An Analysis Of The Third Position Essay

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An Analysis Of The Third Position Essay, Research Paper Marko Djuranovic Professor Layton IB International History 28 November 1997 Juan Peron’s Argentina; an Analysis of the Third Position In April of 1949, University of Cuyo sponsored a Congress of Philosophy in Mendoza, Argentina. The event had drawn over two hundred philosophers from nineteen nations and became famous for the presence of one individual – Argentine President Juan Peron. Playing the role of a philosopher, Peron presented a paper in which he revealed an intimate knowledge of 19th century German philosophy. Peron criticized the ideas of Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx, labeling them as too extreme. What was needed, according to Peron, was a middle ground between the two philosophers which he called the

Third Position (Blanksten 281). This label caught on at once, not for the public’s interest in philosophy but for its immediate application in the Cold War. The Argentines took the Third Position to be a restatement of traditional Argentine neutrality; a foreign policy that did not require a commitment to either the Soviet Union or the United States. Realizing that this ideology was an Argentine “political bonanza,” Juan Peron quickly transformed the Third Position from a complicated dialectic into a simplified national doctrine (Whitaker, Argentina 133). He argued that the underdeveloped countries had little interest in the Cold War because neither of the two extremes, capitalism nor communism, could solve their problems. The only way to truly improve the economic

conditions of Argentina, Peron proposed, was by balancing the two extremes and finding the middle ground – the Third Position (Rossi 932). Thus, from 1949 to 1955, the Third Position came to embody the foreign policy of Argentina. However, through a careful analysis of the available sources, it becomes clear that Juan Peron’s Third Position was not the middle way between Russia and the United States at all. On the contrary, the Third Position primarily stood for capitalism, only created an illusion that Argentina was strong enough to defy the United States, and failed to improve Argentina’s economic conditions. Although Peron classified the Third Position as an intermediate to both capitalism and communism, the doctrine itself stood partial to capitalism. Donald Hodges, in

his book Argentina: 1943-1976, argues that the specific ideas contained in the Third Position were a lot closer to capitalism and fascism than communism. A professor at the University of New Mexico, Donald Hodges lived in Argentina for twelve years and communicated with many Argentine exiles in the subsequent years. In writing his book, Professor Hodges accessed a multitude of primary source documents, among them complete copies of Militancia and El Descamisado — journals banned by the Peronist government. Such resources and experience render him an expert on the subject. Professor Hodges states: Since fascism has historically represented a last-ditch defense of capitalism through a political transfer of power from the traditional parties of the bourgeoisie to a professional

bureaucracy ruling in its own interests, the Peronists share the political objectives of fascism… in [their] opposition both to the political sovereignty of the bourgeoisie and to a social revolution from below. (Hodges 128). In verifying this association of Peronists with fascism it is important to look into Juan Peron’s past. Peron spent two years in Rome, as a military attache in the late 1930s, where he had the opportunity to study Italian fascism. Peron even went so far to exclaim, “Mussolini was the greatest man of the twentieth century…” (Hodges 129). It is also important to notice that prior to the Allied victory in World War II, the Group of United Officers (GOU) Peron created were pro-Axis. After the war, the Peronist movement adapted itself to the ways of the