Francisco Franco Pt. 2: Spain
Waves lapped against the striking cliffs of on die france on october. Twenty third nineteen forty. This sleepy border towns seemed far away from world war that was raging across the continent so the townspeople must have been astonished when a swastika emblazoned train came to a stop at the station. Adolf hitler himself exited one of the cars and checked his watch. The man he had come to meet was late. An ancient train finally chugged into the station. Hitler forced a smile. When the pudgy diminutive francisco franco exited and met him on the platform. As they shook hands cameras flashed hitler expected to dominate the conversation to bully franko into joining the war and to convince him to seize gibraltar from the british. But hitler had misjudged the tiny galician while hitler was known for his long winded. Diatribes franco's were worse. Hitler's suffered through three hours of franco's lectures on spanish history and the generals favorite subject. His own escapades fighting in morocco. The fuhrer later told mussalini that he would rather have three or four teeth pulled than suffer. Another discussion with friends cisco franco to hitler. Franco's seemed like an imbecile who had lucked way into power. But was he really or was he smart as a fox. One who not only managed to keep spain out of world war two but to hold onto power even after the fighting ceased. Welcome to dictators a spotify original from podcast. I'm richard and i'm kate. You can find all episodes of dictators and all other spotify originals from podcast for free on spotify this season we're exploring the reins of twentieth century ideas full. Nco batista cuba one. Perron of argentina and francisco franco of spain. Last week we examined how franko rose to become the most decorated general in spain. And how he leveraged his fame to gain power and guide spain through. It's brutal civil war today. we'll explore. How his regime managed to survive world war and how his government created one of the fastest growing economies in the nineteen sixties. We'll also examine the generalissimo's complex and controversial legacy. All of that is coming up. Stay with us. This episode is brought to you by. Cvs health if someone you love is at risk of a fall. The symphony medical alert system by cvs. Health can help support their safety at home. With twenty four seven emergency response monitoring it helps keep an eye on their wellbeing when you can't be their terms and conditions apply learn more about symphony at cvs dot com slash symphony or. Find it at your nearest cvs. Health hub francisco. Franco had felt he was a tool of divine providence. His whole life and on april first nineteen thirty nine. Bukit argue with him. He had just emerged victorious in spain's nearly three year long civil war under the new postwar government. Franco would be the chief of state who would preside over all factions of the government. He wielded more power than any ruler in spanish history. Franco's parliament's served no official function. He didn't need them to pass any new laws or decrees could do all of that by himself. But even with his iron grip on power patching spain back together would be an uphill battle. The civil war had blown the country's infrastructure to pieces the economy was in shambles. Spain hundreds of millions to fascist allies italy and germany and industrial and agricultural production was down across the board and less than a month after franco's new government was assembled in the summer of nineteen thirty nine the outbreak of world. War two set the continent on a new course. Even though franco was more or less allied with the axis powers. He knew that. Spain was too weak to provide any direct military assistance instead. He plan to wait until the war was nearly over. At which point spain would join nazi germany and strike the decisive blow against the allies. I this was exactly what hitler wanted. He claimed it was important for the axis. War effort that britain and france remained unaware of spain's allegiances do that end franco announced spain's non belligerent status on june twelve nineteen forty. But he couldn't fully commit to neutrality after all just like hitler and mussolini. He was a fascist dictator and he couldn't just leave his friends hanging when the french surrendered on june. Twenty second less than two weeks after franco committed to non belligerence. He began to wonder if he was taking the correct approach. He feared that the war would end sooner than expected and he would miss out on. all the spoils. Fortunately for franco. He soon had an opportunity to join the fight. To cripple britain hitler needed franco to occupy gibraltar close off the mediterranean and limit. Critical shipments of supplies to the british. Hitler and franco arranged a meeting. An on die of french. Coastal town on the atlantic that borders spain but the negotiations didn't go as planned in exchange for joining the war. Franco wanted germany to cede control of french. Morocco northwestern algieria and much of french west africa. This however was too much for hitler to give. Those colonies were critical to germany's war effort. Unable to reach an agreement that talks fell through. Franko missed his last and perhaps only chance to join world war two. It's unclear however if the cowboys ever actually wanted to join the war. Franco certainly collaborated with the nazis. But his military was never prepared to