Francisco Franco Bahamonde (4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975), commonly referred to as Francisco Franco, was a military generalísimo, leader of Spain (Caudillo de España) from October 1936 (whole country from April 1, 1939 on), and de-facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in 1975.
- We do not rule out that it will change in the future, but for now it is. I am convinced that Masonry is very good for England in England; the bad thing is that in Spain it is still very good for England.
- To Foster Dulles, Secretary of State of the United States.
- The defence of internal peace and order constitutes the sacred mission of a nation's armed forces and that is what we have carried out.
- As quoted in The Tyrants : 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006) by Clive Foss, p. 143, ISBN 1905204965
- The Spanish Republic did not find itself free of obligations. For the most part the leaders were Freemasons. Before their duty to their country came their obligations to the Grand Orient. In my opinion, Freemasonry, with all its international influence, is the organization principally responsible for the political ruin of Spain, as well as the murder of Calvo Sotelo, who was executed in accordance with orders from the Grand Secretary of Freemasonry in Geneva.
- Interview with Spanish journalist Nena Belmonte, as quoted in "Freemasonry and the Spanish Civil War" by Matthew Scanlan.
- One thing that I am sure of, and which I can answer truthfully, is that whatever the contingencies that may arise here, wherever I am there will be no communism.
- In discussion with Niceto Alcalá-Zamora, as quoted in Francisco Franco : The Times and the Man (1938) by Joaquin Arraras, p. 159
- We strive to form a single national front against the Masonic lodges, against Moscow and the Marxist societies.
- Statement in El defensor de Córdoba (24 July 1936), as cited by Javier Navarrete in Más Allá
- "It's true. They have everything. Everything except reason."
- Note: In contrast to the quotes from Manuel Azaña and Prieto: «Where are those crazy people going? We have the main cities, the industrial centers, all the gold of the Bank of Spain, inexhaustible reserves of men, and we have the Squadron."
- All is well, thank God... but victory will not be complete, definitive or stable, as long as Masonry is in our Spain. And how will it disappear? What to do? Ask Mussolini.
- Statement in El defensor de Córdoba (2 October 1936), as cited by Agustín Celis
Manifesto of 18 July 1936 edit
- Radio broadcast by Franco from the Canary Islands, declaring his and his soldiers' reasons for revolt against the Spanish government at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. As quoted by Jon Cowans (editor) in Modern Spain: A Documentary History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), p. 177-179.
Commentary by Cowans: "After years of discussions among military officers outraged by the course of events in Republican Spain, a group of generals decided, following the recent murder of the leading conservative politician, José Calvo Sotelo, to mount an armed uprising against the government. The officers had no single commander yet, but one of their leaders was the young general Francisco Franco Bahamonde (1892-1975), who as head of Spain's Army of Africa was based in the Canary Islands. Franco made this speech over the radio. It is unlikely that many Spaniards actually heard it, but nevertheless, the speech illustrates the soldiers' grievances and the kind of arguments they made in defense of their actions."
To all of you who feel holy love for Spain, to all of you who in the ranks of the army and the navy have sworn to serve the fatherland, to those of you who swore to defend it from its enemies with your lives, the nation calls you to defend it. The situation in Spain has been growing worse every day: anarchy reigns in most of the countryside and the towns; authorities named by the government preside over revolts, when they do not directly promote them. Pistols and machine guns are used to settle differences between groups of citizens, who murder each other treacherously and treasonously while the public powers do nothing to impose peace and justice.
Revolutionary strikes of all kinds paralyze the nation, ruining and destroying its sources of wealth and creating a situation of hunger that will throw working men into a state of desperation.
Artistic monuments and treasures are the object of the most frenzied attacks by revolutionary hordes obeying the commands they receive from foreign directors, who count on the complicity or negligence of governors and officials.
The most serious crimes are committed in the countryside while the forces of public order remain in their barracks, restrained by blind obedience to governors who intend to dishonor them. The army, the navy, and other military forces are the target of the lowest and most slanderous attacks by the very ones who should safeguard their prestige.
- States of emergency and alarm only serve to muzzle the people and to keep Spain from knowing what is happening outside the gates of their towns and cities, as well as to jail supposed political adversaries. The constitution, constantly suspended and violated, has been completely eclipsed; there is neither equality before the law nor liberty, enchained by tyranny, nor fraternity, threatened by the tearing apart of the national territory... that the governing powers themselves are promoting, nor solidarity and defense of our borders, when in the heart of Spain people listen to foreign broadcasts preaching the destruction and division of our soil.
