Francisco FrancoFrancisco Franco Bahamonde}} (, ; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general and dictator who ruled over Spain from 1939 to 1975. During his rule Franco assumed the title ''Caudillo''. This period in Spanish history, from the Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War to Franco's death, is commonly known as Francoist Spain or the Francoist dictatorship.
Franco was born in Ferrol, Spain as the son of an upper-class family with strong traditional ties and several generations of high-ranking officers in the Spanish Navy. But due to the navy being crippled by the Spanish-American War Franco instead joined the Spanish Army as a cadet in the Toledo Infantry Academy in 1907, graduating in 1910. He would then go on to serve in Morocco, rapidly advancing through the ranks for bravery in combat and an assiduous attention to detail in logistics. In 1926 he became Brigadier General at age 33, the youngest General in all Europe, and two years later he became director of the General Military Academy in Zaragoza.
As a conservative and a monarchist, Franco regretted the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931. He was devastated by the closing of his beloved Academy, but nevertheless continued his service in the Republican Army. For a time he was even left without posting, but his career improved after the right wing CEDA and PRR won the 1933 election. In 1934 Franco led the brutal suppression of the uprising in Asturias, sharpening the antagonism between Left and Right in the country. In 1935 he became Chief of Army Staff, but when the leftist Popular Front won the 1936 election Franco was once again marginalized, being relieved of his position and relegated to the Canary Islands. When Calvo Sotelo, leader of the opposition, was murdered that summer it triggered a military coup which had been plotted since the election in February. Franco had initially kept his distance from the plot, but joined in the last minute with complete resolution. The coup failed and precipitated the Spanish Civil War.
Franco took control of the Army of Africa, which was air-lifted to Spain. With the death of the other leading generals, Franco became his faction's only leader and was appointed Generalissimo and Head of State in the autumn of 1936. By a Unification Decree in 1937 Franco merged all Nationalist parties into a single party, the FET y de las JONS. In 1939 the Nationalists had won the war, which had claimed almost half a million lives. The victory extended Franco's dictatorship over all of Spain, and it was followed by a period of repression of political opponents and dissenters. Between 30,000 and 50,000 people died by this repression, which employed forced labor, concentration camps, and executions. Combined with the Nationalist executions during the war, the death toll of the White Terror lies between 100,000 and 200,000.
Franco continued to rule Spain alone, with more power than any Spanish leader before or since, ruling almost exclusively by decree. He nurtured a cult of personality and the ''Movimiento Nacional'' became the only channel of participation in Spanish public life. During World War II he espoused neutrality as Spain's official wartime policy, but supported the Axis — whose members Italy and Germany had significantly supported him during the Civil War — in various ways. After the war, Spain was shunned and isolated by many other countries for nearly a decade.
By the 1950s the nature of Franco's regime changed from being openly totalitarian and severely repressive to an authoritarian system with limited pluralism. During the Cold War Franco became one of the world's foremost anti-Communist figures and his regime was assisted by the West, particularly the United States. Spain had suffered chronic economic depression in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but by abandoning autarky and pursuing economic liberalization Franco presided over the "Spanish miracle". Economic authority was delegated to the technocrats of the Opus Dei, leading to tremendous economic growth.
The Francoist dictatorship continued to soften over time and Luis Carrero Blanco became Franco's ''éminence grise'', controlling the day-to-day operations of the government: this increased when Franco began showing symptoms of Parkinson's disease in the 1960s. The introduction of the Organic Law in 1966 limited and clearly defined Franco's powers and officially created the office of Prime Minister. In 1973, beset with old age, sickness, and wishing to partially relinquish the burden of governing Spain, Franco resigned as Prime Minister and was succeeded by Carrero Blanco. However, Franco remained as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief. Franco died in 1975 at the age of 82 and was buried in the Valle de los Caídos. Through the power to appoint a king, granted to him by the 1947 Law of Succession to the Headship of the State, he restored the monarchy before his death, appointing Juan Carlos as his successor and King of Spain. Juan Carlos led the Spanish transition to democracy.
Franco remains a controversial figure in Spanish history and the nature of his dictatorship changed over time. His reign was marked by both brutal repression, with thousands killed, and economic prosperity, which greatly improved the quality of life in Spain. His dictatorial style proved very adaptable, which could introduce social and economic reform, and the only consistent points in Franco's long rule were above all authoritarianism, Spanish nationalism, National Catholicism, anti-Freemasonry, and anti-Communism. Provided by Wikipedia
Papel de la Transición, 6ª jornadas "Historia y fuentes orales " : La crisis del franquismo y la transición ; El protagonismo de los movimientos sociales
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