Modernizing Defenses: The Inter-American Aviation Training Program and World War II

Saturday, January 9, 2016: 9:00 AM
Room 311/312 (Hilton Atlanta)
Juile Irene Prieto, Stanford University
Starting in 1941, the Office of Inter-American Affairs, in partnership with the Department of Commerce, founded a grant program to bring pilots, mechanics, and teachers of technical aviation to the United States to study their trade. Called the Inter-American Aviation Program, these fellowships brought hundreds of Latin American aviators to technical schools and to training courses given by the U.S. Army for up to two years at a time. This program was established as a reaction to fears that fascism and totalitarianism would spread in Latin America, to shore up the defense of the hemisphere against Europe, and to stimulate commercial ties between the U.S. and Latin America in the post-war. This paper will examine the program, the impact of exchanges on Latin American trainees, and analyze how the concept of hemispheric defense changed during WWII.