Spain and the Second World War
FROM 1939 to 1945 the thoughts and energies of the British people were centred on their country's survival and victory. Thus, although the actions and possible actions of Franco Spain were of paramount importance to the war plans of the British and Allied Governments, the Spanish question largely faded from the forefront of the political scene. Even so, some strong partisans, on both the Left and the Right, sought to keep the issue alive and, in fact, met with a limited success, especially among the politically conscious and active sections of the community.
With the victory of the democracies in 1945, Spain once again became a focus of political interest. The protagonists on both sides, in search of political ammunition, combed through the war-time Spanish record with fervour. In doing so they also sought for material which would justify the stand they had taken during the years of the Civil War itself. In their 'researches' and propaganda, they proved that their powers of 'selectivity' had not declined with the passing years.
The anti-Francoists were able to point, without fear of rebuttal, to the virulent stream of anti-British and anti-democratic propaganda that had issued from official Spanish sources. From among the many examples to be found in the Hitler-Mussolini- Franco correspondence, they could point too, for example, to Franco's letter to Hitler on 22 September 1940, in which he had written:1
I would like to thank you dear Führer, once again for the offer of solidarity. I reply with the assurance of my unchangeable and sincere adherence to you personally, to the German people, and to the cause for which you fight. I hope, in defence of this cause, to be able to renew the old bonds of comradeship between our armies.
Further, they contended that a gravely weakened and divided Falangist Spain had been of more assistance to the Axis as a____________________