Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2014 Amy DiPierro. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Diego Armus

Second Advisor

Marjorie Murphy

Third Advisor

Robert Weinberg


In early 1956, just months after a military-led coup d’état unseated President Juan Perón, Argentina suffered its worst polio epidemic on record. Although the new government capitalized on the outbreak to separate its political agenda from that of their predecessor, this paper uses visual representations of the outbreak as starting points to discuss how both government and citizen responses to the epidemic were not merely marking a political turning point. In particular, trends in Argentine social assistance programs, long-standing narratives used to explain the spread of disease, and the antipolio movement in the United States influenced the response to polio in Argentina.