Title: Military intervention and civilian reaction in Chile, 1924-1936
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00097996/00001
 Material Information
Title: Military intervention and civilian reaction in Chile, 1924-1936
Physical Description: vi, 301, 1 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Tarr, Terence Stephen, 1935-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: 1960
Copyright Date: 1960
Subject: Militarism -- Chile   ( lcsh )
History, Military -- Chile   ( lcsh )
Politics and government -- Chile   ( lcsh )
History thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- History -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 292-300.
Additional Physical Form: Also available on World Wide Web
General Note: Manuscript copy.
General Note: Thesis - University of Florida.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00097996
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000541516
oclc - 13047798
notis - ACW5060


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August, 1960


The problem of militarism has been increasingly

studied during the past few years, and as world tensions

mount, will continue to receive the attention of scholars.

Latin America has usually been pictured as one area where

military influence permeates many facets of national life.

IMany people believe that Latin American history is nothing

but a story of recurrent military coups. In sono areas the

military has constantly left its normal role in order to

enter into others, but it is a mistake to generalize for the

entire continent. Cnile is one notable exception, since the

military has generally remained out of politics. Chile's

long tradition of civilian government aos interrupted by the

Revolution of 1891 and during the 1924-1932 period, and oven

then the military intervened not to benefit itself alone,

but in an atceapt to solve vital national problems.

The period front 1924-1932 was one of these times

when the military felt it -is necessary to enter into the

political scene. ,.rturo jiles-andri's government toppled and

fell, as a result. From Leptember, 1924, until October,

1932, Chileans vitnescse a series of governments, none of

which lusted for its legal term. abruptly in 1932, however,

with the election of nilessandri to the presidency for a


second time, the situation changed. The military returned

to its labors and promised to retain out of politics. Part

of the answer for this sudden change in attitude was due to

the influence of officers uho wanted to return the adminis-

tration of the nation to the civilians and to return the

military to its rightful duties. Tne civilians themselves,

furthermore, provided an answer us they organized and

threatened the military with retaliation if it intervened

again. The Republican Militia, the civilian organization,

was hence an answer formulated by the civilians to stop il-

legal military coups.

nles..anari supported ona aided the militia because

of the uncertainty of the military's loyalty. Even though

the militia was never called on to protect the constitu-

tional government, there was little doubt that its presence

was enough to cause the plotters to pause before they at-

temptod to organize a coup. In this manner the militia

pluyea an important role in recent Chilean history, for it

aided in re-establishing tranquility and law to a country

that had been ravaged by eight years of political unrest.

This stuay does not attempt to analyze completely

the military intervention into Chilean political life. That

is a subject ior a later work. Instead this study is pri-

marily concerned with the civilian reaction to the military

intervention, and nore specifically, the Aepublican militia.

The major drawback: to a study of this nature is the lack of

material either in Spanish or English on Latin American


rnilitorisa. This study, therefore, i, hopad to be the first

in a cries on thi, subject of the military and its role in

Latin inerican history.

This study was made possible by the 'lenry L. and

Grace Doherty Churitable Foundation who kindly Granted a re-

search fellowship to the author. He is deeply Grateful to

the Foundation and eternally thankful. .ven though the

author did not have the pleasure of meeting Irs. Jelen

Lassen, the Youndation's benefactress, he would like to thank

her first of all for tie opportunity she ugve hin to learn

of Chile and co:iplim nt her, secondly, for her promotion of

Chilean-Arnerican relations. 11cr ork has been a pioneer

effort and has offered innunorable opportunities for stu-

dents, while creating goodwill in Chile for the United

States. The Foundation's secretary in ontiaoo, T:iss lluydec

Ricci, should also be remembered for her assistance and

kindness. "r's. Helen Daugherty, the Foundation's secretary

in Iow York, is renembe'ed for her proaptness and aid.

The mnccLbrs of his committee, Drs. orcoster,

I'cAlister, Harrison, Boyd, and Go6gin, are thanked for their

advice, patience, and understanding. A special vote of

gratitude is due Professor orcester for being the Chairman

of the Co:'.Littee and for his nugeostions thit were most ap-

preciated. T.h author iould like to tha-ink the librarians

and staff of the oii.lioteca "acional and the Biblioteca del

Conr,reso in jantiugo, Chile. Their aid and advice was most

useful and was appreciated. To his many friends in Chile,

fililly, the author, woulu li.o to send a ,p Ocial roLLenbrlance.

Their kindness c. n nev,r be fully repaid.


Pa ge

PR;FjiCE . . . . . . . . . . . ii

I. T -. ? V LUTI Z. 0 1924. . . . . . 1

II. TT: L .- .: 1925 1 t '. I J- 0.
FI, JirA. . . . . . .. .. 39

III. FIGU O.. IB . . . . . 70

IV. THIe ;.D:III.ISfRATION OF IB .Z... .... . 91


VI. CL.ILE'S 100 DiYL. 0 CCI,,TISI . . . 133

iHL 1'UI MIC..r; :ILITIA. . . . . . 149

VIII. T il I Y, 1933, PIIAPL T.D 2lrE OhrT,. IZ.TIO:
OF IGE IIILITIA. . . . . . 160

IA. 1'II.ITIA CTIVI I . . . . . 189


Liberal and Conservative Parties
Tlio Leftist Parties
Fascism and the il militia

XI. Ta MILIrI AL C1IKL'CJ. . . . . 243

XII. DS 10lI[IZhTI .,, DIG.uII'1I U, DIJ OL IO, . 272

BIBLI GR Y. . . . . . . . . . 292



In retrospect the period of Chilean history from

1920-1924 could best be termed a power vacuum, a situation

ripe for exploitation by a well-organized and disciplined

group. In 1924 the armed forces were able to take advantage

of the situation and wield political power. It was a

strange role for the Chilean military, but the action was

based on certain qualifications they alone held. The politi-

cal parties which could usually qualify as the most powerful

national force, had lost their claims. They were grouped in-

to two coalitions, the Union 11acional and the Liberal Al-

liunce; but no single one oarty could operate outside the

coalition and arnes any widespread support. The Conserva-

tives, Liberals, and iladicals were the largest parties, but

separately did not constitute a majority. Ideologically,

there was little uniformity of opinion in either of the po-

litical coalitions. The church-state question, differences

over economic thought and personal conflicts kept factional

disputes alive, at times nearly splitting the coalitions, and

always hindering them. The armed forces .ere not plagued by

those doctrinal debates. It was evident thut none of the po-

litical parties could provide a firm foundation for



constructing a stable government. The Unlion t!ucional 'us

probably tho best disciplined, but the character of Ales-

sandri's government eliminated any cooperation from the coe-


The training of the area forces, furtneriorc, inad-

vertently prepared them to act as an independent political

force. Gerrmn officers had been engaged by the government

to instruct the Chilean officers as early as 1886. The first

of the Germans to arrive v.Os General 1orner.1 Undor his di-

roction, as head of the stado 1'ayor General, and with the

aid of other Geraoan officers the Chilean jr~my *.us reorganized

completely along German lines. ICodern armanento were intro-

duced, standards raised, and over-all instruction improved.

A similar reorganization, directed by UEnlish officials, took

place in the navy. The rest of the country, howjover, nas not

modernizing itself at the pace of the military, and the

governrient remained as ineffective as it had been in 1900.

Outt.ardly, the country appeared tranquil, but it was

only a thin facade ; which concealed a rotten structure. Par-

liament virtually ran the country, the presidents being more

pawns for tne deputies and senators. The situation appearea

to many to be the ulti.ute development in democracy, out the

parties ;ulich maintained a stranglehlold on parliament were

the right-ving, reactionary groups. They ruloc Chile as a

1Arturo ihuni.da, El cjercito y la revolution del 5
do septicmbre do 1924. fic.iniscencias (a'ontiago: Iciprenta
La traccion, 1931), p. 2.


private economic and social preserve, iCnoring demands for

reforms fro:i the riddle and lower classes. The army, unlike

the government, become especially cognizant of \ world intel-

lectual, social, and econo:iic developments and of Chile's

bacKwardness in these areas. Officers wero sent to Ceriany

to study, and were introduced to the militarism of pre-

V.orld ar I Germany. They saw a country proud and wealthy.

The contrast between Germany and C.iile was striking. Upon

returning to Chile those officers told of -urope and es-

peciolly of Germainy. The desire to modernize Chile was

strengthened and fostered by the reports of the German-

trained officers.

The primary consideration which foretold military

action was the aerie3 of long-standinc grievances of the

army. .Leordanization of the army by the (,orazn adviacrs vwas

thorough; but the "old guard" of the army was, at times, op-

posed to the innovations. The government hod given a free

rein to the advisers, and the older officers could do little

but complain and delay. This tomporizing caused resentment

among the yotun, officers, %iho felt t!iht the reforms could

best be carries. out by the men trained in the new ideas, in

other wjr.as, themselves. This mie:ant an efficient promotional

system which .o'uld ,ive opportunities to these specialists to

advance if not rapidly, at least regularly. Congress ignored

the problem. 2ne young officers, being increasingly frus-

trated at the action of soLI of che hijh conalinders, net

secretly in 1907. A bill to reform the promotional system


was pending in Congress; and the assembled officers, all

lieutenants or captains, decided on a public display of unity

in hopes that it would generate enough pressure to force the

congrossnon to act. They net at a restaurant on ,anta Lucia

during the hour of tea. The restaurant was one of the places

where socially prominent people gathered, and thus ioinortant

people sau their tables filled with young officers. They

lodCod complaints, but the high command of the aray could do

nothing as the meeting was purely unofficial and did not

violate regulations. To speeches or rmnifestoos were Given.

The result of the silent protest, however, was the passa,e of

the desired legislation.2

Reorganization and modernization of the arny thus did

not entirely rest on the good offices of the German advisers.

Parallel legislation was necessary from Congress. Incrooses

in pay and appropriations wore desired, but Congress did not

obli ,o. After '.orld War I and tie subsequent economic de-

pression it was especially evident that come adjustment in

military pay and pensions was needed. h-eing on fixed in-

comes, the officers of the armed forces wore hit by the ris-

in, cost of living and the devaluation of the currency. Con-

gress reinined deaf to the pleas of the military as -ell as

to petitions from other public employees. In 1919 conditions

2Raul jildunate Phillips, "La revolution de los toni-
entes," 'Zig-Zag, LIII (August 17, 1957), 20-21. (Corialized
article appearing in the weekly magazine Ziip-Zag in the is-
sues of Lugust 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 1957; Septnber 7, 14, 21,
28, 1957; October 5, 12, 19, 26, 1957; Uovember 16, 23,

cana to a head with the discovery of a plot. A group of of-

ficers had lot und discussed the political and economic

situation. On buy 10 the newspapers hear, of the meetings

and headlined tile ne%,s, CdlliLa it a plot to overthrow the

eovernomnt.3 The officers involved denied that they uhd had

any such intent, saying their only purpose \0as to organize

in order to offer Presilentt Juan ~anfucntoe their united aid.

The sisterer of Jr, nevertheless, novcd quic.:ly, retiring

sonc officer on saltc inj ot.iors to outlying commands.

The ne,.spjpers fJn.iod the ruijrs, printing a constitution

proposed by the group. 'toortedly, the organization \.as to

foster the formation of a republican government with a strong

executive. Incririinaitions flow and ruamre circular ted t.,ut

Aleosandri and other Alliance politicians \ure involved. The

Conservatives quickly demanded heads, and numerous army of-

ficers lost t;iei]r co;Liissions.4

The premature cJveeuent hao been nipped in the bud,

but the treatnient given to tie loaders of the group caused

rosentpiont in the nr:.y. The organization, if it \:as evor

that, vJuz not revolutionary und did not nierit the punicu-icnt

given it; but, political considerations called for action,

and the Conservatives hLoeded the investigation. The Jiou;:e-

cleaning of the ar:iy appeared to affect members of kuiown

3,nriquc Lonrcal, lHistoria complcta y documentada
del periouo revolucionario, 1924-1925 (n. p., n. d.), p. 35.

4Ibid., pp. 35-36.


liberal ideas and L:asonc, at times i(noi'ing those really in-
volvec in the plot.

The results wera uncatisfactury to everyone, es-

pecially to the army. By 1919 the officers trained in

Gernany or Lracuatcs of the roforuod military schools of

Chile had advanced into tno lower echelons of the high ranks.

They concrally syapatlizeu with a reform movcLent primarily

because they wcro uoro directly affected by thle economic de-

pression and the inaction of Congross. The governiunt, how-

over, failed to realize the explosive conditions that were

browing. It reasoned that tne uray had never intervened in

politics ana accordingly would not do so now.

The electoral caupaiGn of 1920 followed shortly on

the hools of the frustrated military plot. The passions of

the canpaigin .ore bound to affect the army. Alessanari per-

sonified the aspirations of Lany: the Liiddle class, labor,

uray, and anti-church groups. The election was thus im-

portant for all as it represented a chance, an escape, a

break froa the years of government inertia. Ils political

speeches found. EyLupathizcrI in tho arLiy, especially anong the

young officers. ,.ith Alessandri's vicLory popular aspira-

tions apparently had been vindicated.

Sanfuentes was only biding his time until he could

leave the Honeca when on July 14, 1920, the situation was

suddenly changed with the decree of mobilization. The

5Las Ultimas Ioticias, May 24, 1919, p. 1.

renoon promptin, tLe decree ..us a fuiiliar one, tut this time

the situation appe-ecd uore serious.

Since the one of tae .ar of the Pacific, u:iile's re-

lations vwih her tuo northern neijhborc had never been cor-

dial. rPru and Chile uero still squabclinj over the un-

scttled Tacnu-.rica question. Bolivia, ..rhilc officially

rcconizing Chilean oc;ncrznip of the province of i.ntofaeusta,

cried for the return of a seaport. Lack of an exact boundary

delineation also .ept -olivia from settling her differences

with Chile. At tjl. end of worldd '.ur I Peru and Bolivia hud

again demanded ruvindication, calling their lost provinces

the Alsace-Lorraino of South nricricu. The Chilean Army peri-

odically h:i has to take positions along ine Jisputod borders,

for rumorc had circulated at various times that an invasion

was iimincnt. At ot.icr times the aray hac to occupy border

pooitionz in order to prevent an influx of rofuteea from the

nuricrous Peruvian aed Bolivian revelations. In 1920 the

situation had calmcd somew;hat due to the mildneus of Presi-

dent Gutierrez W-ucrra, of Dolivia, who had been tvillini to

ncaotiate tLh oucstanCing differences. A revolution, ho;--

ever, reportedly financed by 2oru, succeeded in installing

Juan Jautista oaav.rda, uho hjd previously been a member of

the Peruvion irmy. Lautista w3a tile chief of the republican

party, ,.lioso platfor.i was basic. on union v.ith Peru to reguin

the lost provinces. Ait the sanme time the Z olivian Army vwCs

boing reorganized under Gorman supervision, and Peru had con-

tracted for a French r.ilitary mission. All these incidents


succeeded in prv.iptin. Cnilean mobilization in July, 1920.6

The country hiJd been seriously divided in the presi-

dential election, 'ut before the threat of possible ur fac-

tional uifferencecs ere quic-ly buried. ,4n army of 20,000

men aa3 raised snd stationed on the northern frontier. t.ur

did not come. Lafore the inactivity, the political unity

crtlAbled and on the home front rumors circulated which re-

ported that mobilization \.us decrooa only for political pur-

poses. The .:ar \.;z callec the ar of Don Ladidluo," after

the ministerr of ..ar, Ladisluo irrazuriz, and v.as said to be

only a aove to dictru;t the public and to reinforce comnands

of the 'Lorth vith partisans of Luis Larros -orgono, the de-

feated candidate. At the sama time members of the army saw

conditions in the northern provinces and heard the propaganda

of the radical agitators. 'he Uorth i:as the center of Ales-

suadri's support, and the papers aero avia propalundists of

the liberal cause. ThuSc papers also spread the story that

the ar was only a Conservative plot. Incidents soon began,

and i.losanidri chosc thiu xo:ient to visit the area. ;Iis ar-

rival produced popular demonstrations. A reception was

given for him at ..hich he lamentoc the sufferings caused to

the chiefs, officers, anL troops of the ariay because of the

"political .uneuver." .ie said it really %.as only an atte:.pt

to deprive hiri of his lecitilate triumph. Because of Ales-

sundri's oratorical ability, the response to his rerfarks Vias

6Aldunate (-ugusut 3, 1957), 19-22.


electrifying. It was reported thit afterwards he promised

advancements to cilitury men Known to have favored his

candidacy.7 The war scare passed, however, and Alessandri

took office on December 23, 1920. The arry returned to

Cantiago, but it was a different army for it had been po-

litically aroused.

