New Approaches to Inter-American Defense, 1940–70
Conference on Latin American History 35
Over the course of the previous decade, scholars have increasingly turned to the study of Inter-American defense in order to illuminate the history of violence in Latin America during the 20th century. Promoters of the concept of Inter-American defense imagined that increased security could be had by cultivating of a community of nations in the hemisphere that shared a common interest in defending its collective borders from exterior threats. This could mean military invasion from Europe, but it often came to mean threats from Latin Americans who were influenced by dangerous, foreign ideologies. Inter-American defense as a strategy was often defined and directed by the United States in unequal partnerships with Latin American governments. These collaborations reveal how the U.S. exerted power on its neighbors during WWII through the Cold War and the ways in which Latin American nations resisted domination from their neighbor to the north. This panel examines the creation of the concept of Inter-American defense from the beginning of WWII through the early Cold War by taking new approaches to its study, including focuses on the intersection between defense, cultural diplomacy, travel, and counterinsurgency training.