provide any real combat assistance eventually. German leaders came to suspect that franco had been stringing them along from the beginning while he basically sat out the war that ravaged europe franko was able to spend time working with his advisors to solve spain's endless economic problems. He had weekly meetings with his cabinet. Ministers that often lasted from the early morning to late at night. No one was allowed to leave even for bathroom. Breaks without franco's permission. The generalissimo wouldn't even take bathroom breaks himself. There are no reports of him leaving a cabinet meeting to go to the restroom until nineteen sixty eight. When he was seventy six years old perhaps if his advisers had been able to relieve themselves they could have come up with better ideas instead he and his cabinet created the national institute of industry a state owned investment company designed to stimulate production and economic growth. He also enacted fashions of resources all across spain. Unfortunately these efforts were wildly ineffective just like all of franco's economic policies during the war they led to scarcity black markets and starvation among the lower classes. Franko of course had no such issue finding food for his family being award. Dodging dictator held other advantages for franco. He had plenty of time for his favourite leisure activities. One of his favourite diversions was wanting he could often be seen prowling his estate with his attendance searching for game. Franko was also a movie buff. He also enjoyed screening movies in his palace to large crowds of his friends and government officials. He even wrote a film of his own rosa which was produced in nineteen forty two but the leisurely days of hunting and screenwriting couldn't last forever soon changes in the war drew. Franco's focus away from his hobbies on november eighth nineteen forty two british and american troops landed in morocco and algeria. The allies informed franco that they had no intention of invading spain or its territories but franco was nervous about having such large forces close to home for the first time franco began to reconsider his pro axis leanings. The true turning point came in july of nineteen forty three when mussolini was overthrown the allied invasion of italy. Two months later reinforced. Franco's belief that fascism was done matters came to a head in january of nineteen forty four when the united states decided to suspend all petroleum shipments to spain. They hoped it would force spain to stop collaborating with nazi germany. Once and for all franco panicked without petroleum imports. If you're in spain's miserable economy would collapse altogether and his regime along with it. So he finally gave in and he adopted a policy of true neutrality. At i franko explained to the german ambassador that he would still do everything in his power to help the access but he couldn't allow his country to be strangled economically. Eventually though franco's government mostly agreed to stop aiding germany but it was too late to save his reputation when the war finally ended in. September of nineteen forty-five franken was an incredibly difficult position. The victorious at knew that franco had aided and abetted the axis and they were suspicious of franco's regime in general so they excluded spain from the newly formed united nations. On top of that spain's economy was still in shambles. No thanks to the sanctions. The un placed on the country after the war. Franco would need a miracle to stay in power. Fortunately for him. Relations between the united states. And the soviet union were in a tailspin. In the coming years franko would be able to prove his value as a pawn in the cold war. Coming up franko saves the economy with the spanish miracle. Vanessa from podcast. They say there's someone for everyone a soul to share your secrets with a companion to grow old with a conspirator to commit crimes. With starting this february on spotify learn about the lethal legendary lovers who fought the law in the podcast limited series criminal couples. If you've ever referred to your best friend or beloved as your partner in crime this exclusive series is for you beginning february. I join me for a collection of unlawful love. Stories from shows across the podcast network. Discover the extreme beliefs of cult leaders. Tony and susan allama enter. Fred and rose west's real life house of horrors and experience the madness and motives of the san francisco which killers fall for the most famous and feared pairs in history in the spotify original from podcast. Criminal couples. enjoy two part episodes every monday. Starting february i follow criminal couples. Free and exclusively on spotify. This episode is brought to you by manscaping. So it's time for a trim and when you need to cut your grass you need the right equipment to get the job. Done the new and improved lawnmower three point. Oh from manscaping has what you need to make. Sure you're below the waist. Grooming experience is done right powered with a seven thousand rpm motor with white stroke technology. Their third generation trimmer gives you a close precise trim with a cutting edge ceramic blade to reduce grooming accidents and the mower has features that make using it as smooth as you're about to be the battery can last up to ninety minutes. It's waterproof so you can take it in the shower and it comes with a convenient usb charging dock get twenty percent