent time in the Third Reich as a diplomat. He had no use for the anti-Semitic parts of National Socialism, but was okay with a LOT of it. Argentina was and still is a Catholic country, and the Nazis presented themselves as a bulwark against those Godless Atheist Communists. There were large German and Jewish communities in Argentina before the war. Their army was trained along German lines with the assistance of German advisers, so they were generally Neutral leaning toward Germany. Their navy was trained along British lines with the assistance of British advisers, so they were generally Neutral leaning toward England. When Brazil declared war against the Axis, Argentina took a stronger lean (but didn’t declare war) against the Allies, mostly as a stand against Brazil. Argentina looked the other way while the Germans resupplied their U-boats in Argentine waters, in violation of Neutrality laws.

Unlike many in the Officer Class of the Argentinian army and navy, Peron was not a wealthy man, born into money. So, he was open to accepting, um, charitable contributions from his friends in the Reich. Both during and after the war. He had no problem with Nazi war criminals hiding out in Argentina. They were generous towards him. It’s also believed that Peron had a predilection towards younger women and that there were films and such taken in Germany of Peron enjoying the company of 12 and 13 year old females, that threatened disclosure of such would inspire Peron to sort of look the other way at German violations of international law.

[Nitpick] That isn’t a “predilection for younger women.” [/nitpick]*

[sub] It’s not really a good euphemism for “paedophilia” or “child molester material” either. [/sub]

@alphaboi: Where did you learn that?

Okay. Mods, can you edit that into “He liked fucking 12 and 13 year old girls”

In actual fact, the Mistress that Eva kicked out, the one in that scene in the *musical *was 13 in reality. They made her three years older to make Peron seem like less of a child molester.

Do you have a cite for that? Most books just refer to Piranha as a “teenager”, though a couple say sixteen. I can’t find anything that says thirteen.

Hold on… that’s a good question

Doing some extra googling turns upthis thread on Musicals. net (It mentions the movie with Faye Dunaway as Eva). One poster does claim Piranha was a 13 year old but doesn’t *call *her Piranha.

Also this siteclaims Piranha’s name was Maria Cecilia Yarbel. I have no idea where that information came from.

Kind of on a tangent, how accurate (generally) is the movie about Eva with Faye Dunaway?

Yeah, that’s interesting. It could be true; I’ve never seen her name before.

I haven’t seen the Dunaway miniseries, so can’t comment.

Argentina ultimately declared war against Germany.

In March of 1945. :frowning:

Everything I’ve read on the matter agrees with what Ranger Jeff says here. Peron spent a couple years in Europe and was impressed with the economic organization he saw in the fascist countries. It certainly influenced his later plans for Argentina, but he didn’t have any intention of duplicating the concentration camps or anything like that.

The most significant thing about Peron is that he ruined a perfectly good country. Argentina in the early 20th century seemed to have everything going for it: decent economy, functioning democracy, incoming immigrants, and plenty of land. Ever since Person took power, the country has been lurching from one disaster to another. (Not to say he was solely responsible, of course, but he was the most significant individual behind Argentina’s national disaster.

This is true, but I think its misplaced to say that he was impressed by National Socialism. He spent almost his entire stay in Europe in Italy, only making brief trips to other countries. So Italian fascism was the dominant influence on him.

You’re right that Argentina at the beginning of the century was a truly first world country and it’s a great shame that that promise was squandered. But things had turned sour quite a while before Peron became head of state, beginning with the 1930 military coup.

Ah, but life in Argentina wasn’t great for everyone. It was basically only good if you were rich :slight_smile:

Addendum: Eva Peron was so loved and adored precisely because of that huge gap between the rich and the poor; she came from a humble background. Corruption and ego aside, her foundation actually made some improvement to people’s lives. There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that the grief over her death wasn’t a result of coercion or people “being told what to feel.”

Yeah, the truth seems to be that Eva was, in fact, beloved by “The Shirtless Ones” of Argentina.

I mean, that’s more or less true of everywhere in the world prior to the mid-20th century.

Argentina was probably less unequal than most Latin American countries, though. Part of the reason Argentina had so much political strife is precisely because most of their people weren’t starving illiterates who were too downtrodden to dream of anything better. Revolutions are rarely made by starving, dirt-poor people.

I don’t know if Peron slept with any 12-year olds, but he apparently did have a relationship with a 14-year old named Nelly Rivas, which caused something of a scandal just before he was overthrown. (A quick glance at Argentine age of consent laws indicates it was in something of a legal gray area).

One of the most fascinating things about Peron is what a political chameleon he was, especially during his 18-year exile. He managed to convince both the far left and the far right that he was really on their side, and that he was just pulling a fast one on their enemies to keep them in the fold. As it turned out, he wasn’t really either one, but was definitely more sympathetic to the right than the left (as the Montoneros learned to their eternal sorrow in 1973).

You know who the other politician was who did that? Batista.

Morwen Peron did it better. Batista was overthrown eventually: Peron died in office, having successfully won back the presidency after 18 years of exile.

Also, I don’t think the Communists really believed Batista was one of them: they supported him because they were under Soviet discipline, which held that Cuba wasn’t ready for a revolution. The Montoneros really did believe that Peron was a man of the left, right up until his widow unleashed the death squads on them.