Useful Notes: The Franco Regime
Sam Tyler: This place is like Guantanamo Bay.
Give over, it's nothing like Spain.
Spain under the rule of Francisco Franco, from 1939 to 1975, following the Spanish Civil War
An era of cultural restrictions, human rights violations and for a time, international isolation (Spain was neutral
in World War II
, but was pro-Axis for much of it). To his supporters, however, he was seen as a strongman and "Defender of Christendom," if only because he fought against Communists during the Spanish Civil War. Most historians generally regard his regime and ideology as an ultraconservative authoritarianism more common with the dictatorships/juntas of South America than the Fascists and Nazis.
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.
Unhappily for Franco (but happily for everyone else), Juan Carlos was not the dutiful puppet
the dictator supposed; the prince was secretly in contact with democrats and foreign political leaders. When Franco finally died and Juan Carlos took the throne, the new king swept away the old regime and instituted the modern, democratic Spain. Not before dodging a suspiciously well-timed putsch attempt when he was in the nadir of his popularity
, attempted by some hard-lined Francoists
. Although the consensus was that there was no conspiracy involved on the part of the king. The theory is very much the minority opinion. Regardless, King Carlos went public reminding everyone he was the King, he wanted a proper constitutional monarchy beholden to the people and have the fascists crushed. He got those things in short order and by the end, even the head of the national Communist party was cheering, "God save the King!"
This just in
: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead
Although the transition to democracy was succesful, the regime left deep scars in the Spanish society that can still be felt up to this day. Specially since most of the people in power today were raised during Franco's rule.
Tropes for The Franco Regime include:
- Batman Gambit: Near the beginning of Word War II, Hitler and Mussolini attempted to convince Franco to join their Axis. 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.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Franco and Hitler didn't get on, but while Franco merely feared Hitler, Hitler loathed Franco. Franco and Hitler met at Hendaye in 1940, when Hitler had been used to bullying and humiliating foreign potentate after foreign potentate. Hitler entered Franco's train carriage thinking he could chivvy Franco into an alliance; unfortunately for him he had met someone as tenacious and stubborn as he was. He never got over the imagined humiliation, telling Mussolini he'd rather have his teeth pulled than negotiate with Spain again.