The grievances of the military were still unnet in

1920. The army made the same demands as before: reudjust-

ments in pay, a more comprehensive pension plan, oad reform

of the promotional regulations. Alessondri sympathized with

these demands, but the Jenate held up the bills and refused

to act. ven though the liberal candidate had ..on, the lon,-

standinG aspirations of the crnied forces vere no closer to

realization. A mere ooliticiAl chunGe in presidsntc was ap-

parently not enough. In some circles discussion of a more

thorough change began, a change in political system and a

subsequent destruction of the parlianentory strangle-hold on

the government.

Alessandri, upon assuming the presidency, returned

to duty iany of the uray officers who had been involved in

the 1919 conspiracy. The action only caused diLcontent, for

those not involved in the 1919 incident called Alessandri's

action a blow to discinlino, while others feared that their

own promotions would be delayed. Tho dissent came Generally

from those officers opposed to jilessandri, whlo did not yet

represent a majority opinion.

7Aldunate (August 10, 1957), 20-22.


Discontent increased, however, ably fanned by the op-

position. In tne North an unfortunate incident occurred

which s-rved to discredit the government and, to a lesser ex-

tent, the army. In the nitrate fields unemployment vas wide-

spread. Luis iailio decabarren, a Chilean revolutionary agi-

tator, had a large following in the area. At one of his

meetings violence broke out. A sunll picket of carabineros

and soldiers L.ere in Antofagasta, assigned to keep order. In

some manner one of the listeners of Reeabarren decided to be-

gin the revolution single-handedly, and in the confusion the

chief of the currison, Lieutonsnt Arondana, w.as killed. lis

body was mutilated and the other soldiers were forced to take

refuge from the mob. The next day reinforceamnts came and

used machine guns to scatter the nob, killing 130 workers.

It turned out that this action was taken without the know-

ledge of Alessandri. Tie hurriedly sent a message which urged

calm.8 The dnnoce had been done, however, and explanations

wore too late. Poth the government and the army lost pres-


During the third year of the Alessandri administra-

tion the country experienced ever worsening conditions. Con-

gress, combating the president and his ministry relentlessly,

blamed the appalling situation on the government. Ales-

candri, frustrated in his program for nearly three years,

could not remain silent. He decided to take decisive steps.

8Aldunate (>nuust 24, 1957), 20-22.


Leaving the relative safety of his presidential oedestal to

re-enter directly the political arena, he virtually declared

war on Congress. The reasons :were obvious. Dyr the end of

1922 tie faced a bleak future. 'conomiically, conditions had

worsened and proposals to better the situation were hope-

lessly bottled up by Congress. For excriple, the peoo, worth

12 pennies in 1920, had fallen to 6.5 in 1923.9 Hence, it

;ws a ti:.ie for action, and Alessandri proposed to use his

personal prestige to secure passage of lcLislation which

L.Oult alleviate the critical situation.

Evidence that Llossandri intended to use his pa,.er

to acilicve his program was the by-election controversy of

December, 1923. ic senator for ;.uble, Jose "ed'ro ..lcs-

ssndri, had died and the Senate informed the Prcsicent that

the election to fill the vac-ncy would be scheduled for

January, 1924. AlesEandri, no.vevur, iiiterprete; this an-

nouncement as a violation of the Constitution, end announced

that tt.-e -aould be no election. He accordingly left for

the South, officially to attend an exposition in Osorno, but

unofficially to carry the uar against the Union Iacional to

tie provinces. The Jenate ans:.-rcd by censuring the cabinet

and announced that it % oul not pacL any bill that could be

construed as signifying a vote of confidence for the

9carlos Saez :!orales, lecuerdos de un soldado, Vol.
I: .:1 ojTo.cito y la oalilticc (.:ntiao: editoriall Lrcilla,
1934), p. 59.


govcrnnont aF 1lon as the enatee vocancy iroblon vas not re-


Alessandri c-.:ipaiGned against the Union 'acion'il,

calling for elections which -.ould cive a majority to his

partisans. These lords Ifund a v.idc range of support Rnd a

hue 'elcomaing throng greeted Alessandri upon his return

front the south T e enatee remained adamant, and on reces-

ber 31 th. -ituation reacaea anotherr lo3w point. The lu ,s to

fix the sire of the armed forces and to authorize their re-

muinin, in jntiano had not been passed. The -enate would

not approve those laws until a cabinet was fornmc. uhich gave

electoral Lu-r:antees to the Union 'acional. Alessandri would

not be pushed. On ece-ber 31 he ;went to a luncheon in the

School of Cavalry and spoke. jis later events prove, his

words spelled the end for the conLgrssional forces. Te an-

nounced that the troops o.ould abandon Cantiago until the

Senate approved the necessary lavs. Tie continued, "I am

eoing to take the opportunity also to say some words about

tie historic noicnt that the ..coublic is facinG."11 Ie fol-

lo'ned this introduction by announcing a series of financial,

constitutional, and social reforms he felt eore necessary.

Aloscsndri's reform program :.as not new, but the fact that he

had discussed it in a military y meeting drew response front po-

litical circles.

10Ibid., p. 60.

llIbid., p. 62.


For Lhu fir:t tine in a ililitary enclosure re-
sounded a type of political address pronounced by a
nan such as ilesaandri, who knew how to excite the
souls of his audience. The officers were not going
to forgot ?fterv.Jrds tL..t if the circumstances so
demanded, they could impose the saving solution on
one of Lhe branches of the government. -o haca said
the President of the republic to them. No one
would be oale Lo say today in what sonce the offi-
cers understood this insinuation.12

Alossandri maintained his unrelenting campaign

against Congress. The troops left Santiago and the public

feared for the maintenance of order. January 5, 1924, the

government announced the adjournment of Congress with the

budget still unapproved. Sone politicians were still trying

to arrange a compromise between Alessandri and Congress,

however. The government, prompted by those men, offered to

give guarantees for a fair election in March if Congress

would agroe to pass the reform measures. Congress agreed,

and the impasse was momentarily solved. Alessandri's pro-

gram was not entirely enacted but aoue of the immediate

curative measures were passed.

The peace was only momentary because in Iay, 1924,

the parliamentary elections were hold. For both camps these

elections were a matter of life or death. The campaign was

bitter nnd it boiled down to a battle between the cohecho,

or electoral interference, and money of the Conservatives

versus the influence and personal magnetism of Alessandri.

The election gave a victory to Alessandri and the

Liberal Alliance. Tae right, however, released a barrage of

12Ibid., p. 63.

ch1ir.cs aEainzt tloe ,overnnrent. The lliunco h.ldi .on, thoy

said, bocau.e of direct interference oy overnnont officials.

At the polli.6 pl ces the bov.rnejnt had aCpointed .: iL rs

of the ario forces to .e p ord3r -nn to .cop cohecho it a

:!iininum. 2.0u a i claine. these men ;ure sent by Ales-

candri to intervene directly in the election to in.ure a vic-

tory for the alliance. .. nator Eaiu, in Coniross, "The of-

ficers v,.io received conmiiuions for the election of .Larch 2,

carrie, in their pocL-ts the order of intervention."13

Tie ci.hrgos causct general indicnution against the

government, one consequently utainst the uraju forces. ?roof

of intervention i.uj requested from the Unio6n 'acional, and

General Brieou, inistor of Jr, instituted an ijnvetiLation

of the accusations. Ido found that the chlarcs \,ere not

bfenerally valid.14 But, the s.oar tactics used by tho richt

had du.ited tihe restice of the govcrnncnt. 2'h calL '..hich

Alessandri hoped ..oulu coue after tno election failed to

aaterializc. Congress, both branches controlled by Alliance

majorities, 'us beset by internal squabbling. Llectoral ac-

cusations wcre aifoed and debated and tho pro:iLsod logisla-

tion was i~yored.

C.veral incidents forotola d;hi.t lay ahead. It %.os

evident to the li eral forces, excepting the Kadicals, ttat

13Luis Brioba, Actuacion do6 cejercito en loa elec-
clones do 1924 ('antia6o: P. Lubournais, 1927 C?J, p. 6.



pjrliUaijtary sy:L.ti ,a.. uiniorkable. 'hc qujtion .as no'l

best to alter it, constitutionally or unconstitutionally. In

soie rtilitary circles t.hjre ..ere ra.ors su-Jcetivo of ans':.crs

to the qu .stion. .A conference neld by Carloc IbLuMez and

IcarnaduLc Grove oil tie organization ind function of the Junta

?'ilitarec .sorfolas drew con,.ent frorn many circles, as the

public \jonderod if the military proposed to import 'ri.io de

.ivera's Lesthods fro_-i pain to Chile. !.t the camn tiom it

vwas said that tie .Iiniatcr of ;ir, Gaspur 1ra Lotoaayor, an

avid Alessandrista, \.as sounding out officers on tho possi-

bilitioe o a ,:ovalution in favor of Alescandri. 'Ie sug-

6estedc that Congress could bo dissolved, allo.-ing Alossandri

to proceed uith hi.i rcforn plans.15

The rignt did not rcaeiin inactive nean;while. As far

back as .ovelmber, 1923, susgcstions lhad been Given by the

conservative press to the army. The rost explicit was a car-

tron appearing in the popular imaazine ZiF-Zau. It featured

a nilitury man, iltanirano, conversing ,;ith a figure w\ho

rcprescncto the Chilean people. Over their heads was a par-

rot in a case, labeled "national co ,ro.ss." The figuro srid,

wouldn't' t jou like, my General .-.ltanirano, to iiaitate your

colleaGue Tri:io, and shut up tiis parrot?"16

2Tnerc .erCe, furt.iermore, secret civilian riGhtist

organizations opposed to the ilessandri government and

15Aldunate (Jeptnciber 7, 1957), 19-22.
16"]E renodio," Zig-Zag, XIX (tovenber 10, 1923), 50.


advocatinb its ovurtiroa.. One of taiuce groups was culled

Tjn., the Lotters standing for tenacity, entliusiasa, and ab-

negation. It as un avoeculj rightist ,roup, pro-Catholic

and auti-govornmlnt ani anti- "asonic. The TL/. served notice

that it eant to Inforco its convictions. It co.m'iitted acts

againiit certain 1lesrandristas. One niCnt a group of TA

members ujbushed tno minister of lar, Ceneral Luis Drieba,

anu severely beat him. iho culprits v.ore never found.17 The

organization next place a bomb on the balcony of the home of
Dr. Adeodata Garcia Valenzucla, recently elected Grand aster

of the .acons. gain the guilty were not discovered.18 A

bomb was al.o pluceu in the home of Senator iicardo Valdes


terrorism, hov.ovor, ios soon abandoned by the r.A

and the right. Zhe oligarchy turned openly to the military,

already interested in overturning the government. Thle par-

liaaent ..as increasingly annoying to the military nid the

country. -ven though the right and the military had varied

plans on v.lht the revolution was to accomplish, differencoo

uiore buried in order to accomplish the first step: overthrow

of the government.

17Carlos Vicuna ruentes, La Tirania on Ciile (Santi-
ago: _o. laprenta y Litlo. dnivrso, 19)6-i93Y), I, 136.

18Ibid. Phillips remarks that Lasons \.cre special
targets for the riglit because jlessandri hid been elected a
meiber of the Grand Council of Lonor us hjd five of his six
cabinet ministers.



3y ..e)temnor, 1944, ti3 triovunces of Lhe military

still nad not been resolved even though jilessandri pcrsonal-

ly remained sympathetic to their demands. .1 tilAt \.as

needed was a spar;: to invite t.ie proceejin.s. DiEco.itent was

most evident in teo ranks of the younger oflicero, the mu-

jority or \:hom ,eric pro-Alescandri. They were tihe most af-

fected by the delay in promotions and the luck of salary ad-

justments. There i.au a strong inclination of opinion among

thc2e officers that proposed to tai.o cutters into their own

hands. It ,aould amount to uisoitedionce, but taore tere

several reasons which prodded the younger officers into muti-

ny, other tnan their b.isic Lriovances. iirst of all, three

cue bers of the armoJ forces, iwinP, Altaniraxio, and DBioba

had ecrveu as Liinisters of var in t.lessandri's cabinets, but

they had been unable to obtain enactment of the desired laws.

Tne younucr officers were imputient and disrcgurded their

coLnauders, vho, in their opinion, nad failed in tneir Lu-

ties.20 Locondly, the social background of tnie mLibors of

both the army anm navy aided in creating a disposition toward

insubordination. irny regulations restricted advancenont in-

to the higher ranL:.< to graduates of tho military school.

This neant that many of the lessor officers orQe Iaen from the

middle class unr tie provinces, as the military school cgner-

ally filled its vacancies with boys from the wealthy families

of -.untiago. The navy, however, .uas even more aristocratic.

20Juan Pablo Bennett, La revolacion del 5 de seDti-
embre de 1924 (santiago: Balcells y Co., 1920), p. 14.


It joolously conserved tlh tradition of f-inily nono and tis-

tinction. It ujis (if..icult for a young man to entcr the no-

vol school if heo .ir.: Irou tihe icL le clis. Sa;s 1.or0 re-

portoe of il.teli ant n.- cal A1 students bAinL ripped be-

caujo of thuir ouaily vicr,,ounds. Beiit, an officer of the

navy Luvo entree to hi h society, and apdoldc to those with

naLe nd onony. 1'l' coursc of study of ic n:ivy \.as riCorous,

producing cultivated, .ell-nmnnercd, on distinctive young

o.ficors. tohe ar.may cool Ivo leos riorous, and ut tines

proved a lust rcfaoo for yotn,, men of ne \colthy class, as

the army uniform did not curry L'ie distinction of the nnval

uiifora. everthelo-s, the navy \.as also divided in regards

to the lower echelon of officers. On and off the ships the

eninoeor disliked the officers, and the feolin, 3ss returned.

The onuineers worL. generally froi the .lidul class and re-

sonted the airs of their superiors. at first the einineers

and nbval officers \cre educated in the so..o school, but in

order to prevent conflicts, the enineerinr school v;as noved

to Talcahuano.21

Loth the arty and navy, thorofore, coro composed of

tv.o segments, eacli representing a -.ifferent .ociol cluss,

and, subsequently, a different political philosophy. Because

of tho unnatural situation that Chile found herself in during

1924, these divisions became iore important and discernible.

The cuddle class nenbers of the army and navy lccre more di-

rectly concerned with the economic and social problem of

21Vicuna Fuontes, I, 137-138.


the country than wore ne.'ibers of the legislature. They had

exDcrionced the injustices an, inconveniences. The higher

ranked officers iere more concerned with the political

situation a- they saw Ilessandri as a threat to their posi-

tion in both the aracJ forces and society. The feeling vis3

especially evident in the navy, and Alessandri distrusted

the navy because of its aristocratic tenor and reactionary

attitude. Lisciplino v.a stronor in the navy, however, and

the lo er officers, more liberal than their superiors, would

not as readily nutiny.22 Alessandri trusted the arny more

tlan the navy, as many of the hi1gi officers were supporters

of his ;overnn2nt. Unfortunately, the trust was betrayed by

the Inspector (cnoral of the Army, Altaairano, and the Chief

of the Carabineros, Alfrec.o j. EhinG.23

The parliament set the sta-e and furnished the issue

around. which all uiocontents rallied. Congress had kept

nost of Alcssandri's projects tied up. Still pending %.ere

financial reforia, dosi niad to solve ainy of the outstanding

grievances. Included in these reforms were adjustUonts in

the salaries of the military and of public employees. 7ur-

theraore, neither group had beon paid for several months be-

cause of congressional refusal to puss the bugout. Tho

government hoped to break the stalernte and reunite the

Liberal Alliance factions. To this end, a bill was presented

22Ibiu., pp. 138-139.

