Francoist Spain

Francoist Spain refers to a period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975 when Spain was under the authoritarian dictatorship of Francisco Franco. During that time the country was known as the Spanish State (Spanish: Estado Español).

The regime was formed on 1 October 1936 by Francisco Franco and the National Defense Committee (a faction of the Spanish army rebelling against the Republic). The regime was entrenched upon the victory in the Spanish Civil War, which the regime called the Guerra de Liberación Nacional, of the rebel Nacionales coalition. Besides the internal support, Franco's rebellion had been backed from abroad by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, while the Second Spanish Republic was backed by the Stalinist Soviet Union and Mexico.

At the end of the Spanish Civil War, according to the calculations of the regime, there were more than 270,000 men and women held in the regime's prisons and some 500,000 fled into exile. Large numbers of those captured were returned to Spain or interned in Nazi concentration camps as stateless enemies. Between six and seven thousand exiles from Spain died in Mauthausen. It has been estimated that more than 200,000 Spaniards died in the first years of the dictatorship, from 1940–42, as a result of political repression, hunger and disease related to the conflict.

The Nacionales established a single party authoritarian state under the undisputed leadership of Franco. Though Spain was officially neutral through World War Two, it did send troops known as the Blue Division to Russia to aid the Germans, and its pro-Axis stance led to it being isolated after the collapse of the Axis powers. This changed with the new Cold War that quickly followed the end of hostilities in 1945, in the face of which Franco's strong anti-communism naturally tilted its régime to ally with the United States, and provided ideal ground for the continuation of Franco's anti-communist regime. Independent political parties and trade unions were banned throughout the duration of the dictatorship.

A decree of Economic Stabilisation was introduced in 1959, opening the way for massive foreign investment - " a watershed in post-war economic, social and ideological normalisation leading to extraordinarily rapid economic growth", that marked Spain's "participation in the Europe-wide post-war economic normality centred on mass consumption and consensus, in contrast to the concurrent reality of the Soviet bloc." Official discourse on the Civil War had shifted also in this time, from the crusade for the nation against a foreign invasion, an anti-Spain, towards a more conciliatory construction of the conflict as a fratricidal war, the mutual killing of brothers.

Spain was declared a kingdom in 1947, but no monarch was designated. Franco reserved for himself the right to name the person to be king, and deliberately delayed the selection due to political considerations. The selection finally came in 1969, with the designation of Juan Carlos de Borbón as Franco's official successor.

With the death of Franco on 20 November 1975, Juan Carlos became the King of Spain. He immediately began the process of a transition to democracy, ending with Spain becoming a constitutional monarchy articulated by a parliamentary democracy.

Read more about Francoist Spain:  Etymology and Usage, History, Government, Colonial Empire and Decolonization, Francoism, Economic Policy, Legacy

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