Title: Right-Wing Paramilitary Groups in Chile, 1900-1950
RIGHT-WING PARAMILITARY GROUPS IN CHILE, 1900-1950
Paramilitary Militia, an Ignored Political Actor
The goal of the present article is to trace one of the least known and least studied topics in modern Chilean history: the existence of right-wing paramilitary groups during the 20th century.
Until 1973 Chile was generally considered by scholars and political leaders as a model republic in Latin America, characterized by an exemplary institutional stability and a dynamic democratic life. However, both the experience of a seventeen-year long military dictatorship and its social, cultural and economic consequences, along with the beginning of a process of democratic transition, a transition limited by laws and a Constitution which present real obstacles for the development of a full democracy, a heritage of General Pinochet's regime, have challenged this conception and demanded proof of its validity.
Despite Chile's long and effective democratic tradition, evidence also confirms the existence and permanence of another political tradition, a stream of conservative, nationalistic and counterrevolutionary  thought and practice.
This tradition produced and encouraged the emergence of paramilitary groups, civilian patrols and armed militia, especially in times of political and social crisis, groups which posed a real threat to the political-institutional order in Chile. These groups, mainly armed, used violence against foreigners, students, leftist workers, and even confronted deeply radicalized members of the military.
This was a new phenomenon in the country, only comparable with the civilian reactions of groups like the Partido Civil in Peru in the 1860s and that of President Figueres in Costa Rica in the 1940s. Recently, Patria y Libertad, a semi-fascist armed militia, was one of the mainstays in the spectrum of political agitation employed by the groups of Chilean middle class against Allende which ultimately resulted in the coup d'état of 1973.
This militarization of the political atmosphere powerfully influenced many sections of Chilean society, especially high ranking army officers, rightist intellectuals, members of the petit bourgeoisie, students, liberal professionals and even established political parties. History and political science can contribute to the study of counterrevolutionary tradition ignored or undervalued in the past, to obtain a richer knowledge of the political system that reigned in Chile during this century.
This article examines the most important paramilitary groups in the first half of the 20th century: the Patriotic Leagues, the Civilian Patrols of 1931, the Republican Militia, the National Socialist Movement (MNS) -also called nacistas- and the Chilean Anti- Communist Action (AChA).
I have divided the activities of the paramilitary groups into three periods. In the first period, the 1910s and 1920s, the Patriotic Leagues were the most important paramilitary organization in Chile. The principal expression of the Patriotic Leagues was its participation in the national and state border process in northern Chile, known as chilenización. It also played a significative role in the repression of the so-called social question, a period of social and political agitation characterized by the emergence of organized dissatisfaction among the working class.
In the second period, the 1920s and 1930s, the phenomenon of the emergence of rightist paramilitary groups (the Left responded to this with the development of paramilitary groups as a measure of self-defense in its own right) corresponded to a generalized crisis of the liberal democratic system that affected a large part of the western world, especially the agrarian, traditional and peripheral societies. The Chilean Republican Militia and the civilian patrols had their counterparts in other countries of the Southern Cone of Latin America; many of them guided by European models like the Freikorps, the German paramilitary group during the Weimar Republic, or the Finnish anti- communist militia in the 1930s.
In the third and last period, the 1940s, the domestic political polarization produced by World War II and the subsequent Cold War against communism influenced the nationalistic groups and also impacted the armed forces. Inspired by European fascism, these groups tended to establish authoritarian models outside the political system. Keeping in perspective the historical proportions, the Chilean situation of that time, and especially the populist government of General Ibáñez, resembled in certain respects the Argentine case. In fact, in Chile, both nationalistic civilian and military groups felt a great attraction for Peronism, then in power.
All of the paramilitary groups analyzed in this article have a lot of common characteristics. First, their continuity in time, a fact that shows the existence of a strong authoritarian tradition, which passed from generation to generation. In reality, a few of the paramilitary groups already extinguished or auto-dissolved. This is the case of AChA. Many of its members had been active participants in the Republic Militia or other minor groups in the previous decade and, in addition, contributed their weapons that had been hidden for years. It is also important to highlight the fact that these groups existed at the national level, even the northern Patriotic Leagues had followers in the rest of the country.
A second common characteristic was their appeal to violence, the militarization and the building of an armed, hierarchical militia with military discipline.
