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Portuguese Colonial War
Part of Wars of Independence and Cold War
Embarque.jpg
Portuguese Troops embarking to go to the Colonial War
Date 1961–1974
Location Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique
Result The war ended after the Portuguese Carnation Revolution in Lisbon, which led to the fall of the Estado Novo regime and replaced it with a military junta that granted independence to all the overseas territories involved in the conflict. Some African independence movements took control of the newly-independent territories.[1][2]
Belligerents
Portugal Portugal

Supported by:
 RSA
 Rhodesia

African independence movements (1961-74):

Bandeira do MPLA.svg MPLA
Flag of Unita.jpg UNITA
Bandeira da FNLA.svg FNLA
Flag of PAIGC.svg PAIGC
Mozambique FRELIMO

Supported by:
 Soviet Union
 United States
 China
 Algeria
 Tanzania
 Senegal
 Guinea

Commanders
Angola:
PortugalFrancisco da Costa Gomes
Guinea-Bissau:
PortugalAntónio de Spínola
Mozambique:
PortugalAntónio Augusto dos Santos (1964–69),
PortugalKaúlza de Arriaga (1969–74)
Angola:
Bandeira da FNLA.svg Holden Roberto
Flag of Unita.jpg Jonas Savimbi
Bandeira do MPLA.svg Agostinho Neto
Bandeira do MPLA.svg Mário Pinto de Andrade
Bandeira do MPLA.svg Daniel Chipenda
Guinea-Bissau:
Flag of PAIGC.svgAmílcar Cabral
Mozambique:
MozambiqueEduardo Mondlane (1962–69),
MozambiqueFilipe Samuel Magaia (1964–66),
MozambiqueSamora Moïses Machel (1969–75)
Strength
135,000
50,000 in Angola?
35,000 in Guinea-Bissau
50,000 in Mozambique
38-43,000
18,000 in Angola
10,000 in Guinea-Bissau
10-15,000 in Mozambique
Casualties and losses
8,290 dead

4,000 mutilated or wounded

50,000 in Angola

~6,000 killed
~4,000 wounded in Guinea-Bissau
>10,000 killed in Mozambique

Civilian casualties:
50,000 killed in Mozambique [3]
Portuguese Air Force's helicopter operating in an African theatre during the war
Portuguese colonies in Africa by the time of the Colonial War

The Portuguese Colonial War (Portuguese: Guerra Colonial), also known as the Overseas War in Portugal (Portuguese: Guerra do Ultramar) or in the former colonies as the War of liberation (Portuguese: Guerra de Libertação), was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1974. It was a decisive ideological struggle and armed conflict of the cold war in African (Portuguese Africa and surrounding nations) and European (mainland Portugal) scenarios. Unlike other European nations, the Portuguese regime did not leave its African colonies, or the overseas provinces (províncias ultramarinas), during the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s, various armed independence movements, most prominently led by communist-led parties who cooperated under the CONCP umbrella and pro US groups, became active in these areas, most notably in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea. During the war, several atrocities were committed by all forces involved in the conflict.

Throughout the war period Portugal had to deal with increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by most of the international community. The combined guerrilla forces of the MPLA, the UNITA, and the FNLA, in Angola, PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau, and FRELIMO in Mozambique, succeeded in their rebellion not because of their overall success in battle, but because of elements of the Portuguese Armed Forces that staged a coup at Lisbon in 1974.[4][5] The Portuguese Armed Forces' Movimento das Forças Armadas overthrew the Lisbon government in protest of ongoing wars that seemed to have no political end in sight, as well as a rebellion against the new Military Laws that were to be presented next year (Decree Law: Decretos-Leis n.os 353, de 13 de Julho de 1973, e 409, de 20 de Agosto).[6][7][8][9][10] The revolutionary Portuguese government removed the remaining elements of its colonial forces and agreed to a quick handover of power for the nationalistic African guerrillas.

The end of the war after the Carnation Revolution military coup of April 1974 in Lisbon resulted in the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Portuguese citizens[11] plus the military personnel of European, African and mixed ethnicity from the newly-independent African territories to Portugal. Over 1 million people left these former colonies, predominately Angola and Mozambique, the largest overseas provinces by then.[12][13][14] This migration is regarded as one of the largest peaceful migrations in the world's History.[15] Devastating civil wars followed in Angola and Mozambique, which lasted several decades and claimed millions of lives and refugees.[16] The former colonies faced severe problems after independence. Economic and social recession, Marxist totalitarianism, corruption, poverty, inequality and failed central planning eroded the initial revolutionary fervour.[17][18] A level of social order and economic development comparable to what had existed under Portuguese rule became the goal of the independent territories.[19]

Portugal had been the first European power to establish a colony in Africa when it captured Ceuta in 1415; it became one of the last to leave. The former Portuguese territories in Africa became sovereign states, with Agostinho Neto in Angola, Samora Machel in Mozambique and Luís Cabral in Guinea-Bissau as the heads of state.

Contents

Political context

Following World War II, the two great powers of the world, the United States and the Soviet Union, sought to expand the sphere of influence and encouraged — both ideologically, financially and militarily — the formation of either pro Soviet Union or pro United States resistance groups. The United States supported the Union of Peoples of Angola (UPA - União dos Povos de Angola), headed by Holden Roberto. With this funding, the Congo-Léopoldville-based UPA would attack and massacre Portuguese settlers and local Africans living in Angola from bases in the Congo. The photos of these massacres, which included photos of decapitated civilians, men, women and children of both white and black ethnicity, would later be displayed in the UN.[20] According to historical researchers like José Freire Antunes, then-U.S. president John F. Kennedy[21] sent a message to Salazar to leave the colonies shortly after the massacre. Instead, after a pro U.S. coup failed to depose him, Salazar consolidated power and immediately set to protect the overseas territories by sending reinforcements. Thus, the war began in Angola. Similar scenarios would play out in other overseas Portuguese territories.

It is in this context that the Asian-African Conference was held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. The conference presented a forum for the colonies, most of them newly independent and facing the same problem — pressure to align with one or the other superpower in the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. At the conference, the colonies were presented with an alternative. They could band together as the so-called Third World, working both to preserve the balance of power in Cold War relations and to use their new sense of independence for their own benefit by becoming an influence zone of their own. This would lessen the effect of the colonial and neo-colonial powers on the colonies, and increased their sense of unity and desire to support each other in their relationships with the other powers.

In the late 1950s, the Portuguese Armed Forces saw themselves confronted with the paradox generated by the dictatorial regime of the Estado Novo that had been in power since 1926: on the one hand, the policy of Portuguese neutrality in World War II placed the Portuguese Armed Forces out of the way of a possible East-West conflict; on the other hand, the regime felt the increased responsibility of keeping Portugal's vast overseas territories under control and protect the populations there. Portugal, a neutral country in the war against Germany (1939–1945) before the foundation of NATO, joined that organization as a founding member in 1949, and was integrated within the military commands of NATO. The NATO focus against the threat of a conventional Soviet attack against Western Europe was to the detriment of military preparations against guerrilla uprisings in Portugal's overseas provinces that were considered essential for the survival of the nation. The integration of Portugal in the Atlantic Alliance would form a military élite that would become essential during the planning and implementation of the operations during the Overseas War. This "NATO generation" would ascend quickly to the highest political positions and military command without having to provide evidence of loyalty to the regime. The Colonial War would establish, in this way, a split between the military structure—heavily influenced by the western powers with democratic governments—and the political power of the regime. Some analysts see the "Botelho Moniz coup" (also known as A Abrilada) against the Portuguese government and backed by the U.S. administration,[22] as the beginning of this rupture, the origin of a lapse on the part of the regime to keep up a unique command center, an armed force prepared for threats of conflict in the colonies. This situation would cause, as would be verified later, a lack of coordination between the three general staffs (Army, Air Force and Navy).

Armed conflict

The conflict began in Angola on 4 February 1961, in an area called the Zona Sublevada do Norte (ZSN or the Rebel Zone of the North), consisting of the provinces of Zaire, Uíge and Cuanza Norte. The US backed UPA[23] wanted national self-determination, while for the Portuguese, who had settled in Africa and ruled considerable territory since the 15th century, their belief in a multi-racial, assimilated overseas empire justified going to war to prevent its breakup. Portuguese leaders, including Salazar, defended the policy of multiracialism and civilising mission, or Lusotropicalism, as a way of integrating Portuguese colonies, and their peoples, more closely with Portugal itself.[24] For the Portuguese ruling regime, the overseas empire was a matter of national interest. In Portuguese Africa, trained Portuguese black Africans were allowed to occupy positions in several occupations including specialized military, administration, teaching, health and other posts in the civil service and private businesses, as long as they had the right technical and human qualities. In addition, intermarriage with white Portuguese was a common practice since the earlier contacts with the Europeans. The access to basic, secondary and technical education was being expanded and its availability was being increasingly opened to both the indigenous and European Portuguese of the territories. Examples of this policy include several black Portuguese Africans who would become prominent individuals during the war or in the post-independence, and who had studied during the Portuguese rule of the territories in local schools or even in Portuguese schools and universities in the mainland (the metropole) - Samora Machel, Mário Pinto de Andrade, Marcelino dos Santos, Eduardo Mondlane, Agostinho Neto, Amílcar Cabral, Jonas Savimbi, Joaquim Chissano, and Graça Machel are just a few examples. Two large state-run universities were founded in Portuguese Africa in the 1960s (the Universidade de Luanda in Angola and the Universidade de Lourenço Marques in Mozambique, awarding a wide range of degrees from engineering to medicine[25]), during a time that in the European mainland only four public universities were in operation, two of them in Lisbon (which compares with the 14 Portuguese public universities today). Several figures in Portuguese society, including one of the most idolized sports stars in Portuguese football history, a black football player from Portuguese East Africa named Eusébio, were other examples of assimilation and multiracialism.

As communist and anti-colonial ideologies spread out across Africa, many clandestine political movements were established in support of independence. Regardless it was exaggerated anti-Portuguese/anti-"Colonial" propaganda,[26] a dominant tendency in Portuguese Africa, or a mix of both, these movements claimed that since policies and development plans were primarily designed by the ruling authorities for the benefit of the territories' ethnic Portuguese population, little attention was paid to local tribal integration and the development of its native communities. According to the official guerrilla statements, this affected a majority of the indigenous population who suffered both state-sponsored discrimination and enormous social pressure. Many felt they had received too little opportunity or resources to upgrade their skills and improve their economic and social situation to a degree comparable to that of the Europeans. Statistically, Portuguese Africa's white Portuguese population were indeed wealthier and more skilled than the indigenous majority.

In 1961, the UPA which was based in Zaire entered northern Angola and proceeded to massacre the civilian population killing 1,000 whites and 6,000 blacks (women and children included of both white European and black African descent)[27] through cross-border attacks, under the full knowledge of the US Government - it was the start of the Portuguese Colonial War. John F. Kennedy[21] would later notify António de Oliveira Salazar (via the US consulate in Portugal) to immediately abandon the colonies. A US backed coup which would be known as the Abrilada, was also attempted to overthrow Salazar's Estado Novo regime.[22] It is due to this failed coup that Salazar was able to consolidate power and finally send a military response to the massacres occurring in Angola. As the war progressed, Portugal rapidly increased its mobilized forces. Under the dictatorship, a highly militarized population was maintained where all the males were obliged to serve three years in military service, and many of those called-up to active military duty were deployed to combat zones in Portugal's African overseas provinces. In addition, by the end of the Portuguese colonial war, in 1974, black African participation had become crucial, representing about half of all operational colonial troops of Portugal. By the early 1970s, it had reached the limit of its military capacity but at this stage the war was already won.[28] The military threat was so minor at the later stages that immigration to Angola and Mozambique was actually increasing, as were the economies of the then Portuguese territories.

The guerrilla war was almost won in Angola, shifting to near total war in Guinea (although the territory was still under total control of the Portuguese military), and worsening in the north of Mozambique. According to Tetteh Hormeku (Programme Officer with Third World Network's Africa Secretariat in Accra; 2008 North-South Institute's Visiting Helleiner Research Fellow), the US was so certain that the Portuguese presence in Africa was guaranteed that it was completely caught by surprise by the effects of the Carnation revolution,[29] causing it to hastily join forces with apartheid South Africa. This led to the invasion of Angola by South Africa shortly afterward.

The Portuguese having been in Africa for much longer than the other colonial empires had developed strong relations with the local people and therefore was able to win them over. Without this support the US soon stopped backing the dissident groups in Angola.

The Soviet Union[30] realising that a military solution it had so successfully employed in several other countries around the world was not bearing fruit, dramatically changed strategy.[31] It focused instead on Portugal. With the growing popular discontent over the casualties of the war and due to the large economic divide between the rich and poor the communists were able to manipulate junior officers of the military.[32] In early 1974, the war was reduced to sporadic independentist guerrilla operations against the Portuguese in non-urbanized countryside areas far way from the main centers. The Portuguese have secured all cities, towns and villages in Angola and Mozambique, protecting its white, black and mixed race populations from any sort of armed threat. A sound environment of security and normality was the norm in almost all Portuguese Africa.[28] The only exception was Portuguese Guinea, the smallest of all continental African territories under Portuguese rule, where independentist guerrilla operations, strongly supported by neighbouring allies like Guinea and Senegal, managed to have higher levels of success.[33]

A group of Portuguese military officers under the influence of communists, would proceed to over throw the Portuguese government with what was later called the Carnation Revolution on 25 April 1974 in Lisbon, Portugal.[32] This led to a period of economic collapse and political instability. In the following years the process improved as stability returned in a couple of years, a democratic government was installed and later with Portugal entering the European Union in 1986, higher levels of political and economic stability were gradually achieved.

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Angola

Overseas Province of Angola's coat of arms until 1975.
Portuguese soldiers in Angola.

In the Portuguese Overseas Province of Angola, the rebellion of the ZSN was taken up by the União das Populações de Angola (UPA), which changed its name to Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA) in 1962. On February 4, 1961, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola took credit for the attack on the prison of Luanda, where seven policemen were killed. On March 15, 1961, the UPA, in an attack, started the massacre of white populations and black workers. This region would be retaken by large military operations that, however, would not stop the spread of the guerrilla actions to other regions of Angola, such as Cabinda, the east, the southeast and the central plateaus.

Portugal's counterinsurgency campaign in Angola was clearly the most successful of all its campaigns in the Colonial War. By 1974, for a variety of reasons, it was clear that Portugal was winning the war in Angola.[28] Angola is a relatively large African nation, and the long distances from safe haven in neighboring countries supporting the rebel forces made it difficult for the latter to escape detection (the distance from the major Angolan urban centres to the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia were so far that the east part of the country was called Terras do Fim do Mundo [Lands of the End of the World] by the Portuguese). Another factor was that the three nationalist groups (FNLA, MPLA, and UNITA) spent as much time fighting each other as they did fighting the Portuguese. Strategy also played a role; General Costa Gomes's insistence that the war was to be fought not just by the military, but also involving civilian organisations led to a successful hearts and minds campaign against the influence of the various revolutionary movements. Finally, unlike other overseas departments, Portugal was able to receive support from South Africa in its Angolan campaign; Portuguese forces sometimes referred to their South African counter-insurgent counterparts as primos (cousins).

