Francisco Franco Bahamonde
(1892-1975)

Born in Ferrol, Spain the second son of a middle class navy couple, Franco entered the esteemed military academy in Toledo at the age of 14. Upon graduation three years later he immediately volunteered for active service in the Spanish colony of Morocco, winning both the respect of his men and a promotion as the youngest captain in the Spanish army. His rise continued when he became commander of the Foreign Legion, then Brigadier General by age 34 and finally named as director of the newly formed General Military Academy.

Dramatic events in 1931 were to forever change the life of Franco as in that year Spain's King Alfonso XIII abdicated the throne and went into exile. The new Republican government, dominated by the left, rightly saw the military as a threat and dissolved the Academy, sending the young general to the backwaters of the Balearic Islands. The next three years of political to and froing in Spain saw him agian promoted (under the brief conservative rule of 1933-4) and again sidelined (after the leftist Popular Front victory at the polls in 1936.) Here he found himself even further from the country, in the post of governor of the Canary Islands. But this was not to last for long. Revoultion was alreadty in the minds of the armed forces and when a coup was announced against the Popular Front in July 1936 Franco knew which side he had to be on. Flying to Morocco he took control of Impreial troops and headed back to Iberia. A military junta forms a nationslist government (recognised immediately by fascist Italy and Germany) and Franco is named generalissimo. Three further years of internicine war follow until the war ends - with a nationalist victory - on April 1st 1939.

The Nuevo Estado is set up along the basic lines of fascism, though Spain remained neutral in the world War that engulfs Europe only five months later. Despite the eventual destruction throughout the rest of the continent Spain remains a fascist state following WW II and though initially shunned by the new order Franco gradually manages a rehabilitaion through concordes with The Vatican, an aid deal with the United States and belated (1955) admission into the United Nations. The fascists loosed their grip on spain, albeit very very slowly through the '50s and '60s, with the proclaimation in 1969 of King Juan Carlos, the former King's grandson, as a successor to Franco. Illness forced Franco's resignation as premier in 1973 (though he remained head of state and head of the armed forces) while 1974 saw countrywide strikes and university protests sweep the country. His death in November the following year therefore lead both to widespread relief and to radical change, with the new King rapidly overturning the machinery of the fascist state and within three years Spain held a democratic election ushering in the current period of pluralist rule.

Length of Rule - Twenty Seven years

Our regime is based on bayonets and blood, not on hypocritical elections

Francisco Franco

Links

The Morgue

Books

The Dark Valley

Piers Brendon

Franco

Paul Preston

The Spanish Civil War

Paul Preston

Homage to Catalonia

George Orwell

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