- As Vantagens do Pessimismo: E o perigo da falsa esperança (Portuguese Edition)
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- Discourses of Incorruptibility: Of Blood, Smell and Skin in Portuguese India
Even the famously intransigent Paiva Couceiro, whose reputation had been built in the colonial "pacification" campaigns and a successful spell as governor of Angola, and who often wrote eloquently about his friendship with Carlos I, King of Portugal , had for a time been willing to give the Republic a chance. Republicans, however, had spoken of the need to carry out a deep transformation in the armed forces, moving away from a professional officer caste and to a Swiss-style "nation-at-arms" arrangement. This had naturally indisposed officers, but nothing had come of it.
A permanent army was kept in place, albeit one where relations were frayed. If after steps were taken by successive governments and the military commanders to mend fences, these efforts would be undone, very quickly, by the eruption of the European war. This article focuses on the second decision, because of its controversial, divisive, and open-ended nature. The creation and dispatch of the CEP threatened the existing military structure with complete annihilation without any guaranteed compensation for Portugal. Officers felt like they were being forced to bet chips in a high-stakes game of bluff being played by the republican leadership, and resolved to strike back.
In , a peaceful protest by a large number of officers followed. The officers, angered at political interference in military affairs, presented their ceremonial sword to the moderate president of the Republic, Manuel de Arriaga Arriaga responded by inviting a senior military man and personal friend, General Joaquim Pimenta de Castro , to form a government capable of organizing free and fair elections, a relatively unknown phenomenon in Portugal.
Pimenta de Castro surrounded himself with fellow officers, but was overthrown by the Democratic Party and its supporting organizations on 14 May The army was conspicuous in its absence from the revolt, but chose not to halt it. Pedro Aires Oliveira writes:.
In the same essay Aires Oliveira goes as far as to posit the war as a solution for the terrible state of relations between the government and the army. What the republican leadership did not understand, however, was that military intervention, given its own weakness, would leave it at the mercy of that same army that it increasingly viewed as a rival. With the fall of Pimenta de Castro, the way was open for military intervention in the conflict, but only when this intervention was requested by Great Britain. This important condition would delay the process until March It was no surprise when belligerence did come; it was quickly followed by the dispatch of a large military contingent to Mozambique.
There was an obvious problem, however. The Portuguese army was small and antiquated. Its training only began in at Tancos. A Portuguese force, no matter how large, would only ever constitute a tiny percentage of the Allied armies on the Western Front. Officers thus viewed their presence on the front lines as a sacrifice — one in they were not willing to offer. So while they went along, for the most part, with the preparations for active duty at Tancos, their actual commitment to the Western Front was a different matter.
Recalcitrant officers were aided by the reluctance of the Allies, notably the British, to accept a substantial Portuguese force on the Western Front. However, it failed and led to widespread arrests. Claiming that their refusal was born of solidarity with their imprisoned comrades, they were detained and forced to embark.
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To the puzzlement of the British, their prison term was served while en route to France, after which they were returned to their posts. The CEP, despite much speculation on the issue, left for France.
As Vantagens do Pessimismo: E o perigo da falsa esperança (Portuguese Edition)
Officers resigned themselves to their fate — although many of the eyewitness accounts of their demeanour at the front are far from positive and reveal the scale of the gulf that increasingly separated them from their political masters. The former resented the level of control exercised by the British army over the CEP. It was because of this campaign, he argued, that British officers were highly praiseworthy of Portuguese soldiers, but not their officers. Rightly or wrongly, officers concluded that the Republic did not like them, had sent them to France to die, and was using the war to replace them with more loyal officers.
To add insult to injury, it denied them a star role in the coverage of the fighting. This question would rumble on in the future. It was not just the war in France that affected civil-military relations in Portugal. The East Africa campaign was equally a source of tension. The sentiment here too was that the army was being bled dry for political gain. Unprepared and under-equipped troops had been sent in great haste to a difficult theatre of operations and were forced to engage a battle-hardened enemy before they had acclimatized, or even, in the case of some units, learned the most rudimentary aspects of warfare.
