Chile, Colombia & Peru After World War II Video

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  • 0:01 After War
  • 0:20 Peru
  • 1:30 Columbia
  • 2:24 Chile
  • 3:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson will explain the turbulent years of post-World War II Peru, Colombia, and Chile. In doing this, it will focus on the violent conflicts between leftists, civilian, and conservative military forces.

After War

After World War II, the US entered a time of prosperity. In fact, some have coined it the golly-gee life of Leave It To Beaver. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Latin America. Today, we'll prove this point as we study Peru, Chile, and Colombia in the years following World War II. We'll start with Peru.


After the war, the National Democratic Front came to power. Known as a leftist political party, it had ties to communism. During its tenure, the National Democratic Front worked to strengthen civil rights and limit the power of the presidency.

Of course, this didn't sit so well with the military hardliners who were accustomed to ultimate power. Soon, a military coup toppled the National Democratic Front and put a military man in charge. Under this military dictatorship of sorts, reforms and labor unions were abolished. In addition, anyone who opposed the military rulers faced severe punishment.

Soon the people of Peru had their fill of oppressive military rule. With revolution mounting, Peru finally came under civilian rule in the 1960s. Not surprisingly, this civilian rule also fell to a military coup. With this, a violent cycle of civilian-then-military rule began. One would come to power, and then the other would overtake it. Sadly, this violent cycle claimed many lives. It also kept the Peruvian government in chaos for the remainder of the 20th century.


Sorrowfully, a similar scene played out in Colombia. Here, antagonism between the left and the conservative right, or those against communist ties, also led to violence. To explain, by the mid-1940s, the conservative right had gained the presidency of Colombia. However, when the leftist-leaning politicians began gaining in power, political antagonism turned to violence.

By the late 1940s, a leftist leader named Gaitan had risen in power. In other words, he'd become a threat to the ruling conservatives. With this, Gaitan became a victim of political assassination. His death ignited a nation-wide revolution that killed and injured thousands. Known as La Violencia, this period of political upheaval within Colombia lasted well into the late 1950s.


In Chile, the post-war years played out a bit differently. However, by the 1960s, Chile also fell into chaos. To explain, immediately following the war, communism took power in Chile. However, within a year, communism not only lost its hold, but many of its followers were jailed. Although this time period definitely saw tension, Chile managed to escape all-out revolution and mass violence. With this, a coalition between those who were liberal and those who were conservative came to be. By the 1950s, this coalition took power and promised reform.

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