23Ibid., p. 139.


v.ith the govcrnmont's blessing, to provide zalJrics for the


Thb legisl tors did not look unfavorably on the pro-

posal, but the publicc responded adversely, and oclltd the

bill unconstitutional. The public employees .cire especially

resentful as previously tie overnnont had t Iked about re-

ducing their number in order to curtail nationril expenses.

Giving salJries to thi legislators vas clearly not econo-

nizing.24 The uray, ho. over, took more direct action.

On the evening_ of eeptcmbor 2 tho enatee w's debat-

in, the salary measure. Group of younf officers cut in Lhe

galleries to listoi to the debates. It oas to be a simple

protest. Toy tool: no direct action except to appluud the

speech of Eduardo Opazo ;ion ho attacked the coniitssional

salary measuree.5

On September 3 the young officers ecre Lxcited by the

events which had occurred in the Senate. Politicians had

cotminted unfavorably on th-e )reoence of the officers in tho

galleries while the press generally applauded the action. In

an editorial -1 'orcurio 'warned parliaamnt what to expect.

If the parliamentary regime continues discredit-
ing itself, if they insist on presenting themselves
to the citizens as the permanent cause of misgovern-
ment, of bankruptcy, of immorality, of sterility,
they put in donogr all democratic organizations of
the country. *e do not have to elaborate on these
illusions, because already the consequences are ap-
parent, crude and threatening.

24Saez, I, 71.

25Ibid., p. 72.


The project tli.t the enai-te aust vote on today
has certainly furthered the ruin of the parliamentary

That niJit a lore number of officers v.ent to the

Senate. The senators inmiudiately complincd. They protested

the presence of the military because it constituted a threat,

ane because the rattling of saborc disturbed the proceedings.

The ministerr of tho Treasury, Enrique Zatartu, used the

ministerr of 'ur, Gaspar lra, for an explanation. Lora

obliged and asLed the military observers to retire from the

Galleries. The young officers obeyed but in retiring iade

.more noise than was necessary.27

From the Cenate th: officers r:ont to the military

club. Mora soon arrived to offer explanations, but his for-

:aor co'Lrades ere cool. One rmaar..cd, "You come to givo us

explanations in private, after having clapped us publicly in

the face with a unip."28

Tlhe following day, 2eptoubor 4, public coaoant in-

creased, arni in the army there x:as a grout deal of activity.

ArounI' jioon Co.:ounder Charpin called a acting of officers

after he haid roturncd froaz a acting with tihe linistur of

"ar. He brought the news that the government reconized the

ribht of thu officer to attend the csesions of the Senate,

but it thped that the officers uould abstain front exercising

26Bennett, p. 10.

27sPaez, I, 74.

28Ibid., p. 75.


this rilht. The Loverlu int anteL to .oep tie public from

interpreting those acts as 3luns of poliLical intorvontion.

Tie teLpor of one of tle officer, '.is not concilia-

tory. lie re-oarled in th. following rinuner:

The army it, accor:ino to the Con.titu.-on, es-
sentially obedient. It must respect the orders of
tho Lxocutivo, but in or er foe this to happen, it
is necessary that we live under a reogiio truly con-
stitutionil. If tomorrow .o conie to tJie conclusion
that our Constitution does not exist, because it
has been violate by those \;ho have tile duty to re-
spect it and to make it respected, no one could in-
voke its narjo to caand obedience frori the arFiud
forces. The commander in chief would have lost his
legal status, an we would be able to ..ork in tho
way that wu felt was more in harmony with national
interests, v.ithout liavin; violated the orders of
the government.29

This declaration could only mean revolution. The meeting,

however, ended without further remarks or incidents.

The some day a reception was jiven by the lieutenants

in honor of the captains. Over 400 officers attended. Some-

one reported that General Altamirano hau defended the action

of the officers during a cabinet meeting. Altamirano was

promptly invited to attend, and he soon entered, enthusi-

astically welcomed. ie left tie fatheri6i e1rly, but the

officers remained, still talking.30

While the officers were assembled, a notice came from

Alessandri, who wanted to talk to a conrission of the group.

Captain Heraclio Valenzuula an- two others were selected.

The committee went to the interview and 4lessandri asked that

29Ibid.. p. 76.

301bid., p. 77.


the group Ira.j up u list of projects tnhat it bho, ht the

country urc.itly n eeded. lie w~jold then denuznd the il iediato

passage of tiice projects. Hc '%as reported to have said he

would close Congress, if it did not pass tie bills.31

These i.ords served to excite the ulreudy-aroused of-

ficers furticr. onei believe: .'Ulessandri was going to use

the army to cstablish a dictatorship. Others interpreted

his statement and request us _erely a practical political

maneuver, for tho Alliance majority, prodded by the Lilitary

and Alessandri, ;-ould still have to approve the legislation.

It appeared, nevertheless, that the army officers were oager

to accept the dictator explanation 3 the Junta '"littr of-

ficially released this opinion at a later time.32

In any case tho government, on the evening of Sep-

toaber 4, wva fighting its lost bottle, even though it Aid

not realize it at that time. The government knew', however,

that tv.o things had to be consummated immediately; first, re-

oatablishmont of the army's discipline, ana secondly, neutral-

ization of the navy. ,ith regard to the navy, Caspar Lora

was delecuted to confer with high officers of this service

and, after consultation, announced that the navy would not

tal:e part in the proceedings. Pedro Aguirre Cerda, riaister

of Interior, approached the ariy, issuing assurances that


32Junta ililitar, "Explicacion nocessaria," El Mer-
curio, TIoveibhor 30, 1924, p. 3.


its dennnds jould )e approved. Dotih "ora and Alt;irro Cerda

were fooled. The navy had already been contacted by the

rebels an it \ oil send repreaontatives to the ucotinf of

tihe military club ache ulcd for LeptLnber 5. Liscipline was

broken and could not be re-established by simple assur-


Runiors circulated which served to encourage dis-

obedience. A reporter inforz.OM the officers that the Lovern-

ment was plaruiin, to punish those involve~ in tae incident.

The reporter said t.r t the ministerr of Interior h~u drav.n up

a lonL list of officers, so5e to be sent to faraway posts,

and others to be trie, for so-ition Alie r1eorter uas then

asked how the vernmont intended to enforce its sentences,

to which he replied that carabineros of apuche origin uoro

being brought from the Louth, and troops from the naval sta-

tion at Talcuhuano 4nould reinforce then. Also, he added,

worker Ailitios, former by the employees of the naval sta-

tion, were being organized. These rurimrs could only snrve

to spur the army officers onward for, if they were true, it

mount they had little time loft.34

At 10:00 j,. U. the next morning a meeting was hold

at whichh the petition, drawn up by Lieutenant Golonel Curlos

Ibanez and Lieutenant ilojandro Lazo, ;.as presented. Ii all

there ,ere thirteen articles:

33Sufez, I, 78-79.

34Aldunate (October 5, 1957), 78-79.


1. Imunediato veto of tho la i of prlia'eant.ry calories
2. Passage of the budget
3. efora of til organic laws of the army
4. Augmentation of the pay of the Carabineros, iavy,
and Army
5. Modification of the iicoae tax
6. Pensi ,n. to the survivors of the .ar of the Pacific
7. Stabilization of the currency
8. 20aocae of the or.: co e ana th, rest of the lais of
social character
9. Passaeo of the lo% coLcerning private eroloyees
10. Payment of back salaries to public school teachers
and other public c.._lojees
11. Retjlrement of the ministers Salas Romo, Enrique
,anartu, d Gaspar .:ora
12. The minister of ar must always be a professional
13. Absolute exclusion of the members of the army and
navy from internal political events.35

Tae petition w,.s approved unanimously. ,t tlih sa ue nesting

a "ilitsry committee \'uc for.iod, an', fro.- it wac selected a

delegation to present the petition to Alesaandri. Ales-

sandri received the coLmittee at 11:30 A. ..36

Colonel Ahuxnda, spokesman for tho group, asl.cd Lieu-

tenant ilejandro Lazo to explain the reasons vhich had

prompted Lhe officers to otako action an formulate the peti-

tion. ,%ccorcin3 to alcssandri:

Luzo stood up and declared that the sary had been
completely abandoned by public powers, that it was
neither I-ouru or attended to. ,o added that this
could not continue vnile there existed so many nean-
ingful problc;eu of national interest without solution,

35aez, I, 30-31. The versions of the petitions dif-
fered. Coneral ce.Anett included in his list reform of the
Constitution including a provision for parliamentary sala-
ries. :.uraber 12 \.as not included. Lumber 13 differed in
that it stated "Absolute and permanent exclusion of the nem-
bers of the Army and Navy from electoral struggles and of
any act of ;a political character." Bennett, p. 29.

36Aldunate (October 12, 1957), p. 28.


while Congress lost time in long und sterile discus-
sions. eIo complained of politics, of intrigue,
blacing these circumstances on bud 'ovcrnment, dis-
order, and parliamentary sterility.37

Lazo ended hiis expose by presenting the list of articles ap-

proved by the military committee.

ihen Lazo finished reading tho petition, Alessandrl,

making a last attempt to dominate tie "frankly revolution-

ary" situation, asked the group what ho had cone wrong. He

reminded them that he had namoc three officers as minister

of war, and had always tried to serve the interests of the

army. Ho assured them that the petition contained the funda-

mental parts of his program, but the article demanding the

resignation of three ministers was open insubordination.

Alossandri announced that he would cill in Aguirre Cerda to

hear the petition. This was done, but as Aguirre Cerda

entered, Alessandri noted a sudden aggressiveness on Lazo's


Lazo was asked to explain to Aguirre Cerda the offi-

cers' reasons for petitioning. lnon Lazo had finished,

Aguirre requested a few minutes in order to cinfor with his

cabinet colleagues. Lazo replied that he had come only to

meet with the President, not with the cabinet for he would

present petitions involving public well-bein only to the

President. "And in that moment, Lazo, correcting himself

37Arturo Alessandri, Rocuerdos do 1-obierno, I (San-
tiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1952), 321.

38IbiM., p. 322.


said, 'Detter said, we have come to demand.'"39

Alessandri stood up, v.alked over to where Lazo

stood, and retorted:

My post and my life, two things that have little
importance to me at this moment, are in your hands
because you have the force. You are capable, if you
wish, of tearing from me and stamping on the national
tricolor that my follow citizens handed to me as a
symbol of my office. But, there is something for me
that is xoorthi much moro than my life and the post:
my personal dignity. That I defend; it is mine. You
nor no one elsc are capable of snatching it from me;
it is worth more than life, and the last word you used
prevents me from continuing this conference. 1.e have

The other members of the committee apologized to the

President, and all swore their obedience and loyalty. After

these oaths of allegiance AlbUsandri was hopeful that the

revolution had ended, and he consented to continue the con-

ference. He asked the committee, in all frankness, if it

would be satisfied with the realization of the petition. All

agreed. Alessandri then promised to answer the petition the

same afternoon, through the intermediation of General Alta-

Events moved swiftly. Alessandri conferred with his

cabinet on the petition. Its reply was its resignation.

Alessanjri then contacted General Altamirano, telling him

that the petition was accepted by the government, and of-

fered him the post of Minister of Interior in a new cabinet.

39Ibid., pp. 322-323.

40Ibid., pp. 323-324.

41Jldunate (October 19, 1957), 25.


Altapiirano accepted the charge and began the task of forming

the rest of the cabinet. He approached several men, but all

refused to serve. LcS then resolved to confer with the offi-

cers before filling the post of aininter of ar.

That afternoon an- evening the military club, the

headquarters of the rebel officers, was again the scene of

lively discussions. Altamiruno arrived during the evening,

announcing that the cabinet was formed. All applauded this

announcement.42 The important question, however, remained

unanswered. ConLress had to reject or approve the list of

projects, but it was not scheduled to neet for several days.

September 6 was a busy day for both the politicians

and the military. It was known that the Liberal Alliance

had voted to approve the projects that the army demanded.

The Radical party, however, issued a statement calling on its

members to sacrifice in defense of public liDortios anO to

oppose the regiaiu of force which had been instullod.43 Con-

servative newspapers, headed by El Diario Ilustrado, crowed

their deliCht at tile events. One writer remarked, "The mili-

tary has wished to imitate the example of Christ: it has ex-

pelled the money lenders from the temple."44

42caez I, 83.

43E1 1'ercurio, September 6, 1924, p. 5.

44IsLacl L:wars Latte, "Ruico de sables," El Diario
Ilustrado, September 5, 1924, P. 3. It might appear strange
that the Conservatives applauded a movement which demanded
radical social and economic reforms, but they viere more
interested in ousting Alessandri than in the proposals.
Furthermore, if the Alessandri administration collapsed, they
believed they could dominate any subsequent government.


The military co-mittee held tree moutingo during

the day. In the first session Zartolose ilanchec \as chosen

as president of the group. Ibanez emerged us the spokesman

for a large sector, an- because of his vigorous action,

gained a great .eal of support in the committee. The goal

of tLe movement was also discussed an some expressed opin-

ions that Alessandri should be renovcd. In the third ses-

sion events took a dociced turn. Alussandri had c,:lled for

a conference with one of tio military leaders, who announced

that Alessandri wanted a new petition which would contain a

point saying the parliamentary system had failed and urging

a return to the presidential system. The co-imittoe rejected

this request.45

The following day the debate on Alessandri's future

continued. Reports were also given by commissions, ostab-

lished previously, on certain plans; constitutional reform,

economic reform, social reform, onu others. The cabinet re-

ported that it would demand that Congress pass the laws re-

ferred to in the petition. If it refused, the cabinet would

auk Alossandri to dissolve Congress.46

This planted a serious question in the Junta :'ilitar.

Vihat would the group do if Alessandri dissolvedd Congress?

Would it give its aid to the government? There was a strong

sentiment for pledging the Junta's aid to Alossandri whatever

happened. Saez, who was opposed to this idea, had another

45suez, I, 90.

46Ibid., p. 92.


suggestion. lie proposed that, in case Congress "id not ap-

prove tne laws, Alessandri resign. lie could then ask all

nis follo.srs to aid the government th t .iltauirano would

consequently head. Altanirano could dissolve Congress and

proceed with the reforms. The plun %as not approved, how-

ever, and the project giving unconditional support to Ales-

sandri passed, three votes being cast against it.47

September C was to be the day us Congress was to de-

bate the projects. Other events transpired which also had

bearing on the situation. It was learned that the navy had

formally allied itself to the Junta rilitar, and the armed

forces rere now officially united. The most laportant de-

velopments, however, occurred in Congress.

The session of the Senate was tranquil, considering

the pressure that had been brought on the body. The Union

Uacional senators had declared they would boycott the ses-

sion and nearly half the seats were vacant. The session

opened with the reading of a petition, signed by unionists

of the Chamber of deputies. Altamirano, as minister of in-

terior, then read his ciessage asking for the series of proj-

ects, and explained the formation of his cabinet.

This ministry has been organized, obeying one
single sentiment; that is the love of the country and
the respect for its institutions. It does not
represent a party interest and is inspired only by
the highest national interest. It asks the patri-
otic support of all Chileans, and especially that of

47Ibid., pp. 93-94.


the representatives of the people, without distinc-
tion of political creed.44

Vith a minimum of discussion the Senate passed the measures,

17 voting yes, one no, and two abstaining. In all it took

fifteen minutes to approve the fourteen laws. The Chamber

of Deputies also concurred with Altamiruno's request, but

not before Pedro Leon Ugalde, an outspoken radical deputy,

delivered an eloquent address, protesting government by


No one could deny, however, that the morning's labor

in Congress had been fruitful. In total fourteen measures

were approved: appropriation of 110 million pesos to balance

the budget, a law on cooperatives, reform of the law on work

accidents, betterment of the conditions of private employees,

a code of regulations for labor unions, a project on com-

pulsary insurance for the sick and invalid, modification of

the laws on retirement of officers and reform of the Caja de

Retiro y Montepio of the army and navy, modification of the

regulations of promotion in the army, augmenting of the pay

of petty officers and troops of the army and navy, approval

of fringe benefits for the carabineros and employees of the

carabineros, and reorganization of the police.50

During the afternoon of September 8 all work seemed

concluded. The Junta Militar was scheduled to Leet, when its

48Aldunnte (October 26, 1957), 27.