The result was the disaster at Newala in and enormous loss of life. All of the accumulated tension burst forth during the secret sessions of parliament, held in July Charges were made regarding the performance of politically appointed officers, loyal to the regime but incompetent, the lack of care taken with the provision of medical supplies, political protection at the front, which resulted in inequality of sacrifice in accordance with political views, and the preference in all things shown to the CEP over the African expeditions.
Yet within parliament his performance during that expedition was being questioned on the basis of sworn affidavits that suggested he was either responsible for, or complicit with, atrocities of the worst kind against the local population. All they could do was question the patriotism of the opposition deputies who were raising such damaging issues and appeal for unity in a time of crisis.
This appeal fell on deaf ears. One opposition deputy, Alberto de Moura Pinto , put the matter bluntly:. It was as if leading ministers understood that they had gone as far as they possibly could in pushing the army and were now forced to acquiesce to its sensibilities for fear of a backlash.
Over the course of , he attempted to recast the Republic, returning it to a purity that he believed had existed in , only to be extinguished as a result of party political strife. His actions and rhetoric very quickly alienated the three main republican parties, and the formation devised to provide him with political support, the Partido Nacional Republicano , had only a feeble organization and very little penetration of Portuguese society. The army was undoubtedly one of them, with Pais — an officer in the reserve — having courted it from the start, donning his uniform at the start of the revolt and wearing it for most of his time in power.
He rewarded the units that had helped him come to power by transforming them into a Lisbon Garrison Corps, a move which drew comparisons with the Praetorian Guard of old. However, by the Volunteer Corps had shrunk to a mere twenty men. In September of that year it would be called on to collaborate in the support of military forces which neutralized yet another conflict with the Chinese. In May of the following year, all valid Portuguese citizens were directed to present themselves at the Volunteer Corps barracks, given the revolutionary mutinies that had occurred in Macau.
The Chinese population abandoned the territory and a state of siege was declared. The Macau Volunteer Corps was disbanded in In practice, though, everyone knew that Macau was militarily indefensible. This had been the case before the Great War, and would remain the case long after it. Internally it could count on the barest of military means, split between the colonial army and navy.
The artillery batteries installed on Guia Hill and the Mong Ha Fortress would be of little use against a well-coordinated external attack. The demands of the vast Portuguese colonial empire and the war then being waged against Germany in the African colonies did not allow for the permanent stationing of a navy cruiser in Macau. Available military equipment was insufficient to hold back a Chinese offensive.
The colony would only acquire a substantial quantity of modern war material, from the surplus stockpiles of the Great War armies, from onwards. Its drinking water came from the disputed island of Lapa. Unlike its British counterpart, the Portuguese Empire lacked the means, especially naval means, to defend Portuguese sovereignty throughout its extensive and distant overseas territory. The projection of force was a mirage. Salvation was expected to come from the British colony of Hong Kong, itself experiencing problems in its relations with China similar to those of Macau.
Busy as it was with its own participation in the Great War, however, it was doubtful that Great Britain would be able to render Macau any emergency help, as it had already done in the past. Its military forces were made up of a headquarters, one European garrison artillery company of about men , and the Police Corps, made up of three companies one European, one mixed, made up of Europeans and Macanese, and a third with Indian and Chinese troops , for a total of men.
The European infantry company had been incorporated in the Police Corps in The garrison military band, then a part of the Police Corps, had been abolished in , being transferred to the Leal Senado. Tours of duty on colonial service in Macau lasted two years, with many soldiers staying on for an extra two years.
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In May , governor Carlos da Maia prepared the organization of a Defense Council, to be composed of senior officers, commanders, and heads of the military and naval bureaus, with the objective of studying military and defense matters. The Military Defense Council, a consultative organ of the Macau government, would only be formally created in October , long after the end of the Great War.
