NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ864085
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
The Other September 11: Teaching about the 1973 Overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende
Benedetto, Katy; Lamb, Alexandra; Cohen, Robert
Social Education, v73 n6 p287-293 Oct 2009
September 11, 2001, is a day most American high school students remember. They may not fully grasp the events that took place, the reasons behind the terrorist attacks on the United States, or their implications, but they remember. They were children when this national trauma occurred--and they saw those unforgettable television images of the World Trade Center exploding and the Pentagon aflame. Every fall they see somber commemorations of the September 11 attacks and the tragic loss of life left in their wake. But what few students--or other Americans--know is that long before 2001, September 11 has been a tragic historical anniversary in Latin America because it was the day that Chile's democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown and died in a bloody coup in 1973. The coup marked the start of a dismal era for Chilean democracy because it led to more than a decade of military rule by Augusto Pinochet, whose brutal dictatorship (1973-1990) consolidated itself via crimes against humanity--the disappearance, torture, and murder of thousands of dissidents. This article and the teaching suggestions aim to provide a better understanding of Chile's September 11 by examining relevant literature, a primary source document, and essays by some of the event's witnesses (e.g., writings by Ariel Dorfman). The authors offer a teaching activity centering on one of the most revealing historical sources on the U.S. role in Allende's Chile, a declassified five-point memorandum written to President Richard Nixon on November 17, 1970, by his national security advisor, Henry Kissinger. It outlines covert measures that the U.S. government planned to use to undermine and subvert Allende's presidency, illuminating the breadth of American influence abroad and directly implicating the U.S. government in some of the chaotic events that wracked Chile in the early 1970s, which destabilized the Allende government and paved the way for the rise of Pinochet. The covert, even conspiratorial, nature of Nixon and Kissinger's actions leading up to the coup is highly engrossing, leaving students to follow and question what happened with the same rapt attention they might pay to a true crime story. (Contains 21 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Chile; United States