Perón was born in a moderately affluent family of farmers near Buenos Aires, his parents emigrated from Italy barely a decade and a half earlier and settled in Argentina. He enrolled in military school at the age of fifteen, and by the age of eighteen he had served as a lieutenant. He began his military career with the Argentine General Staff. His whole system of views differed from what was then considered general, and he soon established his political connections. Colonel Perón also played a significant role in the overthrow of President Hipólito Yrigoyen on September 6, 1930. In the following years he was a military attaché in several European countries, at which time he became acquainted with the ideas and system of Hitler and Mussolini. A year after the military coup in Argentina in 1943, he was already Minister of Defense and Vice-President, and he became increasingly popular through his demagogic public welfare program and promises to raise wages.
Her life took a sharp turn after she met the young and attractive but not particularly successful Eva Maria Duarte in the acting career in 1944, whom she soon married. When Peron was arrested in the fall of 1945 by his jealous comrades-in-arms, Evita and the unions organized hundreds of thousands of demonstrations to secure his release. A year later, Perón won an overwhelming victory in the presidential election, thanks in no small part to his wife. Breaking with tradition, Evita was actively involved and played a key role in the campaign, she was the first Argentine woman to be actively politicized and the first to appear in public in trousers.
Peron and Evita, surrounded by admiration to worship, radically changed the country. The essence of Peronism was the hatred of the rich, the love of the poor,
they announced. The new president embarked on a fast-paced industrialization, restricted the movement of private capital, introduced eight-hour working hours, compulsory on-the-job insurance, and even demanded the possibility of self-cleaning. Foreign-owned large corporations and trade unions were nationalized and the press was strictly controlled.
The living conditions of the masses had improved considerably, so they proved receptive to the populist voices of Perón, who also won the 1951 elections – not least because women were able to vote for the first time. Evita, who gave speeches about her husband, became a real institution, and she really did a lot to turn the destiny of ordinary people to the right. He formed the female wings of the Peronists and embraced the millions of strata of urban society, the “million without shirts.” However, it was not beaten by the Argentine press, it could have beaten to a big drum what a luxurious life the “guardian of the poor” lives: he brought his expensive furs, Cartier jewelery, Dior costumes from Paris. Evita died in 1952, from which time he was revered as a true saint.
At the same time as Perón’s private tragedy, as president, he brought in a series of unsecured wellness measures, and the economy collapsed under the double burden. What would have been previously unthinkable, half a million workers went on strike in 1954, alongside the big capitalists and landowners, with the grievances of the army and the Catholic Church as well. The whole of society turned against Peron, whose rule was overthrown in a coup on 19 September 1955. The fallen president fled to Paraguay and then settled in Spain. In 1961, he married a bar dancer who took the name Isabel Perón. During his exile, coups, military and civilian governments, guerrilla movements followed one another in his homeland, while the economy continued to decline.
Disappointment gave birth to nostalgia, and in 1973 the Peronists again won the election. Seventy-eight-year-old, seriously ill Perón returned home in triumph and was elected president in October, putting his wife as vice president. The old and sick president only disappointed those who voted for him in the hope of a better life. He tried to put the catastrophic economy in order, but failed to apply the social democratic principles that had fallen from Europe. His death on July 1, 1974, certainly saved him from falling.
The presidency was inherited by a widow who called herself Isabelita, who tried in vain to follow in Evita’s footsteps. The economy found itself in an increasingly hopeless situation, with inflation accelerating as opposites from peronist factions sharpened. The end of the process was again marked by the army: another era of March 24, 1976, overthrowing Isabel Perón, ended the era of Peronism. However, his spirit is not dead: in recent decades, several Argentine presidential candidates have won a peronist program.
Information released after Peron’s death confirmed that he and Evita played a role in the transfer of Nazi-confiscated Jewish property to Argentina, many German war criminals were granted asylum in the South American country after World War II, and some of the money they paid was Evita Swiss. increased his account.
Juan Perón’s former summer residence is now home to a museum in the Buenos Aires suburb of San Vicente, where his ashes have been kept since 2006.
(Cover image: Juan Domingo Perón in 1950. Photo: Universal History Archive / Getty Images Hungary)