In accordance with the regulations then applicable to the colonies, the Governor of Macau was the supreme military authority, with the status of general or vice-admiral. It was in that quality that he commanded both the land and sea forces. Its complement was men, including twelve officers. In , this ship had played a leading part in the fight against the pirates operating out of Coloane island. The Colonial Navy was overseen by the Ministry of the Colonies. But little came of this effort; the controversial vessel would eventually be decommissioned in , while still in Macau.
Purchased by a Chinese citizen, who in turn sold it to the Nationalist Government, it would again take to the seas as part of the Chinese Navy. Carlos da Maia decided to break with the status quo , adopting, from the very first moment, a position of opposition to the survival of the Leal Senado. In a careful strategic move, he decided to carry out a public consultation about this delicate matter, to be conducted through the Leal Senado itself, before making such a radical decision.
At a public meeting called for the debate of this most important of issues, the population decided to delegate the study of the delicate case to a specialized commission, which included the Vice President of the Leal Senado. The governor was thus amassing precious ammunition for his battle against the municipal power. In the case of Macau, where the overwhelming majority of the population was made up of literate Chinese, the risk that Chinese interests might very well take over the Leal Senado was a real one.
Carlos da Maia warned, in the already cited report,. If the municipality of Macau is preserved, Chinese control is guaranteed and the government of the city of Macau will clearly lie in the hands of the Mandarin of Canton. Moreover, Carlos da Maia considered it unjustifiable that there should exist municipal institutions whose activity interfered directly with public administration. The governor was also basing his argument on the Organic Charters which, in their final dispositions, determined that in small provinces there should be no municipal corporations, their functions being exercised directly by the Government Councils Fava, , In the end, the Governor forwarded the project for a new Organic Charter of Macau to Lisbon, including in it the proposal for the abolition of the Leal Senado.
But nothing came of the initiative, which ended with an anti-climax. However, the Leal Senado would survive all political storms. The father of the Chinese Republic and one of the founders of the Portuguese Republic would see their paths cross in Macau. Sun Yat-sen and Carlos da Maia had in common a republican ideal and membership in secret societies. The Triad, a secret association present in various countries, was led by Sun Yat-sen, and enjoyed good relations with the Freemasons, of which Carlos da Maia was allegedly a member. Sun Yat-sen was born in a village located close to Macau, and it was in the Portuguese colony that this Chinese republican leader had sought shelter for his conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the Manchu dynasty.
He practiced as a doctor in Macau beginning in the fall of But while Sun Yat-sen stayed in Macau, he established a friendship with a local, Francisco Hermengildo Fernandes, editor of the Echo Macaense newspaper and another alleged freemason. In the fall of , he decided to go to Guangzhou. On the other side of the border, China was undergoing a troubled political period. The general to whom Sun Yat-sen had ceded the presidency of the Republic, Yuan Shikai, took under his wing the movement for the restoration of the monarchy, eventually proclaiming himself emperor in December Yuan Shikai would prove an ephemeral emperor, dying in June The province of Canton became the stage for armed conflict which threatened to engulf the Portuguese colony.
Two governments, one in the South Canton and one in the North Beijing , would fight for power over the whole of China in years to come. The civil war, carried on by the so-called warlords, would last until In June , Sun Yat-sen wrote to Governor Carlos da Maia, expressing his thanks for the support offered to the Nationalists who had sought temporary shelter in the Portuguese colony Bessa, Other historians refer also to the need to discuss the financing of works in the Port of Macau that led Carlos da Maia to travel to Lisbon, from where he would not return Spooner, , The most problematic of all was Lapa, separated from the Portuguese colony by the Pearl River.
A mere three months after his arrival in Macau, Carlos da Maia, in his reports back to Lisbon, argued for the establishment by the Portuguese authorities of a military governor on the island. The struggle between the factions which fought to control southern China had reached the gates of Macau. In other words, this officer recommended a police intervention on the disputed island so as to extend Portuguese protection to its population.
