- NAME: Francisco Franco
- OCCUPATION: Dictator
- BIRTH DATE: December 04, 1892
- DEATH DATE: November 20, 1975
- EDUCATION: Infantry Academy at Toledo
- PLACE OF BIRTH: El Ferrol, Spain
- PLACE OF DEATH: Madrid, Spain
- Full Name: Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde
- AKA: Francisco Franco Bahamonde
- AKA: Francisco Franco
Best Known For
Francisco Franco led a successful military rebellion to overthrow the Spanish democratic republic in the Spanish Civil War (1936—1939), subsequently establishing his lasting dictatorship.
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Though he was a loyal monarchist, Franco accepted both the new regime and his new status in stride, and when elections gave conservatives control of the republic in 1933, Franco’s command was reactivated and he was promoted to major general in 1934.
Francisco Franco’s ascension through Spain’s military accelerated in October 1934, when he was called in to quell a bloody uprising of Asturian miners, a group representative of left-wing causes. His success in this operation made him a national figure, and in May 1935 he was appointed chief of staff of the Spanish army. Once in place, he began strengthening military institutions and emphasizing discipline in the ranks.
Following a slew of scandals, the Spanish parliament was dissolved, new elections were scheduled for February 1936, and the left eventually prevailed. The new government could not stop the crumbling Spanish social and economic structure, however, and the country found itself immersed in anarchy. Franco requested that the government declare a state of emergency, but he was refused, stripped of his chief of staff position, and sent to an insignificant command post in the Canary Islands. From his new post, Franco watched Spain’s political system disintegrate, but he refused to join any movement against the government. By July, though, he finally decided to join the rebels.
On July 18, 1936, from the Canary Islands, Francisco Franco broadcast his manifesto announcing a full military rebellion, and the uprising began on the mainland that same morning. Within 24 hours he was firmly in control of the Spanish army, and he soon advanced toward Madrid, which was held by the republic. As the troops approached the city, seeing Madrid as the symbol of the leftist government about to be toppled, the movement’s leaders decided to choose a commander in chief. Franco was the obvious choice, and he became head of state of the new Nationalist regime on October 1, 1936. But the rebel government did not fully seize the reins of the country immediately, and the Spanish Civil War would last for more than three years.
In April 1937, Franco unified of the Falange Española (Mussolini-inspired Spanish fascists) and the Carlists (another right-wing group) with other small right-wing parties and from them formed the Falange Española Tradicionalista (which became the regime’s official political face), and Franco was appointed the group’s leader. Emulating the tactics of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, oversized posters of Franco were displayed all over Spain, emblazoned with the slogan, "One State! One Country! One Chief! Franco! Franco! Franco!"
With superior military strength and continual assistance from German and Italian troops, Franco’s Nationalist Army slowly began to take control of Spain, region by region. Once Badajoz and Bilbao fell, Franco focused on finally taking Madrid, eventually doing so on March 31, 1939, and April 1 marked Franco’s complete and unconditional victory.
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