Francisco Franco Essay

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Francisco Franco was a general and authoritarian leader, who governed Spain from 1939 to 1975. He came to power shortly after the start of the Spanish Civil War. In that war, he led the rebel Nationalist Army to victory over the Loyalist forces. After the war ended in 1939, Franco held complete control of Spain. His regime was similar to a Fascist dictatorship. He carried out the functions of chief of state, prime minister, commander in chief, and leader of the Falange, the only permitted political party. He adopted the title of El Caudillo, the leader. In the early years of his regime, he tried to eliminate all opposition.

He later eased some restrictions.

Francisco Franco Bahamonde was born on December 4, 1892, in El
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Tens of thousands of

executions during the war and in the years immediately following it guaranteed

the stability of Franco's authoritarian regime.

Franco kept Spain officially neutral during World War II, but after the

Axis defeat he was labeled the last of the Fascist dictators and ostracized by

the United Nations. As the Cold War gained in intensity, foreign opposition to

Franco lessened because he was against Communism. In 1953, the signing of a

military assistance pact with the United States marked the return of Spain to

international society. Franco permitted the United States to build air and naval

bases in Spain in exchange for economic and military aid. This aid helped bring

about industrial expansion. Spain's living standard rose thanks to Franco, but it

remained as one of the lowest in Western Europe.

Franco's regime became somewhat more liberal during the 1950s and

1960s. It depended for support not on the Falange, renamed the National Movement, but on a range of political families running from those on the center right to extreme reactionaries. Franco balanced off these groups against one another, retaining for himself a position as arbiter above the affairs of day-to-day politics. Helped along by the general prosperity of Europe, Spain enjoyed rapid economic growth in the 1960's. However, in the early 1960's, opposition to Franco became more outspoken. Miners and other
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