Biography of Francisco Franco Bahamonde (1892-1975)

Francisco Franco.

Military and Spanish dictator born in Ferrol (La Coruña) on December 4, 1892 and died in Madrid on November 20, 1975). He/She ruled spearheading a long and fierce dictatorship which persisted until his death.


Born in a family of military tradition, his first intention was to enter the Naval Academy. The temporary closure of entry into this that the young Franco directed his steps towards infantry, whose Academy in Toledo joined in 1907. Passing through the Academy deeply marked his personality, both in technical instruction and received philosophical influence, as by dealing with other cadets. His short stature, piping voice and a minimum academic brilliance made him subject of some jokes which, far from appeasing their ambitious and restless inner life, served as the overarching incentive. To graduate at the Academy asked as destination Morocco, where, in fact, eventually forming as a soldier and where it got good apart from their promotions, both by seniority as for merits of war, as well as being badly hurt.

Reaching the rank of Commander, he/she was assigned to Oviedo (1916), where he/she was high on the repression of revolutionary strike the following year. Their stay in the capital of Asturias allowed him to switch for the first time with the local gentry, among which found that it would be years later his wife: Carmen Polo. The creation of the famous third of the Foreign Legion (1920) under the command of Millán Astray made this request the contest by Franco, who led the first flag of the third in its second destination in Morocco. His war experience in the protectorate left record in his journal of a flag (1922). His performances in military maneuvers awoke the interest of King Alfonso XIII, who named it "gentleman of the Chamber" and sponsored their wedding in 1923. This approach to the Crown made it possible for him to a destination on the Peninsula, but after reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and the serious situation of the army in Morocco returned to the command of the third. Interventions to defeat the opposition cabilena undertaken by the new Government of Primo de Rivera (landing of Al-Hoceima, Ajdir occupation) Franco had one of its most brilliant and executing cold, which catapulted him to the grade of general of division at the age of thirty and three years, the young military European of his time. Pacified the protectorate and given finished the war, Primo de Rivera was appointed director of the Academy of Zaragoza (1928) with the custom of reorganize and modernize the military career.

In that position, the proclamation of the Spanish Republic II surprised him. The Minister of Guerra, Manuel Azaña, closed the Academy in its program of military reform (1931); its significant Franco closing speech showed (contrary to the moderation and caution always used) the deep unease that felt the measure, the new leaders and the same regime. This was to remain a year in expectation of destination until it was finally placed first in La Coruña and later to the headquarters of the Balearic Islands (1933). Loss of elections allowed access to the Government's block radical-cedista, allowing the start of a military counter. Military Advisor of the Lerroux Government was appointed and in quality this directed the Suppression of the revolution of Asturias (October 1934), and was appointed commander in Chief of the army in Morocco. From there he/she was called by the new Minister of the Guerra, Gil Robles, to put it at the forefront of the Estado Mayor Central (1935). After the triumph of the Popular Front in February 1936, the new authorities had news of coup military conspiracies, so practiced a policy of transfers of the main suspected leaders. Franco was assigned to the headquarters of the Canary Islands, where participated, but in secondary mode, in preparation for a military coup. Doubts Franco about joining or not active mode the conspirator movement persisted until very advanced dates: at the end of June 1936, sent a letter to President Casares Quiroga urging that used the army to stop the decomposition of the social plight.

The murder of the ultra-right leader Calvo Sotelo served as a pretext and a definitive signal to launch the coup. The role reserved for Franco was momentous: a plane chartered in London was to take it in front of the army in Morocco. On 17 July the troops in Melilla rose in arms and immediately after joining from its headquarters the pronouncement, he/she clandestinely flew to Tetuan and in the Protectorate was in command of the Army Corps more decisive at the beginning of the war: the Legion. The first obstacle was the transfer of troops to the Peninsula, what you got with the logistic support German and Italian, then initiating a rapid deployment by the plain of the Guadalquivir River and Extremadura where he/she managed to free the besieged Infantry Academy at the Alcazar of Toledo and reach the gates of Madrid.

Conspiracy against the Republic

But what should be a quick and forceful coup became a long-running civil war. The call to be Chief of the rebel forces, the general Sanjurjo, exiled in Portugal, suffered a plane crash that ended his life. As a result, military leaders formed a Board of defense in front of which the general responsible for the high command should be. The choice fell on Franco (29 September of 1936) due to being the head of the most powerful military unit at the time, that it had the personal sympathies of Hitler and Mussolini, the main international support of the rebels. Thereafter, the personal history of Franco and the history of Spain run in parallel.

See Civil War Spanish.

The Civil War

Franco took advantage of its location at the head of the autocalificado army to strengthen its position in the new State in formation. In October 1936 he/she was proclaimed Generalissimo of the armies, in April of the following year stood at the head of the new party, FET de las JONS, and in January 1938 was proclaimed head of State. The holding of the supreme power of the army, the Government and State was ratified symbolically with the official adoption of the title of leader of Spain. Franco was forty-five years old.

The figure of Franco left high Civil War to the highest category. Its military, political and institutional leadership was absolute and thereafter launched a dictatorial regime that retained until his death.

francisco Franco, original voice.

[On July 21, 1969 Franco Appoints Don Juan Carlos de Borbón its successor to the head of State, with the title of King. Five years later, in July 1974, Franco yields temporarily the head of State to Prince Juan Carlos, because of his illness. On 30 October 1975, Franco falls seriously ill, and died on 20 November of the same year. Two days after his death, Juan Carlos is declared King of Spain at the Palace of the courts].

