Chaco War

Why did the Chaco War Between Bolivia and Paraguay from 1932-1935 take place?

      The Chaco war is a war that was fought between Bolivia and Paraguay from 1932- 1935.   Despite the fact that the Chaco war was very devastating to the protagonists, it remains one of the most obscure events in history.   The war was fought over control of the Gran Chaco. As with all armed conflicts, there was a price to pay in terms of deaths and destruction not to mention damage to infrastructure. The Chaco war, like any other war must have had certain causes. It is the contention of this paper that the Chaco war resulted from a tussle over the natural resources in the Chaco, desire for access to the sea since both countries were landlocked, nationalism in Paraguayans, desire to establish sovereignty over the Chaco and foreign interference by countries and business interests.
      In order to understand the reasons why the Chaco war took place, it is important to look at the nature of the Chaco region and see if there are any reasons anyone would want to fight over it. The Gran Chaco lies within the Chaco boreal (Garner 45). It is a very inhospitable area, which is devoid of any habitation. The area measures approximately 250,000 square meters and is located west of the Paraguay River and east of Bolivia, Argentina and the Andes (Chasteen 175). The Chaco is a desert, which has recorded some of the highest temperatures in South America. According to Chasteen (175), the area is very dry and sparsely vegetated except for some thorn brush, Quebracho trees and limited amounts of grassy vegetation. The unwelcoming terrain is made worse by the dangerous insects and tropical diseases.
      Understandably, no serious commercial activity thrived in the area. In fact, before 1928, the only economic value derived from the Chaco was tannin obtained from the Quebrancho trees and some limited grazing for cattle (English 120).

      With this picture in mind, it is difficult to imagine why...