Despite the fact that the influence of fascist models from Germany and southern Europe was then strong, it is also true that the cyclical wave of paramilitary movements was based on a long Chilean historical tradition. This tradition begins with the civilian and practically voluntary militia which defended the first colonial cities against the attacks of indigenous peoples and bandits while the Spanish standing army was away in campaign along the southern frontier. During the 19th century those militia were restructured by the conservative minister Diego Portales and, under its new name of the National Guard based on the French model, served to contain the army. This fact partially explains the absence of any coup d'état in Chile during this period.
Furthermore, the militia also operated as a virtual police force for the agrarian aristocracy. Finally, the National Guard, composed of volunteers, played an important role in the War of the Pacific, and only ended when compulsive military service was born in 1900.
Third, the paramilitary groups had a common anti-leftist ideology and, in many cases, were frankly counterrevolutionary. Moreover, the majority of the groups, though not necessarily explicitly, exhibited a tendency towards corporativism and an attitude of disdain for liberal democracy and its mechanisms (universal suffrage, etc.). However, it is important to consider that corporativism's influence, understood as a third way between liberalism and Marxism, was so strong that it even extended to non-authoritarian political groups.
The social origin of these groups was generally bourgeois and the landowning class with a strongly controlled popular, mass base. This is one of the most important differences with the fascism that supported mass based politics. In the case of the Republican Militia, for instance, popular masses were incorporated into the organization in a controlled way, through regiments built especially for them. The officers were recruited exclusively from the upper class. In order to overcome the people's general impression of the obvious class character of the Republican Militia, its top leaders developed the idea of building regiments formed exclusively of workers, clerks and a few students.
This was the case of the infantry regiment No. 5 Sargento Aldea. In fact, this became a model unit and was shown with satisfaction throughout the country. Despite the strong civilism of the Chilean upper class, the paramilitary groups were a kind of meeting point for civilians and military, many times separated by political quarrels or praetorian intents. It is significant that many members of these groups were retired officers, generally of the Navy. They counted with the support of their colleagues in service. These officers operated as military advisers and organizers of the troops.
Nationalistic motives were present in the paramilitary groups' ideology. Such is the case of the Patriotic Leagues, for example, which had nationalistic and xenophobic feelings against the Peruvian population. The same could be said of the most of the small civilian and military groups of the 1930s and 1940s which also expressed their intent to contain Jewish immigration.
Though the paramilitary groups generally were unable to articulate a national project, they operated with a great deal of autonomy with regards to the political parties of the traditional and established Right. They even became sharp critics of these parties supposed passivity and desires for power. The nacistas were the exception because they tended to co-opt the support base of the leftist parties with anti-imperialist and populist slogans.
Religious topics were not emphasized by the paramilitary nor their press. No priests are known to have been members of these groups. This can be explained by their pronounced militant and contingency character in relation to the political and ideological elite. Equally, women did not play an important role in these organizations. Only the Republican Militia and AChA considered them marginal assigning them the task of organizing first care and supporting groups. The nacistas organized some female groups probably driven by the fact that women began to vote in municipal elections. In contrast, the Republican Militia gave great importance to the education of boys and teenagers building a parallel paramilitary organization exclusively integrated by male young people.
Despite their common characteristics, an important distinction is necessary.
There were two types of paramilitary groups. On the one hand, there were counterrevolutionary groups which formed spontaneously but inexorably when the upper classes felt themselves in danger. The most overhanging example of this response is the Republican Militia. These groups were not destined, at the beginning at least, to substitute the political parties or obtain power. Their mission was to restore the order, even against the military, which were normally meant to keep it.
On the other hand, there were also groups of conspirators, generally close to fascism which did not necessary develop in moments of deep crisis. They tended to become to political parties with government programs. This sector included groups which were built or influenced by military caudillos like General Díaz Valderrama and General Ibáñez, or civilian charismatic leaders like González von Marées and professor Gómez Millas. This does not mean that these groups could not serve as the base for counterrevolutionary groups, two clear examples of this were the corporatist parties Unión Republicana and Acción Nacional, which were, in a certain way, the base of Republican Militia. Equally, the nationalist and fascist groups which were heavily influenced by Peronism and Franco, served as a base of support for AChA since 1946. These conspiratorial groups, which also influenced members of the Chilean army, an army professionalized following the German model, operated actively principally in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, encouraging mobs and coup d'état attempts.
All paramilitary groups were used, financed and supplied with weapons (but not organized) by the civilian governments, as long as they were useful. Later they were only tolerated and, finally, as the civilian government's power was safeguarded, forced to disappear.
