Military Review Latin American Editions


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Editor’s note. This excerpt was originally published in the master’s thesis by George D. Stewart at the University of Kansas in 1974, titled “A Study of the Military Review: The Development of a Professional Journal.”


In late 1944, a new role for the Military Review was considered by the War Department. The publication was examined as a possible means for assisting in the establishment of the War Department’s plans for the development of a permanent hemispheric defense system throughout Latin America.

The United States had begun a unilateral program to build up the defenses of the hemisphere in 1938. The military missions of Axis countries throughout Latin America were regarded by the United States government as a serious threat to the security of the hemisphere, and in 1938, it initiated a program through the War Department to supplant this threat. The program included the establishing of a military mission prog ram in Latin America, the supplying of military arms and materiel under the Lend-Lease Program, and the training of Latin American military personnel in the United States.

In January 1942, the United States called for a consultative meeting of foreign ministers to solicit the cooperation of the Latin American countries in the overall defense of the Western hemisphere from the aggression of the Axis powers. By the end of the meeting, held in Rio de Janeiro, the United States had gained the support of all of the Latin American nations except for Argentina and Chile. Provisions also were made for the establishment of the Inter-American Defense Board to promote military cooperation for the defense of the hemisphere. The Inter-American Defense Board, which gave the Latin American nations a sense of participation in the security of the hemisphere, was more an a political maneuver than a military exigency, but the board did provide the nexus for future United States military activities in Latin America.


These activities supplied the United States with little direct military assistance for its war effort, but they did furnish base rights that the War Department considered mandatory for its defense plans.

This cooperative spirit was threatened, however, by the deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Latin American nations. The renewal of the Hispanidad, Pan Hispanic, and Synarchist movements throughout Latin America gave rise to anti-United States sentiment and resurrected “Yankeephobia” and its accompanying cry of the dangers of United States imperialism.

Realizing the danger these developments presented to hemispheric security, the War Department began to reappraise its plans for Latin America. The United States considered it extremely important to maintain the rather elaborate defense system it had established in Latin America. With that objective in mind, the War Department undertook a program to solidify the military relations between the United States and the nations of Latin America.

A major segment of the program was the standardization of the armed forces of all the American nations in training, organization, and equipment. In October 1945, this concept became the basis for a recommendation by the Inter-American Defense Board that all American governments set the complete standardization of the various armed forces as their ultimate goal.

This concept was further stabilized in May 1946 when President Truman submitted the “Inter-American Military Co-operation Act” to Congress. This opened the way for the full implementation of the standardization program.

The War Department, however, did not wait until 1946 to begin its program. With military missions established in the various Latin American countries since the early phases of the war, it was a simple task for the War Department to begin a military indoctrination program. Some of the Latin American officers had received training at War Department schools in the United States and were used as a base upon which to build the program.

By late 1944, the Military Review was recognized by War Department personnel as an esteemed journal of United States Army concepts and doctrine. It was a natural medium for the indoctrination of Latin American military personnel with the latest United States Army principles. This in mind, the War Department began to investigate the possibility of publishing Military Review in Spanish and Portuguese for distribution to Latin American nations.

This concept was readily approved by all senior United States military personnel throughout Latin America, and on October 28, 1944, the approval of the State Department was received from Joseph E. Johnson of the Division of American Republics Analysis and Liaison.

The next task was to obtain the necessary funds to prepare and print the two new editions. No War Department funds were available for such a project and the submission of a request to the Congressfor a supplemental appropriation was not considered feasible at that time.


Major McCarthy of the Budget Office, War Department General Staff, pointed out that the War Department had available the Inter-American Relations Fund, and it was his opinion that authority was broad enough to pennit an expenditure from this fund to finance the two foreign language editions. Acting on this information, Major General J. E. Hull, assistant chief of staff, War Department, advised the Budget Office that the operations division of the War Department considered it in the best interest of the overall War Department plan for Latin America to endorse the publication of the Military Review in Spanish and Portuguese. He directed that office to determine whether Inter-American Relation funds might be used.

