Under the presidency of Edelmiro Farrell (1944-46) Colonel J. D. Perón succeeded as Minister of Labor, to win over the poorest sections of the population as featured on itypetravel, the “Descamisados” (the shirtless), through a worker-friendly social policy. At the head of a party alliance created specifically for his candidacy, he won the presidential elections of 1946. He eliminated the opposition and implemented a constitutional amendment that expanded the powers of the president and made his re-election possible. His economic policy was nationalistic, large industrial companies and the railroad were nationalized, the local medium-sized and small businesses were strengthened, the foreign debts were settled, but the ownership structure in the agricultural sector remained. Under the influence of his wife, Eva Perón , the situation of the workforce was improved by modern labor law, social security, housing construction, wage increases and others. improved and introduced women’s suffrage. The increasingly dictatorial course as well as Perón’s church policy (separation of state and church, June 1955) exacerbated domestic political tensions. After attempted coups by military units (September 1951 and June 1955), Perón was overthrown in September 1955 by a coup supported by Catholic and liberal forces. He went into exile, from where he directed his movement, Peronism, and maintained a strong domestic political influence on his country, v. a. by the Peronist unions.
After the presidencies of Generals Eduardo Lonardi (1955) and P. E. Aramburu (1955–58), the elected presidents A. Frondizi (1958–62; Partido Intransigente [PI], a spin-off from the UCR) and Arturo Illía (1963–66; UCR) about the restructuring of the economy and public finances. Their striving for a compromise with the supporters of Perón, the Peronists, was disapproved by the strictly anti- Peronist army leadership and in 1966 led to the overthrow of Illía and the elimination of the democratic system of government by General Juan C. Onganía. In the fight against Peronism and the growing terrorism of social revolutionary underground organizations, the presidents supported by the army ( Onganía, 1966–70; Roberto Levingston, 1970–71; Alejandro Lanusse, 1971–73) sought to maintain the existing order in the country and the economic one with police-state means Promote development. 1953–73 Peronist reforms were partly dismantled, and partly extreme economic liberalism was pursued, which contributed to the fact that the dynamic core area of the industrial sector passed into foreign ownership.
Between dictatorship and democracy
Under pressure from the Peronist movement (numerous strikes and demonstrations), Lanusse allowed Perón to return in 1973. Elected president, however, he did not succeed in achieving a balance between the diverging social groups. After his death in 1974, Vice-President Isabel Perón, his third wife, took over the presidency and tried to contain terrorism by declaring a state of emergency. In the course of a military coup led by General J. R. Videla, she was deposed. Supported by a military junta, President Videla (1976–81; successor: Roberto Viola) took office, 1981) opened parliament, banned all party political activity and restricted freedom of the press. His government fought terrorism in the country, albeit often in serious violation of human rights; a large number of people accused of terrorism disappeared without a trace (protests by relatives, above all the “mothers of the Plaza del Mayo”); many of them were later found in mass graves.
The military pursued a neoliberal economic policy: increased integration of Argentina in the world market, tariff dismantling, unrestricted competition and state austerity policy v. a. in the social area. The consequences were high income and wealth concentration, a decline in purchasing power (real wages fell by a third from 1975-80), bankruptcy wave v. a. in small and medium-sized enterprises, high foreign debt and inflation. In terms of foreign policy, there was increased tension between Argentina and Chile in 1977/78 in the dispute over some islands in the Beagle Channel. With the military occupation of the Falkland Islands and the island of South Georgia (April 1982) Argentina sought under President L. F. Galtieri(1981–82) to enforce historical claims by force and thus came into conflict with Great Britain, which led to the Falklands War. After heavy fighting, the Argentine troops had to surrender in mid-June 1982. This defeat ushered in the end of the military dictatorship (1983).
The more recent development
In the 1983 elections, the UCR candidate, R. Alfonsín, won. As President (1983-89) he endeavored to democratically resolve the conflict between Peronism and military rule, which had burdened domestic politics in Argentina since the Second World War. Under the pressure of an economic crisis and high foreign debt, he tried to thrift and balance the balance of payments, but had little success. In December 1985, a military tribunal sentenced numerous military personnel to prison terms for human rights violations (including former President Videla to life imprisonment, pardon in 1990).
After coup attempts (1987 and 1988) and the loss of the absolute majority of the UCR in parliament (1987), the candidate of the Peronist PJ, M. C. S. Menem, emerged victorious from the 1989 presidential elections; he took over the presidency before the end of Alfonsin’s term of office in 1989 and achieved the first successes of a stabilization policy as early as 1991/92 (currency reform: introduction of dollar-peso parity). Since 1993 the GDP has risen and the inflation rate has fallen, also as a result of a consistent privatization policy, which, however, caused unemployment to rise. Menem made a constitutional reform possiblethe candidacy for a second term, which he took up in 1995. This second term was marked by the effects of the financial crises in Mexico (1994/95), Southeast Asia (1997), Russia (1998) and Brazil (1999) and an exacerbation of the social crisis. Domestic disputes over human rights violations under the military dictatorship revived (including the re-arrest of General Videla, who was amnestied in 1990, for child abduction in 1998), and criticism of Menem’s autocratic style of government and the still deeply rooted corruption grew. In foreign policy, Argentina joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The last border conflict with Chile was resolved in 1998.