Toynbee in Argentina

August 20 2013

With wife Veronica (woman in pale coat), September 14 1966. Via, an archive of television and cinema footage. No sound.

“En un avión de la empresa Aerolíneas Argentinas arriba al Aeropuerto Internacional de Ezeiza, el filosofo e historiador ingles, Profesor Arnold Joseph Toynbee junto a su esposa; tras descender del avión es recibido por un grupo de personas.”

There had been a military coup in June. The first of the three dictators of the so-called Revolución Argentina was in power.

Argentina endured five periods of military rule between 1930 and 1983, of which the last was the worst: 1930 (first coup) to ’32, ’43 to ’46, ’55 to ’58, ’66 to ’73 (Revolución Argentina), ’76 to ’83 (Dirty War). The Falklands War with Britain took place during the last.

The Brazilians’ nationalism is ironic and light-hearted; the Argentinians’ nationalism is romantic and intense.

Toynbee says in Between Maule and Amazon that he was in Córdoba on September 28 1966 when (not his words) nineteen young, armed Argentine nationalists calling themselves Condors hijacked an Aerolíneas Argentinas DC4 during an internal flight and landed on Stanley Racecourse in the Falklands/Malvinas to plant the flag there.

It does not seem to have occurred to him that the new junta might have welcomed or even staged the event. The organiser, Dardo Cabo, spent a short time in prison, moved from right to left, and was executed during the Dirty War. I am writing this while Spain is agitating about Gibraltar.

A light plane piloted by a Miguel Fitzgerald had touched down on the racecourse in 1964. In October 1968 a group of Argentine naval special forces conducted covert landings from a submarine. The leader of the team, Juan Jose Lombardo, later, as Chief of Naval Operations, planned the 1982 invasion. In November 1968, Fitzgerald tried to repeat his landing and failed. Fitzgerald died in Buenos Aires in 2010. Lombardo is still alive.

On December 21 1966 Toynbee hand-delivered Between Maule and Amazon to OUP in London. The Maule had been the southern frontier of the Inca Empire. It runs east to west a little more than halfway down Chile.

Most of the book describes travels in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile in 1966. There are also impressions of places beyond the Amazon: Mexico in 1953, Guatemala in 1958, Puerto Rico in 1962, Venezuela in 1963. It does not contain detailed itineraries. I will reconstruct what I can and put the details on the page here called Itinerary. Nothing is said about previous publication, but at least part of the content had been syndicated by the Observer Foreign News Service.


The difilm archive lists other clips which can’t be seen online. All sin sonido, silent. In date order and adding links, they are, with times:

Buenos Aires, August 19 (which should surely be September), 1:07: “El filosofo e historiador ingles, profesor Arnold J. Toynbee, visita el Museo Histórico Nacional y recorre las instalaciones acompañado por su director, el capitán de navío (re) Humberto F. Burzio, seguidamente el profesor Toynbee firma un libro de visitante ilustre.”

Córdoba, October 6, 4:49: “El filosofo e historiador ingles, profesor Arnold J. Toynbee, visita la Provincia de Córdoba. Descripción del film: 1. El profesor Toynbee asiste a una recepción ofrecida por autoridades de la fábrica de automóviles Industrias Kaiser Argentina (I.K.A.). 2. El profesor Toynbee visita la Catedral de Córdoba y realiza una recorrida por sus instalaciones. 3. El profesor Toynbee se reúne probablemente con el Gobernador de Córdoba. 4. El profesor Toynbee realiza una conferencia de prensa para los medios de esa provincia. 5. El profesor Toynbee se reúne con el Arzobispo de Córdoba, Raúl Francisco Primatesta. 6. El profesor Toynbee realiza una disertación en teatro.”

Córdoba, October 6, 0:31: “El filósofo e historiador ingles, profesor Arnold J. Toynbee, visita la fabrica de automóviles de la empresa Industrias Kaiser Argentina (I.K.A.) y recorre las instalaciones.”

Buenos Aires, October 9, 0:24: “En el Consejo Deliberante se lleva a cabo el 4° Congreso Internacional de Historia de América en la Academia Nacional de la Historia, asiste el Presidente de la Comisión Académica Organizadora, doctor Ernesto J. Fitte, y el Presidente del Congreso, doctor Ricardo Zorraquin Becu, entre otros; y se ve una disertación del filosofo e historiador ingles, profesor Arnold J. Toynbee.”

Buenos Aires?, 1966 (no exact date), 0:19: “El filosofo e historiador ingles, profesor Arnold J. Toynbee, realiza una disertación en la Universidad Católica Argentina, se encuentra a su lado el señor Emilio Stebanovich, quien hace de traductor.” Which campus not stated.

Buenos Aires, 1966 (no exact date), 0:20: “El filosofo e historiador ingles, profesor Arnold J. Toynbee, realiza una disertación en la escuela superior de guerra.”

Between Maule and Amazon, OUP, 1967

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s