off and free shipping with the code spotify twenty at manscaping dot com. That's twenty percent off with free shipping at manscaping dot com and use code spotify twenty and now back to the story in one thousand nine hundred forty five fifty two year old francisco. Franco had seemingly done the impossible. His fascist regime survived world war two a conflict that toppled nearly every other right wing totalitarian government in europe but he was now the leader of perhaps the most ostracized regime in the world. Western democracies didn't tolerate him because he was a dictator who aided the nazis and the eastern communist states despised him because of his anticommunist policies franko faced an even bleaker predicament than he had. After the end of the spanish civil war again he sought to fix spain's broken economy which was even weaker than when he took power six years earlier. He also wanted to convince the western democracies specifically the united states to accept his regime and allow spain to join the world bank united nations and other international organizations. These two goals went hand in hand if the sanctions. The u n placed on spain at the end of the war were lifted. The economy could improve. Relations would then improve as well. As spain traded with the west. It would be difficult but franco had an ace up his sleeve. He knew the west would never allow regime to fall for fear that whoever replaced him might be pro-communist after north korea invaded south korea. Nineteen fifty the united states was terrified. The communist insurrections would break out in more countries it became very important to the truman administration. That spain didn't go read and the best way to do that. Was to bring spain into the western fold so on november fourth nineteen fifty the un general assembly voted to normalize relations with spain. A new american ambassador arrived in spain. In january of nineteen fifty one ambassadors from other countries would soon follow suit. It was a shocking and sudden one. Eighty in relations and franco was thrilled. The west didn't necessarily like him or his regime but they accepted that he was valuable when it came to containing the communist threat with one of his primary goals accomplished franko was now able to shift his focus toward internal matters running his government and repairing the economy due to the improved relations with the west spain's economic situation steadily improved through the nineteen fifties franco was now able to trade with economic powerhouses like the united states which allowed for a better supply of food and created slow job growth. In fact spain's gdp would grow by fifty percent between nineteen fifty and nineteen fifty eight and it was thanks in part to a massive aid package from the united states. All franko had to give the united states in return was access to three airbases. One submarine base this new relationship with the united states however wasn't without incident in nineteen sixty six a. b. fifty two collided with a refueling aircraft over spain and the united states somehow lost four nuclear bombs after the crash. One of the bombs was recovered intact. Two of the bombs created huge craters near the town where they fell. The final bom remained missing for close to three months. The air force eventually founded at the bottom of the sea. Thanks to a tip from a local fishermen that even that incident paled in comparison to franco's difficulties in spanish morocco. In one thousand nine hundred eighty five. The french reinstated the moroccan sultan to the throne and agreed to grant morocco. its independence the following year. But the salton didn't just want french. Morocco liberated he wanted to free the entire country including the northern strip of land that belonged to spain. a strip of land. Franco was loath to abandon even though all his western allies supported returning the land to the sultan with his back against the wall. Franco's signed a treaty for moroccan independence on april seventh although it pained him immensely. He couldn't afford moroccan conflict without international support. Many of franco's loyal troops were upset over this decision. Some cadets even burned an image of franko franco calm the tensions by giving all officers a pay increase just to be careful aside from giving up his stake in morocco. The second half of the nineteen fifties would be almost universally positive for franco. His regime managed to completely rescue the spanish economy but franko himself had little to do with the so-called spanish miracle it was actually the work of several well-qualified members of his cabinet. Franco hit always thought of himself as an economic expert but even with newfound assistance from the united states and a brief but auspicious beginning. His policies had stalled so in nineteen fifty nine. He turned to his new ministers for help. Some of the most important ministers were businessmen who wanted to relax the government's economic control until this point foreign investment was rarely permitted and exports were few and far between and after a minor recession in nineteen fifty-nine. The minister of finance recommended dramatically loosening. The regulations franco was reluctant to accept the proposal. He worried that if he liberalized the economy it would lead to a liberalization of the people. This could eventually cause a political conflict even another civil war. And perhaps 'cause franco to lose power