History •  Latin America and Politics

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Secret Wars and Secret Policies in the Americas, 1842-1929

Friedrich E. Schuler

The conflicts that culminated in the First and Second World Wars had their origins in the rise of imperial powers in North America, Europe, and Asia in the late nineteenth century and the imperialist quests for the resources of colonies and former colonies. American expansionists, encouraged by a growing U.S. Navy, nurtured U.S. policies with illusions of easy access to South America. Policy makers in the fledgling empires of Germany, Japan, Spain, and Italy relied on clandestine means to rival U.S. ambitions. In this original and thoroughly researched book, based on new sources from previously unused collections in Germany and Spain, Friedrich E. Schuler details their attempts to suborn ethnic groups within Latin America but also the United States to establish ethnic "beachheads" that would serve to undermine U.S. interests. These deeply disturbing lessons became central historical reference points for U.S. policy makers during World War II.

Not surprisingly, though rarely covered in Latin American historiography, Latin American nations, but also Spain, developed their own plans to exploit these imperialist rivalries after World War I. The resulting intrigue and subterfuge revealed in this revisionist study add a fascinating new dimension to our understanding of transpacific and transatlantic politics during this critical period of world history.


Friedrich E. Schuler is professor of history at Portland State University.

Friedrich E. Schuler is a professor of history at Portland State University. He is also the author of Mexico Between Hitler and Roosevelt: Mexican Foreign Relations in the Age of Lázaro Cárdenas, 1934–1940 (UNM Press).


"Latin American, diplomatic, and military historians will benefit from this book. Espionage 'buffs' will enjoy it as well. Adding to their interest will be Schuler's wonderful array of historical photographs."


The Americas

6 x 9 in. 576 pages 54 halftones, 1 maps