The campaign in Angola saw the development and initial deployment of several unique and successful counter-insurgency forces:

  • Batalhões de Caçadores Pára-quedistas (Paratrooper Hunter Battalions): employed throughout the conflicts in Africa, were the first forces to arrive in Angola when the war began
  • Comandos (Commandos): born out of the war in Angola, and later used in Guinea and Mozambique
  • Caçadores Especiais (Special Hunters): were in Angola from the start of the conflict in 1961
  • Fiéis (Faithfuls): a force composed by Katanga exiles, black soldiers that opposed the rule of Mobutu
  • Leais (Loyals): a force composed by exiles from Zambia, black soldiers that were against Kenneth Kaunda
  • Grupos Especiais (Special Groups): units of volunteer black soldiers that had commando training; also used in Mozambique
  • Tropas Especiais (Special Troops): the name of Special Forces Groups in Cabinda
  • Flechas (Arrows): a very successful unit, controlled by the PIDE/DGS, composed by Bushmen, that specialized in tracking, reconnaissance and pseudo-terrorist operations. They were the basis for the Rhodesian Selous Scouts. The Flechas were also employed in Mozambique.
  • Grupo de Cavalaria Nº1 (1st Cavalry Group): a mounted cavalry unit, armed with the 7,62 mm Espingarda m/961 rifle and the m/961 Walther P-38 pistol, tasked with reconnaissance and patrolling. The 1st was also known as the "Angolan Dragoons" (Dragões de Angola). The Rhodesians would also later develop the concept of horse-mounted counter-insurgency forces, forming the Grey's Scouts.
  • Batalhão de Cavalaria 1927 (1927 Cavalry Battalion): a tank unit equipped with the M5A1 tank. The battalion was used for supporting infantry forces and as a rapid reaction force. Again the Rhodesians would copy this concept forming the Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment.

Guinea-Bissau

Overseas Province of Guinea's coat of arms until 1974.
A PAIGC checkpoint in 1974

In Portuguese Guinea, the Marxist African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) started fighting in January 1963. Its guerrilla fighters attacked the Portuguese headquarters in Tite, located to the south of Bissau, the capital, near the Corubal river. Similar actions quickly spread across the entire colony, requiring a strong response from the Portuguese forces.

The war in Guinea placed face to face Amílcar Cabral, the leader of PAIGC, and António de Spínola, the Portuguese general responsible for the local military operations. In 1965 the war spread to the eastern part of the country and in that same year the PAIGC carried out attacks in the north of the country where at the time only the minor guerrilla movement, the Front for the Liberation and Independence of Guinea (FLING), was fighting. By that time, the PAIGC started receiving military support from the Socialist Bloc, mainly from Cuba, a support that would last until the end of the war.

In Guinea, Portuguese troops initially took a defensive posture, limiting themselves to defending territories and cities already held. Defensive operations were particularly devastating to the regular Portuguese infantry who were regularly attacked outside of populated areas by the forces of the PAIGC. They were also demoralized by the steady growth of PAIGC liberation sympathizers and recruits among the rural population. In a relatively short time, the PAIGC had succeeded in reducing Portuguese military and administrative control of the country to a relatively small area of Guinea. Unlike the other colonial territories, successful small-unit Portuguese counterinsurgency tactics were slow to evolve in Guinea.

During the latter part of the 1960s, military reforms instituted by Gen. Spínola began to improve Portuguese counterinsurgency operations in Guinea. Naval amphibious operations were instituted to overcome some of the mobility problems inherent in the underdevelped and marshy areas of the country, utilizing Destacamentos de Fuzileiros Especiais (DFE) (special marine assault detachments) as strike forces. The Fuzileiros Especiais were lightly equipped with folding-stock m/961 (G3) rifles, 37mm rocket launchers, and light machine guns such as the Heckler & Koch HK21 to enhance their mobility in the difficult, swampy terrain.

In 1970, Portugal attempted to overthrow Sekou Toure (with the support of Guinean exiles) in the Operação Mar Verde (Green Sea Operation). The objectives were: perform a coup d'état in Guinea-Conakry; destroy the PAIGC naval and air assets; capture Amilcar Cabral and free Portuguese POWs held in Conakry. The operation was a failure, with only the POW rescue and the destruction of PAIGC ships being successful. Nigeria and Algeria offered support to Guinea-Conakry; the Soviet Union even sent warships to the area (known by NATO as the West Africa Patrol) to discourage further Portuguese offensive operations.

Between 1968 and 1972, the Portuguese forces increased their offensive posture, in the form of raids against PAIGC positions. At this time Portuguese forces also adopted unorthodox means of countering the insurgents, including attacks on the political structure of the nationalist movement. This strategy culminated in the assassination of Amílcar Cabral in January 1973. Nonetheless, the PAIGC continued to increase its strength, and began to heavily press Portuguese defense forces. This became even more apparent after the PAIGC received heavy anti-aircraft cannon and other AA equipment provided by the Soviets, including SA-7 shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, all of which seriously impeded Portuguese air operations.

The war in Guinea has been termed "Portugal's Vietnam". The PAIGC was well-trained, well-led, and equipped and received substantial support from safe havens in neighbouring countries like Senegal and Guinea-Conakry. The jungles of Guinea and the proximity of the PAIGC's allies near the border proved to be of significant advantage in providing tactical superiority during cross-border attacks and resupply missions for the guerrillas.

The war in Guinea also saw the use of two special indigenous African counterinsurgency detachments by the Portuguese Armed Forces:

  • African Commandos (Comandos Africanos): Commando units entirely composed by black soldiers, including the officers
  • African Special Marines (Fuzileiros Especiais Africanos): Marine units entirely composed of black soldiers

The conflict in Portuguese Guinea involving the PAIGC guerrillas and the Portuguese Army was the most intense and damaging of all Portuguese Colonial War. Thus, during the 1960s and early 1970s, Portuguese development plans promoting strong economic growth and effective socioeconomic policies, like those applied by the Portuguese in the other two theaters of war (Portuguese Angola and Portuguese Mozambique), were not possible.

Mozambique

Overseas Province of Mozambique's coat of arms until 1975.

The Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique was the last territory to start the war of liberation. Its nationalist movement was led by the Marxist-Leninist Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which carried out the first attack against Portuguese targets on September 24, 1964, in Chai, Cabo Delgado Province. The fighting later spread to Niassa, Tete at the centre of the country. A report from Battalion No. 558 of the Portuguese army makes references to violent actions, also in Cabo Delgado, on August 21, 1964.

On November 16 of the same year, the Portuguese troops suffered their first losses fighting in the north of the country, in the region of Xilama. By this time, the size of the guerrilla movement had substantially increased; this, along with the low numbers of Portuguese troops and colonists, allowed a steady increase in FRELIMO's strength. It quickly started moving south in the direction of Meponda and Mandimba, linking to Tete with the aid of Malawi.

Until 1967 the FRELIMO showed less interest in Tete region, putting its efforts on the two northernmost districts of the country where the use of landmines became very common. In the region of Niassa, FRELIMO's intention was to create a free corridor to Zambézia. Until April 1970, the military activity of FRELIMO increased steadily, mainly due to the strategic work of Samora Machel in the region of Cabo Delgado. The war in Mozambique saw a great involvement of Rhodesia, supporting the Portuguese troops in operations and even conducting operations independently. By 1973, the territory was mostly under Portuguese control.[34 ] The Operation "Nó Górdio" (Gordian Knot Operation) - conducted in 1970 and commanded by Portuguese Brigadier General Kaúlza de Arriaga - a conventional-style operation to destroy the guerrilla bases in the north of Mozambique, was the major military operation of the Portuguese Colonial War. A hotly disputed issue, the Gordian Knot Operation was considered by several historians and military strategists as a failure that even worsened the situation for the Portuguese, but according to others, including its main architect,[35] troops, and officials who had participated on both sides of the operation, including high ranked elements from the FRELIMO guerrilla, it was also globally described as a tremendous success of the Portuguese Armed Forces.[36] Arriaga, however, was removed from his powerful military post in Mozambique by Marcelo Caetano shortly before the events in Lisbon that would trigger the end of the war and the independence of the Portuguese territories in Africa. The reason for Arriaga's abrupt fate was an alleged incident with indigenous civilian populations, as well as Portuguese government's suspicion that Arriaga was planning a military coup against Marcelo's administration in order to avoid the rise of leftist influences in Portugal and the loss of the African overseas provinces.

The construction of the Cahora Bassa Dam tied up large numbers of Portuguese troops (near 50% of all the troops in Mozambique) and brought the FRELIMO to the Tete Province, closer to some cities and more populated areas in the south. Still, although the FRELIMO tried to halt and stop the construction of the dam, it was never able to do so. In 1974, the FRELIMO launched mortar attacks against Vila Pery (now Chimoio) an important city and the first (and only) heavy populated area to be hit by the FRELIMO.

In Mozambique special units were also used by the Portuguese Armed Forces:

  • Grupos Especiais (Special Groups): locally-raised counter-insurgency troops similar to those used in Angola
  • Grupos Especiais Pára-Quedistas (Paratrooper Special Groups): units of volunteer black soldiers that were given airborne training
  • Grupos Especiais de Pisteiros de Combate (Combat Tracking Special Groups): special units trained in tracking and locating guerrillas forces
  • Flechas (Arrows), a unit similar to the one employed in Angola

Major counter-insurgency operations

Role of the Organisation of African Unity

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded May 1963. Its basic principles were co-operation between African nations and solidarity between African peoples. Another important objective of the OAU was an end to all forms of colonialism in Africa. This became the major objective of the organization in its first years and soon OAU pressure led to the situation in the Portuguese colonies being brought up at the UN Security Council.

The OAU established a committee based in Dar es Salaam, with representatives from Ethiopia, Algeria, Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania, Zaire, Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria, to support African liberation movements. The support provided by the committee included military training and weapon supplies.

The OAU also took action in order to promote the international acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile (GRAE), composed by the FNLA. This support was transferred to the MPLA and to its leader, Agostinho Neto in 1967. In November 1972, both movements were recognized by the OAU in order to promote their merger. After 1964, the OAU recognized PAIGC as the legitimate representatives of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde and in 1965 recognised FRELIMO for Mozambique.

Armament and support

Portugal

When conflict erupted in 1961, Portuguese forces were badly equipped to cope with the demands of a counter-insurgency conflict. It was standard procedure, up to that point, to send the oldest and most obsolete material to the colonies. Thus, initial military operations were conducted using World War II radios, the old m/937 7,92 mm Mauser rifle, and the equally elderly German m/938 7,92 mm (MG-13) Dreyse and Italian 8 mm x 59RB m/938 (Breda M37) machine guns.[37] Much of Portugal's older small arms derived from Germany in various deliveries made mostly before World War II. Later, Portugal would purchase arms and military equipment from France, West Germany, South Africa, and to a lesser extent, from Belgium, Israel, and the USA.

Within a short time, the Portuguese Army saw the need for a modern selective-fire combat rifle, and in 1961 adopted the 7,62 mm Espingarda m/961 (Heckler & Koch G3) as the standard infantry weapon for most of its forces.[38] However, quantities of the 7,62 mm FN and German G1 FAL rifle, known as the m/962, were also issued; the FAL was a favored weapon of members serving in elite commando units such as the Caçadores Especiais.[38] At the beginning of the war, the elite airborne units (Caçadores Pára-quedistas) rarely used the m/961, having adopted the ultra-modern 7,62 mm ArmaLite AR-10 in 1960. In the days before attached grenade launchers became standard, Portuguese paratroopers frequently resorted to the use of ENERGA anti-tank rifle grenades fired from their AR-10 rifles. After Holland embargoed further sales of the AR-10, the paratroop battalions were issued a collapsible-stock version of the regular m/961 (G3) rifle, also in 7,62 mm NATO caliber.[39] For the light machine-gun role, the German MG42 in 7,92 mm and later 7,62 mm NATO caliber was used until 1968, when the 7,62 mm m/968 Metralhadora Ligeira became available. Some 9 mm x 19 mm submachine guns, including the Austrian Steyr MP34 m/942, the Portuguese FBP m/948, and the Uzi were also used, mainly by officers, horse-mounted cavalry, reserve and paramilitary units, and security forces.[37]

To destroy enemy emplacements, other weapons were employed, including the 37 mm (1.46 in), 60 mm (2.5 in), and 89 mm (3.5 in.) Lança-granadas-foguete (Bazooka), along with several types of recoilless rifles.[39][40] Because of the mobile nature of counterinsurgency operations, heavy support weapons were less frequently used. However, the m/951 12.7 mm (.50 caliber) U.S. M2 Browning heavy machine gun saw service in both ground and vehicle mounts, as well as 60 mm, 81 mm, and later, 120 mm mortars.[40] Artillery and mobile howitzers were used in a few operations.

Mobile ground operations consisted of patrol sweeps by armored car and reconnaissance vehicles. Supply convoys used both armored and unarmored vehicles. Typically, armored vehicles would be placed at the front, center, and tail of a motorized convoy. Several armored cars were used, including the Panhard AML, Panhard EBR, Fox and (in the 70s) the Chaimite.

A Portuguese F-84 being loaded with ordnance in the 1960s, at Luanda Air Base.
The Portuguese Airforce employed Fiat G91 aircraft like this in the Portuguese Colonial War.

Unlike the Vietnam War, Portugal's limited national resources did not allow for widespread use of the helicopter. Only those troops involved in raids (also called golpe de mão (hand blow) in Portuguese) - mainly Commandos and Paratroopers - would deploy by helicopter. Most deployments were either on foot or in vehicles (Berliet and Unimog trucks). The helicopters were reserved for support (in a gunship role) or MEDEVAC. The Alouette III was the most widely-used helicopter, although the Puma was also used with great success. Other aircraft were employed: for air support the T6, the F-86 Sabre and the Fiat G.91 were used; for reconnaissance the Dornier Do 27 was employed. In the transport role, the Portuguese Air Force originally used the Junkers Ju 52, followed by the Nord Noratlas, the C-54 Skymaster, and the C-47 (all of these aircraft were also used for Paratroop drop operations). From 1965, Portugal began to purchase the Fiat G.91 to deploy to its African overseas territories of Mozambique, Guinea and Angola in the close-support role.[41] The first 40 G.91 were purchased second-hand from the Luftwaffe, out of the aircraft that had originally been produced for Greece and which differed from the rest of the Luftwaffe G.91s sufficiently to create maintenance problems. The aircraft replaced the Portuguese F-86 Sabre.

