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Portugal nearly invaded by Spain in World War Two!

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cubsur View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20/October/2023 at 18:04
I was flipping through the TV channels the other evening when I chanced upon a short documentary on the History Channel about the relationship between the Portuguese government of the dictator Salazar and both the Allies and Axis blocs in World War Two.

Three things stood out, which I did not know.

In December 1940 Spain nearly invaded Portugal. The effects of the civil war had ruined Spain's economy and they were running out of money and food. Portugal had both, including minerals vital to Germany and being sold to them for the manufacture of armaments. Franco, in league with Hitler and Mussolini, was on the brink of invasion. A win-win for the Axis. It was said that Portugal's army could resist for three weeks at the most. Naturally the Allies were concerned. A swift deal was done to supply Spain with wheat in return for the invasion being cancelled.

Most will know that the US has a air base in the Azores to this day. As World War Two progressed, it became obvious to the Allies that a base there would be useful to improve air cover for the convoys and shorten transit times for transatlantic flights, given the limited range of aircraft at the time. A scarcely veiled threat was sent to Salazar on the lines of 'let us have a base in the Azores or will take them by force.' No problemo said Salazar, providing you don't interfere with my running of Portugal. Agreed.

Salzar remained in power until 1968. There was footage of serious anti-government demonstrations and strikes organised by the communists and women's groups in 1944 and 1945, put down forcefully by the secret police. The dictatorship remained in power until 25th April 1974, the day of the 'Carnation Revolution' when elements of the army overthrew the régime. Which is why 25th April is a public holiday (Freedom Day) and why everywhere has a Rua or Avenida 25 de Abril.

And another piece of film showed the slightly bizarre sight of RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft side by side on the runway at Lisbon airport. Portugal was of course neutral. Lisbon was considered by both sides to be a 'nest of spies'. In fact Salazar's lot rounded up and imprisoned a British spy ring, which rather annoyed Mr Churchill.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Teresa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/February/2024 at 18:36
Very interesting.  Would love to watch the show.  Do you recall the name?

When I once stayed at MyStory Rossio, in Lisbon, I learned it was once a 'safe house' for those fleeing the nazis.  An author, Jeannine Johnson Maia, published a fictional story of the location with fictional characters.  May not be 100% accurate but was interesting.  The book is called Rossio Square No. 59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Teresa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/February/2024 at 18:38
Not sure why my avator is now showing the same as Cubsurs???  (Perhaps only on my computer??)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cubsur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22/February/2024 at 07:41
I see your avatar as a maple leaf. The programme was on the History Channel (European version) but I cannot remember the actual title. It was one a series I think.
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