Vargas, Getúlio Dornelles

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

Vargas, Getúlio Dornelles

(zhəto͞o`lyō dôrnĕ`lĭs vär`gəs), 1883–1954, Brazilian statesman, twice president (1930–45, 1951–54). The popular governor of Rio Grande do Sul (1928–30), he ran for the presidency in 1930, was defeated, charged fraud, and led a successful revolt. His position as president was heavily supported by nationalistic forces in the military. A new constitution guaranteeing states' rights and forbidding reelection of the president was altered in 1937; a corporative state, the Estado Novo, was established on the model of Portugal. Industrial development and agricultural diversification were encouraged, but to little effect. In 1945, Vargas promised elections, but he was suspected of planning to remain in power and was ousted by a group of army officers. Still popular, he was elected senator two months later. He was again elected president in 1950 and was inaugurated in 1951. Three years later, under pressure from the army and threat of impeachment, he resigned and committed suicide.


See biography by J. W. Dulles (1967); study by R. M. Levine (1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vargas, Getulio Dornelles


Born Apr. 19, 1883, in Säo Borja; died Aug. 24, 1954, in Rio de Janeiro. Governmental and political figure of Brazil.

Vargas was chief executive and president from 1930 to 1945. Using anti-imperialist and nationalist slogans he succeeded in enlisting the support of part of the laboring masses and laid the foundation for social legislation; at the same time he cruelly suppressed revolutionary liberation, workers’, and communist movements. In 1937 he established the regime of the New State, which was modeled after the Italian corporate state, and outlawed all political parties. His main objective was to promote the development of Brazilian capitalism, especially of the state sector of industry. In foreign policy he maneuvered between the USA and Germany. In 1945 he founded the bourgeois reformist Brazilian Labor Party, allowed the activity of other parties, and established diplomatic relations with the USSR. In the same year he was swept from power by a coup d’etat. In 1950 he was again elected president, assuming the post in 1951. Vargas opened Brazil to private capital investments from the USA. At the same time he established several state national companies, such as Petrobras (state petroleum monopoly), which was founded in 1953. In May 1954, under the pressure of the popular masses, he doubled the minimum wages for workers and employees as compared to 1951. During the coup d’etat of August 1954, not being able to rely on the popular masses, Vargas committed suicide.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.