Some people believed that it was easier for a snake to smoke than for Brazil to enter the war. They were mistaken. The snake smoked in the Second World War.
“The snake is smoking” [“A cobra está fumando”], is a motto created by the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) as an ironic answer to those who believed that it was easier for a snake to smoke than for Brazil to enter a war.
Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy on August 31, 1942, as a response to attacks by German submarines against Brazilian vessels in the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil’s allies were the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union.
FEB was then created on August 9, 1943, to participate in the Second World War, performing in Italy and succeeding in taking the hill of Monte Castello, a strategic position for German defenses in the Apennines. More than 25 thousand Brazilian soldiers worked on the battlefields in Europe.
The soldiers who died in the campaigns of Italy had their remains cremated and transferred in 1960 to Brazil, were then buried in the monument in Rio de Janeiro that honors those sacrificed in combat. 450 Brazilian soldiers, 13 officers, and 8 pilots died, and approximately 12,000 injured in the fighting. (Infoescola)
Today, February 21, marks the 76th anniversary of FEB’s victory, and the Brazilian National Archives provided a virtual exhibition “of this Brazilian Expeditionary Force: squares in the theater of war.” You can check it out here.
Featured Photo: Arquivo Nacional via Flickr