Francisco Franco
Dictator and head of state of Spain
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish dictator, the leader of the Nationalist military rebellion during the Spanish Civil War, and the authoritarian head of state of Spain from 1939 to his death in November 1975. He came to power while recognizing the principles of the far-right Falange movement, although this was for propaganda reasons, as he belonged to no political party before becoming Head of State.
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Spain to set deficit limit in constitution - Reuters
Google News - over 5 years
The constitutional amendment is only the second since Spain's basic law was drawn up after the end of Francisco Franco's dictatorship in 1978. The framework for the ancillary law says the central government's structural deficit should not exceed 0.26
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Up and Down: Comic relief; Whole lot of shakin' going on - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
As a side note, Chevy Chase announced that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. A magnitude-5.8 earthquake rocked the East Coast, including the nation's capital. In fact, they're going to have to get Bob Vila to spackle the debt ceiling
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Spain seeks Vatican help to turn Franco monument into reconciliation centre - Reuters Blogs (blog)
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The Spanish government has asked the Vatican for help transforming the Valle de los Caidos monument holding the remains of dictator Francisco Franco into a place of reconciliation, a Vatican spokesman said on Saturday. Ministers made the request during
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Papal visit to Spain: Vatican to be asked to help transform Gen Franco tomb ... - Telegraph.co.uk
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The Spanish government is to request help from the Vatican to transform the site of the tomb of fascist dictator Gen Francisco Franco into “a place of reconciliation”. By Fiona Govan, Madrid The fate of the Valley of the Fallen, a vast mausoleum carved
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Evergreen Solar's failure shows US weakness in clean energy - Boston Globe
Google News - over 5 years
LIKE GENERALISSIMO Francisco Franco, Evergreen Solar spent a long time on its death bed. Deval Patrick's favorite energy company finally succumbed to Chapter 11 this week. Creditors include the state of Massachusetts, owed $1.5 million in back rent
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Franco's victory was not inevitable - Socialistworker.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
The victory of General Francisco Franco's army over the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War is often presented as inevitable. It seems common sense that Franco's superior forces, with the fascist powers of Germany and Italy backing them,
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Spanish election set to scupper Franco monument plan - Reuters AlertNet
Google News - over 5 years
MADRID, Aug 3 (Reuters) - A snap election called in Spain looks likely to scupper moves to modernize a giant mausoleum holding the remains of dictator Francisco Franco, for decades a source of controversy. A commission appointed by the
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Dan O'Neill: Looking back - WalesOnline
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Five days later General Francisco Franco led the rebellion that brought civil war to Spain. Who could have guessed what that meant for Wales? The Echo mentioned only “reports of a military coup in Spanish Morocco”. But at a time when dictators ruled
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Book Review: The Best Of Young Spanish Novelists - New Zealand Herald
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The 22 Spanish writers in this entertaining collection were all born in or since 1975, the year General Francisco Franco died after 36 years of repressive rule in Spain. Many of the autocratic regimes in South America were also
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A Great Hero of a War That Isn't Over: Remembering Jorge Semprún (1923-2011) - New Republic
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I refer to the approach of July 17, 2011, which will mark the date in 1936 when Francisco Franco and his cohort of military officers rose against the second Spanish Republic. The ensuing three-year “Spanish civil war,” as most refer to it,
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Palestinian-Israeli 'peace process' still dead - Washington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Like the “Saturday Night Live” joke (“Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!”), the Middle East “peace process” is still dormant. The Jerusalem Post reports on the latest bit of fruitless diplomacy: European Union foreign
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Parents call for probe into Spain's 'stolen babies' - Sydney Morning Herald
Google News - over 5 years
What may have begun as political retaliation on leftist families during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco appears to have mutated into a trafficking business in which doctors, nurses and even nuns colluded with criminal networks
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Barber killed by ex-employee - Journal Online
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Police are hunting the suspect, identified as Francisco Franco, alias Jun, said to be a former employee of the victim who operates a barber shop nearby. The victim's live-in-partner, Rowena Valbuena, told police probers that she witnessed how Franco
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Spain faces dilemma over Franco's mausoleum - Monsters and Critics.com
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Madrid - Thirty-five years after his death, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco is still resisting attempts to dethrone him. Most of the statues and other reminders of his rule have been removed,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Francisco Franco
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1975
    Age 82
    Officially, he died on November 20, 1975, at the age of 82—just two weeks before his 83rd birthday—the same date as the death of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falange.