The judiciary, whose independence the constitution guarantees, also suffers persecutions that exhaust or neutralize it, and it is the target of withering attacks on its independence.
Electoral pacts made at the cost of the integrity of the very fatherland, together with assaults on civil governments and vaults [intended] to falsify their acts, created the mask of legality that rules over us. Nothing restrains the appetite for power...
In addition to the revolutionary and ignorant spirit of the masses deceived and exploited by Soviet agents, who hide the bloody reality of that regime that has sacrificed 25 million people for its existence, there is the maliciousness and negligence of authorities of all kinds, who, protected by an incompetent government, lack the authority and prestige to impose order and the rule of liberty and justice.
- Can we consent to the shameful spectacle we are presenting to the world for one more day? Can we abandon Spain to the fatherland's enemies by cowardly and treasonous actions, surrendering it without a struggle and without resistance? No! The traitors may do so, but those of us who have sworn to defend it will not. We offer you justice and equality before the law. Peace and love among Spaniards. Liberty and fraternity free from libertinage and tyranny. Work for all. Social justice, carried out without rancor or violence, and an equitable and progressive distribution of wealth without destroying or endangering the Spanish economy. But first, a war without quarter against the exploiters of politics, against the deceivers of the honorable worker, and against the foreigners and would-be foreigners who, directly or indirectly, seek to destroy Spain. At this moment, it is Spain as a whole that is rising up and demanding peace, fraternity, and justice; in all of the regions, the army, the navy, and the forces of public order are rushing to defend the fatherland. The energy devoted to upholding order will match the magnitude of the resistance offered to it.
Our motives do not derive from the defense of a few illegitimate interests, nor from the desire to go backward along the path of history... Because the purity of our intentions prevents us from stifling those advances that represent an improvement in the political and social realm, and because the spirit of hatred and vengeance has no place in our hearts, we shall be able to salvage those legislative efforts which are compatible with the internal peace of Spain and its much-desired greatness, bringing about, for the first time in our country, the three-part order, Fraternity, liberty, and equality. Spaniards: Long live Spain! Long live the honorable Spanish people!
- We do not believe in government through the voting booth. The Spanish national will was never freely expressed through the ballot box. Spain has no foolish dreams.
- Fascism, since that is the word that is used, fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life. Our rising, here, has a Spanish meaning! What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?
- Un estado totalitario armonizará en España el funcionamiento de todas las capacidades y energías del país, que dentro de la Unidad Nacional, el trabajo estimado como el más ineludible de los deberes será el único exponente de la voluntad popular.
- A totalitarian state will harmonize in Spain the operation of all the capabilities and energy in the country, that inside the National Unity, the work esteemed as the most unavoidable must be the only exponent of the people's will.
- Victory speech in Madrid (19 May 1939), quoted in Espana Nuevo Siglo (1997) by Tim Connell and Juan Kattán-Ibarra, p. 174
- A totalitarian state will harmonize in Spain the operation of all the capabilities and energy in the country, that inside the National Unity, the work esteemed as the most unavoidable must be the only exponent of the people's will.
- Let us be under no illusion. The Jewish spirit which was responsible for the alliance of large-scale capital with Marxism and was the driving force behind so many anti-Spanish revolutionary agreements, will not be got rid of in a day.
- Victory speech in Madrid (19 May 1939)
Laureate Cross acceptance speech (July 1940) edit
- Speech by Franco as he received the Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand, Spain's highest military honour, which he had originally been nominated for in 1918 while fighting in Morocco. As the award is given by the Spanish head of state, Franco simply gave himself the decoration. As quoted by Jon Cowans (editor) in Modern Spain: A Documentary History (2003). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, p. 211-214.
- I say this to you because we Spaniards are a forgetful people, because we are used to living for the moment, because we do not look back, because we do not know how to see the chain of heroes, because we do not contemplate the sum of sacrifices.
- We have torn up Marxist materialism and we have disorientated Masonry. We have thwarted the Satanic machinations of the clandestine Masonic superstate. Despite its control of the world’s press and numerous international politicians. Spain’s struggle is a Crusade; as soldiers of God we carry with us the evangelism of the world!
- Speech to the women’s section of the Falange in Madrid (11 September 1945), as quoted in "Freemasonry and the Spanish Civil War" by Matthew Scanlan.
