Helion's The Paulista War: The last civil war in Brazil 1932 vol.1

Author/Artists: Javier Garcia de Gabiola


Helion  Publishing


$24.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 72 pages, softcover, over 100 images
ISBN 978-1-912866-38-0

One constant in the development of a country is that during sometime in its life, there will be such a major disagreement on how the nation should be governed that war will break out. In some cases, the disaffected side will prevail, while in others the rebellion willl be overcome. Mostly these events are fairly violent in one way or another and the duration of the rebellion can range from days, to months, to years. Some nations go through this several times.

Brazil was such a nation. The last time there was a civil war was in 1932. This was fought between the conservatives of the state of Sao Paolo and the the dictatorial national government of Getulio Vargas. The rebel side were called Paulistas because they were mostly from the state of Sao Paulo. It was hoped that some of the neighboring states would be joining in with the rebellion, but that did not happen.

Regardless, plans were made for marching on the capital of Brazil, Rio deJanerio in hopes of taking over the federal government and thus ridding the nation of the dictatorship. However, there were some problems. One was that the generals for the Paulistas were rather lax in actually getting everyone into position. Troops were under armed and the numbers were not what was expected.

On the Federal side, things were not a whole lot better, but they did realize what was going on and moved troops to the border to set up defensive lines. To say that earlier battles during this time were light and confused would be about right. One area where the Federals had the advantage was air power. While Brazil did not have a huge air force, it was adequate for the time. Most of the combat aircraft were either multipurpose planes like the Potez 25 or the Waco 240 or the Vought O2U. The Navy had the best bombers in the form of Savoia S.55 and Martin PM-1 flying boats. Some Federal aircraft based in Sao Paolo were taken over by the Paulistas and there were a few defectors who brought their aircraft with them. Both used their air power mostly for light bombing and for reconnaissance. There were air to air combats, but these were few and far between.

This volume covers the first part of the civil war and covers the events leading up to it, the initial actions and other events up until September of 1932. It covers all of the actions in the major area of conflict in the Paraiba Valley and along the coast. I have to assume that volume 2 will pick up where this one leaves off.

The book is very well researched and has a lot of period photos of the men and equipment used. I especially like all the photos of the aircraft used and the profiles pages cover these aircraft quite well. For those of us who know little about wars in the Americas, this is a superb volume and one that I can highly recommend to you.

August 2020

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