On November 4, 1944, Col. John J. Duebelde, Jr., deputy director of the Budget Office, advised the War Department that Inter-American Relation funds could be made available and on November 16, 1944, $17,100 was allocated for the publication of the two new editions.

The Command and General Staff School had determined that it would require an additional four officers and eight enlisted men to the editorial and clerical staff and twelve personnel, civilian or military, to the production staff to publish the two new editions. The search for qualified personnel began immediately with Lieutenant Rafael Montilla, an aide to General Truesdell, going to Puerto Rico to recruit persons to fill the newly established staff positions. Montilla was able to obtain enough personnel to start work on the Spanish-American edition, and in December 1944, Colonel Andres Lopez was assigned as its editor.

At the same time, negotiations with the Brazilian government were underway to obtain Brazilian military personnel for assignment as staff members for the Brazilian (Portuguese) edition. Until these negotiations were completed, General Carvalho, Brazilian military attaché in Washington, D.C., designated Maj. Severino Sombra as guest editor of the Brazilian edition and furnished one clerk-typist to assist Sombra.

The Command and General Staff School was ready to start publication of the two new editions and in April 1945, the first issues were published. Colonel Barrows announced the creation of the two new editions to the readers in May 1945.

This notice is to acquaint our readers with the fact and to assure our Spanish-American and Brazilian neighbors that it will be our most sincere endeavor to translate the English text faithfully, and to produce, to the best of our ability, a magazine that is authoritative, informative, interesting, and instructive.

The new editions were well received in Latin America, and by June 1945, unofficial figures indicated that more than 700 subscriptions had been received from military personnel in Latin America.

Colonel Barrows spent the remainder of 1945 solidifying the staff of the two foreign language editions. Major Sombra went to Brazil to discuss personnel support with the Brazilian minister of war, and upon his return to Fort Leavenworth, he reported that the minister of war favored the arrangement and would designate Sombra as editor of the Brazilian edition. Three additional persons were promised as more funds became available. On June 21, 1945, the Ministry of War advised the War Department that an additional two officers and two enlisted men would be provided to assist in the translation and publication of the Brazilian edition. With the assignment of these persons, the staff of the Brazilian edition was well established and caused the publication little trouble until 1961, when the Brazilian government was forced to recall its personnel for two years.

Establishing the staff for the Spanish-American edition was not an easy task. The first group of persons assigned to this staff did not meet the standards of proficiency that had been expected. Until their proficiency improved, Barrows considered it necessary to obtain additional personnel if the publication of the edition were to continue. Under pressure from the War Department, however, the supposed magnitude of this problem was eliminated and sufficient personnel were found to insure the continued publication of the edition.

The addition of these two new editions necessitated the complete reorganization and the enlargement of the staff. Colonel Barrows became the editor-in-chief, Colonel Lopez became the editor of the Spanish-American edition, and Major Sombra became the editor of the Brazilian edition. In May 1945, the number of assistant editors was increased to eight. ... A ninth assistant editor ... was added in July 1945. The increased activity at the Military Review also made it necessary to bolster administrative capabilities. In May 1945, two new positions—production manager and business manager—were created. ...

In September 1945, Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Van Dine became the Washington representative for the magazine. His function was to provide the liaison between the War Department and the Command and General Staff School and to coordinate Military Review actions in the Pentagon.

When Colonel Barrows left Military Review in December 1945, it had embarked upon a new course. The journal proved itself as an important military professional journal during the war years by offering the readers a current, factual account of the tactics and techniques used by United States combat forces. It maintained the awareness of the professional soldier in the war situation and allowed him to profit by lessons his contemporaries had learned in battle. Equally important, the publication became the foremost medium in South America for the dissemination of United States military doctrine.


To view the 75th Anniversary Military Review Hispano-American (Spanish) Edition, visit The most current Spanish edition is available at


To view the 75th Anniversary Military Review Brazilian (Portuguese) Edition, visit The most current Portuguese edition is available at


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January-February 2022