Juan and Eva Peron formed a charismatic and formidable partnership, arousing passionate emotions in Argentina during the 1940s and '50s. Juan Peron's rise to power began in 1943 when he helped organise the successful coup of pro-Axis army officers. He became minister of war, vice-president and secretary of labour, but was then briefly imprisoned, before being elected president in 1946. It was Eva's phenomenal popularity with the poor that helped Juan secure mass support for his programme of social reform and re-election in 1951. Eva, a former actress and subject of scandal, became increasingly influential, securing the vote for women, directing private and government funds to social welfare and advancing the cause of the workers. The army, however, never accepted her. After a long struggle, she died of cancer in 1952, at the age of thirty-three. After that, Peron lost direction, and was overthrown by a military coup in 1955, only to return in 1973 after a third term in office. He died the following year.
Publisher: The History Press Ltd