49Aldunate (November 23, 1957), 19-21.

50Aldunate (October 26, 1957), 27.

monbers heard the unexpected unnouncenent that lilossandri

had decided to resign. At first glance his resignation

seomeu unexplainable, for on ,eptenber 7 the Junta Militar

had pledged its unconditional support to tno President. Con-

gress had enacted the laws that the military had demanded.

Alessandri, himself, st.ited, "I believed that with this all

was over, such as tioy had explained to me in the meeting of

September 5."51 He continued:

It was with surprise that I received the notice
that was carried in all the newspapers that the mili-
tary or revolutionary Junta had resolved to function
until it onaed with the political and administrative
purification of the country.
I understood in this act that all had ondod: that
they had not said what they thouGht in the mocting of
the 5 of SepteLber anu that, in demanding from the
Congress the laws that they asked of me as a basis
for a solution, I had committed an error, und that ay
error had one penalty: my resignation.52

The nows of Alossandri's resignation caused a flurry

of discussion in the Junta rilitar. After doliboration, the

Junta released a communication:

1) The Junta Militar communicates to the cabinet
its belief, interpreting the general feeling of the
officers, that Ills Excellency the President of the
republic should not insist on his resignation and
that, instead, should solicit permission to absent
himself from the country;
2) The Junta guarantees the personal safety of
His Excellency the President of the republic and all
the members of his family;
3) The President of the republic will leave the
country with all the honors of his position;
4) These agreements were unanimously adopted by
the 43 members who compose the Junta. /
Lantiago, 8 Septeinbr 1924 Bartolone Dlancho53

51El Vercurio, November 29, 1924, p. 17.
53sa/ez, I, 98.


On the saoe day Alessadrii presented his resignation.

That nilht ho left thle Doneda to oeek political usylum in

the embassyy of the United states On Leptonrber 9, therefore,

the situation had completely reversed itself. The military

ano the politicians \ere left i.ith the tack of forming a new

Government. ilessandri's resignation also posed a thorny

political problem. Accepting the resignation meant that new

elections had to be scheduled. The Liberal alliance i.ao not

in favor of new elections, because it feared the conse-

quences. As it controlled Congress, which had to accept or

reject the resignation, The Alliunce -as able to muster a

majority of votes anL to compromise, rejecting nis roeigna-

tion anu granting him pornission to leave the country for

six months.54

Rumors circulated in Cantiago concerning the solution

of the presidential crisis. Aleusandristas organized demon-

strations in favor of their leader. The students were es-

pecially active anC protested against the Lilitary. The

military realized that the continued presence of Alessandri

in the coLIntry v.ould only add to the disorders. Pressure

front the navy and from sone members of the Junta ;ilitor

forced the cabinet to act. On September 10, Alessandri left

Chile for Argentina. At the same tine the civilian members

of the cabinet resigned, saying that the duty of maintaining

internal order belonLed to the officers of the armed forces,

anQ that they 1ouli. Jiuve to assume the responsibility of

54lbid., p. 102.


government urini; the jxt'aor injury sitLation.55

Tho rori.inin~ cabinet minister;, curried on tho duties

of government. They hAld conferences .:iti the Junta ilit.r

in order to learn its thlJht concerning the proposed dis-

solution of CnaLreLcs. The Junta aanzounced its approval of

tne plan anu the decree was releuscd on .epterber 11. The

saie day a m-nifesto entitled "To the country" was released,

uhiuh banno3ceu that a Junta of Government (Junta do gobLcr-

no), haa been forIed, cJnsisting of General Luis ;.ltamirano,

.-aniral Francisco of, and Goneral Juan Donnott. The actual

decree constituting the Junta of Government was also re-

leased the some day. hne Junta "'ilitar independently rc-

leaseu two documents, one explaininG the political goals of

the movement, the other oddr-ssed to the armed forcea.56

The Junta of Governeont announced in its manifesto

that it w'oula \,ork for the re-ootublishuent of constitu-

tional order and, as soon as possible, elections would be

held. Upon the realization of these 6oals, the Junta viould

disband, returning the govcrnuent to thooe selected in the

election. The Junta .ailitar, howeovor, announced other


"Oar Goal is to convoke a free constituent as-
oembly froi uliich vill come a Constitution that cor-
responds Lo national desires. ,o \.ill then proceed
to the election of public officials, upon enlarged

55Sennett, p. 69.

56Saez, I, 105.


and free rosistration. Constituted these powers,
our mission will have ended.57

The discrepancies between the two manifestos intro-

duced the second chapter of the military revolutions of

Chile. The Junta of Government spoke in terms of a simple

change in those who ran the state. The Junta Militar, on

the other hand, was interested in a thorough revamping of

the national political system. At first the differences were

unimportant, but in a short time the Junta Militar began to

question the political character of the Junta of Government.

The Junta of Government began the tasi; of forming a

cabinet, and announced its choices without consulting the

Junta Militar. General Bennett later remarked that this was

the first political error of the governmental Junta.58 At

the same time the Junta of Government made a second political

error. Prior to the administration of the oaths to the

future cabinet members, all had asked Altanirano if the Junta

Military still existed. He replied negatively, and upon that
base they entered to form part of the cabinet. The first
/ /
cabinet was composed of Alcibiades Roldan, Interior; Carlos

Aldunate Solar, Foreign Relations; Gregorio Amunategui, Jus-
tice and Education; Fidel Muunoz Rodriguez, Treasury; Admiral


5Bennett, p. 97.



Luis Gomez C., \ar and Favy; and Oscar Davila, Industry and

Public "orks.60

On September 12, the new cabinet took the oath. Tne

Junta eilitar met the same day to consi er the new cabinet.

Several of the members protested the inclusion of Davila, ex-

chief of the TiA, and 1Hunoz R., a decided enemy of Ales-

sandri. But in face of the fait accoaoli, the Junta could

do little. The Junta Dilitar, however, did not intend to

dissolve itself; the idea was not even discussed.

The cabinet begun working the socae c.uy. One of its

first decrees was the acceptance of Alessandri's resigna-

tion.61 Several days later, the Junta of Government in-

vostod Altamirano with the office of Presiuent of the Jun-

ta.62 There were subsequent repercussions in the Junta


Upon the completion of the revolution the Junta

'ilitar unanimously supported the government, although two

contrary currents of thought soon appeared. The majority of

the officers opposed the ministry because of the known right-

ist vious of certain of its members, and called for its

transformation. The minority felt the Junta should not in-

terfere in the Covernncnt.63 In any case the Junta busied

o0acez, I, 115.

blBonnott, p. 99.

62ibid., p. 101.

63Wez, I, 117.


itself in sevoral \ways. CoLittecs '.orie ft.erAc, as if the

Junta were Congress, to study national problems. Jven though

the Junta declared it x.ould not be a uoliticul partisan of

any one group political debates were frequent occurrences.

Ibancz headed tie nujority Lroup and criticized the govcrn-

.;ent on numerous occasions.64

To nuke matters %,orse the Junta of Government tended

to ignore the existence of the Junta nilitur. The cabinet,

especially, intended to receive orders only front the Junta

of Governnont. One example involved Luez personally. He

was u meoibcir of tle subcomaission of the military Junta

studying constitutional and electoral reform. jfter several

meetings the committee decided to confer uith the Iinister

of Interior so that he i.oulu kno;v the thoughts of the Junta

Tilitar on those reforms. The M:inister received the con-

-ission "coldly," and seemed to be surprised th:it the Junta

still existed. The minister said, "You speak to me, e:ajor,

of a Junta that I don't Ikiw, anu of studies that I uon't

kInovw uAho charged you to do." Finally he allowed the coramis-

sion to give its report. Even though ioldan apparently

sympathized with the report, his first reaction, which was

quickly reported to the Junta Miilitar, produced a Greater


The division between the Junta i.ilitar an. the

64Ibid., p. 119.

65Ibid., pp. 120-121.


Government was deepened by this Lnd sirfil:1.r incidents. Ideo-

logical differences also uppeurod. The Junta T'ilitar had

node the revolution, but had lost it at the suno time. For

the majority of the military Junta the revolution hac been

betrayed by the Junta of Government on, the cabinet. The

officers were int ready to resort to overt rebellion uGuinst

the government, but a series of events transpired which coiL-

pelled them to do so.



Host moderate sectors of public opinion passively

accepted the revolution with the exception of the Radical

and Deiocratu parties, plus the haru core of tne ales-

sandrista movecient. In other quarters the military inter-

vention was greeted with words of praise and rejoicing. The

conservative press ecstatically thanked the armed forces.

Zig-Zaf called the movement an attempt "to amputate vlhat was

national gangrene."l One writer in El Diario Ilustrado,

calling the Alossandri government a punishment from God,

said the revolution proved God vias Chilean. "The Lora

tested us," he wrote, "but He did not want us to annihilate

ourselves." The men of honor and the army, according to the

writer, would return Chile to her past glories.2

The conservative press also compared the revolution

to the Fascist movement of Italy and Prino de Rivera's coup

in Spain. Aig-Zag called it a "blow from tne same wave that

lJuan Caceres, "Gonentario sauatino," Zig-Zag, XX
(September 13, 1924), 37.
2( 1%/
2Lenora M. M. Luisa Fernandez de G. H., "Sursuai cor-
da," el Diario Ilustrado, September 6, 1921, p. 3.



burst on Russia, afterwars on Italy, on ;pain, on France: a

violent desire for authority, order and discinlino."3 The

conservative church newspaper analyzed the mnvonents, remind-

ing its readers that events rarely occurred sporadically

without being related to others. It pointed out that Italian

fascism was a political movement, while the Chilean Lilitary

hoped to stay out of politics. Furtholrrore, Ittlian fascism

hopod to perpetuate itself, while "our movement only vianted

to complete its job and return to its work." The paper con-

eluded that the Lpanish movement vwas more siciilar. Both

searched for a better government, both dissolved parliament,

\ith the main difference being that Primo de .(ivera had not

called for elections to replace the Spanish parliament. Al-

so, bpain'3 government was military, while "ours" had boen

returned to the civilians.4

The Conservatives uid not rely only on their news-

papers to express their support for the military movenont.

The Union Hacional officially expressed its desire to co-

operate with the government.5 Altanirano thanked the group

for its pledge, but reiterated the Goverruient's hope "to

count on the patriotic aid of all Chileans, without dis-

tinction of political creed."6

3"El movimiento military Zig-Zag, XX (September 13,
1924), 38.

4"Ctuestro caso y los de Italia y Sspana," "l Diario
Ilustrado, September 17, 1924, p. 3.

5El ?'ercurio, September 10, 1924, p. 1.

6Las Ultimas Iloticias, SeptLmber 10, 1924, p. 1.


Even though jiltamirano hope for bipartisan political

support, he hac to face realities. The left wins parties had

already issued pronouncements damning the milituriy cavern-

ment. The Ruadical pjrty had told its roubers to oppojo the

coup actively. Altarnirano was relatively isolated and had

no choice but to accept the aid of the Union Uacional. ''ith

only the support of the Union Nacional, the government could

not preteuc to represent the majority, as the Liberal Al-

liance repr-scnted a larger electorate. Independents, moder-

ates, and opportunists -id re-lly to Altamirano's banner.

IHis government cid not entirely reflect the v.ishes of the

Union lacional.

The search for political collaborators was only part

of Altanirano's %.orries. The army had to be placated and

Kept from further imddling. Altamirano had complied with its

demands and had succeeded in enacting into law tiie proposals

included in the petition. But the Junta ;ilitar was still

not entirely satisfied. The difference in opinion between

thf two Juntas coiccrning the goals of the September revo-

lution was published early. As tiLle passed, this i.ifference

developed into a serious split.

In the latter part of October relations began to de-

teriorate. It was apparent that the situation could not con-

tinue, for the government had either to dominate the Junta

I1ilitar or grant it a larger voice in the affairs of state.

October 24, being Army Day, a dinner was held in the School

of Cavalry. Only those officers of the Junta who were avowed


opponents of the Junta of Governricnt weie invited an sone of-

ficers who were not ncobers of the Junta 'Tilitor were includ-

ed. The gevornment was criticized in strong terns by the

speakers. One sue ested that a group of junior naval offi-

cers, \.ho were present at the .innor, be incorporated into

the Junta .ilitar even though four senior naval officers

were already members. As a Great number of the Junta meabors

were present, a meeting uiss helu and the suggestion approved.

Several officers w;no attended the winner attempted to cool

the tempers of the spc.ikers and were able to stave off any

further outbursts.7

The mcabero of the Juntu :'ilitur who had not at-

tended the dinner '.ere not ready to accept this alteration

in its naobors;iip. The four senior naval officers vere es-

pecially in.isgnant. Ibunsz, as director of the L-chool of

Cavalry, dcfonded the action of the anti-government forces.

The pro-government officers, being in the definite minority,

coulu do little but complain.8

The Junta elected a comi.ittoe to establish a perma-

nent channel of co.Lniunication bet\,een it ana the cabinet,

and anti-governuent forces 1jore able to elect a majority of

the comLiittee mesrbors. The cabinet agreed to meant with the

committee twice weekly, and it also promised to submit all

7Carlos Saez Morples, Recuerdos de un soldado, Vol.
I: El ejorcito y la political (Santiago: editorial Lrcilla,
1934), p. 127.



bills to the Junta "llitrr before the bills ere promulgated

as le'.:s. verj though this appeared to be n concession from

tho cabinet, it did not promise to :,dopt the saugestions

presented to it by the Junta 11ili.tar. The stalenate con-

tinued, therefore, and both si es momentarily rested.9

Soon aftervwarr'n, however, the 3overxL:ent agElin took

up the cudgels. It ha s:ii, it woua .' tsubnitt all proposed

Inis to the military Junto before decreeing them. Thle Tunta

iqilitar vias especially interested in electoral reform and had

several proposals ready to present. The Governnlent responded

by independently decreeing a nw electoral luw and setting

presidential elections for i'ay, 1925, in direct violation of

the pact uareed to \'ith the Junto Tilitar. This proved to

be the finul straw for the Junta :ilitor.10

The Government haC acted foolishly, for it succeeded

only in divorcing itself from its strongest adherents. The

cabinet, hoe.'ever, did not realize that alienating the nili-

tory Junta could lead to painful consequences. The Union

iacional, besi,.es, uv. lobbying for elections before the Al-

liance roc:up rate the prestige it had lost ;,ith the c'o\n-

fall of the Alessanc.ri andninistrotion. The governmeent, far-

thornorc, by iJsuin, the decree independently, destroyed the

moderate and pro-Covernmrent sympathy in the Junta. Itanez

and his followers now proceeded in the Junta virtually un-


9Ibid., pp. 127-128.

lOIbid., p. 129.


Meetings were helu anu representatives of the Junta

iilitar met with the cabinet. Demands and accusations were

aired. A momentary stalemate again developed as the Junta

Military could not hope to achieve all of its demands. It

still ladled political allies.

Public opinion came to the rescue of the Junta as

there was a general disapproval of the electoral reforms de-

creed by the government. Criticism was raised over provi-

sions of the law which retained many of the objectional fea-

tures of the old law. The accumulate vote was especially un-

acceptable, and many were disappointed that the law did not

provide penalties for the crime of electoral interference.

The cabinet realized some modifications were necessary and

the Junta Militar was contacted in order to learn its ideas.