See Franco.

The consolidation of the Franco regime.


Franco's political personality

"Ignore me: do not get into politics". This phrase, which Franco repeated to many fellow members, reflects a whole conception of his personality and the way in which saw the evolution of the history of Spain in his youth, as well as their own political practice for more than three decades.

The political personality of Franco was conditioned by his military rank, humanistic preparation and the corporate philosophy that had membership to the army at the beginning of century. In their successive Moroccan destinations ended up shaping his vocation and dedication military: he/she himself confessed that he/she did not understand his life without the African experience. Its commitment to the harsh discipline applied it during his tenure in command of the Legion and it extracted important lessons: more great strategic approaches, the war in Morocco required systematic order, blind determination and patient tenacity, virtues that would then apply in the Asturian repression and Civil War. Moreover, Franco made ostentation in front of an absolute contempt for human life, a cruelty that hiding under the rule of the regulations and an absolute defence of hierarchical obedience.

All this experience accumulated in the front and the fundamental features of their military status were poured over his political personality, which had far-reaching consequences in its imposition at the forefront of the hoist, in its style of Government and his point of view about the Spanish socio-political reality. Apart from repeated complaints about the lack of support of the political forces to the army in Morocco, Franco had remained completely oblivious to the political arena until the 1930s. He/She was a convinced monarchist and the proclamation of the Republic displeased him; but, beyond regime change, primarily affected her performances by some government leaders, the Jacobinism of parliamentarians and the growth of the power of the Union forces and revolutionary parties.

During the 1930s, Franco strengthened the doctrinal bases had received in its educational and living in the closed circle of the military. The belief in the role of army, ingrained religiosity and the antiobrerismo present in the set of ideas of the Spanish right at the time, were integrated during the 1930s in a historicist, radical and fundamentalist view. Joined, in addition, two ideas that lines after his political conception: the first was anti-communism, which responded by integrating into an ultra-nationalism of totalitarian and militaristic features; the second was the antimasonismo which sometimes identified with degradation of democratic practices and the parliamentary institutions. This concept responded with a reinforcement of religiosity, whose principles were to be kept from the institutions and permeate throughout the social fabric. Fusion of ultra-nationalist and religious fundamentalism definitely profiled the Messianic personality of Franco, hence his belief in the providencialidad of his appearance and having been called to fill one of the most glorious pages of the history of Spain. Symbolically, this fusion of features is its best concretion in the legend that made record in the coins bearing his effigy: Caudillo of Spain by the grace of God.

francisco Franco, original voice.

Franco and his regime

The essential characteristic of the Franco regime was dictatorial identity and the absence of a rule of law that defends citizens and guarantee them the exercise of their freedoms.

francisco Franco, original voice.

Franco's dictatorship must be analyzed from different points of view.

Firstly, it is necessary to emphasize the personal nature of the dictatorship: was the figure of Franco which gave unity to this long period of the history of Spain, whose ideological evolution, economic and social approaches and social support changed profoundly over the years. Franco personality encompasses all these changes, integrating them into a kind of evolution that, in fact, concealed strong internal contradictions within the regime

The Franco dictatorship was conscious and, occasionally, vocationally a military dictatorship, although, unlike other dictatorships contemporary, not for being the army as a corporation who directed the regime but for being a military dictator and move military applications to administrative and governmental spheres. The metaphor of Spain as headquarters was present in many speeches of Franco. By the army, whose performance made possible the implementation of the Franco regime and was always a basic backup of the same, not always had an easy influence on the decisions of the Government cupola, especially since the end of the 1950s.

The Franco regime was also a one-party dictatorship. In the middle of Guerra Civil Franco ordered the decreed forced unification of all forces and parties that supported the uprising, creating the FET de las JONS as the only party recognized (April 1937) with the whole. There lived together very different ideological positions in principle known as the families of the regime: falangists. monarchists, Carlist, Catholic, although the evolution of the regime and, in particular, the submission of political forces internal to the dictates of Franco petered in fact more contradictory ends. The drafting of the statutes of Phalanx (1939) and the establishment of the National Council of Phalanx (1942) behind the totalitarian pretensions of the Party (and therefore of the regime that supported), not only on national politics but on the everyday life of citizens. This division of origin within the only party gave Franco a peculiar sense of plurality, used by Franco as an exercise of arbitrage between the different families to keep his undisputed leadership without compensation.

For more information, see Spain, history of (14): 1931-1939, paragraph parties during the second Republic and the Spanish Civil War.

Finally, it is necessary to point out the importance of the support given to Franco's dictatorship by the Church. The Church hierarchy gave his approval to the coup d'etat of July 1936, identified the insurgent movement such as crusade e, even to receive, in addition to being the Vatican papal blessing one of the first States, along with Germany and Italy, to recognize the national State led by Franco. The Cardinals Segura, rubber and Pla y Deniel, together with numerous religious intellectuals, legitimized the hoist and the regime implanted by the victors of the Civil War, supplying the same considerable plot and ideological sources in later decades. The influence of the Church is also appreciated the presence in senior members of the Administration's leaders lay Catholic movements, especially of the national organization of propagandists in the years cuarenta-cincuenta and personalities of Opus Dei in the 1960s and 1970s.

Carlos Arias Navarro, original voice.



BENASSAR, Bartolomé. Franco. Paris, Perrin, 1995.

PRESTON, P. Franco, "Caudillo of Spain". Barcelona, 1994.

TUSELL, Javier. Franco, Spain and World War II. Madrid, Temas de Hoy, 1995.

I Sepulveda.