Celso Amorim
Celso Amorim, a career diplomat, has been the longest serving foreign minister of Brazil to date (1993−1994 and 2003−2010). He also served as Minister of Defense (2011−2014). Amorim remains active in academic life and as a public figure, having written a number of books and articles on matters ranging from foreign policy to culture. One of his latest works, "Acting Globally, Memoirs of Brazil's Assertive Foreign Policy" was published by Hamilton Books with endorsements by Kofi Annan and Noam Chomsky. Amorim was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School in 2011 and 2015, and a Distinguished Fellow in King's College. He has participated in several think tanks, committees and panels on themes of global interest. In 2009 Foreign Policy Magazine referred to him as the "world best foreign minister". In 2010 he was ranked as number six of Foreign Policy Magazine's 100 Top Global Thinkers.
Fascism then and now
"The cities can win, Stalingrad! I think of the victory of the cities, that for now is only smoke rising from the Volga. I think of the healing of the cities, that will love and defend themselves against everything. On the ashy soil where corpses decay, the great city of tomorrow will restore its order."

With these verses a great Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade concludes his Letter to Stalingrad which he wrote in 1943 celebrating the victory of the Soviet forces over the troops of Nazi Germany after a long siege that moved the whole world.

Chilean writer Pablo Neruda expressed his solidarity with the city poetically, with a profound humane feeling. This city, nowadays called Volgograd, was a victim of one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War:
"That it be known, if there be any doubt,
That I died loving you and you loved me,
And if I did not fight within your gates
I leave in your honor this dark grenade,
This song of love for Stalingrad"
The heroic fate of the city on the banks of the Volga River awakened emotions on the other side of the world not only in the light of the human drama caused by the war, but also because everyone already could sense that the course of the conflict, which until then was going in favor of the Axis forces, began to change.

It was in Stalingrad where Nazism suffered its first defeat in the war. It is difficult to underestimate how encouraging this fact was to the resistance forces in other countries.

Neruda himself recognizes its impact in his poem:
"Now fighting Americans,
White and dark like pomegranates,
Kill the snake in the desert.
You are no longer alone, Stalingrad.
France returns to the old barricades,
With the flags of fury hoisted
Over the newly dried tears.
You are no longer alone, Stalingrad.
And the great English lions
Flying over the stormy sea,
Nail their claws on the brown soil.
You are no longer alone, Stalingrad"
These poetic testimonials that were written in that era are confirmed by all historical analyses. Without even trying to discredit the enormous contribution of the decision of the United States to take part in the war or the boldness of the British resistance and the liberation forces of the other countries, it is impossible to ignore the decisive role of courage shown by the people of the Soviet Union, which Stalingrad symbolizes, and its importance for the final victory over the Nazism.

It seems that, in spite of the tensions of the Cold War, the world that emerged from the Second World War buried the serpent of Nazism and fascism once and for all. At the same time the fall of the Berlin Wall meant for many that the market economy and the representative democracy prevailed. This was the vision that inspired theorists like Francis Fukuyama, who is famous for his essay "The End of History."

Nevertheless, later, with the emergence of ethnic and religious conflicts, unilateral military actions of the United States, drama of refugees, risks of global warming and the notorious 'return of geopolitics' this oversimplified vision was put to rest.

The financial crisis which took place in 2008, and has its repercussions even to today, put an end to the illusions that a friendly "capitalism with a human face" would prevail. That capitalism was supposed to use technological progress to benefit of millions of poor people including those who live in the third world.

On the contrary, what we can witness is the rising inequality and disenchantment even in the richest countries. The victories in the fight against hunger and poverty in some countries were thus far temporary. Meanwhile unemployment continues to grow, social rights vanish and attacks against the welfare state are quite common.

The perception of the injustices of the new globalized economic system has not always had positive effects. Far-right or neo-fascist ideologies are spreading around the globe and this has dramatic impact on the underdeveloped countries.
Repeating to a certain extent the events that took place in Europe in the interwar period, some sections of the 'liberal right' set the stage for the rise of the politics of extremist ideologies who praised mysticism and violence
This has been especially true in some Latin American countries after two or three decades of social and political progress. Partially inspired by the histrionic figure of Donald Trump who among other things governs the country where socioeconomic conditions are very divided, several political leaders of the region not only have striven to undermine the success in the social sphere made in the recent years, or even decades, but also are trying to destroy the pillars of the civilization on which the democracy stands.

There is no need to search high and low to find similar attacks against culture and rationality in Hitler’s and Mussolini’s speeches.
Apparently, several sectors connected with the big business and the middle-class are beginning to understand that they may have committed a big error when they made room for the extremists
Values like freedom of the press, respect for science and concerns regarding the planet’s survival are subject to constant attacks, arousing fears in people who are driven by narrow and short-term interests and who had allowed the extremism to thrive.

We do not know yet how this collision will turn out. We do not even know if there is going to be any collision at all. When we take a look at the Latin American region as a whole, we see some encouraging examples like that of the progressive forces winning elections in Argentina and Mexico. The popular uprising against neo-liberalism in countries like Chile, Ecuador and Colombia, in different forms, perhaps points to the same direction, even though the outcome of these processes is yet unclear.

The truth is that the defeat of the Nazism and fascism, in which the Brazilian Armed Forces took part and are rightly proud, was not as decisive as we all thought. In times like these the protection of the 'rational discourse' and the importance of the civilizational values such as solidarity, tolerance and the search for equality again become everyone’s personal task.

There should be no need for a new Battle of Stalingrad in order to defeat obscurantist authoritarianism once and for all. This is something humankind wants and deserves.
On the use of information

All materials on this website are available under license from Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.

Demonstration of Nazi and fascist paraphernalia or symbols on this resource is related only to the description of the historical context of the events of the 1930−1940s, is not its propaganda and does not justify the crimes of fascist Germany.