Visual History of the World




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The Contemporary World

1945 to the present


After World War II, a new world order came into being in which two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, played the leading roles. Their ideological differences led to the arms race of the Cold War and fears of a global nuclear conflict. The rest of the world was also drawn into the bipolar bloc system, and very few nations were able to remain truly non-aligned. The East-West conflict came to an end in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent downfall of the Eastern Bloc. Since that time, the world has been driven by the globalization of worldwide economic and political systems. The world has, however, remained divided: The rich nations of Europe, North America, and East Asia stand in contrast to the developing nations of the Third World.

The first moon landing made science-fiction dreams reality in the year 1969.
Space technology has made considerable progress as the search for new
possibilities of using space continues.




SINCE 1945


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The Estado Novo, the "new state" of the dictator Salazar, was an authoritarian, clerical, fascist system. The dictatorship was ended in 1974 by the peaceful "Carnation Revolution." The Portuguese colonies then gained their independence. After the first presidential elections in 1976, Portugal moved in the direction of a parliamentary democracy. In 1986, Portugal was accepted into the European Community, which improved the economic situation of the country.


The Estado Novo

The regime of Salazar followed a strict economic policy. In foreign affairs, it was oriented toward the Western camp during the Cold War and fought a brutal colonial war in Africa.


Following a coup d'etat by the army in 1926, 6 Antonio de Oliveira Salazar came to power in 1932.

Under his dictatorial regime, Portugal maintained through most of World War II, but toward the end of the war, the dictator allowed the Allies to establish military bases on the Azores Islands. This alignment in foreign policy was maintained, and in 1949 Portugal was among the founding members of NATO. Entrance into the United Nations did not take place until 1955, and membership in the 1 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development came in 1961.

6 Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar at his desk

1 The Tejo Bridge in Lisbon, built under the
Salazar regime in 1966

Domestically, the corporative governmental system based on privilege continued after 1945. Despite a few relaxations, censorship, the secret police, and the one-party system continued to keep the population suppressed. Although Salazar was able to reduce the state debt with his rigid economic policy, he did little to promote industry, and the agriculture sector remained in crisis. Only a few foreign investors were allowed into the country.

Consequently, many 4 Portuguese had to search for work abroad.

4 Portuguese guest-workers in
France build themselves provisional
accommodations, 1963

In 1951, Salazar declared the Portuguese colonies to be overseas provinces to prevent their independence.

Despite that, in 1961 the Indian army occupied 3 Portuguese possessions on the subcontinent, and in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea 5 demands for independence grew louder.

A bitter and brutally waged colonial war followed, burdening the Portuguese national budget to such an extent that Salazar was forced to open Portugal to foreign investors.

In September 1968 Salazar suffered a stroke and stepped down from office. His successor, 2 Marcelo Caetano, eased censorship laws and attempted a mild liberalization in the political sphere, but the reforms were halfhearted.

In 1974 it became increasingly clear that the colonial war in Africa could not be won militarily, while there was no political solution in sight. The sense of crisis was exacerbated by the effects on Portugal's weak economy of the world economic depression that had begun in 1973. In this context the armed forces overthrew the government in a bloodless coup, with considerable support from the Portuguese people. The peaceful popular uprising was called the "Carnation Revolution" and signaled the end of both the dictatorship and Portugal's colonial empire.

3 Catholic Baroque Church in Goa, India, built by the Portuguese in the 17th century

5 A unit of the rebel liberation army in the colony of Portuguese Guinea in West Africa, 1968

2 Marcelo Caetano, 1973



António de Oliveira Salazar

António de Oliveira Salazar

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 (1932Ė68).

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 Portugalís 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, as president, offered him the finance ministry with complete control over the governmentís 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 Portugalís political system along authoritarian lines. Salazarís 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 (1936Ė44) and minister of foreign affairs (1936Ė47) 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, Portugalís 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, Salazarís insistence on maintaining Portugalís 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, 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.

Encyclopaedia Britannica



The Carnation Revolution and Its Consequences

After the peaceful overthrow of the dictatorship, Socialist leaders launched a nationalization program, but it was reversed by subsequent governments.


The 9 military coup of April 25, 1974, was carried out by a group of officers who called themselves the Movement of Armed Forces (MFA).

The resulting two-yearlong 11 Carnation Revolution, a period of liberalization and democratization, received its name from the flowers soldiers put in the muzzles of their rifles.

In 1974, the MFA junta installed the conservative General Antonio de Spinola as president, but he resigned after only four months because he disliked the leftist direction of the revolution. In March 1975, he attempted an unsuccessful right-wing countercoup.

Socialist MFA officers then founded a revolutionary council and called an election for the constituent assembly that set Portugal on the road to socialism.

Censorship was lifted and the 7 secret police disbanded.

The government nationalized the banks, transport, heavy industry, and the media.

9 A group of jubilant soldiers after the coup against the dictatorship, April 25, 1974

11 An angry crowd blocks the path of a tank carrying fieemg members of the government, April 26, 1974

7 During their arrest, three secret
policemen from the Satazar regime
are protected from an angry Portuguese crowd,
Lisbon, 1974

All of the colonies were given their 8 independence by 1975, but this brought almost a million settlers back to the motherland, which greatly burdened the country's economy.

8 In the Portuguese colony of Guinea
(present-day Guinea-Bissau), independence fighters
declare their victory, 1973

The moderate General Antonio Ramalho Eanes outpolled a radical left candidate in the first presidential elections after the adoption of a new constitution in April 1976. The chairman of the Socialist party, Mario Soares, formed a minority government that survived only two years. In 1979 a non-socialist party won the election for the first time after the Carnation Revolution. The governing party agreed with the Socialist opposition on the amendment of the constitution, which came into effect in 1982 and revoked some socialist elements dating from the days of the Carnation Revolution. The revolutionary council was abolished, and most of the nationalized industries were reprivatized.

Following a process of reform and preparation, Portugal officially joined the 10 European Community on January 1, 1986.

Although Portugal today remains one of the poorer EU member states it achieved 12 impressive rates of economic growth during the 1990s, and living standards rose significantly.

Since 2004, the conservative Portuguese politician Jose Manuel Durao Barroso has held the post of president of the European Commission.

10 Mario Soares (front) signs the treaty of Portuguese accession to the EC

12 The 1998 World Exhibition held in Lisbon




Fado, which means "fate" in Portuguese, probably dates hack to the time when Portugal was a major seafaring power with distant colonies. African slaves in Brazil are said to have developed fado as a dance, and it was only later that it was sung in Portugal.

Maybe it was sailors who sang these melodies because they were full of desire for their home. In the nineteenth century, singing fado was still considered indecent and heard only in shady harbor areas. It was only later that fado became socially acceptable, and famous "factistas" made it well-known internationally.

Fado, painting of José Malhoa, 1855



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