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João Baptista Mascarenhas de Morais
Born (1883-11-13)November 13, 1883
Died September 17, 1968(1968-09-17) (aged 84)
Place of birth São Gabriel, Rio Grande do Sul
Place of death Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro
Allegiance Brazil Brazil
Service/branch Coat of arms of the Brazilian Army.svg Brazilian Army
Years of service 1897 – 1946, 1951 – 1954
Rank Marshal
Commands held Brazilian Expeditionary Force
Battles/wars Revolution of 1930
Constitutionalist Revolution
World War II
Other work Author

Marshal João Baptista Mascarenhas de Morais[1] (November 13, 1883 – September 17, 1968) was a Brazilian Army Officer and commander of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in the Second World War.


Mascarenhas de Morais was born in São Gabriel, a municipality and a comark (county) of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. His father was a trader, son of a veteran official from the Ragamuffin War (Guerra dos Farrapos).

He attended The Praia Vermelha Military School in Rio de Janeiro and had a legalist position in the many military revolts of the 1920s and early 1930s. During the 1930 Revolution Mascarenhas kept his loyalty to President Washington Luiz and was arrested by the rebels headed by Getúlio Vargas, who became president himself in that same year after ousting Washington Luiz. After release, Mascarenhas continued his career in the army and was put under arrest for a second time in 1932 when he proclaimed his support for a military and civil uprising against Vargas in São Paulo during 1932. Once again, after the defeat of the uprising, Mascarenhas was released and not prosecuted.

In 1935, while serving as Commandant of the Realengo Military School, Mascarenhas de Morais took part in the fight against a communist uprising in Rio de Janeiro. This time his loyalty was with the constitutional government of Getulio Vargas. In 1937 he became a General and was, in the following years, commander of the 9th and 7th and military regions in Recife and São Paulo respectively.

In 1943 he was named Commander of The First Expeditionary Infantry Division of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, the 1st DIE (in Portuguese, "Primeira Divisão de Infantaria Expedicionária"). With the cancellation of the 2nd and 3rd Divisions he thus became Commander of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, comprising only the 1st DIE. During the organization of the 1st DIE he was also head of the Brazil Military Commission with the USA and visited the Mediterranean Theater of operations in 1943, before the arrival of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force.

The General arrived in Italy with the first Brazilian troops in June 1944 and commanded the Brazilian forces until the surrender of the Axis forces in Italy, on May 2, 1945. Following the Battle of Collecchio (26–27 April 1945) and a sharp action at Fornovo di Taro, Mascarenhas de Moraes received the surrender of the German 148th Division and the Italian Monte Rosa, San Marco and Italia Divisions on 29–30 April 1945. In one week the Brazilians had taken 14,700 troops, 800 officers and two generals.[2]

After the end of the war he returned to Brazil and, in 1946, was made a Marshal by The Brazilian Congress and received the command of the 1st Military Region in the then Brazilian capital, Rio de Janeiro.

After a short retirement Mascarenhas returned to active duty in 1951 as Chief of Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces during the second Vargas government (1951–1954). After the President's suicide, in August 1954, he returned to retirement and wrote his memoirs of his time as commander of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force.[3] A federal special law was approved by the National Congress declaring him in army's active service for life, with all responsibilities and privileges, with the rank of Field Marshal. He died in Rio de Janeiro in 1968.


His great nephew is the Brazilian opera singer Claudio Mascarenhas.


  1. In original orthography, João Baptista Mascarenhas de Moraes
  2. Edwards, Paul M. (2010-08-24). Between the Lines of World War II: Twenty-One Remarkable People and Events. McFarland. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7864-4667-4. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  3. Memórias, José Olimpio/Biblioteca do Exército Editora, Rio de Janeiro 1969

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