Buenos Aires: An Interwar City of Anticolonial Activism, 1918–39

Friday, January 8, 2016: 9:30 AM
International Ballroom B (Atlanta Marriott Marquis)
Steven Hyland, Wingate University
In the era of mass migration, Argentina became the second most popular destination in the Americas. This flow largely ended with the outbreak of war in Europe and did not begin again until the cessation of hostilities in 1918. Yet, these large populations of foreign nationals remained connected to the destinies of their homelands, many of whom created and sustained transnational networks of anti-colonial actors in the interwar period. Indeed, Buenos Aires emerged as an important hub of activism directed at freeing home societies of colonial rule by European nations. In addition, the growing strength and sustained interventions by the US also generated transnational networks devoted to strengthening democracy and sovereignty.

The actions and rhetoric deployed by these activists provoked great interest and concern in Washington DC, London and Paris and inspired a wide range of responses by these nation-states to counter the anti-colonial politicking of these reformers and revolutionaries.

This paper explores the development and connections of these networks by activists based in Buenos Aires. The paper argues that these networks, although less important in bringing about the demise of European colonial and US hegemony, were vital in creating enduring transnational connections, strategies of resistance, and shared discourses and symbolic registers that framed how these interactions were understood into the early Cold War era. Furthermore, these connections integrated the city of Buenos Aires into these transnational circuits.

This presentation is based upon newspaper accounts (Arabic, English, French, and Spanish), British, French, and US diplomatic records, and personal accounts by activists.

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