The Franco Regime
Although Franco technically left the Spanish thrown vacant and referred to himself as the Head of State, Spain was ultimately under his rule and he even had his face put on currency.
Although Franco technically left the Spanish thrown vacant and referred to himself as the Head of State, Spain was ultimately under his rule and he even had his face put on currency.

With support from Italy and Germany, General Francisco Franco led the Nationalists to victory in April of 1939. The end of the Civil War signified the standardization of all-out political revenge aimed at the defeated liberals rather than amicable reconciliation. Franco instated an oppressive dictatorship that allowed further post-war casualties and injustices.

Republicans were imprisoned and tortured by the hundreds of thousands. Moreover, some political figures and influences were simply executed. The political aftermath consisted of an all out abrogation of regional government bodies, whose important decisions were turned over to the highly centralized state administration. Castilian was the official language taught in schools which had been shifted from anti-clerical to full-on Roman Catholic. The use of Galician, Basque or Catalan languages was banned in public; demonstration of cultural diversity such as Basque and Catalan flags was prohibited. Basque names were "Castilianized" by force and even Basque tombstones were abraded, left utterly blank. In April of 1937, General Franco asked for military assistance from fascist Germany. Aerial combatants were sent to País Vasco. German bombers of the Condor Legion dropped bombs and opened fire on the Basque cultural symbol of Guernica and left it in total ruin.

General Franco believed that elected officials posed a problem in that their self-serving decisions initiated the collapse of social order. Therefore, he established an authoritarian government as a solution. Unfortunately, Franco's decisions proved no less selfish and close-minded than those he criticized. He implemented a legislation of economic autarchy and protectionism. In other words, Franco totally controlled Spain's commerce with foreign traders. Restriction of imports in impoverished, 1940s Spain led to a rise in prices that couldn't be matched by the rise in wages.

Despite this downturn, Spain started to recover from its economic confinement in the early 1950s. This started with growing anti-communism in the world which led to Spain entering the International Labor Organization and, subsequently, the United Nations (Albeit, Franco opposed this). This idea of economic progressiveness allowed Spain to take part in the global boom in the 1960s. However, Franco continued to oppress the nation of Spain until his death in 1975.

As an opposition to Generalissimo Franco's oppression of Basque culture and language, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) was formed. Basque Homeland and Security has carried out over 1,600 terrorist attacks since its founding in 1959.



-Nicholas Ekblad
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Sources:
Symbol & Ritual in the New Spain by Laura Desfor Edles (Spain at War Esenwein and Shubert, 1995)