    More Details Hide Details However the historian Ricardo de la Cierva claimed that he had been told, around 6 pm on November 19, that Franco had already died. After Franco's death, and according to his own wishes, he was buried at Valle de los Caídos, a colossal memorial built by the forced labour of political prisoners in order to honour the Francoist casualties in the Spanish Civil War. Franco's funeral was attended by Prince Rainier III of Monaco, the Chilean leader General Augusto Pinochet, who revered Franco and modelled his leadership style in Chile on the way Franco led Spain, Bolivia's dictator General Hugo Banzer, Jordan's King Hussein and US Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. In Spain and abroad, the legacy of Franco remains controversial. The Oxford Dictionary uses Franco's regime as an example of fascism. Franco served as a role model for several anti-communist dictators in South America. Augusto Pinochet is known to have admired Franco. Similarly, as late as in 2006 Franco supporters in Spain have made homages to Pinochet.
    On October 30, 1975, he fell into a coma and was put on life support.
    More Details Hide Details Franco's family agreed to disconnect the life-support machines.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Franco was reluctant to enact any form of administrative and legislative decentralisation and kept a fully centralised government with a similar administrative structure to that established by the House of Bourbon and General Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja. Such structures were both based on the model of the French centralised State. The main drawback of this kind of management is that government attention and initiatives were irregular, and often depended more on the goodwill of regional Government representatives than on regional needs. Thus, inequalities in schooling, health care or transport facilities among regions were patent: classically affluent regions like Madrid, Catalonia, or the Basque Country fared much better than Extremadura, Galicia or Andalusia. Some regions, like Extremadura or La Mancha did not have a university. The Basque Country and Catalonia were among the regions that offered the strongest resistance to Franco in the Civil War. Franco dissolved the autonomy granted by the Second Spanish Republic to these two regions and to Galicia. Franco abolished the centuries-old fiscal privileges and autonomy (the fueros) in two of the three Basque provinces: Guipuzcoa and Biscay, but kept them for Álava which had sided with the nationalists in the civil war.
  • 1974
    Age 81
    On July 19, 1974, the aged Franco fell ill from various health problems, and Juan Carlos took over as Acting Head of State.
    More Details Hide Details Franco soon recovered, and on September 2 he resumed his duties as Head of State. One year later he fell ill once again from more health problems including a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
  • 1973
    Age 80
    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.
    More Details Hide Details As his final years progressed, tensions within the various factions of the Movimiento would consume Spanish political life, as varying groups jockeyed for positions in order to gain control of the country's future. The death on December 20, 1973, of prime minister Luis Carrero Blanco in a spectacular bombing by ETA eventually gave an edge to the liberalizing faction.
  • 1969
    Age 76
    In 1969 Franco designated Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón, who had been educated by him in Spain, with the new title of Prince of Spain, as his heir-apparent.
    More Details Hide Details This designation came as a surprise to the Carlist pretender to the throne, as well as to Juan Carlos' father, Don Juan, the Count of Barcelona, who had a superior claim to the throne, but was feared by Franco to be too liberal.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The border would not be fully reopened until 1985. Like most Civil Wars, Spain's ravaged the Spanish economy. 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. On the brink of bankruptcy, a combination of pressure from the United States, the IMF and, most importantly, the technocrats from Opus Dei, 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.
  • 1968
    Age 75
    In 1968, under United Nations pressure, Franco granted Spain's colony of Equatorial Guinea its independence, and the next year it ceded the exclave of Ifni to Morocco.