The Patriotic Leagues, 1911- 1925.
The Patriotic Leagues existed in intermittent fashion from 1910 until mid-1920s, principally in the provinces of Tarapacá and Antofagasta. These northern provinces of Chile had been annexed from Peru and Bolivia following the War of the Pacific (1879-83). Three periods of activity, 1911-1912, 1918-1920 and 1925, clearly stand out, dates which coincide with increased levels of diplomatic tension between Chile and Peru, including the failed attempt to carry out a plebiscite in Tacna and Arica.
There were organized groups, some of them armed, in the major cities of the region (Arica, Iquique, Pisagua and Antofagasta) and in numerous nitrate companies throughout the desert. Although the Chilean government formally dissolved the Leagues in 1911-1912 and kept them under surveillance in the following years, the government's attitude allowed them to commit excesses of every type.
The goal of the Leagues was to assault, with systematic and wild violence, Peruvian and Bolivian residents in that provinces, independent of their social position. Since their beginning and particularly since 1918, the Leagues were used by rightist parties - mainly Liberal factions- in order to coopt the nitrate proletariat which leaned to Socialist and Anarchist ideology. The Leagues later acquired an anti-socialist character and opposed the reformism of the Arturo Alessandri's Alianza Liberal. Furthermore, they developed throughout Chile.
The Leagues were a mixture of militant nationalism and traditionalism. In 1919, Belisario Salinas, president of the Antofagasta Patriotic League, maintained, for example, it was necessary "to return to the old values, to the time of old Chile in which the values of talent, character, honesty and work were imposed".
He attributed the actions of communism and liberalism to the corrupting Peruvian gold. The Leagues used to celebrate patriotic dates like the anniversary of the battle of Maipú and La Concepción. The Antofagasta League -with delegates in Chuquicamata, Calama and little towns in the desert- used to organize boycotts against stores that employed Peruvian personnel and impeded the landing of Peruvian citizens arriving in the city.
The principal demands of the Leagues were the closing of Peruvian schools and newspapers; the prohibition against Peruvians being teachers, civil servants, employees in the customs, merchant marines, ports, etc.; that 80% of all workers and employers must be Chileans; that all those born in Tarapacá preform military service; the restriction and eventual prohibition of Peruvian immigration; the closing of the Peruvian consulate in Iquique, since it was considered unnecessary; the prohibition of the flying of the Peruvian flag on Peru's independence day, and the fortification of the Chilean defenses in the border.
The Chilean authorities generally limited themselves to acts of sacking and intimidation while the troops only mobilized to avoid lynchings and other similar crimes. Such an attitude of complicity was denounced in the Chilean Parliament, in Santiago and in the student organizations' press.
Coinciding closely with the development of the nationalist movement in the north, the Patriotic Leagues emerged in the center and the south dedicated to developing a strong nationalist, rightist campaign. One of the principal organizations of this period was the Military Patriotic League. It united upper class retired military officers and veterans of the War of the Pacific. In 1918 it was led by a retired admiral. Its most important center was located in Santiago and there were also branches in Valparaíso and others cities. It celebrated patriotic events, such as the commemorations of the war against Peru and Bolivia and, along with other smaller organizations, actively participated in repressive actions against strikers and students.
In general, from the 1920s on the Patriotic Leagues began to decline, principally because it now became possible to channel tensions over the border question into diplomatic dialogue. The Leagues can be considered as the most direct predecessor of Chilean fascism. For instance, in 1923, the League of Iquique transformed itself in the Partido Fascista, an imitation of Italian fascism. In 1924, TEA emerged (the letters in Spanish stand for tenacity, enthusiasm and self-sacrifice and, at the same time, also mean fire or flame), a secret and nationalist society outstanding for its provocative activity against the Alessandri government. It was led by a retired army general, the lawyer Oscar Dávila and Jorge González von Marées, the future Nazi chief of the 1930s.
The emergence, at the national level, of the Patriotic Leagues was not accidental. In fact, it tended to connect two apparently separated phenomenons: externally, the border problems and internally, the strike movements. These events took place at a time when the first signs of the political crisis of the oligarchic regime began to show.
a) The Civilian Patrols and the Republican Militia, 1931-1936.
