1839-1870 1945-1970

Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Guatemala El Salvador

Central America, 1918-1945

The Central American republics in 1920 were among the founding members of the League of Nations. However, mutual distrust continued, as well as the military's tendency to interfere in the democratic process, Costa Rica remaining the country with the strongest democratic tradition.
The US was by now the only external power to interfere in Central American politics, partially with the aim to protect U.S. economic interests, which meant interference on the side of opponents of a policy of nationalization (Nicaragua). A CENTRAL AMERICAN CONFERENCE organized by the U.S. with the aim of establishing increased cooperation among the Central American republics failed.
The economy, largely dependent on export-oriented monocultures (coffee, bananas, cotton etc.) was severely hit by the Great Depression, which in several countries resulted in military coups d'etat (note the exception of Costa Rica, where the democratic transition of power continued).
Early in World War II, some of Central America's rightist dictators sympathized with the Axis powers (Mussolini was regarded by some as a role model). Still, in the course of the war, all 5 republics - for diplomatic reasons - declared war on the Axis powers. In 1944, the dictators of Guatemala and El Salvador were forced to resign by civil unrest, among the opposition sympathizers with the Axis cause.

Articles from Infoplease : Central American Federation

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 5th 2004

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