Juan Domingo Peron (1895-1974) was an Argentine general and presidential dictator from 1946 to 1955 who instituded a social reform program called justicialism.
He was born in 1895 to a wealthy rancher and he was educated at the Colegio Militar from 1911 to 1913. From 1926 to 1929 he was educated at the Escuela Superior de Guerra. In 1930 he participated in a coup against President Hipolito Irigoyen. Later he taught at his alma mater after which he spent some time in Chile as a military attache and travelled to Italy, which at the time was under the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini. He was greatly influenced at this time studying fascism and wondered how it would work back home in Argentina.
It should be noted that some consider his regime an evil fascist dictatorship, while others see Peronism as a great benefit to the working class in particular, and to the population at large. (The author refrains from judgement in order to give an objective write-up.)
He returned to Argentina in 1941 and joined an army clique which overthrew the corrupt President Ramone Castillo in 1943, Peron subsequently served as Secretary of Labor and later War Minister.
In 1945 he was forced to resign and he was imprisoned. When his labor supporters obtained his release he married his second wife, Maria Eva Duarte, and began his quest for Argentine government again. In 1946, with the assistance of the Peron controlled police, and the overwhelming popularity of his wife, affectionately known as Evita, he was elected president. With strong support from labor and the army he embarked on a program of industrialization and nationalization.
Although his regime was illiberal as well as tainted with corruption, he introduced welfare measures and substantially improved conditions of the urban workers. Unfortunately, his rule quickly turned into a dictatorship. The failure of his economic policies, the death of his wildly popular wife and his subsequent excommunication from the Catholic Church (Argentina is largely Catholic) led to another revolt in 1955, when he was overthrown and sent in exile to Spain.
Peron's supporters, known as Peronistas, still constitute the largest voting bloc in Argentine politics and in 1972 they eagerly welcomed Peron's return to Argentina.
He was reelected president in 1973 with his third wife Isabel as vice-president. After his death in 1974, she took over the presidency - which itself was overthrown in a military coup in 1976.