International School History - European Schools

S7 History - The Cold War - Chile 1973

Last update - 10 May 2023

Full episode here.


Chile had been calm in the 1960s. But in 1970 a left-center coalition sought electoral victory. Unidad Popular was led by a Marxist doctor, Sen. Salvador Allende. U.S. businesses and the CIA tried -- and failed -- to prevent Allende from being elected president of Chile.

Allende's first big step was the nationalization of copper, Chile's biggest industry, which was still effectively under U.S. control. He pressed on with what he called his "Social Revolution." Chilean peasants began to seize land. The Chilean economy was increasingly put under state control -- a move that upset overseas financiers. The World Bank in Washington cut off credits to Chile.

Inflation and economic problems mounted. CIA money helped pay for Chilean truck owners to bring the country to a standstill. At the United Nations, Allende accused telecommunications conglomerate ITT of trying to provoke a civil war. On September 11, 1973, Allende was violently ousted by the head of his military, Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Allende was found dead after the Moneda, the presidential palace, had been set ablaze. Following the coup, Pinochet had hundreds of political suspects rounded up. Many were never seen again.



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