The Franco Regime 1936-1975

Article excerpt

THE FRANCO REGIME 1936--

1975, Stanley G. Payne, Phoenix Press, London. Distributed by Sterling Publishing, NY, 2000, 676 pages, $24.95.

Francisco Franco's Falange Party dictatorship in Spain, which arose almost contemporaneously with those of German Nazi Adolf Hitler and Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini, outlasted those leaders by 30 years. In The Franco Regime, Stanley G. Payne provides provocative reasons for Franco's longevity.

To place the regime in proper focus, Payne gives an overview of kaleidoscopic Spanish politics beginning with Spain's defeat by U.S. forces during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Payne pays particular attention to Primo de Rivera's dictatorship and the Second Republic.

Franco's rise to power as a fighting general set the stage for the beginning of his dictatorship in 1936. Payne reviews Franco's World War II diplomacy, from the German phase, when soldiers from the Spanish Blue Division fought alongside Nazi troops in Russia, through nonbelligerence, to neutrality. Franco's key concern was the perceived best interest of Spain, much to the frustration of Hitler and other would-be allies.

After World War II, isolated from the West because of fascist tendencies during the conflict, Spain turned inward, emphasizing Catholic religion and seeking ties with Latin America. …