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  • 1956
    Age 63
    When French Morocco became independent in 1956, he surrendered Spanish Morocco to Mohammed V, retaining only a few enclaves (the Plazas de soberanía).
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 1955
    Age 62
    Spain was admitted to the United Nations in 1955 and President Eisenhower later visited Spain in 1959 and met with Franco.
    More Details Hide Details President Richard Nixon toasted Franco, and, after Franco's death, he stated: "General Franco was a loyal friend and ally of the United States." American military facilities in Spain built during this era included Naval Station Rota, Morón Air Base, and Torrejón Air Base.
  • 1953
    Age 60
    This historic alliance commenced with United States President Eisenhower's visit in 1953 which resulted in the Pact of Madrid.
    More Details Hide Details Spain was then admitted to the UN in 1955. In 1952 a syndicate from Dallas, Texas, including Jack Crichton, Everette Lee DeGolyer, and Clint Murchison sought drilling rights to petroleum in Spain. The operation was handled by Delta Drilling Company.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1947
    Age 54
    In 1947 Franco proclaimed Spain a monarchy, but did not designate a monarch.
    More Details Hide Details This gesture was largely done to appease the monarchists in the Movimiento Nacional (Carlists and Alfonsists). Despite his own monarchist sympathies, Franco did not feel it was time to have a king to rule the country yet, let alone single out any specific candidate for the role. Accordingly, he 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 the 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.
  • FORTIES
  • 1941
    Age 48
    After the war, the Spanish government tried to destroy all evidence of its cooperation with the Axis. However, in 2010 documents were discovered showing that on May 13, 1941, Franco ordered his provincial governors to compile a list of Jews while he sided and made an alliance with the Axis powers.
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    When the invasion of the Soviet Union began on June 22, 1941, Franco immediately offered to form a unit of military volunteers to join the invasion.
    More Details Hide Details Volunteer Spanish troops (the División Azul, or "Blue Division") fought on the Eastern Front under German command from 1941 to 1944. Some historians have argued that not all of the Blue Division were true volunteers and that Franco expended relatively small but significant resources to aid the Axis powers' battle against the Soviet Union. Franco was initially disliked by Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, who, during World War II, had suggested a joint U.S.-Latin American assault and declaring war on Spain in order to overthrow Franco's regime and desiring in retaking the former Spanish colonies in the Americas. Hitler may not have really wanted Spain to join the war, as he needed neutral harbors to import materials from countries in Latin America and elsewhere. In addition Hitler felt Spain would be a burden as it would be dependent on Germany for help.
    According to Franco's own autobiography, he also met privately with Mussolini in Bordighera, Italy on February 12, 1941 at Hitler's request.
    More Details Hide Details Mussolini affected not to be interested in Franco's help due to the defeats his forces had suffered in North Africa and the Balkans, and he even told Franco that he wished he could find any way to leave the war.
  • 1940
    Age 47
    Yet, after the Fall of France in June 1940, Spain did adopt a pro-Axis non-belligerency stance (for example, he allowed German and Italian ships and U-boats to use Spanish naval facilities) before returning to a more neutral position in the autumn of 1943 when the tide of the war had turned decisively against the Axis Powers.
    More Details Hide Details Franco seriously considered blocking allied access to the Mediterranean Sea by invading British-controlled Gibraltar, but he abandoned the idea after learning that the plan would have likely failed due to Gibraltar being too heavily defended, and it would have given the British the grounds to declare war on Spain and thus give the UK and its allies an excellent opportunity to take both the Canary Islands and Spanish Morocco, as well as possibly invade mainland Spain itself. Franco was aware that his air force would not be able to protect Spanish cities from attacks by the British Royal Air Force, and the British Royal Navy would be able to blockade Spain to prevent imports of crucial materials such as oil. Spain depended on oil imports from the United States, which were almost certain to be cut off if Spain formally joined the Axis.
    On October 23, 1940, Hitler and Franco met in Hendaye in France to discuss the possibility of Spain's entry on the side of the Axis.