The collapse of the military regime headed by General Carlos Ibáñez (1927-31) in July 1931 produced a sudden vacuum of power and the eruption of various social
tensions latent in Chilean society which had been suppressed during the dictatorship. This phenomenon, together with the political agitation of unemployed workers and radical military which lasted until the end of 1932, motivated the emergence, on the national level, of a conservative movement whose goals were to recover civilian political power, the return of the armed forces to their barracks (they had been involved in politics since 1924), and the repression of any disturbance from the popular masses. This was the origin and the motivation of the civilian reaction, materialized in almost fifty civilian paramilitary patrols that proliferated between 1931 and 1936 in Chile. The hegemony of that movement was shared in certain moments with the conservative political class, which was in turn attacked by the military caudillo Ibáñez, along with radicalized sectors of the middle class.
First and foremost, the civilian patrols carried out the functions of the police (traffic, night vigilance, etc.) because of the level of generalized distrust felt for the militarized police, called Carabineros. Secondarily, the movement tended to develop against the armed forces, principally the army, which was held responsible for the critical economical and political situation of the country.
The climax of that political crisis was the establishment of the short-lived Socialist Republic in June 1932, an event that indicates the depth of factionalism within the armed forces. The creation of the Socialist Republic prompted the right to take forceful measures in turn: the creation of the Republican Militia, a true civilian parallel army.
Under the slogan Order, Peace, Home and Fatherland the Republican Militia was born on July 24th 1932, a few days after the end of the socialist experiment.
Eulogio Sánchez Errázuriz, a conservative and rich businessman, was elected as first commander-in- chief. The first paramilitary formations were the regiments Republic, Constitution and Liberty.
Having obtained official recognition from the rightist parties, the judiciary and the provisional civilian government, the Republican Militia speedily began to organize a large military organization. To achieve this goal the Militia counted on the financial support of important oligarchical leaders, and an arsenal of rifles and machine guns, which the government turned over to them.
Under these conditions, and with the help of retired officers as advisers, the Republican Militia became a disciplined and hierarchical civilian army, which had followers throughout the country. Its structure was patterned after that of a professional army; it was headed by a general staff and a President.
The Republican Militia developed into a sizeable force numbering, between 50,000 and 80,000 men according to sources that I consulted. This mass phenomenon was completely new in the modern history of Chile and can only compare with the popular mobilization which happened during the War of Pacific. The Republican Militia had a small air force used to transport its leaders across the country, distribute leaflets and to carry out war games and bombings. This air force actively participated in almost all the exercises and maneuvers organized by the Republican Militia. Furthermore, it also had access to a nation- wide telegraph service and a sophisticated radio network that, for instance, broadcast on shortwave all the speeches of its leaders. It greatest success was the parade of 40,000 uniformed men in October 1934 at Santiago's Club Hípico.
A second phase of development was headed by Julio Schwarzenberg. In 1934 he created the cadet school Caupolicán, which had as its goal the civic, physical, moral and military education of boys and teenagers between 7 and 17 years old.
It was seen as a hotbed for new militiamen.
The Republican Militia's goal was, in the first phase, the restoration of the legal, democratic state, which had been seriously weakened by the military and striking workers. Even this goal, the militia considered militarism and communism as its biggest enemies. The militia's declarations hoped to obtain the submission of the military: "... we demand the military's return to the barracks, from where they should never have left. We will combat the current militarism and all kinds of tyranny, and liberate the fatherland from chaos, humiliation and death". While the militiamen displayed a permanent attitude of antipathy to the army, the navy and the Carabineros greeted the emergence of the militia and supported its institutional development.
The militia skillfully exploited the anti-communist terror that reigned in a great part of Chilean society as the Ibañéz' military authoritarianism collapsed. Its discourse called for restoration, for the return to the oligarchical coexistence which had prevailed before 1920, when every social actor had a predetermined role and destiny. It ideological position was a motley mixture of anti-militarist revenge against the caudillo, who could not keep order; a pronounced anti-communism -common to all dominant classes, but with different nuances; a 19th century conservatism and puritanism; and, in an apparent contradiction, a developed militarism, which became a true cult, based on the exaltation of military virtues and symbols and the use of violence. These elements can be compared with the contemporary popularly based militarism of Germany and Italy.
In the course of its political development between 1932 and 1938 some elements of the militia's rightist ideology became hegemonic over others. The Radical Party's distancing, principally because of the Republican Militia's position of increased hostility towards the Popular Front, which was headed precisely by the Radical Party, opened the doors for the definitive imposition of the rightist position. This position, the renunciation of democracy and the triumph in the interior of the militia of a corporativist tendency, close to the party Acción Republicana, further illustrate this trend. This tendency postulated a hierarchical order and a political regime without direct and universal elections.
