The Portuguese Estado Novo and the Fear of «No Empire»

Sep 21, 2018 | Papers, Publications

The Portuguese Estado Novo and the Fear of «No Empire»: Some Intangible Reasons for the Resistance to Decolonization (1945-74)

  • Adolfo Cueto-Rodríguez
  • 2018
  • Espacio, Tiempo y Forma
  • Number 30
  • 143-165
  • Language: Spanish
  • DOI:
  • ISSN: 1130-0124 / 2340-1451 (online)

It is well known that the Portuguese dictatorship resisted decolonization until the end of its days, in April 1974. Since 1961 it did so with arms. The symbiosis between the perpetuation of the regime and the colonial war was such that one could hardly have survived without the other. Still, without a better solution, the future of both was sentenced. More difficult than starting a conflict is always to get out of it, which does not mean that the decision to embark on one and to keep it is simple. The reasons supporting the Portuguese government’s decision have been overly studied and are multiple. But what about the arguments that, as dogmas of faith, compromised the historical continuity of the homeland and its unity of destiny without the colonies? This text will focus on those arguments, since for many people the possibility of the «No Empire» hypothesis seriously threatened national identity and the countryʼs independence. To what extent did this vision of reality influenced the decision to resist and to hamper the political correction that would end the war? We donʼt know how to quantify the imponderable, but it deserves a reflection..

Portuguese Empire; Estado Novo; Colonial War; Decolonization; Communism; National independence; Iberism; European Integration

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