The Junta again introduced the problem of constitutional re-

form into the conferences. As the cabinet would not agree to

these demands, the negotiations broke oown.11

As long as negotiations continued, the final rupture

between the Junta anu the government was not definite. Coon

this break transpired. After the aecree announcing elections

was issued, the political parties began organizing for the

campaign. El Diario Ilustrado of December 5, 1924, created

a sensation in political circles by announcing that Colonel

Alfredo Ewing, Chief of the Carabineroo, was being recom-

mended by the military as a presidential candidate. The

Illbid., pp. 135-136.


government, wanting to keep the military from entering the

political campaign, called Ewing to the Moneda. According

to Bennett, Ewing gave satisfactory explanations and dis-
counted the rumors. Ewing also expressed his willingness

to leave his post in order to dispell all rumors, if the

government felt it were necessary. The Ninister of Interior,

in a subsequent interview with Evwing, accepted his resigna-

tion as Com.iancer of Carabineros.

A special Leeting of the Junta Militar was called

the evening that Liwing's resignation was announced. The

anti-governiant Junta members violently attacked the cabinet,

ignoring the true motives that had prompted its action. A

motion was discussed that called for the incirdiate reinstote-

ment of Ewing. On i.ecembcr 12 the military Junta asked the

cabinet for an explanation of its action. An explanation v;as

given, but the coLmittee was not satisfied. The Junta held

further meetings and debated future policy toward the cabi-

net. A motion calling for the organization of a new cabinet

was finally approved.14

Negotiations were renewed with the cabinet, and from

the series of meetings came a proposal. The cabinet was

willing to resign in the interest of national tranquility,

if, at the same time, the Junta :iilitar would dissolve. The

12 /
Juan Pablo Bennett, La revolution eel 5 de senti-
embre de 1924 (Santiago : Ealcells y Co., 192o), p. 155.

13Ibid. p. 157.
14 z, I, 143.
Saez, I, 143.


government's proposal nod the backing of the navy and a sec-

tor of the army.15 In the face of this pressure the Junta

Tilitar agreed to the proposal on December 13, decl!ired it-

self Lissolved.16 L public announcement v.ns released by

Blanche, stating:

1. That the Junta i:ilit ir never thought to pro-
claim a military candidate for the presidency;
2. That it resolved to put an cnO to its func-
tions by its oon incentive, considering that, after
the incidents which took place at the rumors concern-
ing Colonel Ewing, this was the most patriotic solu-
3. That, taking this step, the iaembers of the
Junta :ilitar reiterate their absolute confidence in
the Junta of Government, deeply convince that the
peoplee hho compose this Junta will know ho- to carry
out to a successful conclusion the movement headed
by the arned forces. ,
Bartolone Blanchel7

So ended the real core of the movement of Septem-

ber; the group that had been the impulse behind the revolu-

tion. The demise of the Junta .rilitor had been a goal of

the cabinet anu the navy. .ven the military chiefs whom the

Junta itself had placed in high positions favored its disso-

lution. Few lamented its passing except those who were truly

interested in reform. But the mere dissolution of the Junta

MilLtar could not erase the fact that there was a current of

opinion in the army opposed to the government. Apparently,

the movement of Lepte ber had ended with the removal of Ales-

sandri and the dissolution of Conoress. This fact the Junta

Nilitar failed to realize.

15Bennett, pp. 162-165.

lu'oez, I, 145.
17Ibid., p. 147.


Altamirano, :ith the announ;ccment of the dissolution

of the Junta 'lilitarr, began to form another cabinet in com-

pliance ;.it the arrenocnt. Instead of profiting by his

first error, the second cabinet had an even more unionist

tint.18 Diortly followingg the Lnnounceaint of the new cabi-

not cuae the no..s tlht the Union :Tacional had selected

Ladisloo -rrazuriz as its candidate for tie presidency. Suez

described the reception of this aniouncoc.ent.

. his candidacy was so;iething like u provo-
cation thrown to the men xwho had sustained that
Lovernien:t. [.leassondri's] He had uniother defect . .
winds of democracy ble-, and he was one of the repre-
soet:atives ..oct characteristic of our stule aristoc-
racy, making him appear as the incarnation of the
reuctionay spirit.'J

During the days of the Junta ::ilitar the mention of

Errazuriz's name was enough to causc an outburst,20 for the

young officers had little sympathy for him.

There w.as, Jovartheloss, virtually no electoral al-

ternutive. The Liberal Allianco rern ined discredited.

There was an attempt to unite all the liocrals into one par-

ty, in order that tlio government could rely on a solid and

moderate political party, but the attoipt failed. It ap-

peared that Erruzuriz woul.. win the election by default. The

Liberal j.lliance could not hope to win without a candidate

who could reunite the parties as in 1920. Feelers .;ere put

18Ibid., p. 156.


out to Alessandri by the Ro icals and Denocratoo, but he was


The politicians, however, were not to have their

election. dumors circulated of a possible counterrevolution

Cesigned to topplo .-Itoairono. The center of the discontent

lay with the core of true reformers who liha belonged to the

eofunct Junta "ilitar, headed, as before, by Ibanez. \.ith

t;io dissolution of the Junta teicre voas no indication that

the group had continued meeting, but with the candidacy of
Errazuriz an. the specter of an apparent victory of the

right, the mejiab-rs once again contacted each other.

In reality the January movement %.us not widespread

or well organized. It succeeded because of the ui% of some

politicians Hn- the neutrality of nost of the army officers.

AttaairJno was aware of the rumors and in an attempt to re-

establish discipline in the army, visited the headquarters

of many of the units of bantiaGo. At the same time Alta.ir-

ano speeded up the process of placing many of the ex-Junta

ITilitar leaders in new posts, far away from Lantiago. -any

of Ibanez's followers i\ere scattered and January 15 Ibunez

himself ana his assistant, Lieutenant Lazo, Cere ordered to

prepare for a foreign appointment. All the officers affected

apparently were obeying their orders. Lieutenant lazo even

asked Deruiett for funds in order to buy a horse in France and

enroll in a course of horsemanship.22 For the first tince in

21Ibia., p. 158.

22Bennett, p. 36.


several eLontlhs the Govornct.ct \uas able tc relax. Order

seemed ro-established, oven though Il kercurio described the

situation as a city that had had one earthquake and immi-
neatly expected another.2

lJearly everyone, except the cabinet, expected an

attempt to overthrow the government, but all were amazed at

the ease v.ith which it was accomplished. During the after-

noon of January 23 Altamirauo had contacted the Minister of

War informing hicm that troops were reportedly to attack the

Moneda. The Mlinister of War, Inspector General of the Army,

and the navy all swore their loyalty to Alta8airano and prom-

ised to oppose any attempt at altering the political order.

Police v.ere ordered to gu.rd the Moneda.

At 5:30 P.LI. the rebels appeared. The contingent

consisted of officers of the School of Cavalry .'ith some

mounted troops, two squads of Cazadores, and two companies

of the RegiLnent Pudeto. The only opposition was the police,

for the rest of tac pronisea defenders were not in evidence.

Altamiirano and hiis cabinet were simply ejected and a revolu-

tionary committee established. Two manifestos were quic?.ly

released by the garrison of Santiago, explaining the object

of the movement. The important sections of those releases

were the call lor the return of Alessancri to the presidency,

the sumlmons for a constitutional ossenmbly, and the

23E1 Mercurio, January 24, 1925, p. 3.

announcement that the movement wa-n biJsc on thie Cptenber 11

manifesto of the JIunta _11iitar.24

It was apparent that the new movement was headed by

the anti-government members of the Junta Vilitar as the ob-

jectives of the ImoveLisnt were those from the original ajni-

festo of September 11. The political orientation of the

January movement also contrasted with the earlier one. The

return of Alessandri would signify a reassertion of the

poier of the Liberal Alliance in the government.

Aside from all discussion of the composition or po-

litical orientation of the new Junta, one fact remained. The

army had again interfered in politics, destroying in the pro-

cess the government it had created earlier. It was able to

accomplish this without meeting much opposition. The public

was apathetic, if not sympathetic. The revolution of 'eptem-

ber had failed, and the January movement wvas organized to

revitalize the original attempt. But calling the novenont of

September a revolution would be incorrect. The men who as-

sumed leadership of the government woro not revolutionists,

only reformers. After they had ousted Alessandri, their only

desire wus to restore civil government. The movement of

January, on the other hand, was nore rightly culled a revo-

lution, for it proposed deep-seated change which was truly


The idiosyncracies of Chilean politics again favored

24Bennett, pp. 365-374.


Aleasandri. He nau left in boptenber, 1924, aefoatod and

disappointed; but in Tarch, 1925, he returned and was greeted

by a gigantic popular demonstration. At the moment Ales-

sandri appeared the victor. In the background, however, re-

mained his future enony, the man who headed the January move-

iCent to return Alessanairi to the presidency, Lieutenant

Colonel Carlos Ibanez del Compo. It appeared ironic that the

man the military iad overthrown four months earlier was asked

to return. But the military hEid little choice; there was no

other alternative. The military either had to choose Ales-

sbndri or the Union I!acional, an.- it chose the Leon de Tara-

paca, as he ap aroed to be the only one capable of institut-

ing the desired reforms.25 There was also a general frustra-

tion in the army; a desire to cleanse itself from what it had

done in ceptember. Many of the officers felt the spto,,or

movement had failed, ann the only thing to do was to return

the country to the rightful president.26 The military for-

got, however, that when discipline was once broken, it was

difficult to re-establish it. Alessandri might be returned

triumphantly, but who could predict his future?

The January movement had been successful in the sense

that it controlled the M-oneda. After the initial shock had

passed, public opposition appeared, although somewhat limited

2 Enrique Monreal, Historia complete y documentada
del periouo revolucionurio, 1924-192, (n. p., n. d.), p. 130.

2oibid., p. 134.

as the mouthpiece of the Union Nacional, El Diario Ilustrado,

was ordered closed.27 The navy, heavily committed to Alta-

mirano, released a document stating that "The national Navy

does not accept this movement in the form that it has taken

and in its political ends."28 Some predicted civil war un-

less the navy was immediately pacified. The Junta of Govern-

ment, headed by two respected generals, Pedro Pablo Dartnell

and Juan i. Ortiz Vega, quickly dispatched an emissary to

the navy, hoping a compromise could be arranged. The naval-

government split was deepened, however, by the declaration

of the Junta that postponed presidential elections until a

constitutional assembly had been formed.29

The navy, nevertheless, consented to meet with the

representative of the Junta. A list of demands was presented

by the navy and an agreement signed. As a result, a Junta

was formea of one civilian, Emilio Bello C., as president,

General Pedro Pablo Dartnell, front the army, and Admiral

Carlos %;.ard, fro:n the navy. The Junta was to serve until

Alessandri returned. A cabinet was organized and elections

were postponed until a constitutional convention was

called.30 Ibunez was appointed rlinistor of .'ar in the cabi-

net, a position he was not to relinquish until February 1927.

27i lorcurio, January 24, 1925, p. 3.

281 Mercurio, January 24, 1925, p. 15.

29.1 fercurio, January 25, 1925, p. 15.

30Ecilio Bello Codesido, iecuerdos politicos (;anti-
ago: Imp. ;ascimento, 1954), p. 77.


The navy proved not to be the only problem for the

Junta. -1 Diario Ilustrado had been reopened and immiediate-

ly began to exploit the precarious truce between the govern-

mant and the navy. Censorship was again imposed on the pa-

par.31 The Junta feared that insults from the press would

cause the army to find its own solution to remedy the situ-

ation. Furtheraiore, the right attempted directly to stir up

the army. At the end of February the Junta had to nove

quickly in order to quell a rebellion in the ValJivia Regi-

ment. The result for the unionists involved vws deportation,

one of those being Ladislao Errazuriz.32 The regiment, too,

was dissolved and its members distributed among other


Alessandri returned in Lurch and apparently future

civilian govarnient ua3 saved. lie rapidly began the work

that remained for him: the writing of a new constitution.

On april 7 he naned a consultative commission to study the

means of oruganiz ing a constituent assembly. A subco.oittoe

studied various reforms i.hich woulc be presented to the as-

sembly. Upon ending its studies at the end of July, the com-

mittee recoar.ended that its proposals be submitted to a di-

rect plebiscite instead of a constitutional asueably. The

politicians protested, led by the Conservatives and radicals .

31Ibid., p. 112.

32Carlos .aez Morales, Recuerdos de un soldado, Vol.
II: Genesis v dorrumbo de le dictadura (bantiago: editorial
6rcillu, 1933), p. 10.
33Bello Codesido, p. 143.


The problem was made increasingly delicate because in the

boptember 11 manifesto, upon which the January movement \;as

bacd, the army had called for a constituent assembly, not a

plebiscite, to reform the constitution. The Insp.ctor Gener-

al of the army, General INavarrete, also a member of the con-

sultative commission, had to pronounce on the proposal. Se-

cretly, he called the heads of the army together on July 20,

in orcer to reach u settlement. It was agreed that the sub-

committee's findings had to be approved and the army loaders,

therefore, shelved the idea of a constituent assembly.34

A meeting of the entire consultative commission was

hel. July 22, presided over by Alessandri. The army's opin-

ion had not been publicized; and the politicians, from the

beginning, monopolized the proceedings. For two days the

Radicals discussed whether a parliamentary or a presidential

system should be o3tublished by the now Constitution. The

representatives of the army were soon disgusted with the

meetings as the politicians veerod from ciscusoing the topic,

the report of the sub-committee. Alessandri pleaded with

the commission, remarking that in the sub-comm.ittee, whore

all had had an opportunity to debate the virtues of parlia-

mentory and presidential systems, all had agreed on the

presidential system. Navarotte, who was "profoundly im-

pressed," asked for the floor. The request produced a great

deal of comment in tlie couaission.35

34jaez, II, 11-12.

35Ibid., pp. 15-16.

lavarette concisely and explicitly stated the army's


It isn't necessary to be a great constitutional-
ist to declare without fear of being wrong that the
results of tho parliamentary system have been dis-
astrous for the country. .
The leaders of the diverse political parties in
which public opinion is divided must learn, on this
occasion, the many objective lessons that they have
received since the 5th of September until today.
Do not consider this as a threat, since I am not
authorized to make it, but I believe firmly that at
these solemn tmomnts we must not conceal the danger
and that we are obligated to speak clearly.
Presently, tho arny is handling fully the labors
that are its own, limiting itself in the rest to ob-
serving the action of those charged with realizing
its ideals of order and administrative purification.
',hat would happen if the hopes of the youth were
defrauded on this occasion? I do not vant to make
disagreeable predictions.
I leave to your judgment the task of formulating
a reply to this delicate question.
The army . has a horror of politics, and con-
sequently, will never nrix in your activities; but
you can be sure that it will not look wiith indif-
ference on your ideas of national purification. This
is not to say that it does not forget the finalities
of the revolutions of the 5th of September and of the
23rd of January.. .36

The opposition did not remain silent, and reminded

the army that the Septeaber 11 manifesto called for a consti-

uent assembly. Alessandri stood up and retorted, "You want

a constituent assembly? I am going from here to my office

in order to convoke a free constituent assembly."37 He then

suspended the session.38 The opposition in the commission

was stunned. The majority recovered quickly and voted to

3(lbid., pp. 16-18.

37Ibid., pp. 18-19.

38Ibid., p. 19.


ask Alessandri to return an. reopen the session. Alessandri

agreed, and the nujor part of the Radicals stalked out. Aft-

er listening to several more speeches, the corLission ap-

proved the report submitted by the subcoaiittee.39 It was

evident that Uaovrette's w*.ors an, the Leon's theatrical

ability ha turned ths tide, and the Government was saved at

a aifficult moment. On AuGust 30, 1925, the Constitution

was approved by the electorate and the parliamentary system

officially ended.

elessandri's troubles did net end with the approval

of the Constitution. Coon after he had returned teo politi-

cal parties hao begun preparing themselves for tho future

presidential election. Tho Rsaical party proposed a United

Civil Front.40 The opposition formed a Social Republican

Front. The battle lines were boini drawn and the contest

promised to be bitter.

Rumors circulated that one of the candidates would

be irmando Jurarillo, at the timeo Linistor of Interior in

the cabinet. It was reported that Ibunez would not accept

Jaramillo's candidacy.41 Jararillo said that rumors of his

candidacy v.ere unfounded, and announced that he vould resign

after the plebiscite waa held, to Give Alescandri complete

liberty in choosing his cabinet.42


40EI r'ercurio, April 22, 1925, p. 19.
41Saez, II, 20.
42E1 i'ercurio, April 25, 1925, p. 8.