The originality of the militia phenomenon was the relative autonomy of its origin and development. Its highest leaders were not bound to the rightist parties, with the exception of the Radicals; this issue -the existence of these leaders- caused certain internal quarrels in the Radical Party. These people were not connected to the political world. They were businessmen, managers, successful professionals who reacted against the passivity of the Chilean right's historical parties. They trusted in them so little that they even maintained a relative distance to President Alessandri (1932-38); they did not let themselves be used by them at all. In the conflict with the emerging Popular Front, the militiamen even opposed Alessandri, their great benefactor. Given this civilian -based spirit, one independent of political parties and elites-, they preferred to trust in their own power. Finally, they tried to be a new alternative to the democratic liberal model that they began to perceive as insufficient for containing the emerging social and political changes.
b) The National Socialist Movement, 1931-1943.
The National Socialist Movement (MNS) was created on April 5th 1932, in the period of political and social anarchy which followed the collapse of General Ibáñez' government. In general, this situation served as inspiration for many other nationalistic groups formed in that period. Its founders were the retired General Díaz Valderrama, the writer and essayist Carlos Keller and the lawyer Jorge González von Marées. All of them had strong family or professional ties to Germany and were influenced by the National Socialist ideology.
In its first phase, the MNS was characterized by a Germanophile attitude and had a marked tendency to imitate the fascist party. Its assault troops were used to terrify leftists, who, in turn, organized self-defense militia. Numerous victims resulted from these conflicts.
Ideologically, the MNS defined itself as a nationalistic, anti-liberal, anti- parliamentarian and anti-marxist organization. Its press, supported through ads of German and Chilean- German companies, continually reported on events in Europe, and supported the racist and anti-semitic policies of Hitler's Germany.
For General Díaz Valderrama, an active conspirator and participant in the MNS, "the Jews only have themselves to blame for anti- semitism (...) they have divided the Chilean people, stirring up the anti-patriotic discord in its bosom.
They are the fifth column". The MNS grew rapidly, principally within the middle class youth of large cities and the numerous German colony in the south. In 1935, it began to organize work service camps, trying to popularize the German experience. In October of the same year it held its second congress in Concepción, with the participation of 3,000 assault troops men and 6,000 followers.
In the second phase, however, the movement radically changed its tactics, but not its ideology. Though its armed militia still operated in the streets, the movement -as a political party- increasingly favored elections and the peaceful conquest of power. In the elections for Congress in 1937, the MNS did not obtain a spectacular number of votes; however, it did get three delegates elected from Santiago and the south.
In March of 1938, seven months before the presidential election, its leader González von Marées -in a sudden turn about- distanced himself from international fascism, attacked the policies of the Third Reich, Germans living in Chile, as well as Chileans of German origin. He became an enemy of his former ally, the German Nazi party in Chile, created in 1931, and considered its presence in Chile as a "penetration of Hitlerian thought into the German colonies in South America". He also criticized German racism and their tendency to social isolation. This situation, he said, "worsened in the last five years due to Hitler's propaganda and the increase of organizations supportive of Hitler in our countries".
The MNS' obvious goal, to win the sympathy of the voters and the centrist and leftist leaders, became even more evident when, during 1937, the MNS formed a virtual alliance with the Popular Front -organized in 1936 by Socialists, Communists and Radicals- in opposition to President Alessandri. The MNS further proposed agrarian reform and other anti- imperialist and anti-oligarchical measures, traditional platforms of leftist parties. When the Popular Front refused to support it, the MNS decided to present General Carlos Ibáñez as its presidential candidate. Considering the reduced possibility of his electoral success, the MNS, with support of a part of the army, tried to carry out a coup d'état on September 5th 1938, a few days before the presidential election. On that day around fifty young Nazis were killed by Carabineros.
The government managed to contain the coup attempt and successfully sent its leaders to jail. As a result of that, the MNS was unable to reestablish itself, although it changed its name to that of the Popular Socialist Vanguard. González von Marées remained the charismatic leader of the MNS, defining it as "an antifascist and anti-imperialist organization conceived to carry out class struggle".
After the bloody defeat of 1938, the fascist option lost intensity and popularity. However, in the 1940s there were countless little organizations of nationalistic and pseudo-fascist conspirators working on a violent solution.
