Francisco Franco

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Francisco Franco
Head of State of Spain [lower-alpha 1]
In office
1 October 1936 [lower-alpha 2]  20 November 1975
Franco visits Tolosa, 1948. Visita de Francisco Franco a la localidad de Tolosa (15 de 21) - Fondo Car-Kutxa Fototeka.jpg
Franco visits Tolosa, 1948.

Franco was recognized as the Spanish head of state by the United Kingdom, France and Argentina in February 1939. [154] [155] Already proclaimed Generalísimo of the Nationalists and Jefe del Estado (Head of State) in October 1936, [101] he thereafter assumed the official title of "Su Excelencia el Jefe de Estado" ("His Excellency the Head of State"). He was also referred to in state and official documents as " Caudillo de España" ("the Leader of Spain"), and sometimes called "el Caudillo de la Última Cruzada y de la Hispanidad" ("the Leader of the Last Crusade and of the Hispanic heritage") and "el Caudillo de la Guerra de Liberación contra el Comunismo y sus Cómplices" ("the Leader of the War of Liberation Against Communism and Its Accomplices").

On paper, Franco had more power than any Spanish leader before or since. For the first four years after taking Madrid, he ruled almost exclusively by decree. The "Law of the Head of State," passed in August 1939, "permanently confided" all governing power to Franco; he was not required to even consult the cabinet for most legislation or decrees. [156] According to Payne, Franco possessed far more day-to-day power than Hitler or Stalin possessed at the respective heights of their power. He noted that while Hitler and Stalin maintained rubber-stamp parliaments, this was not the case in Spain in the early years after the war – a situation that nominally made Franco's regime "the most purely arbitrary in the world". [157]

This changed in 1942, when Franco convened a parliament known as the Cortes Españolas. It was elected in accordance with corporatist principles, and had little real power. Notably, it had no control over government spending, and the government was not responsible to it; ministers were appointed and dismissed by Franco alone.

On 26 July 1947 Franco proclaimed Spain a monarchy, but did not designate a monarch. This gesture was largely done to appease the monarchists in the Movimiento Nacional (Carlists and Alfonsists). Franco left the throne vacant, proclaiming himself as a de facto regent for life. At the same time, Franco appropriated many of the privileges of a king. He wore the uniform of a Captain General (a rank traditionally reserved for the King) and resided in El Pardo Palace. In addition he began walking under a canopy, and his portrait appeared on most Spanish coins and postage stamps. He also added "by the grace of God", a phrase usually part of the styles of monarchs, to his style.

Franco initially sought support from various groups. His administration marginalised fascist ideologues in favor of technocrats, many of whom were linked with Opus Dei, who promoted economic modernisation. [158]

Franco adopted Fascist trappings, [159] [160] [161] [162] although Stanley Payne argued that very few scholars consider him to be a "core fascist". [163] Regarding the regime, the Oxford Living Dictionary uses Franco's regime as an example of fascism, [164] and it has also been variously presented as a "fascistized dictatorship", [165] or a "semi-fascist regime". [166] Francisco Cobo Romero writes that, besides neutering left-wing advances by using an essentially antiliberal brand of ultranationalism, "in its attempt to emulate Fascism, Francoism resorted to the sacralization and mystification of the motherland, raising it into an object of cult, and coating it with a liturgic divinization of its leader". [167]

All in all, some authors have pointed at a purported artificialness and failure of FET JONS in order to de-emphasize the Fascist weight within the regime whereas others have embedded those perceived features of "weak party" within the frame of a particular model of "Spanish Fascism". [168] However, new research material has been argued to underpin the "Fascist subject", both on the basis of the existence of a pervasive and fully differentiated Fascist falangist political culture, and on the importance of the Civil War for falangism, which served as an area of experience, of violence, of memory, as well as for the generation of a culture of victory. [168] Under the perspective of a comparative of European fascisms, Javier Rodrigo considers the Francoist regime to be paradigmatic for three reasons: for being the only authoritarian European regime with totalitarian aspirations, for being the regime that deployed the most political violence in times of rhetorical peace, and for being the regime deploying the most effective "memoricidal" apparatus. [169]