Other rumors circulated thut Alessan ri and Ib:unez

were feu.ing. At the saoe time political circles were.dis-

cussing the possibility of a single candidate and some sug-
6osted a military candidate. On August 26 Ibanez, one of the

possible candidates, addressed a circular to the commanders

of the army. Ho tolc his comrades that the major part of the

revolution had been accomplished, but the most difficult and

dangerous task lay ahead: returning the country to constitu-

tional normalcy. Blaming the rumors of military political

activity on the politicians, he saic that the army must not

have a candidate. \'ith regard to his rumored candidacy, he

ordered tiat his name was to remain out of all discussions.

His only desire, he concluded, was to strengthen the disci-

pline and efficiency of the arny.43

Tie rumors of a rift betv.een Alensancri and Ibanez

continued, nevertheless, and not without foundation. Prior

to his issuing the circular to the commanders, Ibanoz had

said that the presidential candidate must be above all an

eminent person, and only as a last resort a military nan.

The cancidato, he continued, would also have to guarantee

the fulfillment of the revolution. If the candidate ;ere

from the military, he should come from the hibh ranks, he

concluded.44 Alessandri considered Ibanez's declarations

inopportune and not befitting a cabinet official.45 In the

43E1 Mercurio, August 27, 1925, p. 8.

443aez, II, 21.

middle of -,utust an incident betwoon Alessandri and Ibanez

was solved only by the intervention of outside aid. Ibanez,

nevertheless, clung to his cabinet position.

Rumors continued to circulate, notwithstanding the

statements of Ibanez. Navarette and Ibanez were reportedly

differing. Colonel Dartolono Flanche, in Paris, was re-

ported to have been sent abroad because of his pro-Alessandri

views. Ibanez denied all these accusations.46

The following day Jaranillo resigned from the cabi-

net, discrediting reports that he had been using his cabinet

position to forward his presidential candidacy. He resigned

to suppress these rumors and to give Alessandri complete

liberty in organizing his ministry. Alessandri accepted the

resignation.47 Ibanoz remained in the new cabinet.

The idea of having a ninpgle convention to select a

presidential candidate had been proposed previously, and in

early September had found general acceptance by the parties.

The problem, however, was in allotting dolegatos for each

party. Lach party president had a different idea. The 1Ln-

ister of Interior attempted to mediate, but the parties were

adamant in their demands. El ?'ercurio, before the threatened

fracas of the united convention, reminded the politicians

that "The country doesn't aesire today a President of party A

or party B, of the combination this or that, but one with a

46L1 I'ercurio, August 27, 1925, p. 11.

47i1 M1ercurio, August 28, 1925, p. 8.

mandate that will be capable of consolidating tue activity of

all healthful elements of the country.",8 The editorial

went unheeded as the politicians continued their polemics

and refused to compromise.

The seriousness of the situation became apparent as

a commission of naval officers arrived in Santiago. The

visit .ould have appeared normal during other times, but the

fact of the electoral problem and the absence of Alessandri

and the Minister of the lDavy from Santiago, could not go un-

noticed. The naval officers met with Ibanez for an hour.

Officially, it was announced by Ibunez that the meeting was

held only in order to obtain harmony in the modernization

plans of the army and navy.49

The political parties continued their negotiations,

apparently unconscious of the significance of the Ibunez-

navy meeting or of other incidents that occurred. Ibanez

and other leaders of the aruy issued statements ordering

army members not to mix in politics. He suggested several

men who fulfilled the qualifications needed for the presi-

dency, one baing Emilio Bello Codesido,50 but his suggestion

v;as not accepted. Finally, in an attempt to reach a settle-
ment the Minister of Interior, Madrones, and Ibanez called a

meeting of the presidents of the political parties.51 The

48El Mercurio, September 15, 1925, p. 3.
l1 Mercurio, September 16, 1925, p. 8.
521 Mercurio, September 27, 1925, p. 1.

51El Mercurio, Septemiber 29, 1925, p. 1.

Radical party proved to be a stumblin, block to any agroo-

ment. The party hid nomcinated %.uezada as its cuncid(ate and

refused to give its support to a proposed single condidato,

unless the candidate vws ,uozada. The "inistor of Interior

announced that the noutings had failed, anjd the situation re-

mained unchanged.52

.ith the failure of this utte-mpt of i:adrones and

Ibanez, all awaited the next cnvo. Ibanez no% made his play.

cveral days earlier a petition had been given to him, signed

by ma;ay respectable citizens, ..;io pleuged their support to

him, urging hili to declare his candidacy for president.

Ibunoz announced that he would comply with this request.53

The :..iister of Interior quickly called a cabinet

fOeetiLn to consider Ibunica's acceptance. After a discussion

of the situation the ministers, with the exception of Ibanez,

52E1 :orcurio, September 30, 1925, p. 1.

53E1 "ercurio, October 1, 1925, p. 9. Ibanez's reply
was in the follo.ing torms. "I have cooperated with my most
loyal anG decided good will in order to produce an under-
-;tanding so that the political parties could final a candidate
for the Presidency of the Republic, who, in the first place,
would unite all Chiloani in a patriotic uInoI lasting union.
In the face of ruin of such aspiration and believing
myself W~itlhout riiht to elude responsibility that since the
first day of the revolution I have seen falling upon my
shoulders, I accept the spontaneous offer of the forces of
the nation, moved so only by the desire of defending and
forwarding the der.ocratic work of the two revolutionary ac-
tions that obeyed the highest ardent desire of national re-
A program clear ano defined, social justice, ener-
getie action, visible procedures, stimulus for the useful
initiatives an severe punishment for all culprits, this we
need and this we will be able to reach if the good Chileans
triumph in their aspirations anu give mie their disinter-
ested cooperation." Ibid.


voted to resign. Alessandri, meeting with the cabinet,

asked Ibanez for his resignation and reminded his that Jara-

millo had been forced to resign because of rumored presi-
dential aspirations. Ibunez's aspirations were not rumored.

He had declared his acceptance publicly. Ibaneo agreed to

resign that sane afternoon.54 Ilis resignation did not

arrive, however.

The following day there appeared in the press an

open letter froai Ibanez to Alessundri. Ibanez announced his

refusal to resign froni the cabinet. In the first place,

Ibanez said Alessandri's request wvas not based on any consti-

tutional or legal basis, and lie could not be reprimanded for

his behavior in the cabinet. Consequently, Ibanez felt there

was no incompatibility in being a cabinet minister and candi-

date. There were other reasons, he continued. Ies was the

chief of the revolution and had to continue the struggle to

protect the program. Secondly, he had to maintain the order

and discipline of the aray.

For the reasons I expressed, I must express to Your
Excellency, that I will not now leave the post in the
face of the necessity of defending public order, the
need for unity in the ranks, and the purity of the revo-
lution, in order to be able to carry out to the end, the55
program that the honor of the armed forces has promised.

The battlelines were drawn very concisely: Alessandri or

15aez, II, 26.

55E1 IUercurio, October 1, 1925, p. 1.


The Radical Assenbly of Santiago spoke out for

Alessandri, approving a motion that cenuured any minister

\.ho remained in the cabinet while a candidate for political

office.56 The ministers released tloir official statement of

resignation, announcing that they had resigned so as not to
A. 57
give the impression they wore supporting Ibanoz.

Alessanuri, victim of these maneuvers, found hIimself

helpless. On October 1 he resigned, appointinG Luis Barros

Borgono as vice president. The date should Ie murl'ed as one

of the ironic dates of Chilean history. First, Alessundri

resigned, appointing us his successor Barros B., vho had been

his opponent in the 1920 election. Secondly, the Consti-

tution, having been proclaimed as law only a fow days

previously and having beon drafted with the approval of the

military, was subverted by that very organization. The

Constitution established the principle that the president

alone had the right to nane his niniutors, but Ibanoz

flaunted this principle when he refused to resign. Tnirdly,

Ibanoz spoke of legality and of the revolution, but he had

remarked previously that the aspirations of the revolution

had nearly been fulfilled. The Junta of September, 1924, ;vas

overthrown to restore the legal president, but the legal

president was overthrown by a "blow aore audacious" than that

of January 23. Lastly, after all of Ibaieez's statements

6Ibid., p. 9.
57Ibid., p. 1.
58 /
Saez, II, 27.


that he would not be a presidential candidate and would not

allow his name to be entered into political discussions, he

placed himself in the center of the political arena.

In any case Ibanez won the first round in the battle

ao Alessandri left the Moneda for the second tiMie within a

year. In a letter to Barros Dorgono, Alessandri explained

his reasons for resigninG. During the cabinet meeting of

Soptombor 30, he had asked Ibai.e for a list of men who

qualified to be appointed IMinistor of V'ar. Ib.unez supplied

the list together with the pro.iLso of his rosignation. That

evening Alessandri extended the nomination to Colonel Velez.

Ibnaez did not attend the meeting, sayin, lie needed rest.

The next day, October 1, Alessandri received the note from

Ibanez which was published in all the papers. He resigned

oince he had done all te could do. No other road .as left

open for him.59

Barros Borgono quickly formed a cabinet, headed by
/ 60
Manuel Velez as minister of interior. Political circles

were awakened to the danger that faced then and renewed

efforts to find a suitable candidate. The Radicals vere re-

leased frou the connitment to Quezada as he announced his

',ithdirawl from the race. Before this notice, the presidents

of the political parties finally agreed to vote on a list,

eliminating those naies which received the least votes. After

59E1 lercurio, October 2, 1925, p. 1.
60El lercurio, October 3, 1925, p. 1.


six ballots .niliano Filueroa was choson.61 At thie osae

time a proletariat class roup nominated Dr. Jose S. Sales,

.io at the time was sorving as minister of health and social

welfare.62 Thus, within three ays of Alescandri's roe;inution

there were three cintid(atos for the procidcncy: Ibanez,

Fiouoroa, and Salas.

The political situation, by no couan calti, cleared
as rumors circulated that Ibaiin woulL. \ithdravw from the race.

An attcmpteu Lnilitnry coup, hoeJover, cuuLht everyone off

Cuurd. actuallyy the coup li.d little chance for success as

it \s3 simply an attcint to persuade two rogirionts to narch

on the I:onoda and restore the ilessandri ;ovoerjL.iont. Ib::nez

i;iediately instituted 1,roceedinas against the robols.
The following day Ibaane announced that he was with-
64 /V I
drawjing from the raco. oSaoz re:mrrked tuht Ibuinez's with-

drawl was based on conditions not mentioned in his resignation

61El Mercurio, October 5, 1925, p. 1.

62Ibid. "TIP candidacy of Doctor Salas had a
curious aspect. IbJano desired to avoid the stru.leo for the
presidency, and he had asked the parties to agree on a person-
alitj capable of uniting all forces. Thiis person named, a
member of the army, Salas was a military doctor, accepted the
candidacy that would provoke a struggle, and that daude one
doubt the sincerity of the statements of the Minister of lar.
The incentive of tnis candidacy, according to Ceneral Uavar-
rete, had come from the group of officers who supported all
the movoe:ents of Colonol Ibaiiez. Doctor Lalas had at first
resisted, saying the tine was too short to prepare for his
campaign. He offered Colonel Ibzun~ the aid of his own
partisans. But, the attitude of the navy forced a change of
plans." Saea, II, 33-34.

631 Percurio, October 5, 1925, p. 1.

64E Mercurio, October 7, 1925, p. 1.


letter. The Director General of the tlavy, Admiral Scnroe-

ders, had come to Santiago and had met with the Inspector

General of the Army, Uavarette. Schroeders relayed the navy's

disapproval of a military candidate and specifically that of
Ibanez. iavarette had already publicized his opposition to

a military candidate, and both chiefs decided to confront

Ibanez. After a discussion of the situation Ibanez agreed

to as; the political parties once again to attempt to find a

single cnadidate. The result was the selection of Figueroa.64
The navy announced its approval of Figueroa, as soon as his

candidacy was made public and before Ibanez's withdrawal mos-

sage appeared in the press.

Ibanez, nevertheless, retained his cabinet post.

The following day, October 7, political circles were stunned

to hear that Ibanoz was asking the government for a post-

ponment of elections. Ibanez, in an interview with the press,

said Figueroa's selection was calculated to cala the situ-

ation, but on the contrary some politicians had remarked that

the selection was a joke for the revolution. Postponement of

the elections, he concluded, would allow the political

situation to calm and the political parties to reorganize.66

His proposal, however, found little favorable response. Some

asked that Ibanez be removed from the cabinet. The navy

64E1 Iercurio, October 7, 1925, p. 1.

65 Z
Saez, II, 28-31.
2 lercurio, October 6, 1925, p. 4.


announced that it was opposed to postponement of the elec-

tions, as it was necessary to return the government to nor-

malcy. The government announced that elections would be

held as scheduled.

It would appear that Ibanez's fortunes were at the

lo:.est point since the dissolution of the Junta Militar in

December, 1924. lHe had been forced to withdraw as a candi-

date from the presidency, elections were to be held as

scheduled, and some voices w.re calling for his removal from

the cabinet. In a few days, ho..ever, he was to appear the

victor once again.

On October 16 a segment of the military attempted to

enforce the demand that he leave the cabinet. A petition had

been circulated among the officers of the Regiments Pudeto

and Tucapel that referred to tne permanency of the army in

the government. The petitioners asked that some reirenits

be returned to their garrisons, in reference to the regiments

of cavalry brought to Santiago by the government and report-

edly loyal to Ibanoz, the retirement of certain chiefs and
/v 68
the resignation of Ibanez. The petition was given to INava-

retto and he relayed it to Ibanez. Rumors pi1read that the

two regiments wera planning to march on the capital to enforce
their demand. Ibanez ordered the troops from the school of

infantry to guard the lVoneda. Two companies of the Regiment

67 /
La facion, October 9, 1925, p. 4.
68 /
Saez, II, 35.


Pudeto appeared at mid-day, October 17, to take their accus-

tomed positions os guards of the 2:oneda. They found, however,

that the Infantry schooll had taken charge of the guard duties

and the companies were forced to return to their barracks.69
Ibanez appointed a new commander for the regiment and ex-

pelled various officers from the service.70

Ibanez explained his actions in a circular. lie

called the petition from the regiments, "an attempt against

discipline . a true crime against the country." The pe-

tition was the product of political maneuvering, he remarked.

In spite of it the government would maintain the discipline

of the army at all costs anu punish all attempts at rebellion

or sedition. He concluded by announcing that he would remain

in the cabinet "as long as I can count on the confidence of

the government and until the uisciplirie of the armed forces

is totally re-established."71 The country, tired of the at-
tempted military coups, agreed, and Ibanez remained in the


Figueroa easily won the election October 25, 1925.

The partisans of Dr. Salas paraded in Santiago, protesting

the election, asking that it be nullified. Fears were raised

that a possible coup would be attempted.72 The government

69El Mercurio, October 18, 1925, p. 1.

70E1 i~ercurio, October 20, 1925, p. 26.

71La Uacion, October 18, 1925, p. 26.

72Saez, II, 36.


ordered a curfew on public gatherings and declared a stJte of
seige in the provinces of ointiogo, Valparaiso, and Aconca-


Ibanez norw "considered that the moment had arrived

to present his resignation. Un oubtedly, this wasn't an op-

portune moment; it could not be accepted."74 He announced

that his action was in accord with his promise of resigning

when the presidential crisis had been resolved and order re-

established. The cabinet Let and refused to accept his

resignation as "his presence in the Government is the most

solid guarantee of public order and of the discipline of the


Parliamentary elections were held in late Uovem.iber.

Aleosandri won a senate seat from Tarapaca-Antofagasta even

though he did little campuaigning.76 In the army numerous

promotions tnc retirements were announced. General laverette

resigned as Inspector General of the Arrty and his action pro-

duced comments in the press. E1 Tercurio asked the govern-

ment to reject his resignation because capable and respected

people were needed during the present circumstances.77 The

resignation was accepted, however, and Ibanez appointed

73E1 Mercurio, October 28, 1925, p. 1.