The Portuguese Navy (particularly the Marines, known as Fuzileiros) made extensive use of patrol boats, landing craft, and Zodiac inflatable boats. They were employed especially in Guinea, but also in the Congo River (and other smaller rivers) in Angola and in the Zambezi (and other rivers) in Mozambique. Equipped with standard or collapsible-stock m/961 rifles, grenades, and other gear, they utilized small boats or patrol craft to infiltrate guerilla positions. In an effort to intercept infiltrators, the Fuzileiros even manned small patrol craft on Lake Malawi. The Navy also used Portuguese civilian cruisers as troop transports, and drafted Portuguese Merchant Navy personnel to man ships carrying troops and material and into the Marines.

Native black warriors were employed in Africa by the Portuguese colonial rulers since the 16th century. Portugal had employed regular native troops (companhias indigenas) in its colonial army since the early nineteenth century. After 1961, with the beginning of the colonial wars in its overseas territories, Portugal began to incorporate black Portuguese Africans into integrated units as part of the war effort in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique based on concepts of multi-racialism and preservation of the empire. African participation on the Portuguese side of the conflict varied from marginal roles as laborers and informers to participation in highly-trained operational combat units. As the war progressed, use of African counterinsurgency troops increased; on the eve of the military coup of 25 April 1974, Africans accounted for more than 50 percent of Portuguese forces fighting the war. Throughout the war period Portugal had to deal with increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by most of the international community.

Guerrilla movements

AK-47 automatic rifles were widely used by the African guerrilla movements.

The armament of the nationalist groups came mainly from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and (especially in Mozambique) China. However, they also used small arms of U.S. manufacture (such as the .45 M1 Thompson submachine gun), along with British, French, and German weapons derived from neighboring countries sympathetic to the rebellion. Later in the war, most guerrillas would use roughly the same Soviet-origin infantry rifles: the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle, the SKS carbine, and most importantly, the AK-47 series of 7,62 mm x 39 mm automatic rifles. Rebel forces also made extensive use of machine guns for ambush and positional defense. The 7,62 mm Degtyarev light machine gun (LMG) was the most widely used LMG, together with the DShK and the SG-43 Goryunov heavy machine guns. Support weapons included mortars, recoilless rifles, and in particular, Soviet-made rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the RPG-2 and RPG-7. Anti-aircraft weapons were also employed, especially by the PAIGC and the FRELIMO. The ZPU-4 AA cannon was the most widely used, but by far the most effective was the Strela 2 missile, first introduced to guerrilla forces in Guinea in 1973 and in Mozambique the following year by Soviet technicians.

The guerrillas' AK-47 and AKM rifles were highly thought of by many Portuguese soldiers, as they were shorter, slightly lighter, and more mobile than the m/961 (G3).[42] The AK-47's ammunition load was also lighter.[42] The average Angolan or Mozambiquan rebel carried 150 7,62 mm x 39 cartridges (five 30-round magazines) as a combat load during bush operations, compared to 100 7,62 mm x 51 rounds (five 20-round magazines) for the Portuguese infantryman on patrol.[42] Though a common misconception is that Portuguese soldiers used captured AK-47 type weapons, this was only true of a few elite units for special missions. Like U.S. forces in Vietnam, ammunition resupply difficulties and the danger of being mistaken for a guerrilla when firing an enemy weapon generally precluded their use.

Mines were one of the most successful weapons of the guerrillas, and the weapon most feared by Portuguese forces. The Portuguese used mine detection equipment, but also employed trained soldiers (picadors) walking abreast with long probes to detect nonmetallic road mines. Guerrillas in all the various revolutionary movements used a variety of mines, often combining anti-tank with anti-personnel mines with devastating results. Other mines used included the PMN (Black Widow), TM-46, and POMZ. Even amphibious mines were used such as the PDM, along with numerous home-made antipersonnel wood box mines and other nonmetallic explosive devices. The impact of mining operations, in addition to causing casualties, tended to undermined the mobility of Portuguese forces, causing more troops and equipment to be diverted to convoy protection and mine clearance.

In general, the PAIGC in Guinea was the best armed, trained, and led of all the guerrilla movements. By 1970 it even had candidates training in the Soviet Union, learning to fly MIGs and to operate Soviet-supplied amphibious assault crafts and APCs.

Opposition

The government presented as a general consensus that the colonies were a part of the national unity, closer to overseas provinces than to true colonies. The communists were the first party to oppose the official view, since they saw the Portuguese presence in the colonies as an act against the colonies' right to self determination. During its 5th Congress, in 1957, the illegal Portuguese Communist Party (Partido Comunista Português - PCP) was the first political organization to demand the immediate and total independence of the colonies. However, being the only truly organized opposition movement, the PCP had to play two roles. One role was that of a communist party with an anti-colonialist position; the other role was to be a cohesive force drawing together a broad spectrum of opposing parties. Therefore it had to accede to views that didn't reflect its true anticolonial position.

Several opposition figures outside the PCP also had anticolonial opinions, such as the candidates to the fraudulent presidential elections, like Norton de Matos (in 1949), Quintão Meireles (in 1951) and Humberto Delgado (in 1958). The communist candidates had, obviously, the same positions. Among them were Rui Luís Gomes and Arlindo Vicente, the first would not be allowed to participate in the election and the second would support Delgado in 1958.

After the electoral fraud of 1958, Humberto Delgado formed the Independent National Movement (Movimento Nacional Independente - MNI) that, in October 1960, agreed that there was a need to prepare the people in the colonies, before giving them the right of self-determination. Despite this, no detailed policies for achieving this goal were set out.

In 1961, the nº8 of the Military Tribune had as its title "Let's end the war of Angola". The authors were linked to the Patriotic Action Councils (Juntas de Acção Patriótica - JAP), supporters of Humberto Delgado, and responsible for the attack on the barracks of Beja. The Portuguese Front of National Liberation (Frente Portuguesa de Libertação Nacional - FPLN), founded in December 1962, attacked the conciliatory positions. The official feeling of the Portuguese state, despite all this, was the same: Portugal had inalienable and legitimate rights over the colonies and this was what was transmitted through the media and through the state propaganda.

In April 1964, the Directory of Democratic-Social Action (Acção Democrato-Social - ADS) presented a political solution rather than a military one. In agreement with this initiative in 1966, Mário Soares suggested there should be a referendum on the overseas policy Portugal should follow, and that the referendum should be preceded by a national discussion to take place in the six months prior to the referendum.

The end of Salazar's rule in 1968, due to illness, did not prompt any change in the political panorama. The radicalization of the opposition movements started with the younger people who also felt victimized by the continuation of the war.

The universities played a key role in the spread of this position. Several magazines and newspapers were created, such as Cadernos Circunstância, Cadernos Necessários, Tempo e Modo, and Polémica that supported this view. It was in this environment that the Armed Revolutionary Action (Acção Revolucionária Armada - ARA), the armed branch of the Portuguese Communist party created in the late 1960s, and the Revolutionary Brigades (Brigadas Revolucionárias - BR), a left-wing organization, became an important force of resistance against the war, carrying out multiple acts of sabotage and bombing against military targets. The ARA began its military actions in October 1970, keeping them up until August 1972. The major actions were the attack on the Tancos air base that destroyed several helicopters on March 8, 1971, and the attack on the NATO headquarters at Oeiras in October of the same year. The BR, on its side, began armed actions on 7 November 1971, with the sabotage of the NATO base at Pinhal de Armeiro, the last action being carried out 9 April 1974, against the Niassa ship which was preparing to leave Lisboa with troops to be deployed in Guinea. The BR acted even in the colonies, placing a bomb in the Military Command of Bissau on 22 February 1974.

In April 25, 1974, Portuguese military officers staged a coup that toppled António de Oliveira Salazar's successor Marcelo Caetano, and installed a leftist regime that was committed to rapidly dismantling the Portuguese Empire.

Aftermath

A monument to the Portuguese Overseas Territories' Heroes (Heróis do Ultramar), in Coimbra, Portugal.

In early 1974, the Portuguese military still controlled all major cities and towns in Angola and Mozambique. Vila Pery, Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique (now Chimoio, Mozambique) was the only heavily populated urban area which suffered a short-lived attack by guerrillas during the entire war. A sound environment of security and normality was the norm in almost all Portuguese Africa outside Portuguese Guinea. Economic growth and economic development in mainland Portugal and its overseas territories were at a record high during this period.[34 ] After a long period of economic divergence before 1914, the Portuguese economy recovered slightly until 1950, entering thereafter on a path of strong economic convergence. Portuguese economic growth in the period 1950–1973 created an opportunity for real integration with the developed economies of Western Europe. Through emigration, trade, tourism and foreign investment, individuals and firms changed their patterns of production and consumption, bringing about a structural transformation. Simultaneously, the increasing complexity of a growing economy raised new technical and organizational challenges, stimulating the formation of modern professional and management teams.[43]

By the early 1970s, the Portuguese Colonial War continued to rage on, requiring a steadily increasing budget. The Portuguese military was overstretched and there was no political solution or end in sight. While the human losses were relatively small, the war as whole had already entered its second decade. The Portuguese ruling regime of Estado Novo faced criticism from the international community and was becoming increasingly isolated. It had a profound impact on Portugal - thousands of young men avoided conscription by emigrating illegally, mainly to France and the US. The war in the Portuguese overseas territories of Africa was increasingly unpopular in Portugal itself as the people got weary of war and balked at its ever-rising expense. Many ethnic Portuguese of the African overseas territories were also increasingly willing to accept independence if their economic status could be preserved. In addition, younger Portuguese military academy graduates resented a program introduced by Marcello Caetano whereby militia officers who completed a brief training program and had served in the overseas territories' defensive campaigns, could be commissioned at the same rank as military academy graduates. Caetano's Portuguese Government had begun the program (which included several other reforms) in order to increase the number of officials employed against the African insurgencies, and at the same time cut down military costs to alleviate an already overburdened government budget. Thus, the group of revolutionary military insurgents started as a military professional class[44] protest of Portuguese Armed Forces captains against a decree law: the Dec. Lei nº 353/73 of 1973.[8][45]

As a consequence, Portuguese junior military officers, under the influence of the communists,[32] would later organize themselves in the MFA and successfully overthrow the Portuguese regime of Estado Novo in a bloodless military coup known as the Carnation Revolution on 25 April 1974 in Lisbon. In Portugal this lead to a series of temporary governments, mainly marked by a nationalisation of many important areas of the economy.

For a brief time (May 1974 - November 1975) the country was on the brink of civil war[46] between left-wing hardliners (Vasco Gonçalves, Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho and others) and the moderate forces (Francisco da Costa Gomes, António Ramalho Eanes and others). The moderates eventually won, preventing Portugal from becoming a communist state.[47]

The communist government was soon overthrown and Portugal converted to a democratic government.[28] But it would take 30 years and membership of the European Union for the Portuguese economy to recover from the effects of the colonial war and certain economic excesses of the Carnation revolution. The effects of having to integrate hundreds of thousand of refugees from the colonies (collectively known as retornados), nationalisation of areas of the economy, and the resultant brain drain due to political intimidation by the government of the entrepreneurial class would cripple the Portuguese economy for decades to come.[48]

Monument in Lisbon to Portuguese soldiers killed in Africa (1961–1975).

Portugal had been the first European power to establish a colony in Africa when it captured Ceuta in 1415 and now it was one of the last to leave. The departure of the Portuguese from Angola and Mozambique increased the isolation of Rhodesia, where white minority rule ended in 1980 when the territory gained international recognition as the Republic of Zimbabwe with Robert Mugabe as the head of government. The former Portuguese territories in Africa became sovereign states with Agostinho Neto (followed in 1979 by José Eduardo dos Santos) in Angola, Samora Machel (followed in 1986 by Joaquim Chissano) in Mozambique and Luís Cabral (followed in 1980 by Nino Vieira) in Guinea-Bissau, as heads of state.

In all Portuguese Africa, the Portuguese were not typical settlers. While most European colonies in Africa were "settled" and colonized by whites in the early 1900s, some white families and colonial institutions in those Portuguese-ruled territories had been there for generations.[49][50] However, the fear of reprisals and the pro-communist ideologies by the new African governments resulted in the exodus of thousands of Portuguese citizens of European, African and mixed ethnicity from the newly-independent African territories to Portugal and other places.

The former colonies became worse off after independence as devastating civil wars followed in Angola and Mozambique, which lasted several decades and claimed millions of lives and refugees.[16] Economic and social recession, corruption, poverty, inequality and failed central planning, eroded the initial impetus of nationalistic fervour. A level of social order and economic development comparable to what had existed under Portuguese rule, became the goal of the independent territories. There was black racism in the former overseas provinces through the use of hatred against both ethnic Portuguese and many mulatto Africans.[19] Many of the local black soldiers that served in the Portuguese Army and who had fought against the independence guerrillas were disarmed and left behind. Following independence several thousands of them were executed. A small number had managed to emigrate previously to Portugal or to other African nations. The most famous massacre occurred in Bissorã, Guinea-Bissau. In 1980 PAIGC admitted in its newspaper "Nó Pintcha" (dated 29/11/1980) that many were executed and buried in unmarked collective graves in the woods of Cumerá, Portogole and Mansabá.

Interestingly, perhaps due to close ties during the war, many thousands of Portuguese immigrated to South Africa after independence. Most came from Angola and Mozambique. In South Africa, they became well-known for opening convenience stores and restaurants.

Economic consequences of the war

Evolution of the expenditure of the Portuguese state with the military during the war

The Government budget increased significantly during the war years. The country's expenditure on the armed forces ballooned since the beginning of the war in 1961. The expenses were divided into ordinary and extraordinary ones; the latter were the main factor in the huge increase in the military budget. Since the rise of Marcelo Caetano, after Salazar's incapacitation, spending on military forces increased even further.

It is often stated that war in the colonies was having a severe impact but the accuracy of these statements have to be questioned. Especially in light of the vast natural resources of Angola. To put this in context prior to the Carnation Revolution - Angola was one of the largest oil producers in Africa. With the oil shock of 1974 - oil alone could have easily paid for the war in all of the colonies. The former overseas provinces of Portugal in Africa, had a large variety of important natural resources like oil, natural gas, diamonds, aluminium, hydroelectric power capacity, forests and fertile arable lands. In some areas of Portuguese Africa, these huge resource stock, despite its wide availabibility, was barely exploited by the early 1970s, but its potential future use was already anticipated by all parts involved in the conflict, including the world's cold war superpowers. In fact, both oil extraction and diamond mining would play a huge financial and funding role in the decades long civil war that would cost millions of lives and refugees in post-independence Angola[51] and which would primarily benefit the despotic post-independence rulers of the country, the USA (then Gulf Oil what is now called ChevronTexaco) and the Soviet Union.