With the end of World War II, Spain suffered from the consequences of its isolation from the international economy. Spain was excluded from the Marshall Plan, [170] unlike other neutral countries in Europe. This situation ended in part when, in the light of Cold War tensions and of Spain's strategic location, the United States of America entered into a trade and military alliance with Franco. This historic alliance commenced with the visit of US President Dwight Eisenhower to Spain in 1953, which resulted in the Pact of Madrid. Spain was then admitted to the United Nations in 1955. [171] American military facilities in Spain built since then include Naval Station Rota, Morón Air Base, and Torrejón Air Base. [14]

Political repression

Estandarte de Francisco Franco (variante gules).svg
Coat of Arms of Francisco Franco as Head of the Spanish State.svg
Vitor (Symbol).svg
* Personal Standard Franco as Head of State
* Coat of arms of Franco as Head of State
* The Victor, another emblem used by Franco

The first decade of Franco's rule following the end of the Civil War in 1939 saw continued repression and the killing of an undetermined number of political opponents. Estimation is difficult and controversial, but the total number of people who were killed during this period probably lies somewhere between 15,000 and 50,000.

By the start of the 1950s Franco's state had become less violent, but during his entire rule, non-government trade unions and all political opponents across the political spectrum, from communist and anarchist organisations to liberal democrats and Catalan or Basque separatists, were either suppressed or tightly controlled with all means, up to and including violent police repression. The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) trade unions were outlawed, and replaced in 1940 by the corporatist Sindicato Vertical . The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party and the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) were banned in 1939, while the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) went underground. The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) went into exile, and in 1959 the ETA armed group was created to wage a low-intensity war against Franco.

Franco's Spanish nationalism promoted a unitary national identity by repressing Spain's cultural diversity. Bullfighting and flamenco [172] were promoted as national traditions while those traditions not considered "Spanish" were suppressed. Franco's view of Spanish tradition was somewhat artificial and arbitrary: while some regional traditions were suppressed, flamenco, an Andalusian tradition, was considered part of a larger, national identity. All cultural activities were subject to censorship, and many, such as the Sardana, the national dance of Catalonia, were plainly forbidden (often in an erratic manner). This cultural policy was relaxed over time, most notably during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Franco also used language politics in an attempt to establish national homogeneity. He promoted the use of Castilian Spanish and suppressed other languages such as Catalan, Galician, and Basque. The legal usage of languages other than Castilian was forbidden. All government, notarial, legal and commercial documents were to be drawn up exclusively in Castilian and any documents written in other languages were deemed null and void. The usage of any other language was forbidden in schools, in advertising, and on road and shop signs. For unofficial use, citizens continued to speak these languages. This was the situation throughout the 1940s and to a lesser extent during the 1950s, but after 1960 the non-Castilian Spanish languages were freely spoken and written, and they reached bookshops and stages, although they never received official status.

The Catholic Church was upheld as the established church of the Spanish State, and it regained many of the traditional privileges which it had lost under the Republic. Civil servants had to be Catholic, and some official jobs even required a "good behavior" statement by a priest. Civil marriages which had taken place in Republican Spain were declared null and void unless they had been confirmed by the Catholic Church. Divorce was forbidden, along with contraceptives, and abortion.[ citation needed ]

Most country towns and rural areas were patrolled by pairs of Guardia Civil , a military police force for civilians, which functioned as Franco's chief means of social control. Larger cities and capitals were mostly under the jurisdiction of the Policia Armada, or the grises ("greys", due to the colour of their uniforms) as they were called.

Student revolts at universities in the late 1960s and early 1970s were violently repressed by the heavily armed Policía Armada (Armed Police). Plain-clothed secret police worked inside Spanish universities.[ citation needed ] The enforcement by public authorities of traditional Catholic values was a stated intent of the regime, mainly by using a law (the Ley de Vagos y Maleantes, Vagrancy Act) enacted by Azaña. [173] The remaining nomads of Spain (Gitanos and Mercheros like El Lute) were especially affected. Through this law, homosexuality and prostitution were made criminal offenses in 1954. [174]

