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Before He Was Still Dead
by Terrence Berres

The Franco Regime; 1936-1975
by Stanley G. Payne
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press 1987

This is a history and assessment of Spain's Franco government. Payne distinguishes Franco's regime from those of the Nazi or Communist parties. Under Franco, his party, the Falange, was subordinate to the state. In the Civil War, the military and the Right were initially reacting to the Popular Front government's inaction against and tacit sympathy for threats on the Left to take over by force.

Payne divides the history of the regime into three phases:
1936-1939 The Civil War
1939-1959 The Dictadura
1959-1975 Development and Decay

In the Civil War, Franco let forces of his Republican opponents dictate where the battles would be fought. He thereby passed up strategic and tactical opportunities in order to end the war sooner.

The Falange never enacted many parts of the fascist program, neither after Franco's initial victory nor over the decades following. The regime was never totalitarian although it was always authoritarian and sometimes was repressive, at least in its earlier years. It called itself an "organic democracy" as opposed to a popular democracy. It was Traditionalist, supported Catholicism, and looked to the eventual restoration of the monarchy.

Franco always balanced the various elements of his political support in order to maintain personal power. Payne portrays him as an impressive and in at least some ways an admirable man in the context of his times.


Revised January 8, 2005.

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