¡Vamos a avanzar!


¡Vamos a avanzar!

The Chaco War and Bolivia's Political Transformation, 1899–1952

Robert Niebuhr

292 pages
15 photographs, 3 illustrations, 2 maps, 1 table, index


August 2021


$60.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

August 2021


$60.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

August 2021


$60.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

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.

Author Bio

Robert Niebuhr is senior lecturer and honors faculty fellow at Arizona State University. He is the author of several books, including The Search for a Cold War Legitimacy: Foreign Policy and Tito’s Yugoslavia.


“The Chaco War deserves more attention than it has received. Robert Niebuhr ties in the conflict not just to international relations but to the internal political evolution of the participants, an aspect that has been even more ignored, if that is possible. The lessons he brings out have a bearing on the political development of Bolivia and Paraguay as well as on all the heirs of the Spanish Empire in the Western Hemisphere.”—Bruce Farcau, author of The Chaco War: Bolivia and Paraguay, 1932–1935

“Undergraduate and graduate students alike will employ this accessible study to discover how Chaco War veterans, Indigenous peasants, students, miners, and perhaps most notably Bolivian women— the ‘Generation of the Chaco’—pushed for greater political influence and a better life. To understand how collective activism undermined elite control, extended state hegemony, and transformed Bolivia in the revolution of 1952, read this impressive book.”—René Harder Horst, author of A History of Indigenous Latin America, Aymara to Zapatistas

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Translations and Sources
Introduction: Bolivia’s Path to Modernity
1. The 1920s and the Road to the Chaco
2. The Chaco War and the Building of a Stronger State
3. The Transformation of the Home Front
4. From Peasant to Patriot
5. The Internationalization of a Nationalist Revolution
Conclusion: 1952 as the Triumph of 1899

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