Women in Francoist Spain

Franco and his wife, Carmen Polo, in 1968 Francisco Franco and Carmen Polo.jpg
Franco and his wife, Carmen Polo, in 1968

Francoism professed a devotion to the traditional role of a woman in society; that is, being a loving daughter and sister to her parents and brothers, being a faithful wife to her husband, and residing with her family. Official propaganda confined the role of women to family care and motherhood. Immediately after the civil war most progressive laws passed by the Republic aimed at equality between the sexes were nullified. Women could not become judges or testify in a trial. They could not become university professors. Their affairs and economic lives had to be managed by their fathers and husbands. Until the 1970s, women could not open a bank account without having it co-signed by her father or husband. [175] In the 1960s and 1970s these restrictions were somewhat relaxed.

The Spanish colonies and decolonisation

Spain attempted to retain control of its colonies throughout Franco's rule. During the Algerian War (1954–62), Madrid became the base of the Organisation armée secrète (OAS), a right-wing French Army group which sought to preserve French Algeria. Despite this, Franco was forced to make some concessions. When French Morocco became independent in 1956, he surrendered Spanish Morocco to Morocco, retaining only a few enclaves (the Plazas de soberanía ). The year after, Mohammed V invaded Spanish Sahara during the Ifni War (known as the "Forgotten War" in Spain). Only in 1975, with the Green March, did Morocco take control of all of the former Spanish territories in the Sahara.

In 1968, under pressure from the United Nations, [176] Spain granted Equatorial Guinea its independence, and the following year it ceded Ifni to Morocco. Under Franco, Spain also pursued a campaign to force a negotiation on the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, and closed its border with that territory in 1969. The border would not be fully reopened until 1985.

Economic policy

The Civil War ravaged the Spanish economy. [177] Infrastructure had been damaged, workers killed, and daily business severely hampered. For more than a decade after Franco's victory, the devastated economy recovered very slowly. Franco initially pursued a policy of autarky, cutting off almost all international trade. The policy had devastating effects, and the economy stagnated. Only black marketeers could enjoy an evident affluence.

1963 Spanish peseta coin with an image of Franco and lettering reading: "Francisco Franco, Leader of Spain, by the grace of God" Spanish peseta coin with Franco 1963.gif
1963 Spanish peseta coin with an image of Franco and lettering reading: "Francisco Franco, Leader of Spain, by the grace of God"

On the brink of bankruptcy, a combination of pressure from the United States and the IMF managed to convince the regime to adopt a free market economy. Many of the old guard in charge of the economy were replaced by "technocrata", despite some initial opposition from Franco. From the mid-1950s there was modest acceleration in economic activity after some minor reforms and a relaxation of controls. But the growth proved too much for the economy, with shortages and inflation breaking out towards the end of the 1950s.

When Franco replaced his ideological ministers with the apolitical technocrats, the regime implemented several development policies that included deep economic reforms. After a recession, growth took off from 1959, creating an economic boom that lasted until 1974, and became known as the "Spanish miracle".

Concurrent with the absence of social reforms, and the economic power shift, a tide of mass emigration commenced to other European countries, and to a lesser extent, to South America. Emigration helped the regime in two ways. The country got rid of populations it would not have been able to keep in employment, and the emigrants supplied the country with much needed monetary remittances.

During the 1960s, the wealthy classes of Francoist Spain experienced further increases in wealth, particularly those who remained politically faithful, while a burgeoning middle class became visible as the "economic miracle" progressed. International firms established factories in Spain where salaries were low, company taxes very low, strikes forbidden and workers' health or state protections almost unheard of. State-owned firms like the car manufacturer SEAT, truck builder Pegaso, and oil refiner INH, massively expanded production. Furthermore, Spain was virtually a new mass market. Spain became the second-fastest growing economy in the world between 1959 and 1973, just behind Japan. By the time of Franco's death in 1975, Spain still lagged behind most of Western Europe but the gap between its per capita GDP and that of the leading Western European countries had narrowed greatly, and the country had developed a large industrialised economy.