    More Details Hide Details However, Franco's demands, including supplies of food and fuel, as well as Spanish control of Gibraltar and French North Africa, proved too much for Hitler. At the time Hitler did not want to risk damaging his relations with the new Vichy French government. (An oft-cited remark attributed to Hitler is that the German leader said that he would rather have some of his own teeth extracted than to have to personally deal further with Franco.) Franco had received important support from Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during the Spanish Civil War. He described Spain as part of the Axis in official documents, while offering various kinds of support to Italy and Germany. He allowed Spanish soldiers to volunteer to fight in the German Army against the USSR (the Blue Division), but forbade Spaniards to fight in the West against the democracies. Franco's common ground with Hitler was particularly weakened by Hitler's propagation of Nazi mysticism and his attempts to manipulate Christianity, which went against Franco's fervent commitment to defending Christianity and Catholicism. Contributing to the disagreement was an ongoing dispute over German mining rights in Spain. Some historians argue that Franco made demands he knew Hitler would not accede to in order to stay out of the war. (German resistance leader Wilhelm Canaris had secretly briefed Franco on which demands would be found excessive.) Other historians argue that Franco, as the leader of a destroyed and bankrupt country in chaos following a brutal three-year civil war, simply had little to offer the Axis.
    The 1940 shooting of the president of the Catalan government, Lluís Companys, was one of the most notable cases of this early suppression of opponents and dissenters. According to Gabriel Jackson, the number of victims of the "White Terror" (executions and hunger or illness in prisons) only between 1939 and 1943 was 200,000.
    More Details Hide Details Leftists suffered a high death toll. The Spanish intelligentsia and atheists were also targeted for liquidation, as well as military and government figures who had remained loyal to the Madrid government during the civil war. In his history of the Spanish Civil War, Antony Beevor "reckons Franco's ensuing 'white terror' claimed 200,000 lives. The 'red terror' had already killed 38,000." Julius Ruiz concludes that "although the figures remain disputed, a minimum of 37,843 executions were carried out in the Republican zone with a maximum of 150,000 executions (including 50,000 after the war) in Nationalist Spain." Despite the official end of the war, guerrilla resistance to Franco (known as "the maquis") was widespread in many mountainous regions, and continued well into the 1950s. In 1944, a group of republican veterans, which also fought in the French resistance against the Nazis, invaded the Val d'Aran in northwest Catalonia, but they were quickly defeated.
  • 1939
    Age 46
    The first decade of Franco's rule following the end of the Civil War in 1939 saw continued oppression and the killing of an undetermined number of political opponents.
    More Details Hide Details Estimation is difficult and controversial, but the number of people killed 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 by 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.
    On March 28, 1939, with the help of pro-Franco forces inside the city (the "fifth column" General Mola had mentioned in propaganda broadcasts in 1936), Madrid fell to the Nationalists.
    More Details Hide Details The next day, Valencia, which had held out under the guns of the Nationalists for close to two years, also surrendered. Victory was proclaimed on April 1, 1939, when the last of the Republican forces surrendered. On the same day, Franco placed his sword upon the altar of a church and in a vow, promised that he would never again take up his sword unless Spain itself was threatened with invasion. At least 70,000 people were executed during the civil war. Franco's victory was followed by thousands of summary executions (from 15,000 to 25,000 people) and imprisonments, while many were put to forced labour, building railways, drying out swamps, digging canals (La Corchuela, the Canal of the Bajo Guadalquivir), construction of the Valle de los Caídos monument, etc.
    In 1939 the fascist style heavily predominated, with ritualistic invocations of "Franco, Franco, Franco."
    More Details Hide Details The Falangists' hymn, Cara al Sol, became the semi-national anthem of Franco's not-yet-established regime. This new political formation appeased the pro-Nazi Falangists while tempering them with the anti-German Carlists. Franco's brother-in-law Ramón Serrano Súñer, who was his main political advisor, was able to turn the various parties under Franco against each other to absorb a series of political confrontations against Franco himself. Franco expelled the original leading members of both the Carlists (Manuel Fal Condé) and the Falangists (Manuel Hedilla) to secure his political future. Franco also appeased the Carlists by exploiting the Republicans' anti-clericalism in his propaganda, in particular concerning the "Martyrs of the war". While the loyalist forces presented the war as a struggle to defend the Republic against Fascism, Franco depicted himself as the defender of "Catholic Spain" against "atheist Communism." Before the fall of Catalonia in February 1939, the Prime Minister of Spain Juan Negrín unsuccessfully proposed, in the meeting of the Cortes in Figueres, capitulation with the sole condition of respecting the lives of the vanquished. Negrín was ultimately deposed by Colonel Segismundo Casado, later joined by José Miaja.
  • 1937
    Age 44
    On April 19, 1937, Franco managed to fuse the ideologically incompatible national-syndicalist Falange ("Phalanx", a fascist Spanish political party founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera) and the Carlist monarchist parties into one party under his rule, dubbed Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (FET y de las JONS), which became the only legal party in 1939.
    More Details Hide Details Unlike some other fascist movements, the Falangists did develop an official program, the Twenty-Seven Points. These exhibited all the main points of fascistic doctrine. Franco made himself jefe nacional (National Chief) of the new FET (Falange Española Tradicionalista; Traditionalist Spanish Phalanx) with a secretary, Junta Political and National Council to be named subsequently by himself. Five days later (April 24) the raised-arm Fascist salute of the Falange was made the official salute of the Nationalist regime.
    From 1937 to 1948 the Franco regime was doctrinally at least a semi-fascist state, the categorical fascism of the FET (Falange Española Tradicionalista) as state party being mitigated above all by the confessional nature of the regime—creating the strange hybrid known to some as clerical fascism and to Amando de Miguel as "fascismo frailuno" (friar fascism).
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  • 1936
    Age 43
    Already proclaimed Generalísimo of the Nationalists and Jefe del Estado (Head of State) in October 1936, he thereafter assumed the official title of "Su Excelencia el Jefe de Estado" ("His Excellency the Head of State").
    More Details Hide Details However, 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").
    Franco personally guided military operations from this time until the end of the war. After the failed assault on Madrid in November 1936, Franco settled on a piecemeal approach to winning the war, rather than bold maneuvering.
    More Details Hide Details As with his decision to relieve the garrison at Toledo, this approach has been subject of some debate; some of his decisions, such as in June 1938 when he preferred to head for Valencia instead of Catalonia, remain particularly controversial from a military viewpoint. However, Valencia, Castellon and Alicante saw the last Republican troops defeated by Franco. Although both Germany and Italy provided military support to Franco, the degree of influence of both powers on his direction of the war seems to have been very limited. Nevertheless, the Italian troops, despite not being always effective, were present in most of the large operations in large numbers, while the German aircraft helped the Nationalist air force dominate the skies for most of the war. António de Oliveira Salazar's Portugal also openly assisted the Nationalists from the start, contributing some 20,000 troops.
    On October 1, 1936, in Burgos, Franco was publicly proclaimed as Generalísimo of the National army and Jefe del Estado (Head of State). When Mola was killed in another air accident a year later (which some believe was an assassination) (June 2, 1937), no military leader was left from those who organised the conspiracy against the Republic between 1933 and 1935.
    More Details Hide Details
    Following July 18, 1936 pronunciamiento, Franco assumed the leadership of the 30,000 soldiers of the Spanish Army of Africa.