Groups like The Friends of Germany Association and others had a great influence on the military officer corps. As an indication of that influence I can cite the unsuccessful coup d'état of January 1944, which has as one of its objectives the restoration of diplomatic relationship with the Axis, broken a year before.
Included among the movement's leaders were the former President Carlos Ibáñez, Jorge González von Marées, and officers of all branches of the armed forces and Carabineros. Furthermore, the movement counted with the tacit support of Argentina's military.
The Chilean Anti-Communist Action (AChA), 1946-1948.
AChA appeared for the first time no later than September 1946, during the presidential campaign. However, it achieved the characteristics of a powerful organization with followers throughout the whole country, when, in November of the same year, the Communist Party entered the cabinet of President González Videla (1946-52).
AChA was the result and the legacy of a few nationalistic groups created in the 1940s. The two most important organizations were Nationalistic Union -which emerged from little National Socialist groups- and The Estanqueros. The Estanqueros organized around Jorge Prat Echaurren, corporativist intellectuals and Spanish- oriented integrists. This group was characterized by a militant anti-communism and an open support of the Franco and Oliveira Salazar dictatorships. Its political project was the establishment of a disciplined and hierarchical society -called current portalismo, in reference to the nineteenth-century conservative politician Diego Portales-, headed by an elite of upper class and a charismatic and strong leader.
Many former Republican Militia's members heeded the call of their old leaders to join the new organization. Politically, AChA temporarily united Conservatives, Liberals, Agrariolaboristas, Radicals and Socialists.
AChA's ideological goals were similar to those of The Estanqueros' and based on the ideas of the nation, race, tradition and honest government.
In the middle of May 1947, one month after the municipal elections in which the Communist Party had obtained a great number of votes, AChA published its first manifesto entitled "AChA, In Defense of Chile and its Democratic Institutions".
In this document, AChA appeared for the first time as a militant organization in opposition to the Communist Party: "Its founders, united by the same patriotic sentiment, without distinction of classes, political thought or religious faith, came together in defense of the nation, threatened by the insidious actions of communism entrenched in power, decided to protect the life of the citizens exposed to a cunning and implacable attack of international fanatics".
According to its principal leader, Arturo Olavarría Bravo, AChA emerged in order to contain the "presence of communist ministers, a phenomenon that happened for the first time in the country's history" and, paralleling the Republican Militia's arguments, "the best way to be ready, to destroy communism if necessary, was to arm and to build a powerful armed civilian army capable of eliminating any initiative against the social and institutional order of the Republic".
AChA was organized exactly like an army. It was controlled by a president and an executive council that had absolute power. At the same time, its few thousand members were organized in regiments headed by commandants, generally retired officers of the armed forces. In Santiago there were 7 regiments, a female brigade, a music band and a first aid service. In a short time, AChA began to increase its presence throughout the provinces.
A fundamental element of the AChA's thought was its deep anti-semitism. This tendency provoked a terrorist attack against the Jewish Center. These anti-semite and xenophobic elements were present too in the ideology of The Estanqueros, in the Berguño's Project to illegalize communism, and, in general, in the majority of the little nationalistic groups of the 1930s and 1940s. AChA received the unexpected help of a Socialist fraction which became an important support base for the armed group. This allowed AChA to appear more legitimate, at least for a short period, as a pluralistic organization that included all the political spectrum, being therefore even broader than the Republican Militia. When the dissident members of the Socialist Party refused to leave AChA, the Socialist Party expelled them from its ranks.
Though AChA disappeared at beginning of 1949, an event hardened in part by suspicions that it had taken part in the unsuccessful civic-military coup d'état of October 1948, most of its leaders remained in politics. Almost all of them played roles in the Carlos Ibáñez' presidential campaign and had important positions in his administration (1952-1958).
The AChA's principal, but not sole, objective was the elimination of the Communist Party. To achieve this goal, AChA developed both parliamentarian and terrorist tactics. Thus, in its anti-communist fight it consciously intimidated other political forces by demanding ideological purity and absolute loyalty to its thought.
Because of its beliefs and political connections, AChA was not trusted by González Videla's government nor by the Radical Party; a fraction of this party -the Democratic Radicals- , headed the armed organization. The traditional right had a similar response to AChA, which, in general, was reluctant to coexist with AChA. At best it tolerated this group, rather than really accepting it. The rightist press, for example, tried to ignore them as much as possible. This was possible because of AChA's independence from the traditional parties, its extreme position in regard to the communists and their allies, its tendency to prioritize the coup d'état, and its contact with Ibañismo and military conspirators.
