At first, he led more or less balanced and reasonable: he was friends and traded with neighbors, established a strong military industry and provided jobs. Paraguay’s main exports were mate and redwood. Everything would be fine, but the lack of access to the sea greatly interfered. They tried to negotiate this with Brazil, but its leadership asked for too much money.
Then they turned to Uruguay, but Brazil really didn’t like it – why on earth did they reject their “generous” offer and turned to their neighbors? Disorder. And Brazil provoked a civil war in Uruguay. The country was divided into two parts: one was for Paraguay, the second for Brazil. And the meat grinder began, in which Paraguay, led by Francisco Solano Lopez, immediately intervened.
He planned to deploy three fronts in Uruguay, but this required a passage through Argentina, and she refused to help. Then Francisco declared war on her.
Brazil joined Argentina, and forces unfriendly to Paraguay won in Uruguay. As a result, the country had to fight immediately with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The outcome was clear even then, but Francisco decided to fight. It was 1864.
At the beginning of the war, Paraguay even had successes: the troops won several victories in major battles, they built a network of forts and defensive structures on the border. But he couldn’t win a war of attrition alone, his warlike neighbors simply had more resources. It’s not just about money, it’s about people. When the all-out offensive began, the warriors of Paraguay defended themselves heroically and died like flies. The soldiers were not enough, Francisco announced a total mobilization. But these recruits were not trained in military affairs at all and died or were seriously injured in their very first days at the front.