    More Details Hide Details The first days of the insurgency were marked with a serious need to secure control over the Spanish Moroccan Protectorate. On one side, Franco had to win the support of the natives and their (nominal) authorities, and, on the other, had to ensure his control over the army. His method was the summary execution of some 200 senior officers loyal to the Republic (one of them his own cousin). His loyal bodyguard was shot by Manuel Blanco. Franco's first problem was how to move his troops to the Iberian Peninsula, since most units of the Navy had remained in control of the Republic and were blocking the Strait of Gibraltar. He requested help from Benito Mussolini, who responded with an unconditional offer of arms and planes; in Germany Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the Abwehr military intelligence, persuaded Hitler to support the Nationalists. From July 20 onward Franco was able, with a small group of 22 mainly German Junkers Ju 52 aircraft, to initiate an air bridge to Seville, where his troops helped to ensure the rebel control of the city. Through representatives, he started to negotiate with the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy for more military support, and above all for more aircraft. Negotiations were successful with the last two on July 25 and aircraft began to arrive in Tetouan on August 2. On August 5 Franco was able to break the blockade with the newly arrived air support, successfully deploying a ship convoy with some 2,000 soldiers.
    The Spanish Civil War began in July 1936 and officially ended with Franco's victory in April 1939, leaving 190,000 to 500,000 dead.
    More Details Hide Details Despite the Non-Intervention Agreement of August 1936, the war was marked by foreign intervention on behalf of both sides, leading to international repercussions. The nationalist side was supported by Fascist Italy, which sent the Corpo Truppe Volontarie, and later by Nazi Germany, which assisted with the Condor Legion. They were opposed by the Soviet Union and communist, socialists and anarchists within Spain. The United Kingdom and France strictly adhered to the arms embargo, provoking dissensions within the French Popular Front coalition led by Léon Blum, but the Republican side was nonetheless supported by the Soviet Union and volunteers fighting in the International Brigades (see for example Ken Loach's Land and Freedom). Because Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin used the war as a testing ground for modern warfare, some historians, such as Ernst Nolte, have considered the Spanish Civil War, along with World War II, part of a European Civil War lasting from 1936 to 1945 and characterised mainly as a left/right ideological conflict. This interpretation has not found acceptance among most historians, who consider the Spanish Civil War and Second World War to be two distinct conflicts. The point still stands with some legitimacy, as Communism was on the rise in France, Spain, and Italy at this time. Among other things, they point to the political heterogeneity on both sides (See Spanish Civil War: other factions) and criticise a monolithic interpretation which overlooks the local nuances of Spanish history.
    Outwardly Franco maintained an ambiguous attitude almost until July. On June 23, 1936, he wrote to the head of the government, Casares Quiroga, offering to quell the discontent in the Spanish Republican Army, but received no reply.
    More Details Hide Details The other rebels were determined to go ahead con Paquito o sin Paquito (with Paquito or without Paquito; Paquito being a diminutive of Paco, which in turn is short for Francisco), as it was put by José Sanjurjo, the honorary leader of the military uprising. After various postponements, July 18 was fixed as the date of the uprising. The situation reached a point of no return and, as presented to Franco by Mola, the coup was unavoidable and he had to choose a side. He decided to join the rebels and was given the task of commanding the Army of Africa. A privately owned DH 89 De Havilland Dragon Rapide, flown by two British pilots, Cecil Bebb and Hugh Pollard, was chartered in England on July 11 to take Franco to Africa. The assassination of the right-wing opposition leader José Calvo Sotelo by government police troops, possibly in retaliation for the murder of José Castillo, precipitated the uprising. On July 17 one day earlier than planned, the African Army rebelled, detaining their commanders. On July 18, Franco published a manifesto and left for Africa, where he arrived the next day to take command.
  • 1935
    Age 42
    Some time after these events, Franco was briefly commander-in-chief of the Army of Africa (from February 15 onwards), and from May 19, 1935, on, Chief of the General Staff.
    More Details Hide Details After the ruling centre-right coalition collapsed amid the Straperlo corruption scandal, new elections were scheduled. Two wide coalitions formed: the Popular Front on the left, ranging from Republican Union Party to Communists, and the Frente Nacional on the right, ranging from the centre radicals to the conservative Carlists. On February 16, 1936, the left won by a narrow margin. Growing political bitterness surfaced again. The government and its supporters, the Popular Front, had launched a campaign against the Opposition whom they accused of plotting against the Republic. According to the right-wing opposition, the real enemies of the Republic were not on the Right but on the Left; Spain was in imminent danger of falling under a "Communist dictatorship", and therefore by fighting the democratically elected Popular Front, they were merely doing their duty in defense of law and order and of the freedom and the fundamental rights of the Spanish people.
