What were Francisco Franco's political views?


Ulrike Capdepon

To person

Dipl.-Pol., Born 1978; PhD scholarship from the Hans Böckler Foundation, integrated into the Institute for Latin American Studies (ILAS) of the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg. [email protected]

After Franco's death in 1975, there was amicable silence about the dictatorship past in Spanish society for a long time. A political reappraisal did not begin until the end of the 1990s.


When Francisco Franco died on November 20, 1975, Spain opened the way for the transition to democracy. For Spanish society, this also raised the question of how to deal publicly with the legacy of human rights violations committed during the 36-year dictatorship (1939-1975).

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the massive repression of the post-war period had left numerous casualties and wounded, [1] and produced hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war and forced laborers. [2] The victorious Franquists had political opponents executed en masse using a fast-track trial, numerous victims of political cleansing were buried in anonymous mass graves all over the country - they are still considered to have "disappeared" today. At least half a million Republicans found refuge in exile, [3] and many children of Republican victims were evacuated abroad. [4]

The victory over republican Spain became a founding myth for the Franco dictatorship that established itself after the war, and it was cultivated until its end. The only possible form of public memory of the civil war was that in the interpretation of the Franquists, in whose historical picture it was represented as a crusade. The official construction of history dominated collective memory as a political instrument. [5] The civil war victims of the Francoist rebellion were glorified after the war as "fallen for God and for Spain" as martyrs. The losers in the civil war were branded as "anti-Spaniards" and were exposed to systematic repression, social marginalization and institutionalized discrimination until the end of the dictatorship. The memory of the previous progressive and secular Second Republic (1931-1936 / 1939) should be demonized and erased in public space. The Spanish Civil War - in the official discourse of the regime as glorioso alzamiento ("Holy Exaltation") - has influenced the consciousness of the following generations to a great extent. Even after Franco's death, there should not be a radical break with the dictatorial regime, but a pacted transition between the former representatives of the old system and the moderate democratic opposition. The Franco past has been excluded.