743aez, II, 36.

75EI lercurio, October 30, 1925, p. 1.

76cl ;:ercurio, Novenber 24, 1925, p. 1.

7731 Mercurio, I:ovouber 3, 1925, p. 3.


General Juan E. Ortiz, former member of the January 23 Junta,

to the position.78

Figuuroa assumed the presidency in the latter part

of December, 1925. iLis first cabinet was announce, and
/1- 79
Ibanez was retained as minister of war. The now President

faced a bleak future. The nation's finances were in shambles

with nearly 30 per cent of the total budget destined to ser-
vice the public debt. He had the problems of restoring

civilian leadership in the government, enforcing tle new con-

stitution, and solving the long-standing problem of Tacna-

Arica. But his most frustrating task would be facing Ibanez,

counteracting the political power and the military sympathy

Ibanez could rely upon. He had a popular following, es-

pecially in independent political groups, as he seemed to be

the only person capable of giving energetic and dynamic

leadership to the nation. The doctorate, nevertheless, had

given Figueroa a mandate and the political parties were wil-

ling to aid him. The question was, would Ibanez also co-


78i1 L ,ercurio, Uovember 12, 1925, p. 3.
791 1ercurio, December 22, 1925, p. 1.

80La N1acion, December 23, 1925, p. 9.



The presidency of Figueroa was proclaimed as the

triumph of civil rule over nilitarisn. Hopes wvere held that

the govdrlrnment would be able to solve the problems of tlie

country and, at tle sane time, cement civilian control of the

state. Figueroa could not fulfill these desires singlo-

handedly; the public, tho politicians, and tno military had

to cooperate with him.

The politicians, howovr, while not w:ithJrawing their

aid from FiGueroo, concerned themselves with other matters,

forgetting national problems. Congress debated the military

revolutions and blared then as being the real cause of the

situation. It appeared to many that the Congress of Septem-

ber, 1924, had returned without having learned anything.

In the middle of October an incident occurred which

produced a delicate situation. A deputy, discussing the

past military revolutions, remarked that the real goal of the

movements had been to assault the treasury.1 An army officer

demanded an explanation. Other deputies in the Chamber pro-

tested this demand, as article 32 of the Constitution

S1Carlos Morales Saez, Recuerdos de un soldado, Vol.
II: Genesis y derrumbe de la dictadura (Santiago: Editorial
Ercilla, 1933), p. 47.


protected legislators from responsibility for opinions ex-

pressed wnile fulfilling .uties in Congress. Deputy Rojas

Tery introduced a motion to punish the offending lieutenant

for violation of the pen-il code.2

In the following session a modification to the Rojas

Very motion was presented that, if approved, would have cen-

sured the action of the lieutenant involved in the inci-

dent.3 The modification was defeated 22-39, but .1ojas Mery's

proposal was passed 40-38.4

Ibanoz visited the Cha.ber the following day, Octo-

ber 20. Ho was .rantod permission to speak. "I do not

imagine . that the sco3e of these legal dispositions

(the parliamentary fuero or inaunity) authorizes the honor-

able deputies, without control of any kind, to rago in a

violent and cowardly form against someone else's honor."5

JIavins said this, he was interrupted by various deputies who

asked the President of the Chonber to call hin to order.

Rafaol Gumucio, the President, asked Ibanes to withdraw the

expressions.6 He refused and remorkod, "Each tine in the

Chamber wien the Minister of kar or the arny has beon in-

sulted, Your ixcellency has not asked the words to be

2E1 Diario Ilustrado, October 16, 1926, p. 9.

3El Diario Ilustrado, October 19, 1926, p. 9.


53aez, II, 49.

b61 Diario Ilustrado, October 21, 1926, p. 9.


withdrawn."7 Further protests were shouted by the deputies,

and Ibanez stalked out of the Chamber.

The text of the minister of 'o'r's spooch was re-

leased to the press, as he had not boon able to finish it.

It proved to be a scathing iLdictnent of the Chamber of Depu-

ties. He accused the politicians of not having learned any-

thing as the congressional practices which had caused the

overthrow of parliament two years previously had reappeared.

lie v.;rned Congrnss that people already were beginning to see

that the political parties had again failed to provide in-

telligent leadership. They thought of national problems only

in terns of their own selfish advantage. The moment could

not be nore danCorous as the people were being pushed to

revolutionary extremist. Ibanez accused the political par-

ties of not understanding national problems, as demonstrated

by their unjust attacks on the arny. This revealed:

.that the Deputies have not realized that
all constitutional order rests exclusively on the
arred institutions. . The Minister of 'a.or de-
clares, in name of Ills Excellency the President of
the republic, that the government cannot look with
indifference when the principal focus of conspiracy
against the state is centered in this enclosure; for
one part, you abuse parliamentary immunity to incite
frosi public tribunals teio proletariat to revolt and,
on another part, all progress is hindered by the
group of anarchist parliament members to which I have
referred. . 8

The following day Gumucio attacked Ibanez's speech,

calling it an offense and throat to the national Congress.

7Eaez, II, 49.

8El Diorio Ilustrado, October 21, 1926, p. 9.


The Chamber does not count upon material elements
to defend itself.
But, meanwhile force does not oppress it; it will
maintain its authority, independence and dignity.
tt this moment, the Minister of Viar roneins at
his post, without the Chamber having received suf-
ficient satisfaction.
The Chamber is not able to accept this situation.
i.e do not want to aggravate a conflict and we
desire patriotically to resolve it.
For today I propose, then, gs a sign of protest,
that the session be adjourned.7

Gumucio's remarks were greeted with "noisy and enthus-

iastic" applause from the floor and galleries. The session

was adjourned with "vivas" to public liberties and parlia-

ment and "abajos" to the dictatorship.10

Once again Ibanez's future appeared dim, but in the

long run his defense of the armed forces cemented many of-

ficers to his cause. The army saw Ibanez as the man who

would sacrifice his own career in defense of his comrades.

The Chamber remained recessed until satisfaction was

given to it by the government. Finally, the Chamber re-

leased a statement, disavowing all intentions of insulting

the army, ". .a national institution that merits the con-

sideration of all Chileans."l Iba ez expressed his satis-

faction with the Chamber's statement and withdrew the re-

marks in his speech "that had injured the dignity of this

honorable corporation."12

Parliament and Ibanez had declared an uneasy truce,

El Diario Ilustrado, October 21, 1926, p. 9.

11 /
Gaez, II, 50.


but it was soon broken by certain members of the parlia-
/L.d /4w
ment who continued to c.enounc the army and Ibanez. Ibanez,

biding his tine, launched a new offensive in the middle of

Ntoveciber, this time ained at his colleagues in the cabinet.

The crisis was announced with headlines in El Mercurio, "The

Minister of :.ar feels that the ministry ought to resign.l'13

Ibanoz, in an interview with the press, explained the reasons

which had prompted his statement. Fifteen or twenty days

ago, Ibanez related, fishing g to comply % ith a patriotic

duty, I approached His Excellency to explain to him loyally

and plainly my thoughts concerning the delicate political

situation which was developing some time beforehand." The

causes of the situation, he continued, lay in the disorgan-

ization of some political parties, the disorder and indis-

cipline of Congress, the unconcern of the cabinet with

solving the problems of the country, and the unadaptability

of the now political regime established by the Constitution.

He expressed these opinions in the cabinet meeting. Ibaniez,

during the course of the interview, released a letter that

he had written to Maximiliano Ibanez, the Minister of In-

terior, in December, 1925. In the letter Ibahez indicated

his ideas on what the future cabinet should be. He called

for a liberal, revolutionary, and moral cabinet. Its members

could not be anti-military. The cabinet would have to re-

alize that because of the approval of the Constitution,

131l Marcurio, Iovomber 16, 1926, p. 1.


130,000 men wanted strong government, authority, and true

social justice for all Chileans. Asked about discontent in
the army, Ibanez replied that communist and anarchist ele-

ments had used propaganda destined to subvert the discipline

of the army. His solution for the situation was simple; a

strong ministry, nonpolitical, and standing for order.14

Questioned on his action in the cabinet meeting, he said:

I have not even asked it (its resignation) because
I do not have the right to do it. I limited myself to
analyzing the political situation that, as I have said,
each day grows dimmer, and to suggest the convenience
for the present ministry to present its resignation,
for the reasons that I have expressed.1

During the succeeding cabinet meeting the state-

ments of Ibauez were discussed. Maximiliano Ibanez proposed

that all resign, including the Minister of War, in order to

give the President a free hand. The Uinister of War re-

portedly opposed the proposal as "technical" ministers, such

as the ministers of war and navy, were not to be affected

and furthermore, he had to remain to maintain the discipline

of the army. The MJinister of the Navy, Admiral Swett, an-

nounced he would resign, however, but not until the IMinister

of War placed his signature on a resignation document before

or at the sane time he did.16

The entire cabinet resigned, nevertheless, Admiral
Swett included, and without the signature of Ibanez. The


15El Diario Ilustrado, November 17, 1926, p. 11.


same day Ibanez announced his "irrevocable" resignation in a

separate release. Figueroa innediately began the search for

a new cabinet. lie first gave Anibal Letelier the task of

forming a ministry. The Racicals were contacted and announced
if Ibunez were included in the nowN cabinet, the party would

not form part of it, but that did not mean the party would

withdraw its support from the government.17 A persistent

rumor circulated that a military arromonnt had been reached

which would rei...poso Ibonez, but due to the nature of his

resignation statement, many discounted the rumor. Further-

more, Iba'eoz had sent a circular to all military commanders

in which he reiterated his desire to leave the government.18

The rumors, however, appeared to be true as the cab-

inet crisis was prolonged. The problem was filling the post

of minister of war. The Inspector General of the Army,

General Ortiz Vega, had called a meeting of all the generals

and colonels of Santiago to ask them their opinion on what

should be done if one of them should be offered the ministry.

The officers voted that Ibanez should continue in the cab-

inet, and each agreed that he would not accept the cabinet

post. General Enrique Bravo opposed the agreement and

argued the President had the right to organize the ministry

in the way he saw fit, but his was the only dissenting

17EI Diario Ilustrado, Uovember 18, 1926, p. 10.
18Ibid., p. 9.
19 /
Saez, II, 54.


The ministry, therefore, could not be formed with-

out the inclusion of Ibanez, although the politicians still

searched for some other solution. The Liberal party an-

nounced that it would not form part of a ministry which con-

tained Ibanez, but the military agreement had already nul-

lified the wishes of both the Radicals and Liberals.20

Ibanez held the key to success. Anibal Letelier announced,

after conferring with Ibanez, that he could not form a cab-

inet.21 The chiefs of the political parties were called to

meet with Figueroa in an attempt to clarify their position be-

fore the rumored inclusion of Ibanez in the cabinet. The

Radicals were accused of giving conflicting statements re-

garding future policy. An emergency meeting of the Junta

Central was called and a resolution was adopted, 39 to 6,

which clarified the party's position. The party declared

that "to assure the success of the government and the

harmony of all public powers, the presently resigned cabinet

be totally replaced."22

The following day a cabinet appeared organized.

Ibanez was included. The proposed cabinet, headed by Ernesto

Barros Jarpa, toppled as several of its members refused to

serve.23 Tne Conservative party, following the lead of the

20El Diario Ilustrado, November 19, 1926, p. 1.

21El Diario Ilustrado, November 20, 1926, p. 14.


23E1 Mercurio, November 20, 1926, p. 10.


Liberals and Radicals, announced that its nenbers could not

servo in any cabinet with Colonel Ibanez, as the party con-

sidered "traitors to the republic all those Lon who in the

company of sobie military nen pretend to demolish the con-

stitutional institutions of the country."24

The political opposition to the INinistor of ':ar of

the three largest parties was not enough. On I1ovembcr 21

the cabinet was announced and was headed by Tanucl Rivas

Vicuna. Ibunez remained as the minister of war. :ivas

Vicuna was a prominent deputy. His leadership of the cabinet

was interpreted as an atteoipt to bridge the gap between

Congress and the executive and reconcile their differences.

Throughout the cabinet crisis the Chambor had called

on the President to choose civilians and forn a cabinet of

national salvation.25 Criticism of Ibanez had been wide-

spread. The deputy, Carlos Contreras Laburca, called the

action of the Minister of War "definitely political and par-

tisan."26 The Chamber selected a commission to meet with

Figuoroa in order to discover his true thoughts and desires.

A permanent commission v.as also formed, v.ith representatives

of all the political parties, and it had the power to speak

in the name of the Chamber. The committee that met with

Figueroa reported that he had received a petition from the

24El Diario Ilustrado, November 20, 1926, p. 15.
Chile, Camara de diputados, Boletin de sesiones
extraordinorias. 1926, I (Santiago: Imprenta [eacional,
1927), 1191.
26Ibid., pp. 1887-1889.


military. The petition asked for the inclusion of Ibsaez

in any future cabinet, the passage of specific laws, and the

suspension of the special session of Congress for a certain

period. Figueroa had told the committee he would not accept
the closing of Congress.

The permanent committee of the Chamber resumed the

offensive the following day. Ismael Edwards V'atte delivered

the report. He opened it by remarking that the cabihet crisis

was due only to the statements of the Minister of War.

The Minister of War has made an analysis of the
action of the cabinet in which he formed a part, and I,
fellow deputies, think--and I am certain that with me
the immense majority of the independent opinion of the
country will think--that never has been seen a greater
freedom to confess faults ner aore vanity to aspire to
place himself on a pedestal.

Speaking of the accusation of a lack of co-operation be-

tween the President and the ConGress, Edwards :utte remarked:

I am certain that the Minister of War has not re-
alized that perhaps he is the greatest obstacle to the
loyal co-operation between the Executive and Parliament.
I am certain that if by chance the Minister of War saw
what is the true spirit that exists in this chamber, he
would not say what he said in respect to the necessity
of his remaining in the cabinet that His Excellency
freely, without threats nor pressure, constitutionally
must organize.

He continued his speech, criticizing the action of the army

officers. Figueroa, he reported, offered the ministry of the

navy to Admiral Schroeders and he accepted saying, "Above

all, I must obey Your Excellency." But when Figueroa offered

2721 Diario Ilustrado, November 20, 1926, p. 14.
28El Diario Ilustrado, november 21, 1926, p. 26.



the ministry of %ur to General Orti; Vega, the reply was

different. lie had to consult first with his conrados, after

wnich he replied negatively. The navy vas willing to co-

operate but the army w.as not. Matte acked, "Perhaps there

is only one man in its ranks?" This is not the case, he con-

tinued, as uext to the Linistor of ..ar there is a group of

men who are follo;.ers of his and who abusively annul the rep-

resentation of the army.

The political parties, Matte remarked, also declared

to the President that they would not co-operate with a min-

istry in which members of the previous cabinet were included.

The cabinet was formed, nevertheless, with Ib-iez. Its men-

bers, furthermore, were not all qualified for their posts,

Edwards i~atte amintained. In the case of an urmed conflict

the Minister of War could not represent the forces that con-

stituted the defense of the republic, as he had the onnity

of too many. Besides, the armed forces seemed to believe

that discipline was only certain if Ibanez remained in the

cabinet. LMatte challenged this view, remarking that in a

modern army no one man cuuld be indispensable, and that there

were a number of other men who could fulfill the post of

minister of %%ar. Concluding his remarks, Matte roninded the

deputies that the hour was grave and all had to remain united.

The permanent committee pledged its support to the Presi-

dent and would co-operate with him, but "tranquility and

peace could only oome when the President was recognized as

President of the Republic, Generalismo of the forces of sea


and land, who is free to Losignate his aids, the Socretaries

of State."30

Edwards Matte's speech was widely circulated. Iu no

uncertain noras the Chamber had exprsczed its feeling. The

presence of Rivas Vicuna in the cabinet aid not serve to

pacify the Chamber, for as long as Ibanez remained in the

cabinet, nothing would mollify it.

Several days later the announcement that General En-

rique Bravo had presented his resignation from the army ap-

peared. The news produced another outburst in the Chamber.