Franco with Prince Juan Carlos in 1969 In Madrid is herdacht dat Franco 30 jaar geleden de burgeroorlog ( 1936 1939 ) w, Bestanddeelnr 922-4913 (cropped).jpg
Franco with Prince Juan Carlos in 1969

Franco decided to name a monarch to succeed his regency, but the simmering tensions between the Carlists and the Alfonsoists continued. In 1969 Franco nominated as his heir-apparent Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón, who had been educated by him in Spain, with the new title of Prince of Spain. This designation came as a surprise to the Carlist pretender to the throne, as well as to Juan Carlos's father, Don Juan, the Count of Barcelona, who had a superior claim to the throne, but whom Franco feared to be too liberal.

However, when Juan Carlos asked Franco if he could sit in on cabinet meetings, Franco would not permit him saying that "you would do things differently." Due to the spread of democracy, excluding the Eastern Bloc, in Europe since World War II, Juan Carlos could or would not have been a dictator in the way Franco had been. [178]

By 1973 Franco had surrendered the function of prime minister (Presidente del Gobierno), remaining only as head of state and commander in chief of the military.

As his final years progressed, tensions within the various factions of the Movimiento would consume Spanish political life, as varying groups jockeyed for position in an effort to win control of the country's future. The assassination of prime minister Luis Carrero Blanco in the 20 December 1973 bombing by ETA eventually gave an edge to the liberalizing faction.


National honours

Foreign honours

Death and funeral

Carlos Arias Navarro and Franco at his residence in October 1975, around one week before he fell into an irreversible coma Carlos Arias Navarro and Franco 1975.jpg
Carlos Arias Navarro and Franco at his residence in October 1975, around one week before he fell into an irreversible coma

On 19 July 1974, the aged Franco fell ill from various health problems, and Juan Carlos took over as acting head of state. Franco recovered and on 2 September he resumed his duties as head of state. A year later he fell ill again, afflicted with further health problems, including a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Franco's last public appearance was on 1 October 1975 when, despite his gaunt and frail appearance, he gave a speech to crowds from the balcony at the Royal Palace of El Pardo in Madrid. On 30 October 1975 he fell into a coma and was put on life support. Franco's family agreed to disconnect the life-support machines. Officially, he died a few minutes after midnight on 20 November 1975 from heart failure, at the age of 82 – on the same date as the death of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falange, in 1936. Historian Ricardo de la Cierva claimed that he had been told around 6 pm on 19 November that Franco had already died. [179] Juan Carlos was proclaimed King two days later.

Franco's body was interred at Valle de los Caídos, a colossal memorial built by the forced labour of political prisoners to honour the casualties of both sides of the Spanish Civil War. [180] [181] The site was designated by the interim government, assured by Prince Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Carlos Arias Navarro, as the burial place for Franco. According to his family, Franco did not want to be buried in the Valley, but in the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. Nonetheless, the family agreed to the interim government's request to bury him in the Valley, and has stood by the decision. This made Franco the only person interred in the Valley who did not die during the civil war.

No Western European countries sent their leaders to attend Franco's funeral due to his tenure as dictator. The following guests took part in his funeral:

Both Pinochet and Banzer revered Franco and modelled their leadership style on the Spanish leader. [183] Former US President Richard Nixon called Franco "a loyal friend and ally of the United States." [14]


On 11 May 2017, the Congress of Deputies approved, by 198–1 with 140 abstentions, a motion driven by the Socialist Workers' Party ordering the Government to exhume Franco's remains. [184]

On 24 August 2018, the Government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez approved legal amendments to the Historical Memory Law stating that only those who died during the Civil War would be buried at the Valle de los Caídos, resulting in plans to exhume Franco's remains for reburial elsewhere. Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo Poyato stated that having Franco buried at the monument "shows a lack of respect ... for the victims buried there". The government gave Franco's family a 15-day deadline to decide Franco's final resting place, or else a "dignified place" will be chosen by the government. [185]

On 13 September 2018, the Congress of Deputies voted 176–2, with 165 abstentions, to approve the government's plan to remove Franco's body from the monument. [186]

