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The outcome of the tragic episodes which were surmounting the losses inflicted upon 19 merchants sunk, finally led Brazilian authorities to declare war on Axis powers. Under these circumstances, with the population infuriated flocking the streets in violent riots, smashing windows and stoning German and Italian dwellings President Vargas  addressed the nation and finally took the expected and decisive step forward.

Speaking from the balcony to a human mass in front of Guanabara Palace, the President answered to protests made by Merchant sailors association. He so expressed: Brazilian Navy and newly created Air Force, articulated with both U S Navy and Army Air Force, henceforward they shall give a better and more effective protection of our shipping lanes, so that no more aggressions like these recent outrageous sinkings can occur in front of our shores. And  concluded:

Be assured, the merchant sailors, the people and the government shall never forget those brave seamen whom in supreme sacrifice gave their lives for the country. Our ships will continue to ply the seas with their gallant and unflinching crews. So, the extreme decision finally came in a decree of Aug 22 1942, with the formal acknowledgement of the state of war between Brazil and Axis powers. Brazil, thus abandoned its half neutrality closing its ranks and joining definitely allied cause with no half measures, no half words. Needless to say, Brazil and Axis powers were in collision route ever since 1940.

As the news reached Rio, enraged crowds swarmed into the Avenida Rio Branco, smashed windows of Axis stores, burned Nazi flags, clamored for war. Hours later Brazil declared war on Axis powers.

United States embassy at Rio circa 1941. Ambassador Jefferson Caffery and his staff developed intense diplomatic activity aiming to involve and attract the country into allied cause. Caffery had a close relationship with Brazilian President Getulio Vargas.

Brazilian war declaration was in headlines of many US newspapers. The country had a enormous vital resources agricultural and mineral which were soon exploited to aid the Allied effort.

President Vargas and his cabinet discussing the Declaration of War against Axis


Brazilian Government extolls patriotic values exorting the people to close ranks against axis powers through posters

Thousands of protesters rallied the streets of the major cities against the Axis.

Brazilian Army car inspects the beach in search for any body that may eventually had washed out.

Hundreds of bodies washed out in the following hours after the sinking.

The appalling scene of one body washed out at the beach at the state of Sergipe.

The picture shows one German establishment shattered by furious riots against Axis interests in Brazil after the attacks on merchant shipping.


Both images show how violent were the riots that occurred in several cities against Axis. Streets were filled with debris.




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