Anglo-American Relations and the Franco Question, 1945-1955

Anglo-American Relations and the Franco Question, 1945-1955

Anglo-American Relations and the Franco Question, 1945-1955

Anglo-American Relations and the Franco Question, 1945-1955


This book examines how British and American governments grappled with the question of intervention or non-intervention in a pariah regime--Francoist Spain. Edwards details the clash between the emerging dual system of the United Nations and the older system of balance of power.


This is not a book about Spain, nor about Franco, but about the formulation of British and American policies towards Spain, and the impact of those policies on Anglo-American relations in the rapidly changing context of the first post-war decade. These two powers worked closely on the Spanish issue in this period, frequently excluding even France from their discussions despite declarations to the contrary.

The shift in power from Europe to the United States made clear by the First World War is even more pronounced in this period. It is strikingly exemplified in the policies towards Spain of both these countries, and specifically in the graduated but systematic retreat of the British from their former dominance in the Mediterranean. Then too, the continued existence of the Franco regime had an unexpected impact on the post-war international scene. Although not normally regarded as central to the Cold War itself, the Franco regime exerted an influence, regarded during the years of the Truman presidency as quite beyond the intrinsic international importance of Spain itself.

With hindsight the contemporary dismissal of this factor may have been a misconception, but it is one still made at the close of the twentieth century regarding other secondary or lesser powers. At the time of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9, the British pre-war Chamberlain government had suffered from a similar phenomenon. After 1945 the Franco issue compelled the democracies once again to face more publicly than they would have wished, contradictions in their joint and separate policies towards the Soviet Union which both would have preferred to avoid. For the historian this clash of ideology with geo-politics clarifies the duality and contradictions of the post-war world system of the internationalism of the United Nations on the one hand and the bipolar balance of power on the other.

Difficult choices had been posed in the case of the Spanish Civil War, a conflict largely regarded by the international community as a confrontation between communism and fascism. Thus the Spanish problem remained . . .

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