Salazar, António de Oliveira

Salazar, António de Oliveira
born April 28, 1889, Vimierio, Port.
died July 27, 1970, Lisbon

Portuguese prime minister (1932–68).

A professor of economics, he was appointed by Pres. António Óscar de Fragoso Carmona as finance minister (1928) and later prime minister (1932). His new constitution established the authoritarian New State, curtailing political freedom and concentrating on economic recovery, and he thenceforth ruled as a virtual dictator. Sympathetic to Francisco Franco and the Axis Powers, he maintained Portugal's neutrality in World War II, and after the war he led Portugal into NATO. He greatly improved the country's transportation, utilities, and education systems. He fought to preserve Portugal's African colonies after the general decolonization. Incapacitated by a stroke in 1968 after 36 years in power, he was not told when he was replaced as prime minister.

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▪ prime minister of Portugal

born April 28, 1889, Vimieiro, Port.
died July 27, 1970, Lisbon
 Portuguese economist, who served as prime minister of Portugal for 36 years (1932–68).

      Salazar, the son of an estate manager at Santa Comba Dão, was educated at the seminary at Viseu and at the University of Coimbra. He graduated from there in law in 1914 and became a professor specializing in economics at Coimbra. He helped form the Catholic Centre Party in 1921 and was elected to the Cortes (parliament), but he resigned after one session and returned to the university. In May 1926, after the army had overthrown Portugal's parliamentary government, Salazar was offered the cabinet post of minister of finance, but he could not obtain his own conditions. In 1928 General António Oscar de Fragoso Carmona (Carmona, António Oscar de Fragoso), as president, offered him the finance ministry with complete control over the government's income and expenditures, and this time Salazar accepted. As finance minister, he reversed the century-old tradition of deficits and made budgetary surpluses the hallmark of his regime. The surpluses were invested in a series of development plans.

      Gaining in power, Salazar was named prime minister by Carmona on July 5, 1932, and thus became the strong man of Portugal. He drafted a new constitution that reorganized Portugal's political system along authoritarian lines. Salazar's rule was strongly influenced by Catholic, papal, and nationalist thought. Salazar called his new order in Portugal the New State (Estado Novo). The National Assembly was composed solely of government supporters, and Salazar chose his own ministers, whose work he closely supervised. Political freedoms in Portugal were thus curtailed, military police repressed dissidents, and attention was concentrated on economic recovery.

      Owing to the crises occasioned by the Spanish Civil War and World War II, Salazar served as minister of war (1936–44) and minister of foreign affairs (1936–47) in addition to holding the office of prime minister. He was friendly with Francisco Franco and recognized the Nationalist government in Spain in 1938, but he kept Portugal neutral in World War II and led the country into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. After World War II, Portugal's railways, road transport, and merchant navy were reequipped, and a national airline was instituted. Electrification was planned for the whole country, and rural schools were developed. However, Salazar's insistence on maintaining Portugal's colonies in Africa could only be sustained with difficulty at a time when the other European colonial empires in Africa were being dismantled.

      Salazar suffered a stroke in September 1968 and was unable to continue his duties. He was replaced as prime minister by Marcello Caetano (Caetano, Marcello José das Neves Alves), a change that the disabled Salazar was never told had taken place. He died two years later. Salazar lived a life of frugal simplicity, shunning publicity, rarely making public appearances, and never leaving Portugal.

Additional Reading
The best single volume on Salazar, despite its age, continues to be Hugh Kay, Salazar and Modern Portugal (1970). Other works include R.A.H. Robinson, Contemporary Portugal: A History (1979), a succinct but comprehensive account of Salazar's long consulate. Salazar's ideas and style of thinking may be gleaned from a collection of speeches in António de Oliveira Salazar, Doctrine and Action: Internal and Foreign Policy of the New Portugal, 1928–1939, trans. from Portuguese by Robert Edgar Boughton (1939). Douglas L. Wheeler, “António de Oliveira Salazar, 1889–1970,” in James A. Moncure (ed.), Research Guide to European Historical Biography, vol. 3 (1992), provides an outline of events.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Salazar,Antonio de Oliveira — Sa·la·zar (săl ə zärʹ, sä lə ), Antonio de Oliveira. 1889 1970. Portuguese dictator (1932 1968) known for his programs of fiscal austerity and his attempts to repress growing opposition in Portugal s African colonies. * * * …   Universalium

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