The African territories became worse off after independence. The deterioration in central planning effectiveness, economic development and growth, security, education and health system efficiency, was rampant. None of the newly independent African States made any significant progress economically or social economically in the following decades. Almost all sank at the bottom of human development and GDP per capita world tables. After a few years, the former colonies had reached high levels of corruption, poverty, inequality and social imbalances.[19]

In mainland Portugal, the coup itself was led by junior officers - which implies that the better informed senior officers did not believe the war was lost or that the economy was in severe crises.[28] A further illustration would be to compare the economic growth rates of Portugal in the war years 6%- to post war years 2-3%. This is substantially higher than the vast majority of other European nations (and much higher than what Portugal has actually been able to achieve after the war). Other indicators like GDP as percentage of Western Europe would indicate that Portugal was rapidly catching up to its European neighbours. In 1960, at the initiation of Salazar's more outward-looking economic policy, Portugal's per capita GDP was only 38 percent of the EC-12 average; by the end of the Salazar period, in 1968, it had risen to 48 percent; and in 1973, on the eve of the revolution, Portugal's per capita GDP had reached 56.4 percent of the EC-12 average. In 1975, the year of maximum revolutionary turmoil, Portugal's per capita GDP declined to 52.3 percent of the EC-12 average. Convergence of real GDP growth toward the EC average occurred as a result of Portugal's economic resurgence since 1985. In 1991 Portugal's GDP per capita climbed to 54.9 percent of the EC average, exceeding by a fraction the level attained just during the worst revolutionary period.[52]

The impact of the military coup in Lisbon on the Portuguese economy in areas as diverse as shipping, chemical industry, finance, agriculture, mining and defence, was extremely negative. The communist inspired military coup and the chaotic abandonment of the Portuguese territories in Africa had a more severe, devastating and lasting impact on both Portugal and its overseas territories than the actual Colonial War. Without one single exception - all the overseas territories were economically and socially worse off after independence than prior to independence.

It would take several decades and joining of the European Community before the Portuguese economy would see any signs of recovering. To date, it has not matched growth rates achieved during the Colonial war.[43][48]

See also


References

  1. ^ Portugal since 1974, Britannica
  2. ^ Mia Couto, Carnation revolution, Monde Diplomatique
  3. ^ Mid-Range Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century retrieved December 4, 2007
  4. ^ Laidi, Zaki. The Superpowers and Africa: The Constraints of a Rivalry:1960-1990. Chicago: Univ. Of Chicago, 1990.
  5. ^ António Pires Nunes, Angola 1966-74
  6. ^ (Portuguese) Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA). In Infopédia [Em linha]. Porto: Porto Editora, 2003-2009. [Consult. 2009-01-07]. Disponível na www: <URL: http://www.infopedia.pt/$movimento-das-forcas-armadas-(mfa)>.
  7. ^ Movimento das Forças Armadas (1974-1975), Projecto CRiPE- Centro de Estudos em Relações Internacionais, Ciência Política e Estratégia. © José Adelino Maltez. Cópias autorizadas, desde que indicada a origem. Última revisão em: 02-10-2008
  8. ^ a b (Portuguese) A Guerra Colonial na Guine/Bissau (07 de 07), Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho on the Decree Law, RTP 2 television, youtube.com.
  9. ^ (Portuguese) Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA). In Infopédia [Em linha]. Porto: Porto Editora, 2003-2009. [Consult. 2009-01-07]. Disponível na www: <URL: http://www.infopedia.pt/$movimento-das-forcas-armadas-(mfa)>.
  10. ^ João Bravo da Matta, A Guerra do Ultramar, O Diabo, 14th October 2008, pp.22
  11. ^ Portugal Migration, The Encyclopedia of the Nations
  12. ^ Flight from Angola, The Economist (August 16, 1975).
  13. ^ Dismantling the Portuguese Empire, Time Magazine (Monday, July 07, 1975).
  14. ^ Portugal - Emigration, Eric Solsten, ed. Portugal: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993.
  15. ^ António Barreto, Portugal: Um Retrato Social, 2006
  16. ^ a b The Decolonization of Portuguese Africa: Metropolitan Revolution and the Dissolution of Empire by Norrie MacQueen - Mozambique since Independence: Confronting Leviathan by Margaret Hall, Tom Young - Author of Review: Stuart A. Notholt African Affairs, Vol. 97, No. 387 (Apr., 1998), pp. 276-278, JSTOR
  17. ^ Mark D. Tooley, Praying for Marxism in Africa, FrontPageMagazine.com (Friday, March 13, 2009)
  18. ^ Mario de Queiroz, AFRICA-PORTUGAL: Three Decades After Last Colonial Empire Came to an End
  19. ^ a b c "Things are going well in Angola. They achieved good progress in their first year of independence. There's been a lot of building and they are developing health facilities. In 1976 they produced 80,000 tons of coffee. Transportation means are also being developed. Currently between 200,000 and 400,000 tons of coffee are still in warehouses. In our talks with [Angolan President Agostinho] Neto we stressed the absolute necessity of achieving a level of economic development comparable to what had existed under [Portuguese] colonialism."; "There is also evidence of black racism in Angola. Some are using the hatred against the colonial masters for negative purposes. There are many mulattos and whites in Angola. Unfortunately, racist feelings are spreading very quickly." [1] Castro's 1977 southern Africa tour: A report to Honecker, CNN
  20. ^ Angola discutida na Assembleia Geral das Nações Unidas, a film of a Portuguese formal protest in the United Nations (March 1961), and an anti-American riot at Lisbon, guerracolonial.org
  21. ^ a b A Guerra De Africa (1961-1974) by José Freire Antunes, Temas e Debates, ISBN 972759039X (972-759-039-X)
  22. ^ a b (Portuguese) Luís Nuno Rodrigues"Orgulhosamente Sós"? Portugal e os Estados Unidos no início da década de 1960 - At the 22nd Meeting of History teachers of the Centro (region), Caldas da Rainha, April 2004, Instituto de Relações Internacionais (International Relations Institute)
  23. ^ The Destruction of a Nation: United States' Policy Towards Angola Since 1945, George Wright, Pluto Press, 1997 - ISBN 074531029X, 9780745310299
  24. ^ Colorblind Colonialism? Lusotropicalismo and Portugal’s 20th. Century Empire. in Africa. Leah Fine. Barnard College Department of History, Spring 2007
  25. ^ (Portuguese) 52. UNIVERSIDADE DE LUANDA
  26. ^ Independence redux in postsocialist Mozambique, Alice Dinerman
  27. ^ A «GUERRA» 1º Episódio «Massacres da UPA», A Guerra (Joaquim Furtado) 2007, youtube.com
  28. ^ a b c d e Reviewed Work(s): Counterinsurgency in Africa. The Portuguese Way of War 1961–1974 by John P. Cann - A Guerra de África 1961–1974 by José Freire Antunes - Author of Review: Douglas L. Wheeler, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1, Special Issue on Mozambique (Mar., 1998), pp. 240-243, JSTOR
  29. ^ Tetteh Hormeku - Programme Officer with Third World Network's Africa Secretariat in Accra, Third World Resurgence No.89, January 1998, US intervention in Africa: Through Angolan eyes, "Nixon's assumption that Portugal would be able to militarily contain Angolan nationalism and provide the conditions for US investment was unravelled with the 1974 coup in Portugal." Third World Network
  30. ^ Cambridge Journals N. McQueen, "...strategic boost to the Soviet Union, which could seek naval facilities there after independence", Contemporary European History (1999), 8: 209-230 Cambridge University Press
  31. ^ Cold War CNN Episode 17: Good guys, bad guys, Cuba-Angola letters, 1975 Letter from Raul Diaz Arguelles to Raul Castro, August 11, 1975 - "In the course of this conversation, the Angolans complained about the paucity of aid from the socialist camp, and they pointed out that if the socialist camp does not help them, no one will, since they are the most progressive forces [in the country], whereas the imperialists, Mobutu and ... [one word sanitized] are helping the FNLA in every way possible. They also complained that the Soviet Union stopped aiding them in 1972 and that although it is now sending them weapons, the amount of assistance is paltry, given the enormity of the need. In general, he [Neto] wants to portray the situation in Angola as a crucial struggle between the two systems -- Imperialism and Socialism -- in order to receive the assistance of the entire socialist camp. We believe that he is right in this, because at this time the two camps in Angola are well defined, the FNLA and UNITA represent reaction and world imperialism and the Portuguese reactionaries, and the MPLA represents the progressive and nationalist forces...", CNN
  32. ^ a b c Stewart Lloyd-Jones, ISCTE (Lisbon), Portugal's history since 1974, "The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP–Partido Comunista Português), which had courted and infiltrated the MFA from the very first days of the revolution, decided that the time was now right for it to seize the initiative. Much of the radical fervour that was unleashed following Spínola's coup attempt was encouraged by the PCP as part of their own agenda to infiltrate the MFA and steer the revolution in their direction.", Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  33. ^ NORRIE MACQUEEN, Portugal's First Domino: ‘Pluricontinentalism’ and Colonial War in Guiné-Bissau, 1963–1974, "Portugal's presence in Guiné-Bissau through eleven years of intense guerrilla war was justified by the doctrine of ‘pluricontinentalim’. In this view concession to nationalist pressure in one part of the ‘indivisible state’ would lead inevitably to the collapse of the whole. The defence of Portuguese Guiné, therefore, was the price to be paid for the maintenance of the infinitely more valuable territories of Angola and Mozambique. While the Salazar regime was rigid in its adherence to this doctrine, some movement was detectable under his successor from 1968, Marcello Caetano. The governor-general in Guiné, General Spínola, was permitted to explore possibilities of negotiation. Politically insecure in the face of residual Salazarist power in the regime, however, Caetano abandoned this approach in 1972. This apparent loss of nerve would contribute to the overthrow of the Lisbon regime by its own military in 1974 – despite recently revealed secret talks between Lisbon and the Guinea nationalists on the very eve of the coup. ", Contemporary European History (1999), 8: 209-230 Cambridge University Press
  34. ^ a b Kaúlza de Arriaga (General), O DESENVOLVIMENTO DE MOÇAMBIQUE E A PROMOÇÃO DAS SUAS POPULAÇÕES - SITUAÇÃO EM 1974
  35. ^ Sucesso, selected texts of Brigadier General Kaúlza de Arriaga on the military success of the Portuguese military
  36. ^ (Portuguese) "De acordo com as afirmações posteriormente produzidas por representantes qualificados da FRELIMO, este juízo da situação militar de Moçambique carecia de fundamento. Segundo esses representantes, a FRELIMO atravessara duas fases críticas: em 1970, estivera à beira do colapso no final da operação "Nó Górdio", devido ao volumoso número de baixas sofridas, e, em 1974, quando do desencadeamento da "Revolução de Abril", atravessava uma fase grave de desmoralização, motivada por dificuldades insuperáveis de recompletamento de efectivos, cansaço e hostilidade das populações, o que os levou a afirmar que a "Revolução de Abril" tinha apanhado a FRELIMO em fase crítica de desequilíbrio e que esta devia exclusivamente ao MFA a sua recuperação.", Arriaga on the book "PAÍS SEM RUMO", by António de Spínola, [2], selected texts by Kaúlza de Arriaga
  37. ^ a b Abbott, Peter and Rodrigues, Manuel, Modern African Wars 2: Angola and Mozambique 1961-74, Osprey Publishing (1998), p. 17
  38. ^ a b Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, pp. 358-359
  39. ^ a b Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, pp. 183-184
  40. ^ a b Abbott, Peter and Rodrigues, Manuel, Modern African Wars 2: Angola and Mozambique 1961-74, Osprey Publishing (1998), p. 18
  41. ^ Nicolli 2003, p.174
  42. ^ a b c Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, pp. 266-267
  43. ^ a b [3], Joaquim da Costa Leite (Aveiro University) - Instituições, Gestão e Crescimento Económico: Portugal, 1950-1973
  44. ^ (Portuguese) Cronologia: Movimento dos capitães, Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  45. ^ (Portuguese) Arquivo Electrónico: Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  46. ^ (Portuguese) ENTREVISTA COM ALPOIM CALVÃO, Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  47. ^ [4], Western Europe's First Communist Country?, Time Magazine (Monday, Aug. 11, 1975)
  48. ^ a b [5] Tiago Neves Sequeira (University of Beira Interior), CRESCIMENTO ECONÓMICO NO PÓS-GUERRA: OS CASOS DE ESPANHA, PORTUGAL E IRLANDA
  49. ^ Robin Wright, White Faces In A Black Crowd: Will They Stay?, The Christian Science Monitor (May 27, 1975)
  50. ^ (Portuguese) Carlos Fontes, Emigração Portuguesa, Memórias da Emigração Portuguesa
  51. ^ Angola's War Economy: The Role of Oil and Diamonds by Jakkie Cilliers, Christian Dietrich - Author(s) of Review: Ian van der Waag - The Journal of Military History, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 647-649, JSTOR
  52. ^ Economic Growth and Change, U.S. Library of Congress, countrystudies.us

Bibliography

  • Kaúlza de Arriaga - Published works of the General Kaúlza de Arriaga
  • Becket, Ian et all., A Guerra no Mundo, Guerras e Guerrilhas desde 1945, Lisboa, Verbo, 1983
  • Marques, A. H. de Oliveira, História de Portugal, 6ª ed., Lisboa, Palas Editora, Vol. III, 1981
  • Mattoso, José, História Contemporânea de Portugal, Lisboa, Amigos do Livro, 1985, «Estado Novo», Vol. II e «25 de Abril», vol. único
  • Mattoso, José, História de Portugal, Lisboa, Ediclube, 1993, vols. XIII e XIV
  • Pakenham, Thomas, The Scramble for Africa, Abacus, 1991 ISBN 0-349-10449-2
  • Reis, António, Portugal Contemporâneo, Lisboa, Alfa, Vol. V, 1989;
  • Rosas, Fernando e Brito, J. M. Brandão, Dicionário de História do Estado Novo, Venda Nova, Bertrand Editora, 2 vols. 1996
  • Vários autores, Guerra Colonial, edição do Diário de Notícias
  • Jornal do Exército, Lisboa, Estado-Maior do Exército
  • Cann, John P, Counterinsurgency in Africa: The Portuguese Way of War, 1961-1974, Hailer Publishing, 2005

External links


Portuguese Overseas War
Part of Cold War
[[File:|300px]]
Portuguese Troops embarking to go to the Colonial War
Date 1961–1974
Location Angola, Portuguese Guinea and Mozambique
Result Portuguese military victory.
Independence of the Portuguese overseas territories and the end of the Portuguese Empire, after the Portuguese left-wing Carnation Revolution in Lisbon, which led to the fall of the Estado Novo regime and replaced it with a military junta that granted independence to all the overseas territories involved in the conflict. Some African independence movements took control of the newly-independent territories. Many citizens fled the newly-independent territories as refugees.[1][2]
Belligerents
Portugal

Supported by:
South Africa
 Rhodesia

African independence movements (1961-74):
MPLA
UNITA
FNLA
PAIGC

File:Flag of Mozambique (1974-1975).svg FRELIMO
File:Flag of MLSTP

Supported by:
 Soviet Union
 Cuba
 United States
File:Flag of the People' People's Republic of China
 Zaire[3]
 Algeria
 Tanzania
 Senegal
 Tunisia
 Guinea

Commanders and leaders
Angola:
Francisco da Costa Gomes
Guinea-Bissau:
António de Spínola
Mozambique:
António Augusto dos Santos (1964–69),
Kaúlza de Arriaga (1969–74)
Angola:
Holden Roberto
Jonas Savimbi
Agostinho Neto
Mário Pinto de Andrade
Daniel Chipenda
Guinea-Bissau:
Amílcar Cabral
Mozambique:
File:Flag of Mozambique (1974-1975).svgEduardo Mondlane (1962–69),
File:Flag of Mozambique (1974-1975).svgFilipe Samuel Magaia (1964–66),
File:Flag of Mozambique (1974-1975).svgSamora Moïses Machel (1969–75)
Strength
148,000
65,000 in Angola
32,000 in Guinea-Bissau
51,000 in Mozambique
38,000-53,000 + ? Guerrilla
18,000 in Angola
10,000 in Guinea-Bissau
10-15,000 in Mozambique
Casualties and losses
8,289 dead

15,507 with permanent deficiency (physical or psychological)

50,000 in Angola

~6,000 killed
~4,000 wounded in Guinea-Bissau
>10,000 killed in Mozambique

Civilian casualties:
50,000 killed in Mozambique [4]


The Portuguese Colonial War (Portuguese: Guerra Colonial), also known in Portugal as the Overseas War (Portuguese: Guerra do Ultramar) or in the former colonies as the War of liberation (Portuguese: Guerra de Libertação), was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1974. It was a decisive ideological struggle and armed conflict of the Cold War in African (Portuguese Africa and surrounding nations) and European (mainland Portugal) scenarios. Unlike other European nations, the Portuguese Estado Novo regime did not leave its centuries-old African colonies, or the overseas provinces (províncias ultramarinas) as those overseas territories were officially called since 1951, during the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s, various armed independence movements, most prominently led by communist-led parties who cooperated under the CONCP umbrella and pro US groups, became active in these areas, most notably in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea. During the war, several atrocities were committed by all forces involved in the conflict.

