History Talk 27 May: The Franco Years and the Restoration of Democracy

Mon 27 May, 2019 @ 10:30 – 12:30
Espai la Senieta, Moraira
Cheda Panajotovic and Brian Nicholls

Date:  27th May 2019 10:30

Location: Salón de Actos, Espai la Senieta, Moraira (next to the large free car park)

Subject: The Franco Years and the Restoration of Democracy

Lecturer: Alan Oliver

The Civil War ended on 1st April 1939.  The German and Italian forces that supported Franco left Spain after the Victory Parade in Madrid. Franco consolidated his rule through the Falange, and constantly changing his government ministers. It was effectively a one party fascist state, with the Catholic Church playing a major role.

Franco had a historic meeting with Hitler in 1940, when no agreement was reached.

After WW2 Spain became increasingly isolated by the democracies but received economic support from Argentina. Eventually, at the height of the cold war, the Americans offered Franco a loan in return for bases. Thereafter, the Spanish economy slowly improved.

Franco agreed with Don Juan, the Spanish pretender to the throne, that his son Juan Carlos would be educated under Franco’s control, in an attempt to persuade Juan Carlos to accept the Falange doctrine, and ultimately to succeed Franco on his death.

When Franco died in 1975, Juan Carlos was quickly crowned, but immediately moved towards establishing a democratic government and a constitutional monarchy. In February 1982, an attempted army coup was denounced by the King who appeared on television, and stated that Spain was now a democracy. He has remained very popular in Spain as a result of this action.

In 1986 under the Socialist Government of Gonzales, Spain joined the EU, and rapid economic development occurred. More recently, since joining the euro, and after the financial crisis of 2008, the economy has declined with high unemployment especially amongst young people, The country has huge debts both at national and comunidad level. Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 as a result of failing health and declining popularity. His son  is now King Filipe VI, Recently, the Spanish political scene has been dominated by the issue of Catalan independence.

Further reading

The Franco Years and the Restoration of Democracy

  • Hooper   John  (2006)                   The New Spaniards       Penguin Books
  • Preston   Paul  (1995)                    Franco                             Fontana Press
  • Preston  Paul    (2004)                   Juan Carlos                     Harper Collins