Francisco Franco was a general and authoritarian leader, who governed Spain from 1939 to 1975. He came to power shortly after the start of the Spanish Civil War. In that war, he led the rebel Nationalist Army to victory over the Loyalist forces. After the war ended in 1939, Franco held complete control of Spain. His regime was similar to a Fascist dictatorship. He carried out the functions of chief of state, prime minister, commander in chief, and leader of the Falange, the only permitted political party. He adopted the title of El Caudillo, the leader. In the early years of his regime, he tried to eliminate all opposition.
He later eased some restrictions.
Francisco Franco Bahamonde was born on December 4, 1892, in El Ferrol de Caudillo, Spain. His father was a naval officer. He schooled at the Infantry Academy of Toledo. After graduating from the infantry academy in 1910, he rose rapidly in the army, earning the reputation for efficiency, honesty, and complete professional dedication. He was named commander of the Spanish foreign legion in 1923. Franco became a national hero for his role in
suppressing revolts in Morocco, and at the age of 33 he was made brigadier
general. Having quelled a leftists revolt in Austria in 1934, he became army
chief of staff in 1935.
In February of 1936 the leftist government of the Spanish republic exiled Franco to an obscure command in the Canary Islands. The following July he
joined other right-wing officers in a revolt against the republic. In October they
made him commander in chief and head of state of their new Nationalist regime.
During the three years of the ensuing civil war against the republic, Franco
proved an unimaginative but careful and competent leader, whose forces
advanced slowly but steadily to complete victory on April 1, 1939. The war was
bloody, with numerous atrocities on both sides.
During the civil war, Franco established his control...
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