• Paul Serran

Brazil: Blood Tribute to Liberty

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

Not many people know Brazil has bravely fought alongside the Allies in the Greatest War. But we did.

People think we are like the bloody Argentineans who "declared war" on the Nazis a mere 60 days before they surrendered. But we are not.

We paid the blood tribute to Liberty.

At the beginning of 1942 Brazil permitted the US to set up air bases on its soil. We broke relations with Germany Italy and Japan.

If you are a WWII buff like me, you'll know just how strategic the bases in Natal were to the North African war effort. It was a game changer.

As a result of Brazil´s decision, German and Italian submarines caused the sinking of 36 Brazilian merchant ships, causing over 1,700 casualties.

We paid the blood tribute to Liberty.

Brazil declared war on both Germany and Italy on August 22 1942. And pledged to send troops.

Many were cynics, and did not believe we could do it. A saying at the time was that it was more likely for "snakes to smoke" than our troops to fight in Europe.

Old Capoeira song: "If monkeys were people, and vultures were planes, Brazil would be ready to take on the Germans"

When the Brazilian Expeditionary Force finally entered the war, they proudly wore their arm patch showing a cobra with a pipe in its mouth. They called themselves the "Smoking Cobras".

The impossible was happening.

The Brazilian Expeditionary Force had about 25,344 men. They were organized as a division of the US Fifth Army, divided into three battalions of 5,000 men each.

We were fighting the Nazis with the only racially integrated troops in the European theater of war. That is NOT BAD.

Their record in Italy speaks for itself. During the eight months of battle in Italy, the BEF captured a total of 20,573 Axis soldiers. They lost 450 troops and 13 officers died while fighting on the front.

We paid the blood tribute to Liberty.

The Brazilian Navy and Air Force played a large role in the Battle of the Atlantic. They started in mid-1942 and operated until the end of the war. in 1945.

The Brazilian Air Force and Navy destroyed 10 German submarines and one Italian. Air Force pilots flew a total of 2,550 sorties. During the war, the Navy protected 3,164 Allied merchant ships.

Of the 7,000 Brazilian sailors who fought, about 500 were killed in action.

We paid the blood tribute to Liberty.

A few of these men still walk among us, like GIANTS.

But the memory of the "pracinhas" is forever etched in our very soul.

That was the pop thread: "Brazil: Blood Tribute to Liberty."


© 2019 BY PAUL SERRAN - Rio de Janeiro / Brazil