but the finance minister was a decorated veteran of the civil war and franko trusted him. He was also aware that this was the only way to save spain from bankruptcy or an economic depression so on july twenty second nineteen fifty nine franco announced a new economic stabilization plan. He accepted the majority of the finance minister's proposals including allowing foreign investment and export growth. The economy was soon growing again in the nineteen sixties. Spain's economy registered the highest rate of quote sustained expansion. In all of europe it was also a period of rapid cultural change in spain. As money and tourists board in the general population became wealthier more educated and more liberal for the most part franco allowed these changes as it turned out. Franco's fear of young liberal and politically engaged. College students was well-founded the more the economy grew the more young people could afford to receive an education and the more educated. The population became the more. They began to protest. Franco's repressive government even worse. This new generation wasn't afraid of the generally cmo franco was in his seventies as his mental and physical health began to deteriorate. It was only a matter of time until his reign was over coming up. Franko enters his twilight years and chooses his successor. This episode is brought to you by. Cvs health are you worried about mom or dad. Falling the symphony medical alert system by cvs health is designed to help make them safer at home. Symphony works with both voice activation or a care button users can opt to wear along with smart sensors for coverage around the home with twenty four seven emergency response and a streamlined app. You can monitor your loved ones wellbeing for enhanced peace of mind terms and conditions apply. Learn more about symphony at cvs dot com slash symphony. Or find it at your nearest. Cvs health hub now back to the story. The nineteen sixties francisco. Franco had blundered his way to success as the only pre world war two dictators still in power in europe. He somehow convinced western democracies to accept his regime and he oversaw the biggest economic boom in spain in a very long time but franco wasn't immortal and as he aged he knew he would have to choose a successor to carry on his legacy but he wasn't looking for another general or prime minister. He was on the search a monarch in his quest to return spain to its glory days of the fifteen. Hundreds franco had declared spain a monarchy in nineteen forty seven eight years after he assumed power he planned to rule as a region for the rest of his life and upon his death. A new king chosen by franco would ascend the throne. There was just one problem. Spain's last king. Alfonso the thirteenth had died in nineteen forty one and there was currently no official monarch or royal family there were several contenders with claims to the throne which one was going to be the next king. The obvious air was the former campaign fund. So sun one day bone but don juan as he was called was dyed in wool liberal who champion democracy franco wouldn't tolerate any discussion of democracy. So don one was out. This left one clear candidate. Don juan son juan carlos though it would be highly unusual to circumvent don juan's claim in favor of his son. Franko didn't see this as an issue since he wasn't so much restoring. The spanish monarchy as creating a new monarchy of his own franco was never one to overplay his hand. Naming juan carlos is the air too early might upset members of the government so he delayed his decision for as long as possible. But as spain entered the nineteen sixties the line of succession would be the least of franco's worries. His regime would begin to face. Resistance at home. Franco had been right about liberalizing the economy. It had liberalized the spanish people as wealth expanded so did education. The number of spanish universities would double by the mid nineteen seventies in primary school. Education would be available to children in even the country's most remote regions this rapid increase in education also brought with it a desire for a more liberal government which felt almost powerless to stop. He had allowed the country to change too much conservative. Rural spain was shrinking while the liberal cities grew. Franco was even losing his traditional allies. For the first time in spain's history a catholic left movement formed within the country catholicism had traditionally been a conservative bastion but now even the church was urging for a less repressive government. This new movement was dominated by the catholic trade union groups and the catholic worker youth these groups encouraged and participated in illegal strikes but they were protected by church leaders franko. A devout catholic was reluctant to repress them to shore up support. Franco decided to remind spain about the good. His government had brought the country. The regime's new slogan for nineteen sixty four was twenty five years of peace this coincided with a year long publicity push which included a flattering propaganda film about the cow. Do called franco essay. Hombre these publicity. Stunts were popular with franco's diehard supporters. But they weren't effective. In quelling the unrest across the country protests from university students dissident workers liberal priests and basque nationals began to rise and shockingly franko chose not to launch a campaign of