He wrote,. If our action in Lapa overshadows that of China, the Chinese nation will not be able to consider that fact as an attack or an insult to its rights; on the contrary, a justified Portuguese intervention will result only in a straitening of relations which the victorious party will easily recognize. Still in April, the governor decided to send an Army officer at the head of twenty policemen to Lapa in order to assert Portuguese sovereignty over the disputed island. Feeling slighted and in an open conflict with the officer who led the expedition to Lapa, he sent a formal complaint against governor Carlos da Maia to the authorities in Lisbon.
The row between the harbour master and Carlos da Maia, both naval officers, was not entirely new. In , the first had complained of the inconvenient nature of the obligatory accumulation of functions, which included the supervision of the opium trade. As far as Freitas Ribeiro was concerned, the management of this trade was harmful to his prestige as a naval officer.
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The causes for these shows of strength by the Chinese Government could form the basis for a very long report which most probably would not be favourable to the highest authority in this colony, now absent from Macau. Carlos da Maia had indeed left the colony at the end of the summer of , never to return. Although Portugal was in a state of war, Lisbon was in no hurry to send a new plenipotentiary governor to Macau. For almost two years, until the arrival of Artur Tamagnini Barbosa in October , the governance of Macau was left to provisional administrations.
In the meantime, China, in August , entered what had become a globalized war. It would also take the Ministry of the Colonies nearly one year to reach a verdict on the complaint made against the governor of Macau.
Monument to the Dead of World War II
Carlos da Maia left a mark on Macau, thanks in part to a strong presence and the work accomplished, but also because of his unexpected absence. In his desire to abolish the Leal Senado and, especially, in his clash with China over the disputed Lapa Island, his patriotic zeal went too far. He would later become Minister of the Navy and of the Colonies, before being murdered in October , during the events collectively known as the Noite Sangrenta Bloody Night.
At the starting point of the movements that led to the formation of the Portuguese and Chinese Republics there lay a nationalist ideology that would pit them against one another. However, this republican nationalism would lead Portugal, first, and China, later, to enter the world war on the same side. The two nations would know periods of great political instability, dictatorial leaders, attempts to restore the monarchy, short-lived governments, and even armed conflict.
In both cases, the attempts to establish a republican regime were more the result of the exhaustion of the monarchical option than an affirmation of an ideological alternative. The Chinese Emperor was kept in place, still benefitting from many of his expensive privileges. The Portuguese monarch was sent into a golden exile in London.
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Portugal and China made the changeover to republican regimes in the same period, being among the first to do so in their respective continents. They had in common the need to reach a decision over Macau. Portugal and China, weak powers charged with administering vast territories, saw in their participation in the war an unmissable opportunity to acquire the respect of the international community. Among other objectives, they hoped to gain a seat at the post-war peace talks, where their wartime effort might be recognized. This hope was undone by both the reconfiguration of the international system and the actions of uneasy allies: Great Britain in the case of Portugal, the United States and Japan in the case of China.
For its part, the Macau question would remain unresolved, thanks to civil war in China. The two questions would come before the Washington Conference of Macau, a diminutive Asian oasis, survived the Great War unscathed. Macau would eventually be handed back to China on 19 December , the final day of the old Portuguese Empire. Ball, J. Dyer , Macau. London: H. Stationery Office. Revista Macau , Second Series, n. Lisbon: Banco Nacional Ultramarino. Lisbon: Instituto Internacional de Macau. Revista de Cultura [Macau], n.
Revista Macau , Third Series, n. Dias, Alfredo Macau: Livros do Oriente. Garrett, Richard J.
Discourses of Incorruptibility: Of Blood, Smell and Skin in Portuguese India
Lisbon: D. Ponto Final Macau , 4 de Janeiro. Macau Macmillan, Margaret , Peacemakers. London: John Murray. Lisbon: Tinta da China. Marques, A. Portugal na Primeira Guerra Mundial , 2 volumes Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. Rodrigues, Manuel A. Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau.