The Spanish Civil War – Franco and the Nationalists (4/6) 2

Franco and NazisAt the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 came exile, prison, and firing squads for the losers and glory for the winners. Franco ordered the construction of el Valle de los Caidos (The Valley of the Fallen) a Pharaonic monument–actually a funeral crypt–to the nationalist dead. The gigantic tomb was chiseled out of a mountain by Republican slave laborers. Today it remains a pilgrimage destination for Spanish Fascists.

This historical review of the Spanish nationalists begins with Franco himself–shown here flirting with the Nazis in World War II–who grew up in the shadow of the collapse of the Spanish empire: notably Cuba and the Philippines. All that was left was Spanish Morocco, which the Spanish army converted into a military stronghold. It was from there he would move his troops to the peninsula to join the 1936 Fascist uprising against the elected Republican government. Franco enjoyed an unprecedented military career. He was Spain’s youngest captain, major, colonel and, at the age of 33, general. At 44 he became el caudillo (the chief), absolute dictator and head of the Spanish state until his death of natural causes in 1975.

The Franco regime took it upon itself to wind the clock back on all the progressive legislation enacted by the Republicans. Questions of law and order were returned to the Guardia Civil militarized police, the land seized by peasants during the war was returned to the landowners and the jails were filled with prisoners guilty of crimes like  being school teachers or civil servants during the Republic. It was not until foreign tourism arrived in the 60s that this noose of public order was loosened.

This is the link to Chapter 4 of The Spanish Civil War:

Video courtesy of Granada Television, UK, 1983



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