Ruling the country since 1937, Antonio Salazar's Estado Novo regime implanted a dictatorship with fascist aspirations in the country after his success in balancing the country's finances for a military junta. Leading Portugal under the values of "God, Nation, Family," freedoms were suppressed under a new Constitution by the National Political Police - PIDE.
With a colonial tradition, the Estado Novo heavily relied on the so-called 'overseas' provinces to emphasis its nationalism. But as the decolonization process advanced all over the world in the wake of World War II, Salazar reluctantly launched a war effort to keep the territories in Africa. The colonial war drained the armed forces as it dragged on for 13 years. Then on April 25th, 1947, the armed forces organized to overthrow the regime within an Armed Forces Movement (MFA).
At midnight of April 25, 1974, MFA occupied the national radio station to broadcast a song banned by PIDE: "Grandola Vila Morena," by Zeca Afonso, as a secret sign to give a start to the revolt. Troops led by Salgueiro Maia headed Lisbon's Terreiro do Paço, where Marcello Caetano, the ruling Prime Minister, would eventual step down.
What started as a coup soon became a revolution- and the population joined in, hoping for real freedom. That spring, and with no bloody confrontations, soldiers stuffed the season's red carnations in their guns as a symbol of nonviolence. One day after, the military was forming a Provisory Government led by General Spinola.
In spite of the troubled times that followed with political and economic instability, the democratic regime thrived. Then, entrance into the European Economic Community boosted the Portuguese economy and improved its the standard of living. Achieved by peaceful means, the revolution opened Portugal to the world.