Thomas Whigham

Feb 14, 2018

The Road to Armageddon

Paraguay versus the Triple Alliance, 1866-1870

University of Calgary Press 2017

purchase at Paraguay's intervention in a crisis between Uruguay and Brazil in November 1864 began the bloodiest and most destructive conflict in South American history. Thomas Whigham begins his book The Road to Armageddon: Paraguay versus the Triple Alliance, 1866-1870 (University of Calgary Press, 2017), the second volume of his epic two-volume history of the war, with the allied powers of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay having driven Paraguayan forces out of Argentina and preparing their invasion of Paraguay. While heavily outnumbered by their enemies, Whigham credits the Paraguayan population with a cohesion and endurance that defied Brazilian, Argentinian, and Uruguayan expectations of a swift victory. Despite the formidable defenses constructed by his men, however, the Paraguayan leader, Francisco Solano Lopez, repeatedly ordered attacks in the Alliance forces that debilitated the Paraguayan ranks. By 1868 the Alliance captured the Paraguayan capital Asuncion, yet the conflict dragged on for another year and a half as Lopez fought on in the countryside. It was not until Lopez was killed by Brazilian soldiers in March 1870 that the war ended, leaving as its legacy a continent transformed in ways still being felt today,

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