Escola Superior da Guerra (ESG)

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Escola Superior da Guerra (ESG)

Brazil's Superior War College. Following the failure of two short-lived military institutions in the 1890s and 1930s, the ESG was founded in 1949 on the recommendation of a commission of the General Staff (now the General Staff of the Combined Armed Forces), which, after surveying the post-World War II political and strategic scene, concluded that Brazil possessed all the geopolitical prerequisites to become a world power but lacked a political elite prepared to lead the nation to prosperity and international prestige. The commission thus favored the founding of an institution to prepare promising civilian and military personnel with the potential to rise to the highest levels of political, economic, social, and strategic leadership.

The ESG was initially commanded by General Oswaldo Cordeiro de Farias, a veteran of the Revolution of 1930 and of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) of 1944–1945. From this early association with the military reformers (Tenentes) and the World War II veterans (Febianos), who had been trained by the French Military Mission of 1919–1940, these military intellectuals and civilian technocrats came to prominence after the coup of 1964 and were referred to as the Sorbonne Group.

The curriculum of the ESG centers on the curso superior, a study of development, strategy, and internal and international policies. It is open to officers of all three services above the rank of lieutenant colonel or its equivalent, as well as selected civilians—academics, government functionaries, and businessmen—who are generally in the majority. The final phase of the program consists of teams engaged in simulated strategic planning on various issues.

The ESG also offers courses on the General Staff of the Combined Armed Forces as well as on national mobilization. Seminars on current topics are scheduled all year. The motto of the ESG, "Security and Development" (a modern version of Comtian "Order and Progress"), is disseminated by the ESG's Alumni Association, which is active throughout Brazil.

See alsoBrazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) .


Thomas E. Skidmore, Politics in Brazil: 1930–1964 (1967).

Raymond Estep, The Military in Brazilian Politics, 1821–1970 (1971).

Henry H. Keith and Robert A. Hayes, eds., Perspectives on Armed Politics in Brazil (1976).

José Osvaldo de Meira Penna, O Dinossauro (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Ferraz, Francisco César Alves. A sombra dos carvalhos: Escola Superior de Guerra e política no Brasil, 1948–1955. Londrina: Editora UEL, 1997.

                                      Lewis A. Tambs