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Portugal, Carnation Revolution, 1974

Andrew J. Waskey


The Carnation Revolution ( Revolução dos Cravos ) is a popular name for the almost peaceful revolution that began on April 25, 1974. It was the first step in transforming Portugal from a dictatorship to a democratic country. In the 1960s and early 1970s Portugal was engaged in costly battles in Africa and elsewhere to maintain its colonial possessions. The drain on Portugal's resources was high and inhibited internal development. The military, as well as civil society, was divided on whether to continue to strive to maintain the colonies or to abandon them. In 1973 unrest led to the formation of a secret military organization called the Movement of the Armed Forces (Movimento das Forças Armadas) (MFA). Most of the members of MFA were younger officers who were veterans of the African wars. On December 1, 1973, 86 delegates from across the spectrum of military units met at Obidos. Their discussions were centered on how to overthrow the authoritarian regime that had ruled for over forty years. When the Portuguese minister of defense learned of the meeting he was stunned; however, paralyzed by uncertainty, he did nothing. The MFA discovered an ally in General Francisco da Costa Gomes, chief of the general staff. His influence was increased when General Antonio de Spinola was appointed his deputy. General Spinola was the former governor of Guinea. He published Portugal and the Future ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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