A second version of AChA existed during General Pinochet's military regime. This group claimed a few attacks and the kidnapping of opposition figures; its method was similar to that of the military secret police and the Carabineros. Though there are accusations that AChA was secretly financed and supported by the government, no court has seriously researched this allegation so far.
In short, Chile has a long history of, and tendency towards, the emergence of both counterrevolutionary and conspiratorial paramilitary groups, especially in periods of political and social crisis. This cyclical tendency has a strong tradition in the country's history and first appeared in the colonial period and continues to exist today. At the same time, it is important to highlight that the presence of paramilitary groups has always been ignored by social researchers and democratic politicians. However, the political process in the two last decades has forced us to revise critically the powerfully established stereotypes about the stability of the Chilean political-institutional order, as well as that of the armed forces, and to seek the sources and characteristics of Chile's peculiar political and social system.
1.- For a definition used to characterize Latin American phenomenons that cannot be automatically identified with European fascism, see Sandra McGee Deutsch, Counterrevolution in Argentina, 1900-1932. The Argentine Patriotic League (Lincoln & London: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 6.
2.- A few recent research works on authoritarianism and corporativism are a good example of this new tendency. See Renato Cristi and Carlos Ruiz, El pensamiento conservador en Chile (Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1992); Gonzalo Catalán B., "Notas sobre proyectos autoritarios corporativos en Chile: La Revista Estudios 1933-1938", Cinco estudios sobre cultura y sociedad (Santiago: Flacso, 1985), 177-259; and Carmen Fariña Vicuña, "El pensamiento corporativo en las revistas 'Estanquero' (1946-1955) y 'Política y Espíritu' (1945-1975)", Revista de Ciencia Política (Santiago: Universidad Católica de Chile), No. 1-2 (1990), 119-142.
3.- Literature on this topic is not abundant. Sergio González Miranda, Carlos Maldonado Prieto and Sandra McGee Deutsch, "Ligas Patrióticas: Un Caso de Nacionalismo, Xenofobia y Lucha Social en Chile", Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism (Prince Edward Island), , vol. XXI, N 1-2, 1994, 57-69; Terence S. Tarr, Military Intervention and Civilian Reaction in Chile, 1924-1936 (Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of Florida, Gainesville, 1960); Carlos Maldonado Prieto, La Milicia Republicana: Historia de un Ejército civil en Chile, 1932-1936 (Santiago: World University Service, 1988); and Verónica Valdivia Ortiz de Zárate, Milicias Republicanas. Los civiles en armas: 1932- 1936 (Santiago: Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos, 1992). George F. W. Young, "Jorge González von Marées: Chief of Chilean Nacism", Jahrbuch für Geschichte von Staat, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Lateinamerikas (Köln-Wien), 11 (1974), 309-333; Michael Potashnik, Nacismo. National Socialism in Chile 1932-1938 (Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1974); and Olaf Gaudig and Peter Veit, "¡... Y mañana el mundo entero! Antecedentes para la historia del nacionalsocialismo en Chile", Araucaria de Chile (Madrid), No. 41 (1988), 99-117. Carlos Maldonado Prieto, "AChA y la proscripción del Partido Comunista en Chile, 1946-1948", Contribuciones FLACSO (Santiago), No. 60, (1989).
4.- In Uruguay, for instance, there were same nationalistic and paramilitary groups like Patriotic Association of Uruguay (1915); Vanguard of the Fatherland (1929) and the Patriotic Front of National Defense (1935), a copy of the well-known Argentine Patriotic League. Mónica Maronna and Yvette Trochon, "Entre votos y botas. El factor militar en la política uruguaya de los años veinte", Cuadernos del CLAEH (Montevideo), No. 48 (1989), especially 97. On Brazilian Integralist Action, the major counterrevolutionary group of that country, see Hélgio Trindade, Integralismo (o fascismo brasileiro na década de 30) (Sao Paulo: Difusao Européia do Livro, 1974).
5.- Carmen Fariña Vicuña, "Notas sobre el pensamiento corporativo de la juventud conservadora a través del periódico 'Lircay' (1934-1940)", Revista de Ciencia Política (Santiago: Universidad Católica de Chile), No. 1 (1987) 27-45.
