Earth is “the most uncomfortable place in the Universe”, the world “turns into a house of energy” and we live in an air “full of hatred and malice”. But any resemblance to the present is purely coincidental.
The above sentences were published 100 years ago, when the pages of Folha da Noite showed, in their international coverage, turmoil among the world’s most powerful countries, internal strife and headlines about “revolutions.” », Strikes, attacks and violent clashes between communists and fascists – in both cases, the originals.
Reading the archival texts of that time, the air seemed to weigh more and more every day and, aware of all that happened in the years and decades that followed, it is easy to identify in 1921 the seeds of what would come later.
Written by Augusto Lopes and published on April 6 (“Wilson mudo”, p. 5), the excerpts from the first paragraph concerned that “curious moment” when World War I, although officially over in 1918, showed signs of wouldn’t end anytime soon. Despite the cease-fire and a signed peace treaty, not only did “concord” seem distant, but there were already those who spoke of a “next war”.
During the first half of 1921, the dominant issue in the international section of the newspaper was the negotiations between the victorious Allied countries and Germany, which, in addition to losing territory and military force, would have to pay compensation for the damage caused. The Allies represented the UK, Italy, the US and France, which has been highlighted as the harshest face in the negotiations against Germany.
According to Lopes, this “horrible state of affairs” the world was experiencing was a consequence of the “imperialist greed and the insatiable greed” of the victorious statesmen. It also reflected the performance of the US government in formulating the Treaty.
Versailles, the document which, in 1919, concentrates the combined post-war period.
Called on by Germany to mediate the end of the conflict, then US President Woodrow Wilson, in office between 1913 and 1921, has been described as a “naive dreamer”, whose good intentions have been “sidestepped by the malice, by the double, by iron intransigence. and for the short reach of the political opinions of the magnates of old Europe ”.
Journalist Mario Pinto Serva, however, was the one who broached the issue the most in Folha, a frequent author at the time of the newspaper. In the first months of the year, he devoted a large part of his texts to negotiations between countries, to “Germanophobia” and its effects on the German people.
In “Looted Germany” (1/3, p. 3), Serva wrote about the indemnity billed by the Allies, then worth 226 billion gold marks, the German currency at the time. “Obviously, madness dominates the brains of French and English statesmen. (…) It is a brutal and barbaric sanction, because there is no example in history, ”he declared.
A few days later, in “Pelos oppressidos” (3/14, p. 3), he spoke of the German situation, with “45 million women and minors, absolutely innocent, suffering from the horrors of hunger, degenerating into malnutrition. , in misery, in tuberculosis “, while from France,” not only does she not cry out for mercy and compassion “, but they simply want” more money, more mines, more land, more ships “.
Three months later, in “The Next War” (6/17, p. 3), his words take on prophetic contours: “The next war is a matter of time and will only be avoided if Germany is allowed to restore peacefully all its domains, remake all its territory, claim all its rights ”.
Otherwise, he declared, “in three, five or ten years Germany will take revenge from now on, even because she has the only definitive superiority of strength and power”.
Indeed, historians see in the harsh impositions of the Treaty of Versailles one of the ferments of the rise of the German nationalist extreme right. In the digital collection of the 1921 newspaper, there is no obvious reference – apart from illegible texts – to Nazism or the future dictator Adolf Hitler. But that same year, in July, he became president of the small Nazi party.
While Nazism was not yet big enough to make headlines in Brazil, the same cannot be said of Italian fascism, which made its debut in the cover of Folha in late April.
“The political phenomenon of ‘fascism’, which, with so much violence, has just erupted in Italy, will come to be reflected in the numerous Italian colony of São Paulo?”, Asked the text (“Fascism”, 4 / 27, p. 5), and then explain what movement was.
“The ‘fascists’ were originally members of the Fascio Nazionalista, an organization of intellectuals which (…) has recently achieved a tremendous development, opposing a terrible barrier to reformist tendencies of part of the people Italian.
Described as a “patriotic institution”, fascism, continues the author with illegible initials at the end of the text, “was nothing more than an upper house, but with the social phenomenon of the occupation of factories and the presence of an immediate danger to the security of the state, all the conservative forces of the nation, representing the most varied political tendencies, have gathered around “Fascio”, thus constituting a crushing avalanche which enters at any time in conflict with extremists ”.