Throughout the war period Portugal had to deal with increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by most of the international community. The combined guerrilla forces of the MPLA, the UNITA, and the FNLA, in Angola, PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau, and FRELIMO in Mozambique, succeeded in their rebellion not because of their overall success in battle, but because of elements of the Portuguese Armed Forces that staged a coup at Lisbon in 1974.[5][6] The Portuguese Armed Forces' Movimento das Forças Armadas overthrew the Lisbon government in protest of ongoing wars that seemed to have no political end in sight, as well as a rebellion against the new Military Laws that were to be presented next year (Decree Law: Decretos-Leis n.os 353, de 13 de Julho de 1973, e 409, de 20 de Agosto).[7][8][9][10][11] The revolutionary Portuguese government removed its colonial forces and agreed to a quick handover of power for the nationalistic African guerrillas.

The end of the war after the Carnation Revolution military coup of April 1974 in Lisbon resulted in the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Portuguese citizens[12] plus the military personnel of European, African and mixed ethnicity from the newly-independent African territories to Portugal. Over 1 million people left these former colonies, predominantly Angola and Mozambique, the largest overseas provinces by then.[13][14][15] This migration is regarded as one of the largest peaceful migrations in the world's history.[16] Devastating civil wars followed in Angola and Mozambique, which lasted several decades and claimed millions of lives and refugees.[17] The former colonies faced severe problems after independence. Economic and social recession, Marxist totalitarianism, corruption, poverty, inequality and failed central planning eroded the initial revolutionary fervour.[18][19] A level of social order and economic development comparable to what had existed under Portuguese rule became the goal of the independent territories.[20]

Portugal had been the first European power to establish a colony in Africa when it captured Ceuta in 1415; it became one of the last to leave. The former Portuguese territories in Africa became sovereign states, with Agostinho Neto in Angola, Samora Machel in Mozambique and Luís Cabral in Guinea-Bissau as the heads of state.

Contents

Political context

Following World War II, the two great powers of the world, the United States and the Soviet Union, sought to expand the sphere of influence and encouraged—ideologically, financially and militarily—the formation of either pro Soviet Union or pro United States resistance groups.

It is in this context that the Asian-African Conference was held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. The conference presented a forum for the colonies, most of them newly independent and facing the same problem — pressure to align with one or the other superpower in the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. At the conference, the colonies were presented with an alternative. They could band together as the so-called Third World, working both to preserve the balance of power in Cold War relations and to use their new sense of independence for their own benefit by becoming an influence zone of their own. This would lessen the effect of the colonial and neo-colonial powers on the colonies, and increased their sense of unity and desire to support each other in their relationships with the other powers.

In the late 1950s, the Portuguese Armed Forces saw themselves confronted with the paradox generated by the dictatorial regime of the Estado Novo that had been in power since 1926: on the one hand, the policy of Portuguese neutrality in World War II placed the Portuguese Armed Forces out of the way of a possible East-West conflict; on the other hand, the regime felt the increased responsibility of keeping Portugal's vast overseas territories under control and protect the populations there. Portugal, a neutral country in the war against Germany (1939–1945) before the foundation of NATO, joined that organization as a founding member in 1949, and was integrated within the military commands of NATO. The NATO focus against the threat of a conventional Soviet attack against Western Europe was to the detriment of military preparations against guerrilla uprisings in Portugal's overseas provinces that were considered essential for the survival of the nation. The integration of Portugal in the Atlantic Alliance would form a military élite that would become essential during the planning and implementation of the operations during the Overseas War. This "NATO generation" would ascend quickly to the highest political positions and military command without having to provide evidence of loyalty to the regime. The Colonial War would establish, in this way, a split between the military structure—heavily influenced by the western powers with democratic governments—and the political power of the regime. Some analysts see the "Botelho Moniz coup" (also known as A Abrilada) against the Portuguese government and backed by the U.S. administration,[21] as the beginning of this rupture, the origin of a lapse on the part of the regime to keep up a unique command center, an armed force prepared for threats of conflict in the colonies. This situation would cause, as would be verified later, a lack of coordination between the three general staffs (Army, Air Force and Navy).

The United States supported the Union of Peoples of Angola (UPA - União dos Povos de Angola), headed by Holden Roberto. With this funding, the Congo-Léopoldville-based UPA would attack and massacre Portuguese settlers and local Africans living in Angola from bases in the Congo. The photos of these massacres, which included photos of decapitated civilians, men, women and children of both white and black ethnicity, would later be displayed in the UN.[22] According to historical researchers like José Freire Antunes, then-U.S. president John F. Kennedy[23] sent a message to Salazar to leave the colonies shortly after the massacre. Instead, after a pro U.S. coup failed to depose him, Salazar consolidated power and immediately set to protect the overseas territories by sending reinforcements. Thus, the war began in Angola. Similar scenarios would play out in other overseas Portuguese territories. To avenge the atrocities committed by UPA, the Portuguese Armed Forces would torture and massacre rebels. Some Portuguese soldiers decapitated rebels and impaled their heads on sticks, pursuing a policy of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". The Portuguese Second Lieutenant Fernando Robles became legendary as a reckless guerrilla hunter feared by the insurgents.

Armed conflict

The conflict began in Angola on 4 February 1961, in an area called the Zona Sublevada do Norte (ZSN or the Rebel Zone of the North), consisting of the provinces of Zaire, Uíge and Cuanza Norte. The US backed UPA[24] wanted national self-determination, while for the Portuguese, who had settled in Africa and ruled considerable territory since the 15th century, their belief in a multi-racial, assimilated overseas empire justified going to war to prevent its breakup. Portuguese leaders, including Salazar, defended the policy of multiracialism and civilising mission, or Lusotropicalism, as a way of integrating Portuguese colonies, and their peoples, more closely with Portugal itself.[25] For the Portuguese ruling regime, the overseas empire was a matter of national interest. In Portuguese Africa, trained Portuguese black Africans were allowed to occupy positions in several occupations including specialized military, administration, teaching, health and other posts in the civil service and private businesses, as long as they had the right technical and human qualities. In addition, intermarriage with white Portuguese was a common practice since the earlier contacts with the Europeans. The access to basic, secondary and technical education was being expanded and its availability was being increasingly opened to both the indigenous and European Portuguese of the territories. Examples of this policy include several black Portuguese Africans who would become prominent individuals during the war or in the post-independence, and who had studied during the Portuguese rule of the territories in local schools or even in Portuguese schools and universities in the mainland (the metropole) - Samora Machel, Mário Pinto de Andrade, Marcelino dos Santos, Eduardo Mondlane, Agostinho Neto, Amílcar Cabral, Jonas Savimbi, Joaquim Chissano, and Graça Machel are just a few examples. Two large state-run universities were founded in Portuguese Africa in the 1960s (the Universidade de Luanda in Angola and the Universidade de Lourenço Marques in Mozambique, awarding a wide range of degrees from engineering to medicine[26]), during a time that in the European mainland only four public universities were in operation, two of them in Lisbon (which compares with the 14 Portuguese public universities today). Several figures in Portuguese society, including one of the most idolized sports stars in Portuguese football history, a black football player from Portuguese East Africa named Eusébio, were other examples of assimilation and multiracialism.

As communist and anti-colonial ideologies spread out across Africa, many clandestine political movements were established in support of independence. Regardless it was exaggerated anti-Portuguese/anti-"Colonial" propaganda,[27] a dominant tendency in Portuguese Africa, or a mix of both, these movements claimed that since policies and development plans were primarily designed by the ruling authorities for the benefit of the territories' ethnic Portuguese population, little attention was paid to local tribal integration and the development of its native communities. According to the official guerrilla statements, this affected a majority of the indigenous population who suffered both state-sponsored discrimination and enormous social pressure. Many felt they had received too little opportunity or resources to upgrade their skills and improve their economic and social situation to a degree comparable to that of the Europeans. Statistically, Portuguese Africa's white Portuguese population were indeed wealthier and more skilled than the indigenous majority.

In 1961, the UPA which was based in Zaire entered northern Angola and proceeded to massacre the civilian population killing 1,000 whites and 6,000 blacks (women and children included of both white European and black African descent)[28] through cross-border attacks, under the full knowledge of the US Government - it was the start of the Portuguese Colonial War. John F. Kennedy[23] would later notify António de Oliveira Salazar (via the US consulate in Portugal) to immediately abandon the colonies. A US backed coup which would be known as the Abrilada, was also attempted to overthrow Salazar's Estado Novo regime.[21] It is due to this failed coup that Salazar was able to consolidate power and finally send a military response to the massacres occurring in Angola. As the war progressed, Portugal rapidly increased its mobilized forces. Under the dictatorship, a highly militarized population was maintained where all the males were obliged to serve three years in military service, and many of those called-up to active military duty were deployed to combat zones in Portugal's African overseas provinces. In addition, by the end of the Portuguese colonial war, in 1974, black African participation had become crucial, representing about half of all operational colonial troops of Portugal. By the early 1970s, it had reached the limit of its military capacity but at this stage the war was already won.[29] The military threat was so minor at the later stages that immigration to Angola and Mozambique was actually increasing, as were the economies of the then Portuguese territories.

The guerrilla war was almost won in Angola, shifting to near total war in Guinea (although the territory was still under total control of the Portuguese military), and worsening in the north of Mozambique. According to Tetteh Hormeku (Programme Officer with Third World Network's Africa Secretariat in Accra; 2008 North-South Institute's Visiting Helleiner Research Fellow), the US was so certain that the Portuguese presence in Africa was guaranteed that it was completely caught by surprise by the effects of the Carnation revolution,[30] causing it to hastily join forces with apartheid South Africa. This led to the invasion of Angola by South Africa shortly afterward.

The Portuguese having been in Africa for much longer than the other colonial empires had developed strong relations with the local people and therefore was able to win them over. Without this support the US soon stopped backing the dissident groups in Angola.

The Soviet Union,[31] realising that a military solution it had so successfully employed in several other countries around the world was not bearing fruit, dramatically changed strategy.[32] It focused instead on Portugal. With the growing popular discontent over the casualties of the war and due to the large economic divide between the rich and poor the communists were able to manipulate junior officers of the military.[33] In early 1974, the war was reduced to sporadic independentist guerrilla operations against the Portuguese in non-urbanized countryside areas far way from the main centers. The Portuguese have secured all cities, towns and villages in Angola and Mozambique, protecting its white, black and mixed race populations from any sort of armed threat. A sound environment of security and normality was the norm in almost all Portuguese Africa.[29] The only exception was Portuguese Guinea, the smallest of all continental African territories under Portuguese rule, where independentist guerrilla operations, strongly supported by neighbouring allies like Guinea and Senegal, managed to have higher levels of success.[34]

A group of Portuguese military officers under the influence of communists, would proceed to over throw the Portuguese government with what was later called the Carnation Revolution on 25 April 1974 in Lisbon, Portugal.[33] This led to a period of economic collapse and political instability. In the following years the process improved as stability returned in a couple of years, a democratic government was installed and later with Portugal entering the European Union in 1986, higher levels of political and economic stability were gradually achieved.

Angola

's coat of arms until 1975.]] .]]

In the Portuguese Overseas Province of Angola, the rebellion of the ZSN was taken up by the União das Populações de Angola (UPA), which changed its name to Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA) in 1962. On February 4, 1961, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola took credit for the attack on the prison of Luanda, where seven policemen were killed. On March 15, 1961, the UPA, in an attack, started the massacre of white populations and black workers. This region would be retaken by large military operations that, however, would not stop the spread of the guerrilla actions to other regions of Angola, such as Cabinda, the east, the southeast and the central plateaus.

Portugal's counterinsurgency campaign in Angola was clearly the most successful of all its campaigns in the Colonial War. By 1974, for a variety of reasons, it was clear that Portugal was winning the war in Angola.[29] Angola is a relatively large African nation, and the long distances from safe haven in neighboring countries supporting the rebel forces made it difficult for the latter to escape detection (the distance from the major Angolan urban centres to the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia were so far that the east part of the country was called Terras do Fim do Mundo [Lands of the End of the World] by the Portuguese). Another factor was that the three nationalist groups (FNLA, MPLA, and UNITA) spent as much time fighting each other as they did fighting the Portuguese. Strategy also played a role; General Costa Gomes's insistence that the war was to be fought not just by the military, but also involving civilian organisations led to a successful hearts and minds campaign against the influence of the various revolutionary movements. Finally, unlike other overseas departments, Portugal was able to receive support from South Africa in its Angolan campaign; Portuguese forces sometimes referred to their South African counter-insurgent counterparts as primos (cousins).

