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Francisco Franco

Generalissimo Francisco Franco (1892-1975) was dictator of Spain from 1939 until his death. He came to power during the Spanish Civil War and was a close ally of Benito Mussolini.

Probably not related to Dave or James.

See also The Franco Regime and Spanish Civil War.

Tropes associated with Franco

  • Batman Gambit: Franco was approached by Hitler and Mussolini to join their Axis in World War Two. Franco agreed, on the condition that, after the war, Spain received basically all of North Africa that didn't already belong to Italy, as well as the Philippines, then conquered by Japan. This condition was too much for Mussolini and Hirohito, so Spain remained neutral (if Axis-leaning). On one hand, this can be seen as an example of Franco's ego. On the other hand, it is very possible that Franco deliberately overreached during negotiations in order to stay out of the war, while remaining on better terms with the Axis than he would have if he had outright declined an alliance.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Franco longed to revive the days of the old Spanish Empire. So much, in fact, that it was the reason he asked Hitler to grant him territories in North Africa (Morocco and the Western Sahara) and the only things allowed in Spain were Baroque architecture/art in general (because it was born in Spain), Catholicism, Heterosexuality (gay poets like Federico García Lorca were banned) and women had to actually go to school to get a degree as housekeepers. With so much going on, it's no wonder why many people half-jokingly say Spain did not come out of the Middle Ages until after 1975 (Franco's death).
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Was a very pious Catholic and received a lot of support from the Church.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Many of his opponents were sent to concentration camps, tortured, shot by firing squads or garrotted. Even in 1974, only a year before his death, he still ordered resistance leaders, among them Puig Antich, to be garrotted.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Franco said that he developed a taste for hunting because of the war.
  • The Generalissimo: A prime example.
  • Irony: Was shocked when Spain got rid of the monarchy in 1931 and made the country a republic, then took over power in 1936 with him as president until his death.
  • The Napoleon: Franco measured about 1.60 meters and was nicknamed "Paquito" (Little Pacon- "Paco" or "Pancho" is short for Francisco in Spanish) behind his back. During his early years, he was also called "cerillita" (little wax) because of his small stature and high-pitched voice.
  • Not Quite Dead: In 1975 Franco fell ill and for quite some weeks there was a lot of media buzz that he was dying. Spanish officials denied the story for a long time, but eventually they had to admit the undeniable. The rumors lead to a Running Gag in Saturday Night Live.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Towards the end of his rule, Franco sought to restore the Spanish royal family, then in exile. The rightful king, the Infante Juan, was too liberal to be trusted and Franco instead picked Juan's son Juan Carlos who was still young enough to be groomed into a Francoist mentality. It was a big mistake, because Juan Carlos wasn't the faithful puppet he supposed. After Franco died he restored Spain back into a constitutional monarchy.
  • Overly Long Name: His full name was Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco y Bahamonde, Salgado-Araujo y Pardo de Andrade.

Franco in fiction:

  • Franco was something of a film aficionado, and wrote the screenplay for Raza.
    • Note that, like Hitler, he only allowed films explicitly approved by himself. Underground, of course, was El Movimiento (eng: The Movement) led by Pedro Almodovar.
  • Given the penchant of the Spanish film industry for making movies about the Civil War, he's also appeared as a character in a few others, like Madregilda, Espérame en el Cielo (where the protagonist is his body double) or Dragon Rapide.
  • "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead" was one of the first Catch Phrases of Saturday Night Live. On "Weekend Update", Franco's continuing death was repeatedly reported as "news" by Chevy Chase. This was a parody of earlier real news coverage, which had constantly reported that Franco was still clinging onto life.
  • Franco was referenced in Fawlty Towers. In Basil the Rat Basil explains to the Barcelona-born waiter Manuel that a local "hamster" is in fact a rat. Under his breath, Cleese mutters: "You do have rats in Spain, or did Franco have 'em all shot?" In another episode, a hotel guest asks where the Generalissimo is (referring to Basil), to which Manuel incredulously replies, "In Madrid!"
  • French singer-songwriter and anarchist Leo Ferre wrote "Franco la muerte" (1964). In this highly confrontational song, he directly shouts at the dictator and lavishes him with contempt. Ferré refused to sing in Spain until Franco was dead.
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