Friday, 17 January 2014

Francisco Franco y Bahamonde

Francisco Franco y Bahamonde (4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish military leader who ruled as the dictator of Spain from 1939 till his death. He came to authority during the Spanish Civil War while serving as the Generalisimo of the Nationalist faction.

Franco came from an army background. He became an extremely decorated soldier and succeeded quick promotions in the army. He rose to fame during the 1920s as a commander in the Spanish Legion and became the youthful general in Europe.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Francisco Franco

Francisco was to follow his father into the Navy, but as a result of the Spanish-American War the country lost much of its navy as well as most of its colonies. Not needing any more officers, entry to the Naval Academy was closed from 1906 to 1913. To his father's chagrin, Francisco decided to try the Spanish Army. In 1907, he entered the Infantry Academy in Toledo, graduating in 1910 as a lieutenant. Two years later, he obtained a commission to Morocco. Spanish efforts to occupy their new African protectorate provoked the protracted Rif War with native Moroccans. 

Their tactics resulted in heavy losses among Spanish military officers, but they also provided an opportunity to earn promotion through merit. It was said that officers would receive either la caja o la faja. Franco quickly gained a reputation as a good officer. He served in the newly formed regulares, colonials with Spanish officers, who acted as shock troops.

In 1916, age 23 and already a captain, he was badly wounded in a skirmish at El Biutz and possibly lost a testicle. His survival marked him permanently in the eyes of the native troops as a man of baraka. He was recommended for Spain's highest honor for gallantry, the coveted Cruz Laureada de San Fernando, but instead was promoted to major in the Spanish Army. From 1917 to 1920, he served in Spain. In 1920, Lieutenant Colonel José Millán Astray, a histrionic but charismatic officer, founded the Spanish Foreign Legion, on similar lines to the French Foreign Legion. Franco became the Legion's second-in-command and returned to Africa. 

On 24 July 1921, the poorly commanded and overextended Spanish Army suffered a crushing defeat at Annual from Rif tribesmen led by the Abd el-Krim brothers. The Legion symbolically saved the Spanish enclave of Melilla after a three-day forced march led by Franco. In 1923, by now a lieutenant colonel, he was made commander of the Legion.

That year, he married María del Carmen Polo y Martínez-Valdès. Three years later the couple had a daughter, María del Carmen. As a special mark of honor, his best man at the wedding was King Alfonso XIII, a fact that would mark him during the Republic as a monarchical officer. Promoted to colonel, Franco led the first wave of troops ashore at Al Hoceima in 1925. This landing in the heartland of Abd el-Krim's tribe, combined with the French invasion from the south, spelled the beginning of the end for the short-lived Republic of the Rif. 

Becoming the youngest general in Spain in 1926, Franco was appointed in 1928 director of the newly created General Military Academy of Zaragoza, a new college for all Army cadets, replacing the former separate institutions for young men seeking to become officers in infantry, cavalry, artillery, and other branches of the army..

Friday, 13 July 2012

Francisco Franco

Francisco Franco was born at 12:30 p.m. on 4 December 1892 at number 108 Calle Frutos Saavedra, Ferrol (currently known as Calle María), in the city's old town. He was baptised on 17 December at the military church of San Francisco with the baptismal names Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo: Francisco for his paternal grandfather, Paulino for his godfather, Hermenegildo for his maternal grandmother and godmother and Teódulo for the saint day of his birth.

His father's ancestry originated in Andalucia. Since relocating to Galicia, his father's family was strongly involved in the Spanish Navy and over two centuries produced naval officers for six generations uninterrupted, right down to Franco's father Nicolás Franco y Salgado-A (22 November 1855 – 22 February 1942). His mother was María del Pilar Bahamonde y Pardo de Andrade (1865 – 28 February 1934), and his parents married in 1890. The young Franco spent much of his childhood with his two brothers, Nicolás (Ferrol, 1891–1977), a naval officer and diplomat who in time was married to María Isabel Pascual del Pobil y Ravello, and Ramón, and his two sisters, María del Pilar (Ferrol, 1894 – Madrid, 1989), later wife of Alonso Jaráiz y Jeréz, and María de la Paz (Ferrol, 1899 – Ferrol, 1900).

Monday, 19 September 2011

Francisco Franco

Francisco Franco y Bahamonde (Spanish: [fɾanˈθisko ˈfɾaŋko]; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general and head of state of Spain from October 1936 (as a unified nation from 1939 onwards), and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November 1975. He came to power as a prominent member of the far-right Falange movement. As head of state, Franco used the title Caudillo de España, por la gracia de Dios, meaning Leader of Spain, by the grace of God, but also was called formally as His Excellency, The Head Of State.

Franco was from a military family, and although originally intent on entering the Spanish Navy, he instead became a soldier. He participated in the Rif War in Morocco, becoming the youngest general in Europe by 1926. After returning to the Spanish mainland, he saw service suppressing an anarchist-led strike in 1934, defending the stability of Alcalá-Zamora's conservative government. Following the formation of a Popular Front government, made up of various left-wing factions, instability heightened. Violence between militant groups rose sharply with assassination of conservative parliamentary leader José Calvo Sotelo in retaliation for the killing of José Castillo. Franco and his co-conspirators used Calvo's death as their pretext for war, even though they had already initiated the plan for their rebellion.

Franco and the military participated in a coup d'état against the Popular Front government. The coup failed and devolved into the Spanish Civil War during which Franco emerged as the leader of the Nationalists against the Popular Front government. After winning the civil war with military aid from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany—while the communist Soviet Union and various Internationalists aided certain forces of the left—he dissolved the Spanish Parliament. He then established a right-wing authoritarian regime that lasted until 1978, when a new constitution was drafted. During World War II, Franco officially maintained a policy of non-belligerency and later of neutrality, in part because Spain had not recovered from the considerable damage of the civil war. However, he supported the volunteer Blue Division who fought with the Axis on the Eastern Front. He was initially disliked by Cuban Fulgencio Batista, who, during World War II, had suggested a joint U.S.-Latin American assault on Spain in order to overthrow Franco's regime.

After the end of World War II, Franco maintained his control in Spain through the implementation of austere measures: the systematic suppression of dissident views through censorship and coercion, the imprisonment of ideologically opposed enemies in concentration camps throughout the country (such as Los Merinales in Seville, San Marcos in León, Castuera in Extremadura, and Miranda de Ebro), the implementation of forced labor in prisons, and the use of the death penalty and heavy prison sentences as deterrents for his ideological enemies. During the Cold War, the United States established a diplomatic and trade alliance with Spain, due to Franco's strong anti-Communist policy. American President Richard Nixon toasted Franco, and, after Franco's death, stated: "General Franco was a loyal friend and ally of the United States." After his death, Spain gradually began its transition to democracy. Today, pre-constitutional symbols from the Franco regime—such as the national Coat of arms or flag with the Imperial Eagle—are banned by law in Spain.