His opposition to Ibanez's ambitions was widely known and his

vote during the .military meeting had been publicized. Ismael

Edwards a:tte laomnted Bravo's resignation and remaared,

I see with pDtriotic ap)rcennsion that General Bravo
is being eliminated, not because he does not serve
national defense, but because he is stubborn, he does
not possess all the courtesan qualities to win over
the full esteem that the present circumstances re-
quire in order to be acceptable to the Minister of

Juan jintonio Rios, explaining the motives behind Ibanez's

move, disclosed that Bravo's vote in the military mneting had

caused the MTinister of '.ar to ask for his resignation. In
the meeting, Rios said, Eravo had remarked that for the tran-

quility and the well-being of the country Ibaaez should leave

the cabinet. After the meeting, Rios continued, Ibanez had

called bravo and asked him to repeat his remarks. Bravo did


31E1 riario Ilustrado, November 23, 1926, p. 10.


and Ibanez asked for his resignation. "In this way loyalty
and frankness is rewarded," Rios remarked. He ended by ex-

pressing his feeling that no Chilean could, say we lived in a

free country. "V.e have been converted into slaves, living

under the bayonets of Colonel Ibanez."32

The administration remained paralyzed. Congress was

openly hostile and refused to co-operate with it. At the

same time conditions in the country went from bad to worse.

A general strike of railroad workers was announced, although

the stoppage was not widespread.33 In the i:stacion Ailnmed

an incident developed when a group of workers attempted to

stop a train load of strike-breakers, who were destined to

replace striking v workers in stations farther south. Cerabin-

eros, stationed at the railway station, tried to break up

the demonstration. Contreras Labarca, a Communist deputy,

spoke to the workers and urged then to continue iapeding the

trdin from leaving. A scuffle resulted in which Laburca was

struck on the head by the saber of one of the carabinoros.

Parliament protested the attack.34

The strike was only an indication of the discontent

in the country. Congress and the President did not provide

leadership or authority. There was one man, hovover, who

stood for everything the government had failed to do: Ibancz.


33E1 Mercurio, January 18, 1927, p. 9.

34E1 t:ercurio, January 20, 1927, p. 11.


He asked for leadership, authority, and a strong c overniinnt.

In regard to the co.-.lunist and extremist noveernts, his views

were well known. Ibanez would now play his trump card.

Manusl Iivas Vicunu explained the incidents which led

up to the crisis in a series of articles published after his

cabinet had fallen. Rivas reported that he had always acted

on the theory that a successful cabinet restore on two bases;

harmony between the executive and legislative powers, and

unity and c.iscipline of the earned forces. Ibincz was charged

with insuring that the second basis was stable. Rivas con-

sulted nearly every day with Ibanez in order to koop abreast

of any occurrences in the ranks, but "I always c;ot the same

reply. These rumors of trouble wero the work of tle politi-

cians. The ar:iy dedicated itself to its professional labors.

,e are working well."35 Ibanoz left for Concon, to attend a

troop concentration, and Rivas again consulted with hin bo-

cause rumors of a coup circulated. Ibuncz assured hin there

was no causo to "orry. On February 6 Rivas received two doc-

uments, both written on stutionory of the Minister of War.

One document was signed by a captain, the other was a plan
for the occupation of Valparaiso and indicated the names of

admirals who would be seized and brought to Santiago. Ri vas

wrote to Figuero3 saying he would confer with Ibanez and ask

for an explanation. The next day Rivas confronted him with

the two documents so that he could take disciplinary action.

35:canuel rivus Vicua, "'La crisis," El Diario Ilus-
trado, February 22, 1927, p. 9.


He again said there wus no cause for concern, and told the

President all was tranquil.36

It was too late for Rivas to act w vcn on February 8,

El Diario Ilustrado published excerpts of a letter Ibanez

had written to a newspaperman in Concepcion. Rivas met with
Ibanez prior to the scheduled cabinet meeting. For the first

time Ibanez spoke of the seriousness of the situation. He

told Rivas that the navy needed reorganizing, reform of the

educational syston was necessary, communist papers and 1E

Diario Ilustredo should be censured, and extraordinary powers
should be demanded from Congress. Furthermore, Ibanez con-

tinued, Congress should pass the laws referring to the navy

within twenty-four hours and the Uinister of the Navy must

resign. Rivas realized that the rumors of a crisis had been

true and were nou coming to produce a ministerial crisis.

Ibanez denied this; he repeted that the composition of the

cabinet was satisfactory and, in any event, divus was not to

resign. Rivas reminded Ibanez that his action would cause

the resignation of the ministry, as asking for the Minister

of the Navy's resignation could only lead to a total cabinet

crisis. The meeting ended and Rivas retired and drafted his

resignation. Ibanoz met with President Figueroa and detailed

the demands to him. The President, as a result, desired to

resign. Rivas also ent with the President and told him that

he was leaving the cabinet. Figueroa expressed his desire



to resign to R~ivas. Rivas, alarmed over the President's

attitude, contacted Ibanez and suggested that he become

Minister of Interior anc organize a new cabinet. Ibfnoz re-

fused, insisting that the present cabinet remain. The next

day, February 9, Ibanez's letter and manifesto were printed.

Rivas called it, "A document designed to provoke the ninis-

terial crisis already produced." Ibanez conferred with Rivas

prior to the cabinet meeting, still insisting that itivas re-

main in the cabinet. Rivas, interrupting Ibfinez, called his

explanations juvenile and said it was foolish to i.aste time,

as the manifesto had been written with his knowledge and ap-

proval. The two men met with Figueroa and Ibl/ez received

authority to organize a ministry, he becoming minister of In-

terior. The cabinet meeting was held and the cabinet re-

signed, but urged the President to remain at his post.37

Rivas Vicuna gave the story of the inner conferences

of the cabinet leading up to an, through the fall of his cab-

inet. Accordini to Rivas, Ibanez's public declarations liad

precipitated the crisis. Rumors had circulated, as Rivas

disclosed, of an impending crisis. El .iario Iluctrado had

given substance to the rumor on February 8, with the an-

nouncement that it had a copy of a letter written by Ibanez

to a journalist of Concepcion. The following day, the paper

promised it would print the complete text of the letter. The

letter stated:


Santiago, 2 February 1927.--be2iLor 1. J. Escobar.--
I have the special pleasure of congratulating you
very cordially for your interesting article published
in La Patria of Concepcion, titled "Civil Campaign"
and which revealed for its author a clear concept of
the present political situation of the country. As
you affirmed with reason, theoretic political propa-
ganda is not enough to carry to the public the con-
viction that patriotic work is bein, done. It is in-
dispensably requisite to exhibit acts which conform
practically to such an assertion, and as you note,
the reality of our political world makes distant the
hope of a betterment of our old and corrupt political
and administrative practices.
The same symptoms of corruption and decadence that
produced the overthrow of [19]24 reappear today with
characteristics perhaps more accentuated. There ex-
ists a general disorganization, a lack of a goal in
the business of the state, and, as a result, all
classes of Asruptive and anarchical fermentation
What the country needs is a strengthening of
Executive power, in whose resolutions must prevail
norms of correction, of severity and of justice, and
a maximum development of nationalistic sentiments that
detests sterile and delaying action of the political
parties, and that desires strong and resolute govern-
Lent to affront without vacillation and with absolute
omission of all partisan interest the national prob-
The political parties, ,cscredited by 30 years of
orgy and neglect, far from rehabilitating themselves
in the year of normality that just ended, have done
nothing but consolidate and deepen in public con-
sciousness their profound lack of prestige and their
absolute impotency to make positive work of progress
and national aggrandizement.38

At the same time the public became alarmed because

of the concentration of troops in Concon. Officially, the

troops were involved in field maneuvers, but, unofficially

there were indications that the maneuvers had another sig-

nificance. Ibnnez was reported to have cancelled a trip to

Linares with the :Zinister of Communications ana Public Works

38E1 Diario Ilustrado, February 9, 1927, p. 1.


in order to 2uke a "hasty" trip to the troop concentration.3

Furthermore, the troops of the garrison of Valparaiso were
withdrawn from Concon and ordered to return to their bar-
rucks. Ibuncz announced tiht the move was not to be inter-

preted as meaning a crisis w s imuminent.40 Due to the series

of conferences Let.een Ibanez, the president, and other cab-

inet mebcrs, the public did not remain convinced.

The situation cleared somewhat with the publication

of the manifesto of Ibanez. In the document he attacked the

propaganda of the mLinority, saying it represented no positive

value. He deplored the action of the Chamber when it

rendered homuago to a Conmunist deputy, referring to Contre-

ras Laborca, as he had tried to tranple freedom of vork, in-

cite the workurs, ana subvert public order. The army, Ibanoz

continued, \-:us being attacked by these very mien who were agi-

tating for the social revolution. It was all part of a
mathodical plan. Ibanez announced that complyingg with his

patriotic duty," he had presented to the President a request

for an i-acdiute reforar of the moral forces of Chile and a

strong government to carry out the reform. This -would be the

*,ork of all patriots, he continued, as co-operation from all

was necessary to realize the reform. Personally, Ibanez

concluded, "I do not have aspirations; but I want the

39E1 Llercurio, February 9, 1927, p. 8.

40.l Liario Iluatrado, February 9, 1927, p. 1.


greatness anu the happiness of my country: the Patria above

all things."41

This declaration produced the cabinet's resignation.

Ibonez now had the opportunity to organize a cabinet and at-

tempt to do what it had failed to do.42 He formed hlis cabi-

net in loss than six hours,43 and had the members svorn in

the same day. Ibanez hirnelf was Minister of Interior.

The other members were Conrado Rios Gallardo, Foreign Re-

lations; Pablo Raairez, Treasury; General Ortiz Vega, War;

Captain of Frigate Carlos Frodden, 1Navy; Aquiles Vorgara,

Justice; Dr. Jose C'antos Salas, Health; and Arturo Alemparte,


At the news of the coup, Congress protested. matterss

were worsened when two deputies, Rodolfo "ichels and Ranon

Algamora, were detained because of their "crimes against the

Government and the ITinister of V.ar."45 Congress was si-

lenced from further comment as Figueroa closed the special

sessions. The regular session begun in 1'arch,46 but by then

the situation had completely changed. Congress was much


41l Mercurio, February 9, 1927, p. 8.

42El Diario Ilustrado, February 10, 1927, p. 1.


44.EI ercurio, February 10, 1927, p. 9.


46.1 I ercurio, February 16, 1927, p. 9.


Ibunez's immediate problem, however, was not vjith

Congress but with the navy. The navy had been publicly op-

posed to military interference in politics and had been

instrumental in defe. ting his presidential aspirations in

1925. He could count on little sympathy from the high com-

mand. There was only one thing left open for him; force

those officers who %vere opposed to him to resign. IbU~ez's

plans i-ere forwarded by his unbitious Iinister of the Iavy

and by discontent aLiong the young naval officers. Ilivas had

reported that the naval officers wvero rumored to have planned

to revolt ano seize their superiors anu bring them to Canti-

ago. A later runor had the naval officers pottioning the

government for a reorganization of the navy and the eliLina-

tion of certain high officers. Ibunez confirmed the runor.47

The naval high command, hoi'ever, declared the rumor was un-

founded.48 The following day a mass resignation of the high

command of the navy was announced, reportedly due to the

change of government anc the supposed role of the young naval

officers in the coup.49 In any case, the navy was stripped

of high officers, except for two roar admirals. It was a

difficult problem to fill the posts of those who resigned be-

cause the younger officers did not have the necessary

47El IMercurio, February 10, 1927, P. 9.


49E1 Mercurio, February 11, 1927, p. 9.


qualifications for promotion.50 After the mass exodus of of-

ficers, however, the navy vas pacified.

.Ibanez had one remaining problem, the politicians.

The government, to silence its critics, adopted extraordinary

powers. A series of arrests were announced. Manuel Rivas

Vicuna was ordered out of the country and Liven twenty-four

hours to comply with the ordor. Senator Manuel Hidalgo, top

ranking communist, was arrested and the communist newspaper

Justicia was closed.51 The following day other deputies wore

arrested and other politicians deported, notably Gustavo Ross
and Ladislao Errazuriz. All were detained because of alleged

crimes "against the internal security of the state."52 The

deportations continued and were climaxed with the expulsion

of Arturo Alessandri and his family.

Ibanez had successfully silenced his major critics:

Congress, the politicians, the navy, and was later to purge

the courts and censor the press. La Uacion was seized by the

government and became its official newspaper. The speed with

which Ibanez moved caught his opponents off balance, and the

hasty deportations removed those capable of organizing an

effective opposition. He had played his hand well. After

February, 1927, he was the strongest power in Chile and pro-

ceeded virtually unchecked.


51El Mercurio, February 24, 1927, p. 8.

52El Mercurio, February 25, 1927, p. 9.



The rise of Ibanez to power, at a first glance,

seemed unexplainable, as tno three largest political parties

opposed him, the command of the navy called for a withdrawal

of military influence from the government, and labor, large-

ly controlled by Communist, Socialist, and Anarchist unions,

declared its opposition to the self-appointed inquisitor.
Ibanez, however, had built an effective and loyal machine.

Hie began his rise to national prominence while serving as

Director of the School of Cavalry. He had taken part in the

1924 revolution, having been one of the authors of the peti-

tion presented to Alessandri. He had also been prominent in

the Junta Militar and had impressed r~ny of his coraudes

with his ideas and action. During the January, 1925, move-

ment Ibanez rose to national notoriety as he was the acknow-

ledged leader of the coup. As a result he was appointed

Ilinister of VWar. As minister, Ibanez consolidated and ex-

tended the scattered sympathy he had in the army. Soon

after the movement of January 23, Ibunez was appointed

Director of Carabineros, the rural police force. In his per-

son was united the control of the carabineros and the armed

1 &
forces. Ibanez, as director, instituted a series of re-

forms in the corps of carabineros. Ho raised its pay and

gave it the military fuero. The result was un effective

militarization of the corp, and a powerful feeling of grati-

tude to its benefactor developed. Throughout his period of

power the carabineros wero to ue amdong his nost faithful

friends. He always kept a large force of them in Santiago.2

In the regular army, too, Ibinez had many adneronts.

lany of his fellow officers were ready collaborators: Luzo,

Blanche, Grove. Secondly, the School of Infantry in San

Bernardo, which was the best and largest fighting force in

the army, was always headed by an officer friendly to Ibunez.

The forces of the school served as a counterbalance ugdinst
/ 3
other divisions opposed to IbaLnez. Thirdly, as Llinister of

War, Ibanoz held the key to success to every position in the

army. Those who aided him were rewarded; those who opposed

resigned. Divisions which were reportedly unfriendly to him

were moved far from the capital or dissolved.4 Fourthly,

Ibanez kept in Santiago only forces that he knew were loyal.

During the attempted revolt of the Regiment Pudeto, one of

its depiands had been the removal of these forces from the

1 / /
Aquilos Ver-ara Vicuna, Ibanez, cesar criollo, I
(Santiago: La Sud-America, 1931), 21.
Ibid., p. 22.

3Ibid., p. 23.


capital city. As he dominated the movement with the help

of the San Bernardo school, the value of Keeping friendly

troops nearby v.as ccmonstrated. Lastly, in April, 1927,

Ibanez fused the police and carabineros. Another military

force, well armed and superior in number to that of tne army,

was thus crested, and !ie was its coinander in chief.5

Ibunez, therefore, with his power as Minister of War and

Director Generbl of Carabineros, together witL hLa-fellow

military collaborators, had constructed an effective organ-


lUevortheless, Ibanez could have not exerted the

power he did with aid only from the military. As a cabinet

minister Ibanez held a certain amount of political power.

He was able to use his resignation threat to force the gov-
ernment to do things he desired. The specter of military

revolution seemed to be enough to frighten the government

and it generally acceded to Ibanez's requests. The Presi-

dent, at the sacie time, feared to attempt to remove him from

the cabinet. Alessandri, in an article published after the

overthrow of the Ibunez regicie, related that he had advised

Figueroa to remove Ibanez from his first cabinet. Figueroa

feared to do this as Ibanez seemed the only person capable

5Ibid., pp. 46-L7.

Ibid., p. 38.

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