- The whole secret of the campaigns unleashed against Spain can be explained in two words: Masonry and Communism... we have to extirpate these two evils from our land.
- Writing under the alias Jakin Boor in the journal Arriba in an article, "Masonry and Communism" (14 December 1946), as quoted in Franco: A Biography by Juan Pablo Fusi Aizpurúạ, p. 71
Quotes About Franco edit
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- Francisco Franco, the former fascist dictator of Spain, gave the Nazis a list of every Jew in his country in order to facilitate efforts to locate, deport and destroy them, according to a document found recently in a Spanish archive and reported on Sunday by the Spanish daily El Pais. The paper said that in 1941, Spain prepared a list of all 6,000 Jews in its territory and gave it to the architect of the Nazis' Final Solution, Heinrich Himmler...
- The document is an official order, dated May 13, 1941, issued by Franco's chief of security, Jose Maria Finat y Escriva de Romani, to all provincial governors. It instructs them to prepare a list of every Jew in their district, both local residents and foreigners, along with details about "their personal and political leanings, their means of supporting themselves, their commercial activity, the level of threat they constitute and their security classification.
- Ofer Aderet, in "WWII document reveals: General Franco handed Nazis list of Spanish Jews", in Haaretz (22 June 2010)
- The Spanish general had neither the look nor the commanding voice of a dashing military leader. He was short, pudgy, and balding, had a droopy countenance, was prone to crying, and- when issuing orders- he tended to squeak. Colleagues tended to refer to him behind his back as "Miss Canary Islands," a comment on both his demeanor and the remote site where he was stationed when the first shots were fired; but Franco was the sort of leader who could find his way through a minefield without putting a foot wrong. Unlike many, he expected the Civil War to be long, dirty, and closely fought. In preparation, he solicited and received aid from Hitler and Mussolini. To the irritation of both dictators, Franco resisted pressure for bold actions that, in his judgment, would have entailed taking excessive risks. Instead he waged war like a safecracker, turning the dial one click at a time. He used aerial bombardments to soften up any opposition before attacking on the ground. He paid careful attention to logistics and didn't squander his ammunition, equipment or men. He moved his headquarters close to the fighting and insisted that a field commander lead in retaking any territory on the global stage, for the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was of interest not solely to Spain.
- Madeline Albright, Fascism: A Warning (2018), p. 49-50
- There are aspects of the Spanish Civil War that remain relevant today. The bloodshed generated controversy within neighboring countries, especially France, about whether to accept or turn back the tens of thousands of refugees who sought relief from the fighting. The Russian troops and tanks that appeared in Spain did so without markings or insignia, just as their successors would do in the 1961 Berlin crisis and, more than fifty years later, in Ukraine. The German bombing of Guernica, immortalized by Picasso, sparked calls for an international war crimes investigation that never took place. Instead the perpetrators first denied that any bombs had fallen, then blamed the carnage on the victims. Franco was Spain's youngest general and possibly its most cruel. He personally ordered t he executions of thousands of alleged enemy combatants and sympathizers, without the slightest sign of remorse. He was deliberative, but ambitious. Even before the war had been won, he was designated the future chief of state, with full dictatorial powers. Everywhere he went, Nationalist posters proclaimed, UN ESTADO, UN PAIS, UN JEFE- "One state, one country, one leader," an echo of the Nazi slogan "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer."
- Madeline Albright, Fascism: A Warning (2018), p. 51-52
- The last of the Republican forces surrendered to Franco on April 1, 1939. The general vowed at the time that he would never pick up his sword again except to defend his country from invasion. When Hitler urged him to bring Spain into the wartime Axis alliance, he refused as a matter of principle, then asked how much Germany was willing to pay. He set his own terms: generous amounts of military and economic aid, plus Morocco, a possession of Vichy France. The Germans viewed the price tag as exorbitant and knew that handing Morocco to Spain would so outrage the Vichy regime that it would no longer collaborate. To break the deadlock, Hitler traveled from Berlin to the Spanish frontier town of Hendaye, where, on October 23, 1940, he met with Franco. The chancellor was confident that his willingness to journey eleven hundred miles to visit the Spaniard in his own country would produce a breakthrough. After all, wasn't he the master of Europe? Instead, in a nine-hour meeting, Franco evaded every request. When Hitler pressed him for a commitment, he replied with questions. Asked to moderate his demands, he repeated them. When the Fuehrer predicted a quick victory over England, implying that Spain could wait no longer if it wanted to share in the triumph, Franco doubted the scenario before adding that, even if the Germans were to capture London, the British would keep fighting from Canada.