Franco's family opposed the exhumation, and attempted to prevent it by making appeals to the Ombudsman's Office. The family expressed its wish that Franco's remains be reinterred with full military honors at the Almudena Cathedral in the centre of Madrid, the burial place he had requested before his death. [187] The demand was rejected by the Spanish Government, which issued another 15-day deadline to choose another site. [188] Because the family refused to choose another location, the Spanish Government ultimately chose to rebury Franco at the Mingorrubio Cemetery in El Pardo, where his wife Carmen Polo and a number of Francoist officials, most notably prime ministers Luis Carrero Blanco and Carlos Arias Navarro, are buried. [189] His body was to be exhumed from the Valle de los Caídos on 10 June 2019, but the Supreme Court of Spain ruled that the exhumation would be delayed until the family had exhausted all possible appeals. [190] On 24 September 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that the exhumation could proceed, and the Sánchez government announced that it would move Franco's remains to the Mingorrubio cemetery as soon as possible. [191] On 24 October 2019 his remains were moved to his wife's mausoleum which is located in the Mingorrubio Cemetery, and buried in a private ceremony. [192] Though barred by the Spanish government from being draped in the Spanish flag, Francisco Franco's grandson, also named Francisco Franco, draped his coffin in the nationalist flag. [193]

According to a poll by the Spanish newspaper, El Mundo , 43% of Spanish people approved of the exhumation while 32.5% opposed it. The exhumation also seems to have been an opinion divided by party line with the Socialist party strongly in favor of its removal as well as the removal of his statue there. There seems to be no consensus on whether the statue should simply be moved or completely destroyed. [194]


Franco's body was removed from the monument of Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos, where it had lain since his funeral in 1975. SPA-2014-San Lorenzo de El Escorial-Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caidos).jpg
Franco's body was removed from the monument of Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos, where it had lain since his funeral in 1975.

In Spain and abroad, the legacy of Franco remains controversial. The longevity of Franco's rule, his suppression of opposition, and the effective propaganda sustained through the years have made a detached evaluation difficult. For almost 40 years, Spaniards, and particularly children at school, were told that Divine Providence had sent Franco to save Spain from chaos, atheism, and poverty. [195] Historian Stanley Payne described Franco as being the most significant figure to dominate Spain since Philip II, [196] while Michael Seidman argued that Franco was the most successful counterrevolutionary leader of the 20th century. [197]

A highly controversial figure within Spain, Franco is seen as a divisive leader. Supporters credit him for keeping Spain neutral and uninvaded in World War II. They emphasize his strong anti-communist and nationalist views, economic policies, and opposition to socialism as major factors in Spain's post-war economic success and later international integration. [198] Abroad he had support from Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle, Konrad Adenauer and many American Catholics, but was strongly opposed by the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. [199] [200]

Conversely, critics on the left have denounced him as a tyrant responsible for thousands of deaths in years-long political repression, and have called him complicit in atrocities committed by Axis forces during World War II due to his support of Axis governments.

When he died in 1975, the major parties of the left and the right agreed to follow the Pact of Forgetting. To secure the transition to democracy, they agreed not to have investigations or prosecutions dealing with the civil war or Franco. The agreement effectively lapsed after 2000, the year the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory was founded and the public debate started. [201] In 2006, a poll indicated that almost two-thirds of Spaniards favored a "fresh investigation into the war". [202]

Franco served as a role model for several anti-communist dictators in South America. Augusto Pinochet is known to have admired Franco. [203] Similarly, as recently as 2006, Franco supporters in Spain have honored Pinochet. [204]

In 2006, the BBC reported that Maciej Giertych, an MEP of the clerical-nationalist League of Polish Families, had expressed admiration for Franco, stating that the Spanish leader "guaranteed the maintenance of traditional values in Europe". [205]

Group of far-right sympathizers pulling the fascist salute before the empty plinth from which the equestrian statue of Franco in Madrid had been freshly removed in March 2005 Monument a Franco a Madrid012.JPG
Group of far-right sympathizers pulling the fascist salute before the empty plinth from which the equestrian statue of Franco in Madrid had been freshly removed in March 2005

Spaniards who suffered under Franco's rule have sought to remove memorials of his regime. Most government buildings and streets that were named after Franco during his rule have been reverted to their original names. Owing to Franco's human-rights record, the Spanish government in 2007 banned all official public references to the Franco regime and began the removal of all statues, street names and memorials associated with the regime, with the last statue reportedly being removed in 2008 in the city of Santander. [206] Churches that retain plaques commemorating Franco and the victims of his Republican opponents may lose state aid. [207] Since 1978, the national anthem of Spain, the Marcha Real , does not include lyrics introduced by Franco. Attempts to give the national anthem new lyrics have failed due to lack of consensus.