  • 1933
    Age 40
    As a side result of Azaña's military reform, in January 1933, Franco was relegated from the first to the 24th in the list of brigadiers; the same year, on February 17, he was given the military command of the Balearic Islands: a post above his rank, but Franco was still angered that he was purposely stuck in the positions he didn't want to be, and this was quite common for the Conservative Officers to be moved or demoted.
    More Details Hide Details New elections held in October 1933 resulted in a centre-right majority. In opposition to this government, a revolutionary communist/anarchist movement broke out on October 5, 1934. This uprising was rapidly quelled in most of the country, but gained a stronghold in Asturias, with the support of the miners' unions. Franco, already General of Division and aide to the war minister, Diego Hidalgo, was put in command of the operations directed to suppress the insurgency. Troops of the Spanish Army of Africa carried this out, with General Eduardo López Ochoa as commander in the field. After two weeks of heavy fighting (and a death toll estimated between 1,200 and 2,000), the rebellion was suppressed. The insurgency in Asturias (see Asturian miners' strike of 1934) sharpened the antagonism between Left and Right. Franco and López Ochoa (who, prior to the campaign in Asturias, had been seen as a left-leaning officer) emerged as officers prepared to use 'troops against Spanish civilians as if they were a foreign enemy'. Franco described the rebellion to a journalist in Oviedo as, 'a frontier war and its fronts are socialism, communism and whatever attacks civilisation in order to replace it with barbarism.' Though the colonial units sent to the north by the government at Franco's recommendation consisted of the Spanish Foreign Legion and the Moroccan Regulares Indigenas, the right wing press portrayed the Asturian rebels as lackeys of a foreign Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1932
    Age 39
    On February 5, 1932, he was given a command in A Coruña.
    More Details Hide Details Franco avoided involvement in José Sanjurjo's attempted coup that year, and even wrote a hostile letter to Sanjurjo expressing his anger over the attempt.
  • 1931
    Age 38
    With the fall of the monarchy in 1931, Franco did not take any notable stand.
    More Details Hide Details But the closing of the Academy in June by War Minister Manuel Azaña provoked his first clash with the Spanish Republic. Azaña found Franco's farewell speech to the cadets insulting. Franco stressed in his speech the Republic's need for discipline and respect. For six months Franco was without a post and under surveillance. Franco was a subscriber to the journal of Acción Española, a monarchist organisation, and a firm believer in the Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik conspiracy or contubernio (filthy cohabitation)—'one of Franco's favourite words'; a conspiracy in which Jews, Freemasons, Communists, and other leftists alike allegedly sought the destruction of Christian Europe, with Spain the principal target.
    Franco was removed as Director of the Zaragoza Military Academy in 1931; about 95% of his former Zaragoza cadets later came to side with him in the Civil War.
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  • 1928
    Age 35
    In 1928 Franco was appointed director of the newly created General Military Academy of Zaragoza, a new college for all army cadets, replacing the former separate institutions for young men seeking to become officers in infantry, cavalry, artillery, and other branches of the army.
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  • 1926
    Age 33
    Franco's recognition eventually caught up with him and he was promoted to brigadier general on February 3, 1926.
    More Details Hide Details This made him the youngest general in Spain, and perhaps the youngest general of Europe.
  • 1925
    Age 32
    Promoted to colonel, Franco led the first wave of troops ashore at Al Hoceima in 1925.
    More Details Hide Details This landing in the heartland of Abd el-Krim's tribe, combined with the French invasion from the south, spelled the beginning of the end for the short-lived Republic of the Rif.
  • 1923
    Age 30
    In 1923, by now a lieutenant colonel, he was made commander of the Legion.
