Argentine Military Dictatorship (1976 – 1983) History, Causes & Effects

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Argentine Military Dictatorship

Argentine military dictatorship: Civil-military dictatorship that occurred in Argentina between 1976 and 1983.

What was the Argentine Military Dictatorship?

The Argentine military dictatorship, also called the National Reorganization Process, was a civic-military dictatorship that occurred in Argentina between 1976 and 1983.

This happened after the military coup that overthrew the government of María Estela Martínez de Perón, immediately installing a military junta that had Jorge Videla as de-facto president.

By 1982 this government no longer had enough support and people began to protest, causing strong international pressure. Because of this, the board sought to legitimize itself by initiating the Malvinas war, which was unsuccessful and ultimately led to the fall of this government.

The dictatorship officially came to an end on December 10, 1983 with an electoral process that instituted a democratic government.

Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentine dictator

Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentine dictator, and his cabinet.

Causes and Consequences of the Argentine Military Dictatorship

Causes of the Military Dictatorship in Argentina

The causes that influenced the start of the Argentine military dictatorship were the following:

  • The death of President Juan Domingo Perón in 1974, a fact that left María Estela Martínez in command, who the military considered was not sufficiently qualified to lead the country.
  • The influence on María Estela Martínez de Perón during her government by José López Rega, Perón’s secretary and minister of social action, but an ally of the military who would later carry out the coup d’état.
  • Political differences, economic problems internal problems in the government of María Estela Martínez de Perón that influenced the military to take power.
  • The support and financing of the coup by the United States.

Consequences of the Military Administration in Argentina

This period left various consequences on Argentine society, economy and culture, such as:

  • Increase in public debt.
  • Abuse of power that caused deaths, kidnappings, torture and the disappearance of thousands of people.
  • Great inflation and loss of value of the local currency.
  • Instability and social and legal insecurity.
  • Impairment of the rights and freedom of people.
  • The Malvinas war, in which many young people died.
  • Thousands of children were stolen from their mothers.
  • Emergence of the Condor Plan for the persecution of opponents and communists.
  • Emergence of the clandestine resistance group called Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

Important facts of the Argentine Military Dictatorship

After establishing itself in power, the military government launched a persecution in which it interrogated, tortured and executed thousands of people in clandestine detention centers.

A reorganization process was initiated in which Congress was dissolved, civil liberties were suspended, the death penalty was established for subversives, the Supreme Court of Justice was removed, the universities and labor unions were intervened and a censorship body for any media.

Many newborns were kidnapped to be delivered to military families or people affected by the dictatorship. On the other hand, a clandestine resistance group was formed called Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo formed, made up of the mothers, wives and grandmothers of the disappeared, with the aim of finding these babies who were taken away.

In 1981, Videla ceded the presidency to Roberto Viola, who only served from March to December, since he was removed by the military junta to give the position to Carlos Lacoste and then to Leopoldo Galtieri, who carried out the Malvinas war.

Finally in 1983, after failing in said war, elections are called and in these Raúl Alfonsín is elected, who with his form of government put an end to this dictatorship.

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