In March 2006, the Permanent Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe unanimously adopted a resolution "firmly" condemning the "multiple and serious violations" of human rights committed in Spain under the Francoist regime from 1939 to 1975. [208] [209] The resolution was at the initiative of Leo Brincat and of the historian Luis María de Puig, and was the first international official condemnation of the repression enacted by Franco's regime. [208] The resolution also urged that historians (professional and amateur) be given access to the various archives of the Francoist regime, including those of the private Francisco Franco National Foundation (FNFF) which, along with other Francoist archives, remain inaccessible to the public as of 2006. [208] The FNFF received various archives from the El Pardo Palace, and is alleged to have sold some of them to private individuals. [210] Furthermore, the resolution urged the Spanish authorities to set up an underground exhibit in the Valle de los Caidos monument to explain the "terrible" conditions in which it was built. [208] Finally, it proposed the construction of monuments to commemorate Franco's victims in Madrid and other important cities. [208]

In Spain, a commission to "repair the dignity" and "restore the memory" of the "victims of Francoism" (Comisión para reparar la dignidad y restituir la memoria de las víctimas del franquismo) was approved in 2004, and is directed by the social-democratic deputy Prime Minister María Teresa Fernández de la Vega. [208]

Sign in Santa Cruz de Tenerife for a street bearing Franco's name which was renamed in 2008 Rambla de Santa Cruz. Plaque franco.jpg
Sign in Santa Cruz de Tenerife for a street bearing Franco's name which was renamed in 2008 Rambla de Santa Cruz.

Recently the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARHM) initiated a systematic search for mass graves of people executed during Franco's regime, which has been supported since the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party's (PSOE) victory during the 2004 elections by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's government. A Ley de la memoria histórica de España (Law on the Historical Memory of Spain) was approved on 28 July 2006, by the Council of Ministers, [211] but it took until 31 October 2007, for the Congress of Deputies to approve an amended version as "The Bill to recognise and extend rights and to establish measures in favour of those who suffered persecution or violence during the Civil War and the Dictatorship" (in common parlance still known as Law of Historical Memory). [212] The Senate approved the bill on 10 December 2007. [213]

Official endeavors to preserve the historical memory of the Franco regime include exhibitions like the one the Museu d'Història de Catalunya (Museum of Catalan History) organised around the prison experience. [214]

The accumulated wealth of Franco's family (including much real estate inherited from Franco, such as the Pazo de Meirás , the Canto del Pico in Torrelodones and the Casa Cornide  [ es ] in A Coruña [210] ), and its provenance, have also become matters of public discussion. Estimates of the family's wealth have ranged from 350 million to 600 million euros. [210] While Franco was dying, the Francoist Cortes voted a large public pension for his wife Carmen Polo, which the later democratic governments kept paying. At the time of her death in 1988, Carmen Polo was receiving as a pension more than 12.5 million pesetas (four million more than the salary of Felipe González, then head of the government). [210]

Cinema and television



See also


  1. The appointment decree referred to Franco as "Head of the Government of the Spanish State", a term which, by 30 January 1938 decree, was re-coined as simply "Head of State".
  2. 1 2 In civil war until 1 April 1939.
  3. The post of Prime Minister was attached to that of Head of State until the 1967 Organic Law of the State, with the separation coming into force with Franco's resignation as Prime Minister on 9 June 1973. [1]
  4. After the Spanish Government allowed Sephardi and other Jews to seek refuge via Spain from National Socialist areas, an urban legend appeared as a form of derision claiming that the Francos were of Sephardi ancestry. Payne explains; "Persistent rumors about Franco's alleged Jewish ancestry have no clear foundation, and Harry S. May, Francisco Franco: The Jewish Connection is somewhat fanciful". [18] Furthermore, "a significant portion of the Spanish and Portuguese populations have some remote Jewish ancestry; if this were true of Franco he would simply be in the position of millions of other Spaniards." [18]
  5. The 150,000 executions put the amount of killings for political reasons over more than ten times bigger than those in Nazi Germany and 1,000 times bigger than those of Fascist Italy. Reig Tapia points out that Franco signed more decrees of execution than any other previous head of State in Spain. [120]

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Luis Pío Moa Rodríguez better known as simply Pío Moa, is a Spanish writer and journalist. He has authored historical essays about the origins of the Spanish Civil War, the Second Republic in Spain, Francoism and the various political movements of that era.

