THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR of 1936-39 deeply scarred the soul of an age. Small wonder, then, that its legacy, like King Charles II of England, is a long time a-dying. Yet dying it is, as any visitor to the vibrant post-Franco Spain discovers. Juan Pablo Fusi Franco and Stanley G. Payne The Franco Regime: 1936-1975, both published in 1987, the tenth anniversary of the post-Franco Spanish constitution, are among the signs that scholarly consideration of Francisco Franco's forty-year reign is now passing from the realm of polemic into the more measured realm of history.
The emerging spectacle is paradoxical. The man whose ascendancy stretched from the victory of the insurgents in 1936 to his quiet if painful death in bed in November 1975 (with the mummified arm of Saint Teresa of Avila at his side) was physically small and, to most eyes, unprepossessing. Francisco Franco was a soldier with strong but simple ideas--a Bonapartist, Stanley Payne suggests, without the genius of Bonaparte. He ruled a brilliant and volatile, and changing, society less by means of ideology than by