The campaign in Angola saw the development and initial deployment of several unique and successful counter-insurgency forces:

  • Batalhões de Caçadores Pára-quedistas (Paratrooper Hunter Battalions): employed throughout the conflicts in Africa, were the first forces to arrive in Angola when the war began
  • Comandos (Commandos): born out of the war in Angola, and later used in Guinea and Mozambique
  • Caçadores Especiais (Special Hunters): were in Angola from the start of the conflict in 1961
  • Fiéis (Faithfuls): a force composed by Katanga exiles, black soldiers that opposed the rule of Mobutu
  • Leais (Loyals): a force composed by exiles from Zambia, black soldiers that were against Kenneth Kaunda
  • Grupos Especiais (Special Groups): units of volunteer black soldiers that had commando training; also used in Mozambique
  • Tropas Especiais (Special Troops): the name of Special Forces Groups in Cabinda
  • Flechas (Arrows): a very successful unit, controlled by the PIDE/DGS, composed by Bushmen, that specialized in tracking, reconnaissance and pseudo-terrorist operations. They were the basis for the Rhodesian Selous Scouts. The Flechas were also employed in Mozambique.
  • Grupo de Cavalaria Nº1 (1st Cavalry Group): a mounted cavalry unit, armed with the 7,62 mm Espingarda m/961 rifle and the m/961 Walther P-38 pistol, tasked with reconnaissance and patrolling. The 1st was also known as the "Angolan Dragoons" (Dragões de Angola). The Rhodesians would also later develop the concept of horse-mounted counter-insurgency forces, forming the Grey's Scouts.
  • Batalhão de Cavalaria 1927 (1927 Cavalry Battalion): a tank unit equipped with the M5A1 tank. The battalion was used for supporting infantry forces and as a rapid reaction force. Again the Rhodesians would copy this concept forming the Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment.

Guinea-Bissau

's coat of arms until 1974.]]

In Portuguese Guinea, the Marxist African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) started fighting in January 1963. Its guerrilla fighters attacked the Portuguese headquarters in Tite, located to the south of Bissau, the capital, near the Corubal river. Similar actions quickly spread across the entire colony, requiring a strong response from the Portuguese forces.

The war in Guinea placed face to face Amílcar Cabral, the leader of PAIGC, and António de Spínola, the Portuguese general responsible for the local military operations. In 1965 the war spread to the eastern part of the country and in that same year the PAIGC carried out attacks in the north of the country where at the time only the minor guerrilla movement, the Front for the Liberation and Independence of Guinea (FLING), was fighting. By that time, the PAIGC started receiving military support from the Socialist Bloc, mainly from Cuba, a support that would last until the end of the war.

In Guinea, Portuguese troops initially took a defensive posture, limiting themselves to defending territories and cities already held. Defensive operations were particularly devastating to the regular Portuguese infantry who were regularly attacked outside of populated areas by the forces of the PAIGC. They were also demoralized by the steady growth of PAIGC liberation sympathizers and recruits among the rural population. In a relatively short time, the PAIGC had succeeded in reducing Portuguese military and administrative control of the country to a relatively small area of Guinea. Unlike the other colonial territories, successful small-unit Portuguese counterinsurgency tactics were slow to evolve in Guinea.

During the latter part of the 1960s, military reforms instituted by Gen. Spínola began to improve Portuguese counterinsurgency operations in Guinea. Naval amphibious operations were instituted to overcome some of the mobility problems inherent in the underdevelped and marshy areas of the country, utilizing Destacamentos de Fuzileiros Especiais (DFE) (special marine assault detachments) as strike forces. The Fuzileiros Especiais were lightly equipped with folding-stock m/961 (G3) rifles, 37mm rocket launchers, and light machine guns such as the Heckler & Koch HK21 to enhance their mobility in the difficult, swampy terrain.

In 1970, Portugal attempted to overthrow Sekou Toure (with the support of Guinean exiles) in the Operação Mar Verde (Green Sea Operation). The objectives were: perform a coup d'état in Guinea-Conakry; destroy the PAIGC naval and air assets; capture Amilcar Cabral and free Portuguese POWs held in Conakry. The operation was a failure, with only the POW rescue and the destruction of PAIGC ships being successful. Nigeria and Algeria offered support to Guinea-Conakry; the Soviet Union even sent warships to the area (known by NATO as the West Africa Patrol) to discourage further Portuguese offensive operations.

Between 1968 and 1972, the Portuguese forces increased their offensive posture, in the form of raids against PAIGC positions. At this time Portuguese forces also adopted unorthodox means of countering the insurgents, including attacks on the political structure of the nationalist movement. This strategy culminated in the assassination of Amílcar Cabral in January 1973. Nonetheless, the PAIGC continued to increase its strength, and began to heavily press Portuguese defense forces. This became even more apparent after the PAIGC received heavy anti-aircraft cannon and other AA equipment provided by the Soviets, including SA-7 shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, all of which seriously impeded Portuguese air operations.

The war in Guinea has been termed "Portugal's Vietnam". The PAIGC was well-trained, well-led, and equipped and received substantial support from safe havens in neighbouring countries like Senegal and Guinea-Conakry. The jungles of Guinea and the proximity of the PAIGC's allies near the border proved to be of significant advantage in providing tactical superiority during cross-border attacks and resupply missions for the guerrillas.

The war in Guinea also saw the use of two special indigenous African counterinsurgency detachments by the Portuguese Armed Forces:

  • African Commandos (Comandos Africanos): Commando units entirely composed by black soldiers, including the officers
  • African Special Marines (Fuzileiros Especiais Africanos): Marine units entirely composed of black soldiers

The conflict in Portuguese Guinea involving the PAIGC guerrillas and the Portuguese Army was the most intense and damaging of all Portuguese Colonial War. Thus, during the 1960s and early 1970s, Portuguese development plans promoting strong economic growth and effective socioeconomic policies, like those applied by the Portuguese in the other two theaters of war (Portuguese Angola and Portuguese Mozambique), were not possible.

Mozambique

's coat of arms until 1975.]]

The Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique was the last territory to start the war of liberation. Its nationalist movement was led by the Marxist-Leninist Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which carried out the first attack against Portuguese targets on September 24, 1964, in Chai, Cabo Delgado Province. The fighting later spread to Niassa, Tete at the centre of the country. A report from Battalion No. 558 of the Portuguese army makes references to violent actions, also in Cabo Delgado, on August 21, 1964.

On November 16 of the same year, the Portuguese troops suffered their first losses fighting in the north of the country, in the region of Xilama. By this time, the size of the guerrilla movement had substantially increased; this, along with the low numbers of Portuguese troops and colonists, allowed a steady increase in FRELIMO's strength. It quickly started moving south in the direction of Meponda and Mandimba, linking to Tete with the aid of Malawi.

Until 1967 the FRELIMO showed less interest in Tete region, putting its efforts on the two northernmost districts of the country where the use of landmines became very common. In the region of Niassa, FRELIMO's intention was to create a free corridor to Zambézia. Until April 1970, the military activity of FRELIMO increased steadily, mainly due to the strategic work of Samora Machel in the region of Cabo Delgado. The war in Mozambique saw a great involvement of Rhodesia, supporting the Portuguese troops in operations and even conducting operations independently. By 1973, the territory was mostly under Portuguese control.[35] The Operation "Nó Górdio" (Gordian Knot Operation) - conducted in 1970 and commanded by Portuguese Brigadier General Kaúlza de Arriaga - a conventional-style operation to destroy the guerrilla bases in the north of Mozambique, was the major military operation of the Portuguese Colonial War. A hotly disputed issue, the Gordian Knot Operation was considered by several historians and military strategists as a failure that even worsened the situation for the Portuguese, but according to others, including its main architect,[36] troops, and officials who had participated on both sides of the operation, including high ranked elements from the FRELIMO guerrilla, it was also globally described as a tremendous success of the Portuguese Armed Forces.[37] Arriaga, however, was removed from his powerful military post in Mozambique by Marcelo Caetano shortly before the events in Lisbon that would trigger the end of the war and the independence of the Portuguese territories in Africa. The reason for Arriaga's abrupt fate was an alleged incident with indigenous civilian populations, as well as Portuguese government's suspicion that Arriaga was planning a military coup against Marcelo's administration in order to avoid the rise of leftist influences in Portugal and the loss of the African overseas provinces.

The construction of the Cahora Bassa Dam tied up large numbers of Portuguese troops (near 50% of all the troops in Mozambique) and brought the FRELIMO to the Tete Province, closer to some cities and more populated areas in the south. Still, although the FRELIMO tried to halt and stop the construction of the dam, it was never able to do so. In 1974, the FRELIMO launched mortar attacks against Vila Pery (now Chimoio) an important city and the first (and only) heavy populated area to be hit by the FRELIMO.

In Mozambique special units were also used by the Portuguese Armed Forces:

  • Grupos Especiais (Special Groups): locally-raised counter-insurgency troops similar to those used in Angola
  • Grupos Especiais Pára-Quedistas (Paratrooper Special Groups): units of volunteer black soldiers that were given airborne training
  • Grupos Especiais de Pisteiros de Combate (Combat Tracking Special Groups): special units trained in tracking and locating guerrillas forces
  • Flechas (Arrows), a unit similar to the one employed in Angola

Major counter-insurgency operations

Role of the Organisation of African Unity

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded May 1963. Its basic principles were co-operation between African nations and solidarity between African peoples. Another important objective of the OAU was an end to all forms of colonialism in Africa. This became the major objective of the organization in its first years and soon OAU pressure led to the situation in the Portuguese colonies being brought up at the UN Security Council.

The OAU established a committee based in Dar es Salaam, with representatives from Ethiopia, Algeria, Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania, Zaire, Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria, to support African liberation movements. The support provided by the committee included military training and weapon supplies.

The OAU also took action in order to promote the international acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile (GRAE), composed by the FNLA. This support was transferred to the MPLA and to its leader, Agostinho Neto in 1967. In November 1972, both movements were recognized by the OAU in order to promote their merger. After 1964, the OAU recognized PAIGC as the legitimate representatives of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde and in 1965 recognised FRELIMO for Mozambique.

Armament and support

Portugal

When conflict erupted in 1961, Portuguese forces were badly equipped to cope with the demands of a counter-insurgency conflict. It was standard procedure, up to that point, to send the oldest and most obsolete material to the colonies. Thus, initial military operations were conducted using World War II radios, the old m/937 7.92 mm Mauser rifle, and the equally elderly German m/938 7.92 mm (MG-13) Dreyse and Italian 8 mm x 59RB m/938 (Breda M37) machine guns.[38] Much of Portugal's older small arms derived from Germany in various deliveries made mostly before World War II. Later, Portugal would purchase arms and military equipment from France, West Germany, South Africa, and to a lesser extent, from Belgium, Israel, and the USA.

Within a short time, the Portuguese Army saw the need for a modern selective-fire combat rifle, and in 1961 adopted the 7.62 mm Espingarda m/961 (Heckler & Koch G3) as the standard infantry weapon for most of its forces.[39] However, quantities of the 7.62 mm FN and German G1 FAL rifle, known as the m/962, were also issued; the FAL was a favored weapon of members serving in elite commando units such as the Caçadores Especiais.[39] At the beginning of the war, the elite airborne units (Caçadores Pára-quedistas) rarely used the m/961, having adopted the ultra-modern 7,62 mm ArmaLite AR-10 in 1960. In the days before attached grenade launchers became standard, Portuguese paratroopers frequently resorted to the use of ENERGA anti-tank rifle grenades fired from their AR-10 rifles. After Holland embargoed further sales of the AR-10, the paratroop battalions were issued a collapsible-stock version of the regular m/961 (G3) rifle, also in 7,62 mm NATO caliber.[40] For the light machine-gun role, the German MG42 in 7,92 mm and later 7,62 mm NATO caliber was used until 1968, when the 7,62 mm m/968 Metralhadora Ligeira became available. Some 9 mm x 19 mm submachine guns, including the Austrian Steyr MP34 m/942, the Portuguese FBP m/948, and the Uzi were also used, mainly by officers, horse-mounted cavalry, reserve and paramilitary units, and security forces.[38]

To destroy enemy emplacements, other weapons were employed, including the 37 mm (1.46 in), 60 mm (2.5 in), and 89 mm (3.5 in.) Lança-granadas-foguete (Bazooka), along with several types of recoilless rifles.[40][41] Because of the mobile nature of counterinsurgency operations, heavy support weapons were less frequently used. However, the m/951 12.7 mm (.50 caliber) U.S. M2 Browning heavy machine gun saw service in both ground and vehicle mounts, as well as 60 mm, 81 mm, and later, 120 mm mortars.[41] Artillery and mobile howitzers were used in a few operations.

Mobile ground operations consisted of patrol sweeps by armored car and reconnaissance vehicles. Supply convoys used both armored and unarmored vehicles. Typically, armored vehicles would be placed at the front, center, and tail of a motorized convoy. Several armored cars were used, including the Panhard AML, Panhard EBR, Fox and (in the 70s) the Chaimite.

being loaded with ordnance in the 1960s, at Luanda Air Base.]]
aircraft like this in the Portuguese Colonial War.]]

Unlike the Vietnam War, Portugal's limited national resources did not allow for widespread use of the helicopter. Only those troops involved in raids (also called golpe de mão (hand blow) in Portuguese) - mainly Commandos and Paratroopers - would deploy by helicopter. Most deployments were either on foot or in vehicles (Berliet and Unimog trucks). The helicopters were reserved for support (in a gunship role) or MEDEVAC. The Alouette III was the most widely-used helicopter, although the Puma was also used with great success. Other aircraft were employed: for air support the T6, the F-86 Sabre and the Fiat G.91 were used; for reconnaissance the Dornier Do 27 was employed. In the transport role, the Portuguese Air Force originally used the Junkers Ju 52, followed by the Nord Noratlas, the C-54 Skymaster, and the C-47 (all of these aircraft were also used for Paratroop drop operations). From 1965, Portugal began to purchase the Fiat G.91 to deploy to its African overseas territories of Mozambique, Guinea and Angola in the close-support role.[42] The first 40 G.91 were purchased second-hand from the Luftwaffe, out of the aircraft that had originally been produced for Greece and which differed from the rest of the Luftwaffe G.91s sufficiently to create maintenance problems. The aircraft replaced the Portuguese F-86 Sabre.

The Portuguese Navy (particularly the Marines, known as Fuzileiros) made extensive use of patrol boats, landing craft, and Zodiac inflatable boats. They were employed especially in Guinea, but also in the Congo River (and other smaller rivers) in Angola and in the Zambezi (and other rivers) in Mozambique. Equipped with standard or collapsible-stock m/961 rifles, grenades, and other gear, they utilized small boats or patrol craft to infiltrate guerilla positions. In an effort to intercept infiltrators, the Fuzileiros even manned small patrol craft on Lake Malawi. The Navy also used Portuguese civilian cruisers as troop transports, and drafted Portuguese Merchant Navy personnel to man ships carrying troops and material and into the Marines.