6.- Boletín Informativo de la Milicia Republicana (from now on BIMR) (Santiago), (November 1st 1933), 27 and (October 5 1934), 16-32 and 56.
7.- An historical antecedent of the Leagues were the Fatherland Societies created in 1878 by the Chilean population of Antofagasta. These groups originally had self- defense against the Bolivian authority as its goal; however, they became a powerful instrument used to obtain the annexation. On the unsuccessful plebiscite, see Joe F. Wilson, The United States, Chile and Peru in the Tacna and Arica Plebiscite (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1979).
8.- The Socialist movement accused the Balmacedist (Liberal) Party of organizing the northern Patriotic League, of being responsible for the Leagues' terror, and of trying to divide the working class. El Grito Popular (Iquique), (June 2 1911), 2.
9.- Hernán Ramírez Necochea, "El fascismo en la evolución política de Chile hasta 1970", Araucaria de Chile (Madrid), 1, No. 1 (1978), 11.
10.- El Eco Patrio (Iquique), No. 50 (September 17 1919), 1.
11.- Chamber of Delegates, Boletín de las sesiones ordinarias (Santiago), (1911), 702 and 742. The Student Federation of Chile, in an open letter to its sister organization in Lima, affirmed its support for the Peruvian citizens mistreated in the north. El Mercurio (Santiago), (November 13 1918), 7.
12.- Roberto Alliende González, El Jefe. La vida de Jorge González von Marées (Santiago: Los Castaños, 1990), 38-40.
13.- An example of this kind of group was the Civic Union of Ñuñoa, a district of Santiago, organized the same day of the Ibáñez' collapse. It was headed by the mayor of that district, Jorge González von Marées, who quickly converted to National Socialism. Its members were "a few retired officers" and "prestigious residents of the district". El Mercurio (Santiago), (August 2 1931), 21 and La Defensa Nacional (Santiago), (November 7 1931), 5.
14.- BIMR (Santiago), (July 24 1934), 17-18 and El Mercurio (Santiago), (July 26 1935), 3.
15.- BIMR (Santiago), (July 24 1933), 24.
16.- Ibíd (August 8 1935), 8 and 10 and General Carlos Prats González, Memorias. Testimonio de un soldado (Santiago: Pehuén, 1985), 69.
17.- "Santiago's residents and compatriots arrived from the entire country having participated yesterday in a civic event, perhaps the greatest of the current century..." El Mercurio (Santiago), (October 14 1934), 6.
18.- BIMR (Santiago), (August 15 1933), 28.
19.- General Francisco Javier Díaz V., La Quinta Columna (Santiago: Imprenta La Libertad, 1937); cited by Jean-Pierre Blancpain, Les Allemands au Chili (1816-1945) (Köln-Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 1974), 865 and follw., note 261.
20.- El Trabajo (Santiago), (March 29 1938), 1.
21.- Tomás Moulian and Isabel Torres, Discusiones entre notables: Las candidaturas presidenciales de la derecha, 1938-1946 (Santiago: Flacso, 1988), 107- 112.
22.- Not all MNS' members followed González. Carlos Keller, for instance, remained in the movement. Westküsten-Beobachter (Santiago), (March 16 1939), 50 and (April 6 1939), 56.
23.- Carlos Maldonado Prieto, "'La Prusia de América del Sur': Acerca de las relaciones militares germano-chilenas, 1927-1945", Estudios Sociales (Santiago: Corporación de Promoción Universitaria, CPU), 73, Trimestre 3, (1992), 75-102.
24.- Emilio Meneses, El factor naval en las relaciones entre Chile y los Estados Unidos (1881-1951) (Santiago: Hachete, 1989), 199-202. The leaders of that movement stood out later as nationalists and AChA's members.
25.- Estanquero (Santiago), 11 (March 29 1947), 9.
26.- La Opinión (Santiago), (May 11 1947), 8.
27.- Arturo Olavarría Bravo, Chile entre dos Alessandri, (Santiago: Nascimento, 1965), 42/43, vol. II.
28.- According to the same sources AChA reached a membership of 30,000 armed men. This is obviously an exaggeration. Ercilla (Santiago), No. 625 (April 22 1947), 5.
29.- General Berguño, a self-defined anti-communist and anti-semite, proposed a project to make the Communist Party illegal, to strip its members of the right to vote and of the possibility of working for the state. Por Chile (Santiago), (March 25 1948), 9.
Página de Carlos Maldonado. "Militares y Militarismo".