Two days later, the news that “Italy is on fire” (4/29, p. 2) would be published, with the clash between “fascists, nationalists and maximalists” (as the Bolsheviks were called), which “ kill if everyone else “.
According to Libero Ancona’s assessment, Italy was then living “the best moments of its existence” and, “despite the struggles and the troubles, the words, the art, the theater, everything, in short, has progressed”. Unlike Serva, however, the commentator lacked a little more long-term vision:
“The fascists will disappear one day, maybe soon, but (…) the seed has been sown and the flowering will begin soon. Italy is making great strides towards the path to Glory ”.
In the weeks and months that followed, the internal crisis intensified, with “intestinal struggles” across Italy between fascists and communists and a “grave political situation”. In December, the newspaper reported (12/17, p. 3) that radicalism was a consequence of the First War.
“Fascism” and so many other “isms” were fueled by the injustice that Italy suffered in sharing the fruits of the common victory, for which she – perhaps the only one among all the Allies – gave “Everything” she could donate in blood and wealth, ”wrote correspondent David (with last name illegible on file).
In November, the name of the future dictator Benito Mussolini appears in Folha (8/11, p. 3). The same month, he founded the National Fascist Party in Rome. The following year, he came to power, from which he did not come out until 1943, at the height of the Second World War.
Another protagonist of that year was Russia, which, according to the newspaper’s pages, was experiencing “a distant tragedy” (3/17, p. 3), four years after the fall of the monarchy and the coming to power of Vladimir Lenin – and a forward of the rise of the Soviet Union. “During these four years it has been shown that the proletarian dictatorship is the worst there is – the bloodiest, the most vindictive, the most terrorist.”
But from there, in addition to the political situation and the Third Congress of the Communist International, attention was drawn to the onset of a great famine, caused by a combination of civil war, drought and appropriation of food from the diet, which lasted until the following year, after killing about 5 million people.
In “A Red Army Against the Hungry” (10/8, p. 7), the news was given that the Russian government had sent troops to “stop the march of the hungry from the eastern provinces of the Volga and who are advancing in verse. Kazan, devastating everything. (…) The Minister of War, Trotsky, personally commands the operations ”.
Political upheavals were also reported in Portugal, where ministers were assassinated in October, in a revolt sparked by “general discontent” in Spain, which had its Prime Minister Eduardo Dato killed by Catalan anarchists in Japan, who also saw its Prime Minister Hara Takashi being assassinated, in addition to the clashes between the Irish Army (IRA) and the United Kingdom.
From an international relations perspective, Brazil was portrayed as a country well received in Europe, through its then Ambassador to France, Gastão da Cunha; respected by the League of Nations, with the lawyer and diplomat Ruy Barbosa elected that year to the International Court of Justice; and the target of the jealousy of South American neighbors, “for its diplomatic hegemony”, since, unlike Argentina and Chile, the official representation of Italy in Brazil had the status of embassy.
Itamaraty also played an important role in the negotiations for the arrival of immigrant labor in Brazil, considered essential for “national progress” and for its “economic future”. In December, it was published that more than 20,000 immigrants had entered Brazil in the previous six months.
“France, England, Italy, Austria, Hungary (…) succeeded in the most appalling social upheavals. There is misery, there is anxiety, there are fears everywhere, both in the cities and in the fields. Crisis on crises, revolutions on revolutions, ”said a text on the cover of April 7. “Things have changed, of course. We are now at the top.
First World War
World War I was a conflict between the Allied countries, primarily France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Japan, and the United States, and the Central Empires, primarily Germany, Austria- Hungary and Turkey.
The assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist was the trigger of a situation prior to the arms race between the countries of Europe, to the territorial conflicts between Germany and France and the Balkans.
It lasted between July 1914 and November 1918
Unprecedented in terms of destruction and death, the war is linked to the end of four dynasties – in Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Turkey -, the Russian revolution and the internal destabilization of European countries, which would lead to World War II.
Treaty of Versailles
Peace document signed at the Palace of Versailles, France, between the allied countries and Germany, in June 1919. Creation of the League of Nations, a pre-UN organization
He withdrew from the territories of Germany, forced the demilitarization of the country and demanded the payment of compensation for the damage caused. In 1921, the value was set at 33 billion US dollars
Although it was revised in the following years in favor of Germany, historians note that the harsh terms of the treaty and the humiliation imposed on the Germans led to the rise of nationalist sentiment and the rise to Nazi power.