Francisco Franco : biography
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde ( 4 December 189220 November 1975) was a Spanish military leader who ruled as the dictator of Spain from 1936 until his death. He came to power during the Spanish Civil War while serving as the Generalísimo of the Nationalist faction. Franco led the Nationalists to victory in the civil war and went on to become the longest-ruling dictator in European history.
Franco was from a military background. He became a highly decorated soldier and won rapid promotions in the army. He rose to prominence during the 1920s as a commander in the Spanish Legion and became the youngest general in Europe. He was then appointed in charge of Spain’s main military academy at Zaragoza. However, with the fall of the Spanish monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931, Franco, as a conservative and monarchist officer, was marginalized from power by the Republican government. Franco managed to return to prominence with the electoral victory of the conservatives in 1933. He was appointed Chief of Staff of the military and suppressed the anarchist uprising of 1934. In 1936, Franco and a group of Spanish military leaders conspired to overthrow the Popular Front–led Republican government. The rebellion was only half successful and evolved into a civil war, during which Franco emerged as the leader of the Nationalists. He was able to secure the support of Italy and Germany while integrating the many heterogeneous rebel factions into the Movimiento Nacional. After winning the civil war, Franco had the Spanish Parliament dissolved. He then established a dictatorship and was de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain. His official posts were that of Head of State and Head of Government as the Caudillo (The Leader) and Prime Minister respectively.
Franco went on to rule Spain for nearly forty years. He was able to hold on to power by playing off the diverse political factions of the state against one another and through his control over the armed forces while firmly repressing enemies. This included the systematic suppression of dissident views through censorship and coercion, the imprisonment of ideological enemies in concentration camps, the implementation of forced labour in prisons, and the use of the death penalty and heavy prison sentences as deterrents for the opponents of the regime.Sinova, J. La censura de prensa durante el franquismo/ The Media Censorship During Franco Regime. Random House Mondadori. ISBN 84-8346-134-X.Lázaro, A. James Joyce’s encounters with Spanish censorship, 1939–1966. Joyce Studies Annual, 1 January 2001.Rodrigo, J. Cautivos: Campos de concentración en la España franquista, 1936–1947, Editorial Crítica.Gastón Aguas, J. M. & Mendiola Gonzalo, F. (eds.) "Los trabajos forzados en la dictadura franquista: Bortxazko lanak diktadura frankistan." ISBN 978-84-611-8354-8Duva, J. Octavio Alberola, jefe de los libertarios ajusticiados en 1963, regresa a España para defender su inocencia Diario El País, 9 November 1998 Pragmatism for the purpose of maintaining stability characterised Franco’s economic and foreign policies. Despite his pro-Axis leanings during World War II, Franco orchestrated a rapprochement with the Western democracies, concluding economic and defense agreements with the United States during the Cold War against Communism. He embraced innovations in liberal economics despite his distrust of liberalism, which contributed to the Spanish Miracle, a long run of record growth that has been described as "the time of the greatest sustained economic development and general improvement in living standards in all of Spanish history." Socially, Franco was a conservative and championed the cause of Catholicism. The consistent points of his policies, termed as Francoism had at its core authoritarianism, nationalism, integralism, conservatism, and a frontal rejection of anticlericalism and leftist politics.Unearthing Franco’s Legacy, p 31, and Paul Preston, "The Theorists of extermination" essay in Unearthing Franco’s Legacy, pp42-67 University of Notre Dame Press ISBN 0-268-03268-8 Others have described him as a reactionary, who led the counter-revolutionary movement in Spain.