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Transcript of Francisco Franco
By: Bianca Petrescu
Background of Country - Spain
In the 1920s, Spain was divided between supporters of the traditional monarchy and those who wished for a modern, republican form of government.
During the 1930s Spain suffered from increasing political turmoil.
Spain’s monarchy fell in 1931, and elections were held in 1933; a center-right majority won.
When the Republicans came to power in 1931, they closed the General Military Academy that Franco had headed since 1928.
However, a revolutionary movement erupted in opposition to the new government in the fall of 1934.
In the principality of Asturias, where the uprising was particularly violent, Franco was given the task of suppressing the insurgency. His efforts were successful, and he rose to a series of leading military posts.
Early / Formative Years
He was born in 1892 in El Ferrol, a small port city in northwestern Spain, to a family with a long tradition of naval service.
In 1907, Franco joined the Toledo military academy.
His first active service was in the savage Spanish colonial wars in Morocco, where his determination and discipline led to rapid promotion.
In 1922, he led Spain’s foreign legion.
By 1925 he had achieved the rank of brigadier general.
Rise to Power
Francisco Franco came to power by leading a military coup against a democratic government of the Spanish Republic in 1936.
Then a civil war happened.
Because he did not get any help from other democratic governments, Franco got some help from Soviet Russia and also from a large number of foreign volunteers.
Franco's Nationalists got a lot more military assistance from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
In 1939 Franco officially became the dictator of Spain and in 1947 the law passed that he was head of state for life.
Hitler helped him rise to power; he probably could not have done it on his own.
Franco’s authoritarian administration was considered by many as the lone survivor of the brutal fascist governments of the World War II era.
"One thing that I am sure of, and which I can answer truthfully, is that whatever the contingencies that may arise here, wherever I am there will be no Communism." As stated in the quote above he obviously was completely against Communism. Franco's strong anti-Communism made him popular with the United States and in 1950 Spain was allowed to join the United Nations.
Franco relaxed his authoritarian regime somewhat in the 1950s, but unrest in the 1960s led to renewed repression.
Franco’s father was an officer in the Spanish Naval Administrative Corps, and his mother was a conservative, upper-middle-class Roman Catholic. The previous four generations of Franco’s family, and his elder brother, were naval officers, and Franco himself seemed destined to follow that path.
Motivation for ruling a monarchy: Franco issued a constitution in 1947 which declared Spain to be a monarchy with himself as head of state possessing the power to name his successor.
When World War II erupted, Franco openly sided with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
He pledged his loyalty to Hitler but then refused to bring Spain into the war because he believed his cause was better served in "nonbelligerency" (not neutrality).
Exchange with other countries, however, led many toward the secularism and cultural modernism of the rest of Europe.
By the time of Franco's death, the old rural, conservative, Catholic society that had brought him to power was largely gone.
Beliefs / Quotes
"In war the heart must be sacrificed." Francisco Franco
"Above all, Franco was a professional soldier, dedicated to the maintenance of discipline and order, with a minimal interest in constitutional forms and a paternalistic conception of his patriotic duty." Brian Crozier
Death / Whereabouts Today
Franco's health declined during the 1960s.
In 1969 he designated Prince Juan Carlos, grandson of Spain's former king, Alfonso XIII, as his official successor.
In July 1974, Franco suffered an attack of thrombophlebitis and passed away.
After Franco's death in Madrid, Juan Carlos became king.
He expected Juan Carlos would be more malleable than his father Don Juan (the pretender to the Spanish throne). However, Franco's death instead paved the way for Spain's growing democratization.
"The amazing reality for European integration is that just 20 years after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, Spain has become a mature, stable democracy in which power changes hands via ballot boxes and not bullets."
Franco's Nazi Haven: An eleven page document recently discovered in the archives of Spain's Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores lists more than one hundred active Nazis provided with asylum and new identities at the end of the Second World War. This merely confirms Spain's fervently pro-Axis role during the war.
Thank you for your time!