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Anglo-Brazilian naval relations, 1922-1977

Grant number: 15/23690-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 15, 2016
Effective date (End): January 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science
Principal Investigator:João Roberto Martins Filho
Grantee:Ludolf Waldmann Júnior
Supervisor: Anthony Wynne Pereira
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: King's College London, England  
Associated to the scholarship:13/22061-1 - Armed Forces, technology and politcs: the technological evolution of Brazil and Argentina Navies on 20th century, BP.DR


Brazil and Britain have long lasting naval relations. After the Brazilian Independence, the country hired British officers to command the warships of the newly created Brazilian Navy, besides to aid the organization of the force. From mid-19th century onwards, the changes in shipbuilding, fueled by the scientific and technological progress, given to the industrialized countries monopoly in the production of modern warships. This implies that countries like Brazil became dependent of importation to own a modern fleet. From this moment on, Brazil started buying warships in Great Britain, initiating a pattern that would last for decades. In the 1900s, Brazil purchased an entire battle fleet in Britain, including dreadnought battleships. With the end of the World War I, she saw her difficulty in operating her warships and how outdated they were because of the technological progress occurred during the conflict. In 1922, Brazil received the American Naval Mission, which had a deep influence over the Brazilian Navy and turned the United States a central reference to her for several decades. If in a first moment, Britain and United States competed for influencing and sales of warships to Brazilian Navy, the experience in World War II guarantee the supremacy of United States over naval matters in Brazil in the following decades. During the war, the Brazilian Navy was completely modernized with US support, when they became the dominant influence over material, strategy, training and organization of the Brazilian naval force. Facing this new context, Britain changed her strategy before the Brazilian Navy, searching for possible breaches in the standardization and subordination of the Latin American navies imposed by the American military policy for the region. From the 1950s, with the emergence of Brazilian dissatisfaction towards the supply of second-handed warships and the same treatment as others Latin American countries given by United States, the British tried to sell modern warships to Brazil. During this decade, they were successfully in selling an aircraft carrier and in the next, selling frigates and submarines. The arrival of the Niterói-class frigates, acquired in United Kingdom, had far-reaching consequences, meaning a technological leap and a move away from the United States. Considering the exposed, we can claim that Anglo-Brazilian naval relations were essential to the trajectory of the Brazilian Navy. If in an earlier moment, the Royal Navy was a model and the country the major supplier to Brazil, the sales of British warships in the 1960s had important consequences to the Brazilian Navy, because it allowed a significant technological leap as well move away the material and intellectual dependence from the United States. Our general objective is to understand Anglo-Brazilian naval relations in the period 1922 - the arrival of the American Naval Mission - to 1977, when the president-general Ernesto Geisel denounced the Military Agreement with the United States and ended the naval mission. To do this, we have three specific objectives: 1) understand the proposals of British warships sales to Brazil, with focus in the effective sales; 2) analyze the proposals and sales of warships within the foreign policy of both countries; 3) finally, understand these sales in the context of Brazilian naval strategic thinking. To do this, we use the neoclassical realism approach and the concept of technological opportunism, to understand the relations between foreign policy and arms sales. (AU)

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