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The Chaco War 1932-35 : South America's greatest modern conflict
Often over-shadowed by contemporary events in China and Japan, the Chaco War (1932-1935) was a massive territorial war between Bolivia and Paraguay, which cost almost 100,000 lives. It was sparked by Bolivia's attempts to capture a stretch of the Paraguay River to gain access to the Atlantic. An old fashioned territorial dispute, the contested area was the Gran Chaco Boreal, a 100,000-square mile region of swamp, jungle and pampas with isolated fortified towns. The wilderness terrain made operations difficult and costly as the war see-sawed between the two sides. Bolivian troops, under the command of a German general, Hans von Kundt, had early successes, but these stalled in the face of a massive mobilization programme by the Paraguans which saw their force increase in size ten-fold to 60,000 men. Both sides acquired 'modern' technology including tanks and planes in an attempt to seize the initiative but by 1935 both sides were exhausted and a ceasefire concluded. This book sheds light on a vicious territorial war that waged in the jungles and swamps of the Gran Chaco and is illustrated with rare photographs and especially commissioned artwork.
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November 22, 2011
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