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3 The Key Year: 1938

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Chapter Summary

Even though Mexico remained distant from the problem of the Jewish refugees until the end of 1937, events in the world brought on the internationalization of the conflict in 1938 and American countries became involved. The important event took place during the first months of that year, exacerbating the Jewish refugee crisis: Germany annexed Austria on March 12, 1938. In Mexico the important event of the year, and probably of Lazaro Cardenas's presidency, was the decision to expropriate the foreign oil companies, once the Mexican government felt it had exhausted all the institutional channels available to solve the labor-management conflict in the oil industry. A few days later, the government of Franklin D. Roosevelt invited his Mexican counterpart to participate in the Evian Conference, on the matter of refugees, which took place in France, in July 1938; thirty-two representatives, twenty-three of whom were Latin Americans, participated.

Keywords: Evian Conference; Jewish refugees; Lazaro Cardenas's presidency



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