The Frank War, the Fabrication of an Ongoing Menace, and the Jews

David M. K. Sheinin

in Consent of the Damned

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780813042398
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043005 | DOI:
The Frank War, the Fabrication of an Ongoing Menace, and the Jews

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The Argentine military framed its project for national regeneration against an ongoing terrorist menace, the “true” violator of human rights in Argentina. In this context, the 1976 coup marked both victory and defeat. The Argentine government called pre-1976 leftist guerrilla terrorism a “dirty war” while the military response counted as a “frank war,” waged openly with the backing of the “principals and traditions of the West.” The Argentine military conflated a domestic terrorist menace, international Marxist influences, and foreign criticisms of Argentine authorities on human rights–related questions. Military leaders argued that leftists forced to flee abroad had created new anti-Argentine bases of operations overseas. The most serious of the supposed foreign fabrications against the dictatorship revolved around the targeting of Jews for particularly harsh treatment. Those criticisms of anti-Semitism only subsided after 1981, when Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency of the United States signalling a favourable policy shift toward Argentina that the dictatorship had correctly anticipated. Reagan administration policy makers and Argentine authorities had shared priorities stressing the sort of Cold War communist menace that the Argentine military had been railing about, and that had formed—in the minds of Argentine officers—the basis for the March 1976 coup.

Keywords: Cold War; Argentina; Military; Dictatorship; Human Rights; Jews; Anti-Semitism

Chapter.  11172 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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