repression. Both the left and right took this moderate response to strikes and protests as a sign of weakness in the regime but franko didn't see it that way he claimed that the leftists namely were mistaking serenity with a weakness but behind the scenes franco knew that his days were numbered as the political turmoil increased. His health also took a sharp turn for the worse in one thousand nine hundred sixty nine. He informed his cabinet ministers that he was selecting one carlos as his successor by nine thousand. Nine hundred seventy two. The eighty year old franco was being ravaged by a laundry list of ailments. Parkinson's disease phlebitis an strange fungal infection. His mouth as a result he barely spoke in cabinet meetings and occasionally fell asleep. His memory began to suffer and it became nearly impossible for him to complete the most basic tasks for the first time in his life. Franko admitted he needed help. Running the government while he's still remained as the official head of state in the summer of nineteen seventy-three. He began the process of selecting a president. He eventually settled on his old friend. Caro- blanco who became president on june eighth. Unfortunately blanco didn't even last year in a moment. That shocked franco to his core. Blanco was assassinated on december twentieth. Franco despaired over the death of his friend. He cried in front of his ministers and broke down in tears on national television. During blanco's memorial service. It was the first time the public has seen the cow deal. Show emotion after blanco's death frank. Ozone health quickly worsened in july of nineteen seventy four. He was hospitalized. The government feared the worst and began the process of transferring powers to the next head of state. Juan carlos franco. Hello on for just over a year until he fell into an irreversible coma in october. Nineteen seventy five. He finally died on november twentieth. Juan-carlos became spain's king. Today's later franko had expected him to run a totalitarian regime. Much like his but others hoped for a turn toward democracy. Initially one carlos decided to maintain the current government even as pro democracy demonstrations and strikes broke out throughout the country. But one carlos was just biding his time he used the current regime's inability to stop the unrest as an excuse to form a new more liberal government. The new interim government began reforms that would transition spain to a constitutional parliamentary monarchy in late. Nineteen seventy six. Legislation was drafted to form democratic system with universal suffrage. These reforms were submitted to the spanish people. In a referendum in december of nineteen seventy-six ninety four percent of voters supported them. One carlos was able to persuade parliament to approve. The new law bringing democracy to spain. The country's first elections in over a quarter century occurred on june fifteenth. Nineteen seventy seven. Spain has remained a democracy to this day decades later francisco. Franco's still remains a controversial figure. Many say he was no better than hitler or pol pot. He helped start a civil war that took the lives of around five hundred thousand spaniards. He launched campaigns of repression that killed thousands more and he arrested thousands of political prisoners. Who didn't see the light of day for years. He styled himself. After benito mussolini and collaborated with the axis powers right up until the end of world war two. He denied his subjects basic freedoms and he prevented the rise of democracy in spain until his death his regime also became more moderate as the years passed and his government oversaw a great period of economic growth which allowed for a more educated public and pave the way for liberalism to spread more on spanish soil. Franko didn't leave any diaries. So it's unclear if the positive outcomes of the so-called spanish miracle where intentional or not did franko really want to liberalize spain's economy or did he just take credit for something beyond his control. It's not clear nevertheless on october. Twenty fourth two thousand and nineteen. Franco's body was exumed from its resting place at the valley of the fallen. A memorial to the civil war franco himself designed and move to a family crypt at a nearby cemetery and with that franco was laid to rest once more Thanks for listening to dictators among the many sources we used. We found franko a personal and political biography by stanley g payne and hey seuss palacios toppy us extremely helpful to our research. You can find all episodes of dictators in all other spotify originals from podcast. Free on spotify. We'll see you next time. Dictators is a spotify original from podcast. It is executive produced by max cutler. Sound design by dick schroeder with production assistance by ron shapiro carly madden and joshua kern. This episode of dictators was written by charles brock with writing assistance. By cake gallagher fact checking by adriana romero and research by chelsea would and brian patriots dictators. Stars kate leonard and richard roster. Hi it's vanessa again before you go. Don't forget to check out the new podcast. Limited series criminal couples from apocalyptic cult leaders to bank robbing bandits to married mafiosos. These couples give new meaning to till death. Do us part enjoy two part episodes every monday. Starting february i follow criminal couples. Free ad exclusively on spotify.