Franco’s Dictatorship and the Transition to Democracy in Spain

Civil War Stages

(July 1936- March 1937) Betrayers wanted to conquer Madrid to make it their capital, but when they were near to do it Soviet and Aragon delayed it. (April-October 1937): Franco’s army conquered Basque Country and Asturias. (November 1937-November 1938): Franco’s army made it to the Mediterranean and participated in a battle in el rio Ebro and won the Republicans. France and the UK recognized Franco’s government as the legitimate one. (December 1938-April 1939): Republican’s exile. Franco conquered Barcelona. 1st April 1939 Franco declared its victory.

Franco’s Dictatorship

(1939-1975): He assumed all powers and was head of state, head of government and the leading general. In 1973 he appointed a flying prime minister. Instead of a constitution, he created some fundamental laws that set the way Spain must be ruled. The single party included all the opposition groups to the Republic, rights and liberties were abolished and no trade unions were accepted, all expressions of regional nationalism were banned and Francoism invented new costumes and traditions. The organización sindical Española was a kind of committee in which workers and patrons decided everything together.

Supporters of Francoism

– The army: formed a homogeneous army that acted more as a personal guard than as a professional army. – The Catholic Church: they supported the betrayers during the war, Spain was declared a confessional state, the church controlled education and had great influence over all the society. – Landowners and industrials: the abolition of the agrarian reform and the absence of trade unions led to an increase in the bourgeoisie’s profits. – Conservatives in general and society because of the imprisonment and the shootings.

A Fascist-leaning Government

Spain didn’t enter WWII because Franco tried to trick Hitler, he wanted lots of rewards for very little help, he favored the Axis powers, one of the main supporters was the blue division that was created to fight in the Russian front, they were supported by volunteers. After the war they decided not to remove Franco but isolate him. (-consequences: policy of authority, economic self-sufficiency, general impoverishment, some services were created to promote agriculture and industry, the black market appeared)

Consolidation and Development

The French border were reopened and Spain was admitted into some international organizations. This was possible because of the Cold War and the global opposition to communism.

The Changing Image of the Regime

Leading government positions were given to Catholics and monarchists, the national movement replaced FET and JONS, the political was called an organic democracy. In the late 1950’s members of the Opus took the government positions; they were technocrats who developed economic policies on the basis of their technical knowledge. 1959: tax reductions for public companies were eliminated and public spending was reduced, the currency was devaluated in order to stimulate foreign investment and trade. The idea of autarchy was definitively abandoned and the Spanish economy expanded within a capitalist system, the regime was still repressive but some oppositions began to emerge.

The Modernization of the Economy in the 1960’s

Tourism expanded and became one of the country’s main economic activities, agriculture was mechanized which led to an increase in production, foreign investment was attracted to Spain, foreign currency was earned from tourism. There was a rapid population growth. Despite economic expansion there were not enough jobs in Spain for everybody.

Social Change and Political Continuity

Were influenced by economic growth and the church had less influence over everyday life. Most of Franco’s ministers were reluctant to adapt their policies to make them reflect social and economic changes. TOP: tribunal de orden público was given the role of controlling ‘political crimes’

The Final Years of the Dictatorship

(1973-1975): Organized opposition to Franco developed between 1960-1970. After the civil war some soldiers remained fighting against the government supported by the Communist party. In 1962 opposition parties met in München and signed a joint condemnation of the Franco regime. In 1974 PSOE began its internal reorganization with Felipe González as leader, from two other associations was created the PlataJunta. Opposition to the regime: the trade union movement was led by the recently created Comisiones obreras (CCOO-> Hemos ganao, el equipo colorao), a student movement developed in universities where intellectuals and artists also publicly expressed their rejection of Francoism, neighborhood movements became active in calling for improvements in local services such as public transport or water supply.

The Final Crisis

The oil crisis of 1973 affected Spain greatly, there was price inflation, businesses closed and increased unemployment, there was fewer tourism, there was social unrest and a number of strikes were organized by clandestine trade unions. By 1973 Franco was in poor health and Luis Carrero was named head of government, he was assassinated later in the year, Franco responded with renewed repression and the regime announced a state of emergency on several occasions. March 1974, an anarchist militant was brutally executed (Salvador Puif Antich) there were death sentences against the ETA members and FRAP. Conflicts also rose in Spanish Sahara, which demanded independence, Morocco took advantage and annexed them. Franco died in the bed of a palace thanks to the international support on 20th November 1975.

Uneven Development

In 1975 Spain was an industrialized country. There were high levels of inequality: industrial and tourist areas had higher standards of living than less developed rural areas, the lack of high-quality public services affected many people’s lives, most people were poorly educated in contrast to a high educated minority.

The Transition

Began after Franco’s death. Juan Carlos I, there was different thinking between the people but they agreed to do a new reformation. But there still was fascist terrorism. Adolfo Suárez made Spain a country with constitutional monarchy and amnesty was granted to political prisoners, and he legalized political parties.

The First Elections

Winner-> UCD (union de centro democrático), right wing groups led by Adolfo Suárez. The PSOE had the 2nd place, followed by PCE and PP. the parliament and trade unions signed a pact to resolve Spain’s crisis. Democratic constitution approved in 1978.

The Consolidation of Democracy

Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo (the prime minister) was attacked by a coup d’etat that failed. Calvo Sotelo’s government faced an economic crisis because people were rebelling with the guardia civil and tanks. in 1982 PSOE won the elections, and marked the end of transition