Juan Domingo Perón (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxwan doˈmiŋɡo peˈɾon]; October 8, 1895 – July 1, 1974) was an Argentine military officer and politician. After serving in several government positions, including those of Minister of Labor and Vice President of the Republic, he was three times elected as President of Argentina although he managed to serve only one full term in this function. Perón's last term as President of the Republic began in 1973 and lasted for just nine months, until his death in 1974, whereupon he was succeeded by his third wife, the Vice President of the Republic, María Estela Martínez.
Perón and his second wife, Eva Duarte, were immensely popular among many Argentines. They are still considered icons by thePeronists. The Peróns' followers praised their efforts to eliminate poverty and to dignify labor, while their detractors considered themdemagogues and dictators. The Peróns gave their name to the political movement known as Peronism, which in present-day Argentina is represented mainly by the Justicialist Party.
Childhood and youth
Perón was born in Lobos, Buenos Aires Province, on October 8, 1895. He was the son of Juana Sosa Toledo and Mario Tomás Perón. Juana Sosa was descended from Spanish Argentine immigrants and Tehuelche natives. Mario Perón's forbears emigrated to Argentina from France, Scotland, and the Italian island of Sardinia; in later life Perón would publicly express his pride in his Sardinian roots. The Perón branch of his family originated in Sardinia, from which his great-grandfather emigrated in the 1830s. The latter became a successful shoe merchant in Buenos Aires, and Perón's grandfather was a prosperous physician; his death in 1889 left his widow nearly destitute, however, and Perón's father relocated to then-rural Lobos, where he administered an estancia and met his future wife. The couple had their two sons out of wedlock and married in 1901.
His father migrated to the Patagonia region that year, where he later purchased a sheep ranch. Perón himself was sent away in 1904 to a boarding school in Buenos Aires directed by his paternal grandmother, where he received a strict Catholic upbringing. His father's undertaking ultimately failed, and he died in Buenos Aires in 1928. The youth entered the National Military College in 1911 at age 16 and graduated in 1913. He excelled less in his studies than in athletics, particularly boxing and fencing.
Perón began his military career in an Infantry post in Paraná, Entre Ríos. He went on to command the post, and in this capacity mediated a prolonged labor conflict in 1920 at La Forestal, then a leading firm forestry in Argentina. He earned instructor's credentials at the Superior War School, and in 1929 was appointed to the Army General Staff Headquarters. Perón married his first wife, Aurelia Tizón (Potota, as Perón fondly called her), on January 5, 1929.
Perón was recruited by supporters of the director of the War Academy, General José Félix Uriburu, to collaborate in the latter's plans for a military coup against President Hipólito Yrigoyen. Perón, who instead supported General Agustín Justo, was banished to a remote post in northwestern Argentina after Uriburu's successful coup in September 1930. He was promoted to the rank of Major the following year and named to the faculty at the Superior War School, however, where he taught military history and published a number of treatises on the subject. He served as military attaché in the Argentine Embassy in Chile from 1936 to 1938, and returned to his teaching post. His wife was diagnosed with uterine cancer that year, and died on September 10 at age 29; the couple had no children.
Perón was assigned by the War Ministry to study mountain warfare in the Italian Alps in 1939. He also attended the University of Turinfor a semester and served as a military observer in Italy, France, Germany, Hungary, Albania and Yugoslavia, and Spain. He studiedBenito Mussolini's Italian Fascism, Nazi Germany, and other European governments of the time, concluding in his summary, Apuntes(Notes), that social democracy could be a viable alternative to liberal democracy (which he viewed as a veiled plutocracy) or totalitarian regimes (which he viewed as oppressive).He returned to Argentina in 1941, and served as an Army skiing instructor in Mendoza Province.