COMMEMORATION AND PROPAGANDA IN SALAZAR’S PORTUGAL: THE PORTUGUESE WORLD EXHIBITION OF 1940

David Corkill and José Carlos Almeida, "Commemoration and Propaganda in Salazar's Portugal: The Mundo Português. Exposition of 1940," Journal of Contemporary History (July 2009) vol. 44 no. 3 381-399. Excerpt:

It is argued that the Salazar dictatorship preferred to involve the population in essentially passive state-sponsored spectacles in preference to mobilizing them through a mass party, public rallies, or similar mechanisms. Salazar deliberately avoided the choreography and collective fervour associated with the mass meetings that characterized Italian Fascism and German Nazism. Instead, he preferred to construct an imagined community and sense of pride by way of commemorations, exhibitions and symbols throughout the duration of a dictatorship that spanned four decades. To foster that imagined community, the regime launched an extensive public works programme to restore historic buildings, monuments and traditional villages (3). An almost obsessive concern for restoring the national heritage prompted comments in some quarters that Salazar would have liked to turn his country into a large museum. As the showcase for the first phase of this project, the 1940 Exhibition revolved around the core symbols of identity as defined by Salazar regime. Among the recurrent symbols mobilized during the 1940 Exhibition were God, nation, family, work, authority; rurality (traditional values and peasant life); unity, cohesion; international recognition; universalism, empire, civilization and multi-racialism. This article will explore how this litany was melded together in an attempt to forge a new, selective cultural identity as expressed in a major exhibition.

Working on a figure for the "Monument of Discoveries," 1940 Exposition of the Portuguese-Speaking World. [CFT164_044090} Gulbenkian Collection