The Origins of Argentina’s Revolution of the Right

Alberto Spektorowski

From the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies

The Origins of Argentina’s Revolution of the Right traces the ideological roots and political impact of Argentine right-wing nationalism as it developed in the 1930s and 1940s. In this spirited book, Alberto Spektorowski focuses on the attempt by a new brand of nonconformist intellectuals to shift the concept of Argentine nationalism from its liberal incarnation to an integralist-populist one, and simultaneously to change Argentina’s path of development from liberalism to a “third road” of economic autarky.

Spektorowski argues that this “third road” to national modernity was reactionary in regard to liberal rights, reform socialism, parliamentary politics, and cosmopolitan society. At the same time, it was modernist in terms of industrialization, anti-imperialist ideology, social justice, and social mobilization. This popular mobilization under authoritarian rule embodied a new concept of organic nationalism, claims Spektorowski.

Argentina’s Revolution of the Right maintains that the “third road” developed in 1930s Argentina through the juxtaposition of two apparently opposing types of anti-liberal ideological currents: a right-wing authoritarian current reliant upon counterrevolutionary European sources, and an anti-imperialist, populist current. Spektorowski suggests that in the 1930s when Argentine economic dependency on Great Britain deepened, both ideological wings found a common language with which to attack liberal democracy.

Spektorowski shows that both of these wings rejected liberal institutions, bourgeois society, cosmopolitanism, and old-type conservatism, and became profoundly anti-imperialist. Both defended a “pro-axis” neutrality during World War II, and both set the ideological stage for Argentina’s sociopolitical shift of the 1940s. Spektorowski concludes that both of these currents produced a single nationalist ideology that became the intellectual framework in which the “repertoire” of political values of the 1943 military regime and Peronism was subsequently elaborated.

ALBERTO SPEKTOROWSKI is professor of political science at Tel Aviv University and is co-editor of Ethnic Challenges to the Modern Nation State.

Reviews

“In his detailed and well-crafted intellectual history, political scientist Alberto Spektorowski seeks to illuminate this disappointing performance by reexamining the work of Argentina’s nationalist ideologues of the 1930s. Spektorowski’s nuanced analysis of complex texts makes this book a useful contribution.” — American Historical Review

“. . . first rate . . . this book is easily accessible to the nonspecialist and is a welcome contribution to any graduate or undergraduate course concerning twentieth-century Latin American political developments and intellectual history.” — History: Reviews of New Books

“Those seeking a detailed treatment of the issues at hand will not be disappointed.” — Choice

“After having successfully demonstrated that political ideas emerge from ideology, Spektorowski surprises us with another finding: the two wings of nationalism, with several differences discussed throughout the book, were creatively combined in an unprecedented Argentine political formula. This was the ideological background of early Peronism, whose author was not an intellectual but a politician.” — Review of Politics

“. . . Spectorowski’s work represents an excellent addition to the historiography. It reveals the connections between fascism and longstanding tendencies in Argentine political culture.” — The Americas