The roles of Augusto Pinochet and the U.S. in overthrowing the Allende government

Essay by slappy_chopsHigh School, 12th grade July 2004

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Modern History

Allende, Pinochet and the 1973 Military coup in Chile

· The role of Pinochet and the USA in overthrowing the Allende government

Salvador Allende became the first democratically elected socialist leader in world in 1970 when he won the majority vote in Chile. His first year in office was a successful one- socialisation of the means of production in the nation had positive effects on the economy and especially Chiles working class. Unfortunately, the ensuing two years were disastrous for Allende's reputation and Chile. Demand outstripped supply, the economy shrank, deficit spending rose, new investments and foreign exchange became scarce, the value of copper sales dropped, shortages appeared, and inflation rose, eroding the previous gains for the working class. A thriving black market sprang up. Opposition was growing rapidly and on September 11 1973 the Chilean army launched a military coup on Allende's government, Allende either being assassinated or committing suicide during the event.

It is generally believed that General Augusto Pinochet was the instigator of the 1973 Chile military coup. Allende appointed Pinochet major-general of the military on 23 August 1973 due to mounting pressure placed on Allende by the public. From that powerful position Pinochet had a great deal of influence with those in the military and who generally shared his views i.e. that Allende was failing and a dictatorial government was needed to control Chile. Not only did he believe that a dictatorship was in order, but one controlled by the military, hence the term given to the event - 'military coup'. Pinochet was determined to extirpate leftism in Chile and to reassert the primacy of free market policies in the country's economy.

Days before the coup Allende had organised a national referendum to resolve the majority preference. The military obviated that strategy by launching...