The Smoking Snakes or (As cobras fumegantes) Brazil’s involvement in World War II

 

At the outbreak of the war in 1939, Brazil, like many other countries in Latin America, declared a policy of neutrality. However, as the conflict progressed, it became increasingly clear that the Axis powers, led by Germany, posed a threat to the Western Hemisphere and to Brazil’s trade and economic interests.

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Brazil’s involvement in the second world war.

 

SECTION ONE:

Brazil played a significant role in the Second World War, despite officially remaining neutral until August 1942.

At the outbreak of the war in 1939, Brazil, like many other countries in Latin America, declared a policy of neutrality. However, as the conflict progressed, it became increasingly clear that the Axis powers, led by Germany, posed a threat to the Western Hemisphere and to Brazil’s trade and economic interests.

In 1942, Brazil finally decided to join the Allies, citing the sinking of Brazilian merchant ships by German submarines as a major factor in their decision. The Brazilian government also believed that aligning with the Allies would help protect their strategic resources, such as rubber and coffee, from potential German seizure.

 

NEW VOCABULARY: played, significant role, despite, remaining, neutral, outbreak, declared, policy, neutrality, conflict, progressed increasingly, axis powers, posed, threat, western hemisphere, trade, economic, interests, join, allies, citing, merchant ships, submarines, major factor, believed, aligning, strategic, resources, rubber, potential, seizure

 

AUDIO REVISION:  List to the audio file whilst reading the text. Listening and reading together is a very effective way to learn and improve your pronunciation.

GRAMMAR SECTION:

SECTION TWO:

Brazil’s entry into the war had a major impact on the conflict in South America. Brazilian troops, along with other Allied forces, were able to push back against German and Italian influence in the region, and Brazil became a major supplier of raw materials and food to the Allied war effort.

Brazil also sent an expeditionary force, known as the Força Expedicionária Brasileira (FEB), to fight alongside the Americans in Italy. The FEB was the only South American military unit to fight in Europe during the war, and the Brazilian soldiers were highly respected by their American counterparts for their bravery and combat skills.

 

NEW VOCABULARY: impact, conflict, troops, allied forces, push back against, influence, region, supplier, raw materials,
allied war effort, expeditionary force, fight, alongside, highly respected, counterparts, bravery, combat, skills

 

AUDIO REVISION:  List to the audio file whilst reading the text. Listening and reading together is a very effective way to learn and improve your pronunciation.

SECTION THREE:

The Brazilian economy also benefited greatly from the war, as the country’s industries were able to expand and modernize to meet the demands of the Allied war effort. This led to a period of economic growth and prosperity in Brazil that lasted well into the post-war years.

The Brazilian soldiers of the Força Expedicionária Brasileira (FEB) were sometimes referred to as the “Smoking Snakes” during the Second World War. The nickname was given to them by their American counterparts due to their distinctive method of smoking cigarettes. And the fact that when the Americas first requested that Brazil join the war effort. The Brazilian president is quoted as replying, “There is more chance of a snake smoking a cigarette than there is of Brazil joining the war effort.” In Portuguese:  Há mais chance de uma cobra fumar um cigarro do que de o Brasil entrar no esforço de guerra.” At the time Brazil were sending raw materials and food stuffs to Japan and this had to stop.

 

NEW VOCABULARY: benefited, industries, expand, modernise, meet the demands, allied war effort, growth, prosperity, lasted well into,
soldiers, referred to as, smoking snakes, nickname, counterparts, distinctive, method, requested, quoted as, replying, raw materials, food stuffs

 

AUDIO REVISION:  List to the audio file whilst reading the text. Listening and reading together is a very effective way to learn and improve your pronunciation.

LISTENING SECTION:  Listen to the video and then answer the five questions below.

QUESTIONS:

          1. What does the expression ‘when pigs fly’ mean? It is the same as ‘when snakes smoke’
          2. What does it mean, ‘the logistics were problematic’ ?
          3. What drugs were the Nazi’s taking to help them fight and make them more aggressive?
          4.  Do some research on Google in English to find out how many Brazilians died during the second world war.
          5.  In your opinion, why do you think that Brazilians are not taught about this and why they don’t have an official remembrance day like the rest of the world.

SECTION FOUR:

Instead of smoking a cigarette in the traditional way, by holding it between their fingers, the FEB soldiers would place the cigarette between their lips and let it dangle, much like a snake’s tongue. This method allowed them to keep their hands free for other tasks, such as handling weapons or equipment.

The nickname was also due to the snake symbol on the Brazilian Expeditionary Force shoulder patch, which features a snake with a cigarette in its mouth, that was chosen to represent the presidents reluctance to join the war effort.

 

NEW VOCABULARY: instead of, traditional, holding it, between their fingers, between their lips, dangle, snake’s tongue, allowed,
hands free, tasks, handling, weapons, equipment, symbol, shoulder, patch, chosen, represent, reluctance, to join

 

AUDIO REVISION:  List to the audio file whilst reading the text. Listening and reading together is a very effective way to learn and improve your pronunciation.

The FEB soldiers embraced the nickname, and it became a symbol of pride for them. They were known for their courage and determination in battle, and their unique smoking style became a symbol of their identity as a unit.

In conclusion, Brazil played a vital role in the Second World War, despite officially remaining neutral for much of the conflict. By joining the Allies in 1942, Brazil was able to protect its trade and economic interests, and the country’s soldiers, raw materials, and industries made a significant contribution to the Allied war effort.

 

NEW VOCABULARY: embraced, symbol, pride, courage, determination, battle, unique, identity, unit, a vital role, despite, officially,
remaining, neutral, conflict, protect its trade, economic interests, raw materials, significant,
contribution

 

AUDIO REVISION:  List to the audio file whilst reading the text. Listening and reading together is a very effective way to learn and improve your pronunciation.

Writing Section:

In the Western World on the 11th November at 11am we stop what we are doing and spend one minutes in complete silence to remember those that died so that we can be free. At 11am on the 11th November 1918 the agreement was signed by Germany to surrender. This marked the end of the first world war. At this time and on this day every year we remember every soldier that died in every war since that morning.  To my knowledge Brazil doesn’t remember these heroes.  My question is simply why not? What is your opinion on this matter?

Write 150 words answering this question. Remember it’s simply a matter of your opinion.

Grammar: 

In your writing in the English section include two examples of the present perfect and three transition words. See the link below to help you:  TRANSITION WORDS LINK

Free Downloadable English Lessons

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