Native black warriors were employed in Africa by the Portuguese colonial rulers since the 16th century. Portugal had employed regular native troops (companhias indigenas) in its colonial army since the early nineteenth century. After 1961, with the beginning of the colonial wars in its overseas territories, Portugal began to incorporate black Portuguese Africans into integrated units as part of the war effort in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique based on concepts of multi-racialism and preservation of the empire. African participation on the Portuguese side of the conflict varied from marginal roles as laborers and informers to participation in highly-trained operational combat units. As the war progressed, use of African counterinsurgency troops increased; on the eve of the military coup of 25 April 1974, Africans accounted for more than 50 percent of Portuguese forces fighting the war. Throughout the war period Portugal had to deal with increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by most of the international community.

Guerrilla movements

File:AK
AK-47 automatic rifles were widely used by the African guerrilla movements.

The armament of the nationalist groups came mainly from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and (especially in Mozambique) China. However, they also used small arms of U.S. manufacture (such as the .45 M1 Thompson submachine gun), along with British, French, and German weapons derived from neighboring countries sympathetic to the rebellion. Later in the war, most guerrillas would use roughly the same Soviet-origin infantry rifles: the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle, the SKS carbine, and most importantly, the AK-47 series of 7,62 mm x 39 mm automatic rifles. Rebel forces also made extensive use of machine guns for ambush and positional defense. The 7,62 mm Degtyarev light machine gun (LMG) was the most widely used LMG, together with the DShK and the SG-43 Goryunov heavy machine guns. Support weapons included mortars, recoilless rifles, and in particular, Soviet-made rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the RPG-2 and RPG-7. Anti-aircraft weapons were also employed, especially by the PAIGC and the FRELIMO. The ZPU-4 AA cannon was the most widely used, but by far the most effective was the Strela 2 missile, first introduced to guerrilla forces in Guinea in 1973 and in Mozambique the following year by Soviet technicians.

The guerrillas' AK-47 and AKM rifles were highly thought of by many Portuguese soldiers, as they were shorter, slightly lighter, and more mobile than the m/961 (G3).[43] The AK-47's ammunition load was also lighter.[43] The average Angolan or Mozambiquan rebel carried 150 7,62 mm x 39 cartridges (five 30-round magazines) as a combat load during bush operations, compared to 100 7,62 mm x 51 rounds (five 20-round magazines) for the Portuguese infantryman on patrol.[43] Though a common misconception is that Portuguese soldiers used captured AK-47 type weapons, this was only true of a few elite units for special missions. Like U.S. forces in Vietnam, ammunition resupply difficulties and the danger of being mistaken for a guerrilla when firing an enemy weapon generally precluded their use.

Mines were one of the most successful weapons of the guerrillas, and the weapon most feared by Portuguese forces. The Portuguese used mine detection equipment, but also employed trained soldiers (picadors) walking abreast with long probes to detect nonmetallic road mines. Guerrillas in all the various revolutionary movements used a variety of mines, often combining anti-tank with anti-personnel mines with devastating results. Other mines used included the PMN (Black Widow), TM-46, and POMZ. Even amphibious mines were used such as the PDM, along with numerous home-made antipersonnel wood box mines and other nonmetallic explosive devices. The impact of mining operations, in addition to causing casualties, tended to undermined the mobility of Portuguese forces, causing more troops and equipment to be diverted to convoy protection and mine clearance.

In general, the PAIGC in Guinea was the best armed, trained, and led of all the guerrilla movements. By 1970 it even had candidates training in the Soviet Union, learning to fly MIGs and to operate Soviet-supplied amphibious assault crafts and APCs.

Opposition

The government presented as a general consensus that the colonies were a part of the national unity, closer to overseas provinces than to true colonies. The communists were the first party to oppose the official view, since they saw the Portuguese presence in the colonies as an act against the colonies' right to self determination. During its 5th Congress, in 1957, the illegal Portuguese Communist Party (Partido Comunista Português - PCP) was the first political organization to demand the immediate and total independence of the colonies. However, being the only truly organized opposition movement, the PCP had to play two roles. One role was that of a communist party with an anti-colonialist position; the other role was to be a cohesive force drawing together a broad spectrum of opposing parties. Therefore it had to accede to views that didn't reflect its true anticolonial position.

Several opposition figures outside the PCP also had anticolonial opinions, such as the candidates to the fraudulent presidential elections, like Norton de Matos (in 1949), Quintão Meireles (in 1951) and Humberto Delgado (in 1958). The communist candidates had, obviously, the same positions. Among them were Rui Luís Gomes and Arlindo Vicente, the first would not be allowed to participate in the election and the second would support Delgado in 1958.

After the electoral fraud of 1958, Humberto Delgado formed the Independent National Movement (Movimento Nacional Independente - MNI) that, in October 1960, agreed that there was a need to prepare the people in the colonies, before giving them the right of self-determination. Despite this, no detailed policies for achieving this goal were set out.[citation needed]

In 1961, the nº8 of the Military Tribune had as its title "Let's end the war of Angola". The authors were linked to the Patriotic Action Councils (Juntas de Acção Patriótica - JAP), supporters of Humberto Delgado, and responsible for the attack on the barracks of Beja. The Portuguese Front of National Liberation (Frente Portuguesa de Libertação Nacional - FPLN), founded in December 1962, attacked the conciliatory positions. The official feeling of the Portuguese state, despite all this, was the same: Portugal had inalienable and legitimate rights over the colonies and this was what was transmitted through the media and through the state propaganda.

In April 1964, the Directory of Democratic-Social Action (Acção Democrato-Social - ADS) presented a political solution rather than a military one. In agreement with this initiative in 1966, Mário Soares suggested there should be a referendum on the overseas policy Portugal should follow, and that the referendum should be preceded by a national discussion to take place in the six months prior to the referendum.[citation needed]

The end of Salazar's rule in 1968, due to illness, did not prompt any change in the political panorama.[citation needed] The radicalization of the opposition movements started with the younger people who also felt victimized by the continuation of the war.[citation needed]

The universities played a key role in the spread of this position. Several magazines and newspapers were created, such as Cadernos Circunstância, Cadernos Necessários, Tempo e Modo, and Polémica that supported this view. It was in this environment that the Armed Revolutionary Action (Acção Revolucionária Armada - ARA), the armed branch of the Portuguese Communist party created in the late 1960s, and the Revolutionary Brigades (Brigadas Revolucionárias - BR), a left-wing organization, became an important[citation needed] force of resistance against the war, carrying out multiple acts of sabotage and bombing against military targets. The ARA began its military actions in October 1970, keeping them up until August 1972. The major actions were the attack on the Tancos air base that destroyed several helicopters on March 8, 1971, and the attack on the NATO headquarters at Oeiras in October of the same year. The BR, on its side, began armed actions on 7 November 1971, with the sabotage of the NATO base at Pinhal de Armeiro, the last action being carried out 9 April 1974, against the Niassa ship which was preparing to leave Lisboa with troops to be deployed in Guinea. The BR acted even in the colonies, placing a bomb in the Military Command of Bissau on 22 February 1974.[citation needed]

In April 25, 1974, Portuguese military officers staged a coup that toppled António de Oliveira Salazar's successor Marcelo Caetano, and installed a leftist regime that was committed to rapidly dismantling the Portuguese Empire.

Aftermath

, Portugal.]] In early 1974, the Portuguese military still controlled all major cities and towns in Angola and Mozambique. Vila Pery, Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique (now Chimoio, Mozambique) was the only heavily populated urban area which suffered a short-lived attack by guerrillas during the entire war. A sound environment of security and normality was the norm in almost all Portuguese Africa outside Portuguese Guinea. Economic growth and economic development in mainland Portugal and its overseas territories were at a record high during this period.[35] After a long period of economic divergence before 1914, the Portuguese economy recovered slightly until 1950, entering thereafter on a path of strong economic convergence. Portuguese economic growth in the period 1950–1973 created an opportunity for real integration with the developed economies of Western Europe. Through emigration, trade, tourism and foreign investment, individuals and firms changed their patterns of production and consumption, bringing about a structural transformation. Simultaneously, the increasing complexity of a growing economy raised new technical and organizational challenges, stimulating the formation of modern professional and management teams.[44]

By the early 1970s, the Portuguese Colonial War continued to rage on, requiring a steadily increasing budget. The Portuguese military was overstretched and there was no political solution or end in sight. While the human losses were relatively small, the war as whole had already entered its second decade. The Portuguese ruling regime of Estado Novo faced criticism from the international community and was becoming increasingly isolated. It had a profound impact on Portugal - thousands of young men avoided conscription by emigrating illegally, mainly to France and the US. The war in the Portuguese overseas territories of Africa was increasingly unpopular in Portugal itself as the people got weary of war and balked at its ever-rising expense. Many ethnic Portuguese of the African overseas territories were also increasingly willing to accept independence if their economic status could be preserved. In addition, younger Portuguese military academy graduates resented a program introduced by Marcello Caetano whereby militia officers who completed a brief training program and had served in the overseas territories' defensive campaigns, could be commissioned at the same rank as military academy graduates. Caetano's Portuguese Government had begun the program (which included several other reforms) in order to increase the number of officials employed against the African insurgencies, and at the same time cut down military costs to alleviate an already overburdened government budget. Thus, the group of revolutionary military insurgents started as a military professional class[45] protest of Portuguese Armed Forces captains against a decree law: the Dec. Lei nº 353/73 of 1973.[9][46]

As a consequence, Portuguese junior military officers, under the influence of the communists,[33] would later organize themselves in the MFA and successfully overthrow the Portuguese regime of Estado Novo in a bloodless military coup known as the Carnation Revolution on 25 April 1974 in Lisbon. In Portugal this lead to a series of temporary governments, mainly marked by a nationalisation of many important areas of the economy.

For a brief time (May 1974 - November 1975) the country was on the brink of civil war[47] between left-wing hardliners (Vasco Gonçalves, Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho and others) and the moderate forces (Francisco da Costa Gomes, António Ramalho Eanes and others). The moderates eventually won, preventing Portugal from becoming a communist state.[48]

The communist government was soon overthrown and Portugal converted to a democratic government.[29] But it would take 30 years and membership of the European Union for the Portuguese economy to recover from the effects of the colonial war and certain economic excesses of the Carnation revolution. The effects of having to integrate hundreds of thousand of refugees from the colonies (collectively known as retornados), nationalisation of areas of the economy, and the resultant brain drain due to political intimidation by the government of the entrepreneurial class would cripple the Portuguese economy for decades to come.[49]

to Portuguese soldiers killed in Africa (1961–1975).]]

Portugal had been the first European power to establish a colony in Africa when it captured Ceuta in 1415 and now it was one of the last to leave. The departure of the Portuguese from Angola and Mozambique increased the isolation of Rhodesia, where white minority rule ended in 1980 when the territory gained international recognition as the Republic of Zimbabwe with Robert Mugabe as the head of government. The former Portuguese territories in Africa became sovereign states with Agostinho Neto (followed in 1979 by José Eduardo dos Santos) in Angola, Samora Machel (followed in 1986 by Joaquim Chissano) in Mozambique and Luís Cabral (followed in 1980 by Nino Vieira) in Guinea-Bissau, as heads of state.

In all Portuguese Africa, the Portuguese were not typical settlers. While most European colonies in Africa were "settled" and colonized by whites in the early 1900s, some white families and colonial institutions in those Portuguese-ruled territories had been there for generations.[50][51] However, the fear of reprisals and the pro-communist ideologies by the new African governments resulted in the exodus of thousands of Portuguese citizens of European, African and mixed ethnicity from the newly-independent African territories to Portugal and other places.

The former colonies became worse off after independence as devastating civil wars followed in Angola and Mozambique, which lasted several decades and claimed millions of lives and refugees.[17] Economic and social recession, corruption, poverty, inequality and failed central planning, eroded the initial impetus of nationalistic fervour. A level of social order and economic development comparable to what had existed under Portuguese rule, became the goal of the independent territories. There was black racism in the former overseas provinces through the use of hatred against both ethnic Portuguese and many mulatto Africans.[20] Many of the local black soldiers that served in the Portuguese Army and who had fought against the independence guerrillas were disarmed and left behind. Following independence several thousands of them were executed. A small number had managed to emigrate previously to Portugal or to other African nations. The most famous massacre occurred in Bissorã, Guinea-Bissau. In 1980 PAIGC admitted in its newspaper "Nó Pintcha" (dated 29 November 1980) that many were executed and buried in unmarked collective graves in the woods of Cumerá, Portogole and Mansabá.

Interestingly, perhaps due to close ties during the war, many thousands of Portuguese immigrated to South Africa after independence. Most came from Angola and Mozambique. In South Africa, they became well-known for opening convenience stores and restaurants.

Economic consequences of the war

The Government budget increased significantly during the war years. The country's expenditure on the armed forces ballooned since the beginning of the war in 1961. The expenses were divided into ordinary and extraordinary ones; the latter were the main factor in the huge increase in the military budget. Since the rise of Marcelo Caetano, after Salazar's incapacitation, spending on military forces increased even further.[citation needed]

It is often stated that war in the colonies was having a severe impact but the accuracy of these statements have to be questioned. Especially in light of the vast natural resources of Angola. To put this in context prior to the Carnation Revolution - Angola was one of the largest oil producers in Africa. With the oil shock of 1974 - oil alone could have easily paid for the war in all of the colonies. The former overseas provinces of Portugal in Africa, had a large variety of important natural resources like oil, natural gas, diamonds, aluminium, hydroelectric power capacity, forests and fertile arable lands. In some areas of Portuguese Africa, these huge resource stock, despite its wide availabibility, was barely exploited by the early 1970s, but its potential future use was already anticipated by all parts involved in the conflict, including the world's cold war superpowers. In fact, both oil extraction and diamond mining would play a huge financial and funding role in the decades long civil war that would cost millions of lives and refugees in post-independence Angola[52] and which would primarily benefit the despotic post-independence rulers of the country, the USA (then Gulf Oil what is now called ChevronTexaco) and the Soviet Union.

