Mascarenhas de Morais


Mascarenhas de Morais

Biography

Marshal João Baptista Mascarenhas de Morais (November 13, 1883 - September 17, 1968) was a Brazilian Army Officer and commander of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in the Second World War.

Mascarenhas de Morais was born in São Gabriel, a municipality and a comark (county) of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. His father was a trader, son of a veteran official from the 'War of Tatters' ("Guerra dos Farrapos").

He attended The Praia Vermelha Military School in Rio de Janeiro and had a legalist position in the many military revolts of the 1920's and early 1930's. During the 1930 Revolution Mascarenhas kept his loyalty to President Washington Luiz and was arrested by the rebels headed by Getúlio Vargas, who became president himself in that same year after ousting Washington Luiz. After release, Mascarenhas continued his career in the army and was put under arrest for a second time in 1932 when he proclaimed his support for a military and civil uprising against Vargas in São Paulo during 1932. Once again, after the defeat of the uprising, Mascarenhas was released and not prosecuted.

In 1935, while serving in the Realengo Military School, Mascarenhas de Morais took part in the fight against a communist uprising in Rio de Janeiro. This time his loyalty was with the constitutional government of Getulio Vargas. In 1937 he became a General and was, in the following years, commander of the 7th and 9th military regions in Recife and São Paulo respectively.

In 1943 he was named Commander of The First Expeditionary Infantry Division of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, the 1th DIE (in Portuguese, "Primeira Divisão de Infantaria Expedicionária"). With the cancellation of the 2th and 3th Divisions he thus became Commander of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force comprised of only the 1th DIE. During the organization of the 1th DIE he was also head of the Brazil Military Commission with the USA and visited the Mediterranean Theater of operations in 1943, before the arrival of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force.

The General arrived in Italy with the first Brazilian troops in June 1944 and commanded the Brazilian forces until the surrender of the Axis forces in Italy, on May 2, 1945.

After the end of the war he returned to Brazil and, in 1946, was made a Marshal by The Brazilian Congress and received the command of the 1th Military Region in the then Brazilian capital, Rio de Janeiro.

After a short retirement Mascarenhas returned to active duty in 1951 as Chief of Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces during the second Vargas government (1951-1954). After the President's suicide, in August 1954, he returned to retirement and published his memories of his time as commander of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force. A federal special law was approved by the National Congress declaring him in army's active service for life, with all responsibilities and privileges, with the rank of Field Marshal. He died in Rio de Janeiro in 1968.

Descendents

His great nephew is the Brazilian opera singer Claudio Mascarenhas.


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