Spanish Civil War 1936–1939 Civil war in Spain

The Spanish Civil War was a civil war in Spain fought from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Popular Front government of the unstable Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with anarchists of the communist and syndicalist variety, fought against an insurrection by the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, monarchists, conservatives and traditionalists, led by a military group among whom General Francisco Franco soon achieved a preponderant role. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets and was variously viewed as class struggle, a religious struggle, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, and between fascism and communism. According to Claude Bowers, U.S. ambassador to Spain during the war, it was the "dress rehearsal" for World War II. The Nationalists won the war, which ended in early 1939, and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.

Nationalist faction (Spanish Civil War) Major faction in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939

The Nationalist faction or Rebel faction was a major faction in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. It was composed of a variety of right-leaning political groups that supported the Spanish Coup of July 1936 against the Second Spanish Republic and Republican faction and sought to depose Manuel Azaña, including the Falange, the CEDA, and two rival monarchist claimants: the Alfonsist Renovación Española and the Carlist Traditionalist Communion. In 1937, all the groups were merged into the FET y de las JONS. After the death of the faction's early leaders, General Francisco Franco, one of the members of the 1936 coup, would head the Nationalists throughout most of the war and emerge as the dictator of Spain until 1975.

Republican faction (Spanish Civil War) Faction in support of the Second Spanish Republic government during the civil war (1936–39)

The Republican faction, also known as the Loyalist faction or the Government faction, was the side in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939 that supported the government of the Second Spanish Republic against the Nationalist faction of the military rebellion. The name Republicans was mainly used by its members and supporters, while its opponents used the term Rojos (Reds) to refer to this faction due to its left-leaning ideology, including far-left communist and anarchist groups, and the support it received from the Soviet Union.

German involvement in the Spanish Civil War German involvement in the spanish civil war

German involvement in the Spanish Civil War commenced with the outbreak of war in July 1936, with Adolf Hitler immediately sending in powerful air and armored units to assist General Francisco Franco and his Nationalist forces. The Soviet Union sent in smaller forces but a lot of modern weapons to assist the Republican government, while Britain and France and two dozen other countries set up an embargo on any munitions or soldiers into Spain. Nazi Germany also signed the embargo but simply ignored it.

Unification Decree (Spain, 1937)

The Unification Decree was a political measure adopted by Francisco Franco in his capacity of Head of State of Nationalist Spain on April 19, 1937. The decree merged two existing political groupings, the Falangists and the Carlists, into a new party - the Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista. As all other parties were declared dissolved at the same time, the FET became the only legal party in Nationalist Spain. It was defined in the decree as a link between state and society and was intended to form the basis for an eventual totalitarian regime. The head of state – Franco himself – was proclaimed party leader, to be assisted by the Junta Política and Consejo Nacional. A set of decrees which followed shortly after appointed members to the new executive.

Mottos of Francoist Spain Short phrases stating the ideals of the rule of Spain by Francisco Franco

The mottos of Francoism are mottos which encapsulate the ideals of the Francoist dictatorship. Although the regime had many ideological influences, it employed Falangism in its popular movements. Falangist ideology was easily incorporated in the creation of mottos as it is believed to demonstrate a certain reluctance towards political agendas, and to favour empiricism, taking action, and the simplification of ideas.

Francoist Spain remained officially neutral during World War II but maintained close political and economic ties to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy throughout the period of the Holocaust.


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Further reading

Primary sources

Political offices
Preceded by Head of the Spanish State
1 October 1936 – 20 November 1975
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Spain
30 January 1938 – 8 June 1973
Succeeded by