¡Vamos a avanzar!
In ¡Vamos a avanzar! Robert Niebuhr argues that despite widespread corruption, a lack of skills, and failed policies, Bolivian leaders in the first half of the twentieth century created a modern state because of the profound role of warfare over the Chaco. When President Daniel Salamanca hastily thrust his isolated and poverty-stricken country into the devastation of the Chaco War against Paraguay in 1932, he unleashed a number of forces that had been brewing inside and outside of Bolivia, all of which combined to bring Bolivia a truly modern national identity and state-building program. This conflict was the defining moment whereby rhetoric and populism took on a broader meaning among the newly mobile populace, especially the Indigenous war veterans, as the Bolivians proclaimed, ¡Vamos a avanzar! (Let&’s move forward!). With the final revolution of 1952, politics in Bolivia became more modern than they had been in the period of the Chaco War or during the populist leanings of all post-1899 governments. Niebuhr offers a fresh contribution, showing the importance of the turbulent populist politics of the period after 1899 and the significance of the Chaco War as the most influential revolutionary event in modern Bolivian history.
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