In 1939, Brazil seemed a world away from the chaos overtaking Europe. Yet despite its bucolic reputation as a distant land of palm trees and pristine beaches, Brazil’s natural resources and proximity to the United States made it strategically invaluable to both the Allies and the Axis alike. As acclaimed historian Neill Lochery reveals in The Fortunes of War, Brazil’s wily dictator Getúlio Dornelles Vargas keenly understood his country’s importance, and played both sides of the escalating global conflict off against each other, gaining trade concessions, weapons shipments, and immense political power in the process. Vargas ultimately sided with the Allies and sent troops to the European theater, but not before his dexterous geopolitical machinations had transformed Rio de Janeiro into one of South America’s most powerful cities and solidified Brazil’s place as a major regional superpower.
A fast-paced tale of diplomatic intrigue, The Fortunes of War reveals how World War II transformed Brazil from a tropical backwater into a modern, global power.