Francisco Franco

Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco was the dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975, including the time of WW2. Perhaps he was better known as “El Caudillo,” translated into English as The Leader. He was born and raised in Spain. He was a very brilliant military general who led Nationalist rebels in defeating the Spanish government during the Spanish Civil War. Although he was viewed as a Fascist Dictator, he strongly opposed communism. He was an extremely important figure in the course of world history.
Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teodulo Franco Bahamonde, Francisco Franco as he was known, was born on December 4, 1892 at the coastal city of El Ferrel in the region known as Galicia in Northwestern Spain. He was close to his mother during his childhood. His father, older brother, and the four generations before him were naval officers. However, the Naval Academy was full so Franco went into the Army. He enrolled into Infantry Academy at Toledo when he was 14 and graduated three years later.
Franco quickly climbed the ranks of the Spanish Army. He gained a reputation of being a disciplined, honest, and dedicated soldier who was strictly professional. He was promoted to first lieutenant of an elite regiment when he was only 20 years old. He became the youngest captain in the Spanish Army in 1915 at the unprecedented age of 22. He then became second in command to General Jose Millan Astray of the Spanish Foreign Legion in 1920, and was in full command in 1923. In 1926, Franco was promoted to brigadier general at the age of 33. In 1928 he was named director of General Military Academy at Zaragoza. He was recognized as a national hero.
Franco was engaged in 1917. His fiancée was Carmen Polo. Their marriage was delayed, however, because Franco was called back into active duty in Morocco. They would have one daughter, Carmen, together in 1928.
The Spanish Monarchy fell in 1931 and the new government was strongly opposed to the military. The General Military Academy was broken up and Franco was placed on the inactive list. He was restored to active duty in 1933 and in 1934 was promoted to major general. Franco’s tactical genius shined once again when he was called upon to crush a small band of rebels in October of 1934. After this, he was promoted to chief of the Spanish Army’s general staff. After this promotion, Franco started to strengthen the military, as the military was weakened by the antimilitary policy of the Spanish Republic.
The government of Spain dissolved once again and Franco was removed from the general staff. He was moved to duty in the Canary Islands. Although it was against Franco’s nature to oppose the government, he joined Nationalist rebels against the government.
This was the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Franco flew to Morocco and took command of the Spanish Army there. He united the Nationalist parties and assumed the role of leader. The Nationalists received military assistance from Fascist Germany led by Hitler and Italy led by Mussolini. In 1937 he reorganized the Falange, or Spanish fascist party, and made it the official and only political party of the government. Franco finally gained complete and unconditional control in 1939 after 32 months of fighting. His government was mainly a Fascist dictatorship. He named himself El Caudillo.
When World War 2 broke out, Franco was at first unwilling to take sides and declared Spain in a state of neutrality. He was leaning, however, towards the Axis powers since the Germany and Italy had helped Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Franco sent “volunteers” to Germany to help them fight the Soviets while still being neutral. The Allies after WW2 formed the United Nation but ostracized Franco and his government because of Franco’s aid to the Fascist governments of Germany and Italy.
Franco was viewed by many outside Spain as “The Last Surviving Fascist Dictator.” Spain was ostracized from most of the world until the “so called” Cold War. His strong opposition to communism showed when he offered help to the United States. In 1953, Franco signed a pact with the U.S. permitting the U.S. to place air and naval bases in Spain in exchange for economic and military aid. This aid, thus, dramatically improved the economy of a