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About Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde (Spanish: [fɾanˈθisko ˈfɾaŋko]; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general and dictator, the leader of the right-wing Nationalist military rebellion in the Spanish Civil War, and authoritarian head of state of Spain, from October 1936 (as a unified nation from 1939 onwards) until his death in November 1975. He came to power while recognizing the principles of the far-right Falange movement, although this was for propaganda reasons, as he belonged to no political party before becoming Head of State. As head of state, Franco used the titles Caudillo de España and Generalissimo, 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 evolved 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 Italy and Germany as exemplified in the Bombing of Guernica — while the Soviet Union and various Internationalists aided the Republicans —, he dissolved the Spanish Parliament. He then established a right-wing authoritarian regime and was de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain, 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 that 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.
World War II