    More Details Hide Details That year, he married María del Carmen Polo y Martínez-Valdès. Three years later the couple had a daughter, María del Carmen. Following his honeymoon Franco was summoned to Madrid to be presented to King Alfonso XIII. This and other occasions of royal attention would mark him during the Republic as a monarchical officer.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1917
    Age 24
    From 1917 to 1920, he served in Spain. In 1920, Lieutenant Colonel José Millán Astray, a histrionic but charismatic officer, founded the Spanish Foreign Legion, on similar lines to the French Foreign Legion.
    More Details Hide Details Franco became the Legion's second-in-command and returned to Africa. On July 24, 1921, the poorly commanded and overextended Spanish Army suffered a crushing defeat at Annual from Rif tribesmen led by the Abd el-Krim brothers. The Legion and supporting units relieved the Spanish enclave of Melilla after a three-day forced march led by Franco.
    With that he was promoted to major at the end of February 1917.
    More Details Hide Details This made him the youngest major in the Spanish army.
  • 1916
    Age 23
    In 1916, aged 23 and already a captain, he was shot by enemy machine gun fire.
    More Details Hide Details He was badly wounded in the abdomen, specifically the liver, in a skirmish at El Biutz and possibly lost a testicle. The physicians of the battle later concluded that his intestines were spared because he inhaled the moment he was shot. His survival marked him permanently in the eyes of the native troops as a man of baraka (good luck). He was recommended for Spain's highest honour for gallantry, the coveted Cruz Laureada de San Fernando, but instead received the Cross of Maria Cristina, First Class.
  • 1913
    Age 20
    In 1913, Franco transferred into the newly formed regulares: Moroccan colonial troops with Spanish officers, who acted as shock troops.
    More Details Hide Details This transfer into a perilous role may have been decided because Franco failed to win the hand of his first love, Sofía Subirán. (The letters between the two were found and she was questioned by journalists.)
  • TEENAGE
  • 1907
    Age 14
    In 1907, he entered the Infantry Academy in Toledo, graduating in 1910 as a lieutenant.
    More Details Hide Details Two years later, he obtained a commission to Morocco. Spanish efforts to occupy their new African protectorate provoked the protracted Rif War (from 1909 to 1927) with native Moroccans. Their tactics resulted in heavy losses among Spanish military officers, and also provided an opportunity to earn promotion through merit. It was said that officers would receive either la caja o la faja (a coffin or a general's sash). Franco quickly gained a reputation as a good officer.
  • 1906
    Age 13
    Francisco was to follow his father into the Navy, but as a result of the Spanish–American War the country lost much of its navy as well as most of its colonies. Not needing any more officers, the Naval Academy admitted no new entrants from 1906 to 1913.
    More Details Hide Details To his father's chagrin, Francisco decided to try the Spanish Army.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1892
    Born
    Franco was born at half past noon on December 4, 1892, at 108 Calle Frutos Saavedra in Ferrol, Galicia.
    More Details Hide Details He was baptised thirteen days later at the military church of San Francisco, with the baptismal name Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo; Francisco for his paternal grandfather, Paulino for his godfather, Hermenegildo for his maternal grandmother and godmother, and Teódulo for the saint day of his birth. His father was of Andalusian ancestry. After relocating to Galicia, the family was strongly involved in the Spanish Navy, and over the span of two centuries produced naval officers for six uninterrupted generations, down to Franco's father Nicolás Franco y Salgado Araújo (November 22, 1855 – February 22, 1942). His mother was María del Pilar Bahamonde y Pardo de Andrade (1865 – February 28, 1934) and she was an upper middle-class Roman Catholic. His parents married in 1890. The young Franco spent much of his childhood with his two brothers, Nicolás (Ferrol, 1891–1977), later a naval officer and diplomat who in time was married to María Isabel Pascual del Pobil y Ravello, and Ramón, and his two sisters, María del Pilar (Ferrol, 1894 – Madrid, 1989), later wife of Alonso Jaráiz y Jeréz, and María de la Paz (Ferrol, 1899 – Ferrol, 1903).
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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