The African territories became worse off after independence. The deterioration in central planning effectiveness, economic development and growth, security, education and health system efficiency, was rampant. None of the newly independent African States made any significant progress economically or social economically in the following decades. Almost all sank at the bottom of human development and GDP per capita world tables. After a few years, the former colonies had reached high levels of corruption, poverty, inequality and social imbalances.[20]

In mainland Portugal, the coup itself was led by junior officers - which implies that the better informed senior officers did not believe the war was lost or that the economy was in severe crises.[29] A further illustration would be to compare the economic growth rates of Portugal in the war years 6%-11% to post war years 2-3%.[53] This is substantially higher than the vast majority of other European nations (and much higher than what Portugal has actually been able to achieve after the war). Other indicators like GDP as percentage of Western Europe would indicate that Portugal was rapidly catching up to its European neighbours. In 1960, at the initiation of Salazar's more outward-looking economic policy, Portugal's per capita GDP was only 38 percent of the EC-12 average; by the end of the Salazar period, in 1968, it had risen to 48 percent; and in 1973, on the eve of the revolution, Portugal's per capita GDP had reached 56.4 percent of the EC-12 average. In 1975, the year of maximum revolutionary turmoil, Portugal's per capita GDP declined to 52.3 percent of the EC-12 average. Convergence of real GDP growth toward the EC average occurred as a result of Portugal's economic resurgence since 1985. In 1991 Portugal's GDP per capita climbed to 54.9 percent of the EC average, exceeding by a fraction the level attained just during the worst revolutionary period.[54]

The impact of the military coup in Lisbon on the Portuguese economy in areas as diverse as shipping, chemical industry, finance, agriculture, mining and defence, was extremely negative. The communist inspired military coup and the chaotic abandonment of the Portuguese territories in Africa had a more severe, devastating and lasting impact on both Portugal and its overseas territories than the actual Colonial War. Without one single exception - all the overseas territories were economically and socially worse off after independence than prior to independence.[citation needed]

It would take several decades and joining of the European Community before the Portuguese economy would see any signs of recovering. To date, it has not matched growth rates achieved during the Colonial war.[44][49]

Films about the War

  • Os Demonios de Alcacer-Quibir (Portugal 1975, director: Jose Fonseca da Costa).
  • La Vitta e Bella (Portugal/Italy/USSR 1979), director: Grigori Naumowitsch Tschuchrai).
  • Sorte que tal Morte (Portugal 1981, director: Joao Matos Silva).
  • Acto dos Feitos da Guine (Portugal 1980, director: Fernando Matos Silva).
  • Gestos & Fragmentos - Ensaio sobre os Militares e o Poder (Portugal 1982, director: Alberto Seixas Santos).
  • Um Adeus Portugues (Portugal 1985, director: Joao Botelho).
  • Era Uma Vez Um Alferes (Portugal 1987, director: Luis Filipe Rocha).
  • Matar Saudades (Portugal 1987, director: Fernando Lopes Vasconcelos)
  • A Idade Maior (Portugal 1990, director: Teresa Villaverde Cabral).
  • "Non", ou A Vã Glória de Mandar (Portugal/France/Spain 1990, director: Manoel de Oliveira).
  • Ao Sul (Portugal 1993, director: Fernando Matos Silva).
  • Capitães de Abril (Captains of april, Portugal 2000, director: Maria de Medeiros).
  • Assalto ao Santa Maria (Assault on the Santa Maria, Portugal 2009, director: Francisco Manso).

See also


References

  1. ^ Portugal since 1974, Britannica
  2. ^ Mia Couto, Carnation revolution, Monde Diplomatique
  3. ^ (Portuguese) http://www.guerracolonial.org/index.php?content=324 FNLA - um movimento em permanente letargia, guerracolonial.org
  4. ^ Mid-Range Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century retrieved December 4, 2007
  5. ^ Laidi, Zaki. The Superpowers and Africa: The Constraints of a Rivalry:1960-1990. Chicago: Univ. Of Chicago, 1990.
  6. ^ António Pires Nunes, Angola 1966-74
  7. ^ (Portuguese) Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA). In Infopédia [Em linha]. Porto: Porto Editora, 2003-2009. [Consult. 2009-01-07]. Disponível na www: http://www.infopedia.pt/$movimento-das-forcas-armadas-(mfa)>.
  8. ^ Movimento das Forças Armadas (1974-1975), Projecto CRiPE- Centro de Estudos em Relações Internacionais, Ciência Política e Estratégia. © José Adelino Maltez. Cópias autorizadas, desde que indicada a origem. Última revisão em: 02-10-2008
  9. ^ a b (Portuguese) A Guerra Colonial na Guine/Bissau (07 de 07), Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho on the Decree Law, RTP 2 television, youtube.com.
  10. ^ (Portuguese) Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA). In Infopédia [Em linha]. Porto: Porto Editora, 2003-2009. [Consult. 2009-01-07]. Disponível na www: http://www.infopedia.pt/$movimento-das-forcas-armadas-(mfa)>.
  11. ^ João Bravo da Matta, A Guerra do Ultramar, O Diabo, 14th October 2008, pp.22
  12. ^ Portugal Migration, The Encyclopedia of the Nations
  13. ^ Flight from Angola, The Economist (August 16, 1975).
  14. ^ Dismantling the Portuguese Empire, Time Magazine (Monday, July 07, 1975).
  15. ^ Portugal - Emigration, Eric Solsten, ed. Portugal: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993.
  16. ^ António Barreto, Portugal: Um Retrato Social, 2006
  17. ^ a b The Decolonization of Portuguese Africa: Metropolitan Revolution and the Dissolution of Empire by Norrie MacQueen - Mozambique since Independence: Confronting Leviathan by Margaret Hall, Tom Young - Author of Review: Stuart A. Notholt African Affairs, Vol. 97, No. 387 (Apr., 1998), pp. 276-278, JSTOR
  18. ^ Mark D. Tooley, Praying for Marxism in Africa, FrontPageMagazine.com (Friday, March 13, 2009)
  19. ^ Mario de Queiroz, AFRICA-PORTUGAL: Three Decades After Last Colonial Empire Came to an End
  20. ^ a b c "Things are going well in Angola. They achieved good progress in their first year of independence. There's been a lot of building and they are developing health facilities. In 1976 they produced 80,000 tons of coffee. Transportation means are also being developed. Currently between 200,000 and 400,000 tons of coffee are still in warehouses. In our talks with [Angolan President Agostinho] Neto we stressed the absolute necessity of achieving a level of economic development comparable to what had existed under [Portuguese] colonialism."; "There is also evidence of black racism in Angola. Some are using the hatred against the colonial masters for negative purposes. There are many mulattos and whites in Angola. Unfortunately, racist feelings are spreading very quickly." [1] Castro's 1977 southern Africa tour: A report to Honecker, CNN
  21. ^ a b (Portuguese) Luís Nuno Rodrigues "Orgulhosamente Sós"? Portugal e os Estados Unidos no início da década de 1960 - At the 22nd Meeting of History teachers of the Centro (region), Caldas da Rainha, April 2004, Instituto de Relações Internacionais (International Relations Institute)
  22. ^ Angola discutida na Assembleia Geral das Nações Unidas, a film of a Portuguese formal protest in the United Nations (March 1961), and an anti-American riot at Lisbon, guerracolonial.org
  23. ^ a b A Guerra De Africa (1961-1974) by José Freire Antunes, Temas e Debates, ISBN 972759039X (972-759-039-X)
  24. ^ The Destruction of a Nation: United States' Policy Towards Angola Since 1945, George Wright, Pluto Press, 1997 - ISBN 074531029X, 9780745310299
  25. ^ Colorblind Colonialism? Lusotropicalismo and Portugal’s 20th. Century Empire. in Africa. Leah Fine. Barnard College Department of History, Spring 2007
  26. ^ (Portuguese) 52. UNIVERSIDADE DE LUANDA
  27. ^ Independence redux in postsocialist Mozambique, Alice Dinerman
  28. ^ A «GUERRA» 1º Episódio «Massacres da UPA», A Guerra (Joaquim Furtado) 2007, youtube.com
  29. ^ a b c d e Reviewed Work(s): Counterinsurgency in Africa. The Portuguese Way of War 1961–1974 by John P. Cann - A Guerra de África 1961–1974 by José Freire Antunes - Author of Review: Douglas L. Wheeler, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1, Special Issue on Mozambique (Mar., 1998), pp. 240-243, JSTOR
  30. ^ Tetteh Hormeku - Programme Officer with Third World Network's Africa Secretariat in Accra, Third World Resurgence No.89, January 1998, US intervention in Africa: Through Angolan eyes, "Nixon's assumption that Portugal would be able to militarily contain Angolan nationalism and provide the conditions for US investment was unravelled with the 1974 coup in Portugal." Third World Network
  31. ^ Cambridge Journals N. McQueen, "...strategic boost to the Soviet Union, which could seek naval facilities there after independence", Contemporary European History (1999), 8: 209-230 Cambridge University Press
  32. ^ Cold War CNN Episode 17: Good guys, bad guys, Cuba-Angola letters, 1975 Letter from Raúl Diaz Arguelles to Raúl Castro, August 11, 1975 - "In the course of this conversation, the Angolans complained about the paucity of aid from the socialist camp, and they pointed out that if the socialist camp does not help them, no one will, since they are the most progressive forces [in the country], whereas the imperialists, Mobutu and ... [one word sanitized] are helping the FNLA in every way possible. They also complained that the Soviet Union stopped aiding them in 1972 and that although it is now sending them weapons, the amount of assistance is paltry, given the enormity of the need. In general, he [Neto] wants to portray the situation in Angola as a crucial struggle between the two systems -- Imperialism and Socialism -- in order to receive the assistance of the entire socialist camp. We believe that he is right in this, because at this time the two camps in Angola are well defined, the FNLA and UNITA represent reaction and world imperialism and the Portuguese reactionaries, and the MPLA represents the progressive and nationalist forces...", CNN
  33. ^ a b c Stewart Lloyd-Jones, ISCTE (Lisbon), Portugal's history since 1974, "The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP–Partido Comunista Português), which had courted and infiltrated the MFA from the very first days of the revolution, decided that the time was now right for it to seize the initiative. Much of the radical fervour that was unleashed following Spínola's coup attempt was encouraged by the PCP as part of their own agenda to infiltrate the MFA and steer the revolution in their direction.", Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  34. ^ NORRIE MACQUEEN, Portugal's First Domino: ‘Pluricontinentalism’ and Colonial War in Guiné-Bissau, 1963–1974, "Portugal's presence in Guiné-Bissau through eleven years of intense guerrilla war was justified by the doctrine of ‘pluricontinentalim’. In this view concession to nationalist pressure in one part of the ‘indivisible state’ would lead inevitably to the collapse of the whole. The defence of Portuguese Guiné, therefore, was the price to be paid for the maintenance of the infinitely more valuable territories of Angola and Mozambique. While the Salazar regime was rigid in its adherence to this doctrine, some movement was detectable under his successor from 1968, Marcello Caetano. The governor-general in Guiné, General Spínola, was permitted to explore possibilities of negotiation. Politically insecure in the face of residual Salazarist power in the regime, however, Caetano abandoned this approach in 1972. This apparent loss of nerve would contribute to the overthrow of the Lisbon regime by its own military in 1974 – despite recently revealed secret talks between Lisbon and the Guinea nationalists on the very eve of the coup. ", Contemporary European History (1999), 8: 209-230 Cambridge University Press
  35. ^ a b Kaúlza de Arriaga (General), O DESENVOLVIMENTO DE MOÇAMBIQUE E A PROMOÇÃO DAS SUAS POPULAÇÕES - SITUAÇÃO EM 1974
  36. ^ Sucesso, selected texts of Brigadier General Kaúlza de Arriaga on the military success of the Portuguese military
  37. ^ (Portuguese) "De acordo com as afirmações posteriormente produzidas por representantes qualificados da FRELIMO, este juízo da situação militar de Moçambique carecia de fundamento. Segundo esses representantes, a FRELIMO atravessara duas fases críticas: em 1970, estivera à beira do colapso no final da operação "Nó Górdio", devido ao volumoso número de baixas sofridas, e, em 1974, quando do desencadeamento da "Revolução de Abril", atravessava uma fase grave de desmoralização, motivada por dificuldades insuperáveis de recompletamento de efectivos, cansaço e hostilidade das populações, o que os levou a afirmar que a "Revolução de Abril" tinha apanhado a FRELIMO em fase crítica de desequilíbrio e que esta devia exclusivamente ao MFA a sua recuperação.", Arriaga on the book "PAÍS SEM RUMO", by António de Spínola, [2], selected texts by Kaúlza de Arriaga
  38. ^ a b Abbott, Peter and Rodrigues, Manuel, Modern African Wars 2: Angola and Mozambique 1961-74, Osprey Publishing (1998), p. 17
  39. ^ a b Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, pp. 358-359
  40. ^ a b Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, pp. 183-184
  41. ^ a b Abbott, Peter and Rodrigues, Manuel, Modern African Wars 2: Angola and Mozambique 1961-74, Osprey Publishing (1998), p. 18
  42. ^ Nicolli 2003, p.174
  43. ^ a b c Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, pp. 266-267
  44. ^ a b [3], Joaquim da Costa Leite (Aveiro University) - Instituições, Gestão e Crescimento Económico: Portugal, 1950-1973
  45. ^ (Portuguese) Cronologia: Movimento dos capitães, Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  46. ^ (Portuguese) Arquivo Electrónico: Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  47. ^ (Portuguese) ENTREVISTA COM ALPOIM CALVÃO, Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  48. ^ [4], Western Europe's First Communist Country?, Time Magazine (Monday, Aug. 11, 1975)
  49. ^ a b [5] Tiago Neves Sequeira (University of Beira Interior), CRESCIMENTO ECONÓMICO NO PÓS-GUERRA: OS CASOS DE ESPANHA, PORTUGAL E IRLANDA
  50. ^ Robin Wright, White Faces In A Black Crowd: Will They Stay?, The Christian Science Monitor (May 27, 1975)
  51. ^ (Portuguese) Carlos Fontes, Emigração Portuguesa, Memórias da Emigração Portuguesa
  52. ^ Angola's War Economy: The Role of Oil and Diamonds by Jakkie Cilliers, Christian Dietrich - Author(s) of Review: Ian van der Waag - The Journal of Military History, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 647-649, JSTOR
  53. ^ World Development Indicators 2007, Portugal economic growth rate data set, retrieved 26th June 2010
  54. ^ Economic Growth and Change, U.S. Library of Congress, countrystudies.us

Bibliography

  • Kaúlza de Arriaga - Published works of the General Kaúlza de Arriaga
  • Becket, Ian et all., A Guerra no Mundo, Guerras e Guerrilhas desde 1945, Lisboa, Verbo, 1983
  • Marques, A. H. de Oliveira, História de Portugal, 6ª ed., Lisboa, Palas Editora, Vol. III, 1981
  • Mattoso, José, História Contemporânea de Portugal, Lisboa, Amigos do Livro, 1985, «Estado Novo», Vol. II e «25 de Abril», vol. único
  • Mattoso, José, História de Portugal, Lisboa, Ediclube, 1993, vols. XIII e XIV
  • Pakenham, Thomas, The Scramble for Africa, Abacus, 1991 ISBN 0-349-10449-2
  • Reis, António, Portugal Contemporâneo, Lisboa, Alfa, Vol. V, 1989;
  • Rosas, Fernando e Brito, J. M. Brandão, Dicionário de História do Estado Novo, Venda Nova, Bertrand Editora, 2 vols. 1996
  • Vários autores, Guerra Colonial, edição do Diário de Notícias
  • Jornal do Exército, Lisboa, Estado-Maior do Exército
  • Cann, John P, Counterinsurgency in Africa: The Portuguese Way of War, 1961-1974, Hailer Publishing, 2005

External links



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