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Why was opposition to Franco so ineffective for so long?

Uploaded by marisa on May 14, 2006

“The regime of General Franco considered its greatest political achievement to be the establishment of an era of peace and order without precedent in the history of Spain.”
Opposition to Franco was ineffective for so long due to a wide variety of factors, the Franco regime itself was very oppressive yet it cannot solely explain the lack of opposition as it did not prevent strikes, student demonstrations and the activities of ETA in the 1960s. There was tacit acceptance by the large sections of the Spanish population of the Francoist system, the Franco regime represented the restoration of traditional values in education, family, religion and social order; values which were more deeply rooted in Spanish society than the liberal-democratic reformists of the 1930s had believed. The Franco regime also benefited from the sheer exhaustion of the Spanish society after three years of bloody civil war and it can be said that there was majority social support for Francoism within Spain.

Conflicts in Spain were much more severe than was apparent in the regime’s propaganda or reflected in a manipulated media. The resistance was heroic but its repercussions in Spain were limited, it revealed the repressive nature of the regime and the inadequacy of its institutions for solving the conflict of a modern society. The regime’s repression was very efficient, between 1939 and 45 the clandestine Socialist Party saw six executive committees imprisoned and until the end of the diplomatic isolation of Spain in the 1950s the government was not concerned with the effect of brutal repression on its image abroad; it in fact capitalised on international hostility. Harsh repression prevented any effective action by clandestine unions, when these unions were ineffective the workers were demobilised, concerned with the satisfaction of their individual needs rather than with collective action. Ridruejo spoke in 1961 of ‘a loss of working-class consciousness.’ Leaders of the ‘historic’ opposition were mostly forced into exile and therefore cut off from the clandestine struggle within Spain. Only the Communists successfully survived the difficulties created by exile combined with repression at home. They grasped the importance of action within Spain itself in the fight against Franco; they formed the only continuous and significant clandestine organisation. Nevertheless their guerrilla action between 1944 and 48 failed due to the strict press censorship there were no echoes of their activity outside of a...

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Uploaded by:   marisa

Date:   05/14/2006

Category:   European History

Length:   7 pages (1,576 words)

Views:   3076

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