Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Margarita Pintado

Second Reader

Dr. Myra Houser

Third Reader

Professor Summer Bruch


Major historical events that blatantly defy human rights are typically common knowledge and recognized by most historians. For instance, everyone knows about the Holocaust. Even smaller-scale massacres, like Tiananmen Square, are included in most history textbooks. The Dirty War of Argentina, a brutal seven-year ordeal that violated the basic human rights of thousands of people, is not usually an era discussed by history textbooks. The society of Argentina is still healing from the effects of this war, but how can they be expected to heal when history will not even acknowledge their past or their pain?

While commonly referred to as the “Dirty War,” this event was not actually a “war” at all. A war generally infers two combatting sides, typically of equal advantages and equal power. The Dirty War of Argentina is more accurately called genocide, killing an estimated 30,000 people and deeply affecting many more. This dark past has scarred the lives of Argentines of the last four decades, and the depth of these wounds are portrayed in popular culture, particularly the 1985 film La Historia Oficial (The Offical Story) and the 2003 documentary Los rubios (The Blonds), With the help of Martin Edwin Andersen’s historical accounts in Dossier Secreto, analyzing these films within their context is possible. The depiction of each of these works helps one put into perspective the truth of what happened during the Dirty War, realize the painful effects it has had on Argentine society, and assess how these films assisted in the healing process for the culture as a whole.



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