It took three years for fascism to prevail


The coup d’état didn’t triumph as quickly as those behind it had expected. Workers, farmers, soldiers loyal to the Republic, union members and local residents defeated the military traitors in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Málaga and a large part of Spain. It took Spanish fascism three years of war against the people before it won. And when the war ended, the repression continued. More than one million dead, more than half a million in exile and hundreds of thousands of prisoners and those who suffered reprisals were the legacy of the death and repression by Franco and his allies.

With the arrival of the Republic and the disappearance of the monarchy, the landowners had lost one of their mechanisms of power: the aristocracy and the military who surrounded the monarch and exercised power through him, the so-called ‘camarilla palatina’ with its different military and civil factors. The aggressiveness of agricultural and industrial workers, the threat – more imaginary than real – of the Republican agrarian reform, the lack of political preparation by the aristocracy as a class and the favourable international situation with the ascent of fascism and Nazi-ism, incited the large landowners to employ a political instrument they knew how to use: the military coup.


But the rapid and spontaneous mobilisation of the working class turned the military coup into a civil war, which the rebels took advantage of to put the second part of their plan into effect: the physical elimination of a whole generation of Spanish people who had supported the project of social transformation which the Republic embodied. The aristocrats gave Franco full power to destroy the enemy and bring them victory. The political novelty of fascism and the total annihilation of working-class organisations and their leaders opened the way for the exercise of personal power by General Franco who, copying Italy and Germany, became a charismatic leader, the ‘caudillo’.

Franco was the winner of a war which brought nothing but misery to the majority of the population. Some historians calculate that around one million people died. Many were victims of fighting on the front, others were killed in bombardments, over 125,000 were executed and many others died from hunger and from other causes related to the conflict.

When the war ended, more than 300,000 men and women went into exile, forced to leave the country in order to save their lives. Many ended up in refugee camps on the south coast of France and others fled to Mexico, Argentina, Chile or North Africa. Many would never return. That emigration was a serious setback for the Spanish economy because those who fled were mainly young people, but also for the cultural life and scientific development of the country because those in exile included a large number of artists, writers, scientists, university professors etc...

The war also had a major impact on economic activities: the destruction of infrastructure, livestock numbers, the motoring and railway sector, industries... for that reason, in the memories of most elderly people today, the 1940s were the years of hunger. Poverty, misery and illness were added to the pain of those whose relatives had been killed, imprisoned or exiled. For a large part of the Spanish population, the long night of Francoism was just beginning.


Links to find out more about Francoist repression in Andalucía:

- http://www.caum.es/PUBLICACIONES/eloyterron/autobiograficos/8.%20En%20el%2050%C2%BA%20aniversario%20de%20la%20guerra%20civil%20_1986_.pdf 
- http://granadamemoriahistorica.es/wp-content/docs/Revista_represion_Andalucia.pdf 
- http://www.caum.es/PUBLICACIONES/eloyterron/historia/_1994_%20Carta%20a%20Carmen%20Busmayor%20sobre%20la%20guerra%20civil.pdf 
- https://www.centrodeestudiosandaluces.es/actividades/sitios/archivos/1320864017462864577_CUADERNILLOTALLER.pdf 
- http://www.dipucadiz.es/export/sites/default/galeria_de_ficheros/memoria_historica/bibliografia/Memoria-Historica-Andalucia.pdf 
- http://www.todoslosnombres.org/ 
- http://www.foromemoriacordoba.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/cat%C3%A1logo-victimas-franquismo.pdf 
- http://www.fundacionalfonsoperales.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/La-Memoria-de-todos-las-heridas-del-pasado-se-curan-con-m%C3%A1s-verdad.pdf 
- http://www.comedia.cat/proyectos/docu/dossier-vi-jornadas-amhyja-2011-11-14-definitivo1-3435.pdf 
- http://e-spacio.uned.es/fez/eserv/tesisuned:GeoHis-Aperal/Documento.pdf 
- http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/cultura/mapadefosas/index.jsp 
- http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/cultura/mapadefosas/referencias.html   
- http://rojoynegro.info/sites/default/files/Catalogo%20Biblioteca%20MHSA%20febrero%202016b.pdf 
http://riuma.uma.es/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10630/5905/(Admitida)%20GRANA%20GIL,%20Isabel%20y%20ORTEGA%20CASTILLO,%20F%C3%A1tima.pdf?sequence=6  
- http://hispanianova.rediris.es/7/dossier/07d017.pdf 
- http://www.paralelo36andalucia.com/la-matanza-fundacional-del-franquismo/ 
http://www.historiadelpresente.es/sites/default/files/revista/articulos/2/2.10.pdf