- Madeline Albright, Fascism: A Warning (2018), p. 52-53
- Barely containing his fury, Hitler had no choice but to make the long trip back home empty-handed. The following February, he tried a final time, writing to Franco, "We three men, the Duce, you, and I, are bound together by the most rigorous compulsion of history... In such difficult times... a bold heart can save nations." Flattery didn't work with Franco, who politely declined the chance to link his fate to the Nazis. Writing again, this time to Mussolini, Hitler predicted that Franco- who would die in his bed at the age of seventy-five- was making "the greatest mistake of his life."
- Madeline Albright, Fascism: A Warning (2018), p. 53
- "He is a champion of anti-communism."
- Lyndon B. Johnson, the North American President commenting on the reason for sending the first helicopter carrier ship to a friendly nation (the first to enjoy it after the US, and in memory of Torres Quevedo)
- Franco's own ideology was deeply conservative but it was subordinated to the perputation of his own power. He maintained control by repeatedly shifting the balance of influence within the regime according to internal and external pressures, and he continued to command loyalty by allowing the self-enrichment of his elites through the institutions of the state.
- Sebastian Balfour, quoted in Spain: A History (2000), edited by Raymond Carr (p.265).
- "Bring us Franco's balls!" the men shouted. "'e ain't got no bloody balls," a voice replied.
- Alvah Bessie, Men in Battle: A Story of Americans in Spain (1939), 1954 hardcover reprint, p. 63
- Every town along the Mediterranean shore was empty and deserted. The road was jam-packed with peasants evacuating toward the north, on mule-back, in donkey-carts, afoot. They looked at us in the cab of the truck, moving against the stream they made, and they kept moving. Hundreds were camped along the roads; hundreds were plodding north toward Barcelona, their few possessions, mattresses, blankets, household utensils, domestic stock, on their backs, in wheelbarrows or on their burros' backs. Little children were walking, holding onto their mother's skirts; women carried babies; older children were driving goats, sheep; old men were helping old women along the road; their faces were impassive, dark with the dust of the roads and fields, lined and worn. Their eyes alone were bright but there was no expression in their eyes. Looking at them you knew what they were thinking: 'Franco is coming; Franco is coming.'
- Alvah Bessie, Men in Battle: A Story of Americans in Spain (1939), 1954 hardcover reprint, p. 134
- Then near-by Tarragona was bombed; the Spanish, British, and American nurses went about their work as the windowpanes rattled and the hideous drumming reverberated throughout the house. We all ran out onto the flagstone terrace to watch the black smoke rise over Terragona, and by morning of the next day the word had come that the Italian Fascist troops had reached the sea at Vinaroz, below Tortosa, cutting Loyalist Spain away from Catalonia, and all traffic had been cut between Barcelona and Valencia. (In Rome, the Pope gave his apostolic benediction to the sacred cause of General Franco.)
- Alvah Bessie, Men in Battle: A Story of American in Spain (1939), 1954 hardcover reprint, p. 146
- We heard- a shithouse rumor?- that we dominated the heights surrounding Lerida and Balaguer (this was different); the newspapers reported that the offensive was gaining ground everywhere; the Non-Intervention Committee met again and issued another of its 'decisions.' This time it was decided once more to withdraw all foreign 'volunteers' from Spain, but England's perfidious hand could be seen as plain as day, for wasn't Mr. Chamberlain interested in concluding an agreement with Banjo-Eyes? And wasn't the 'withdrawal' contingent upon British and French concession of belligerent rights to Franco, which would tip the scales even farther in his favor by legalizing what already existed- the shipment of arms, munitions, planes and tanks and men into his territory?
- Alvah Bessie, Men in Battle: A Story of American in Spain (1939), p. 170
- North's news of Europe was disheartening. Hitler had mobilized a million and a half men on the Czech and French borders, presumably for 'maneuvers'; probably for aggression against Czechoslovakia if the democracies, as they are euphemistically described, remained supine. Roosevelt and Hull had, it is true, made strong speeches against Fascist aggression within the week, and called for united democratic opposition, but when would the talking end and what good would it do? Franco, unlike the Spanish Loyalist Government, had given a categorical refusal to the Non-Intervention Committee's alleged plan for evacuation of foreign volunteers; he did worse, he said he would accept it in exchange for belligerent rights, immediately granted.
- Alvah Bessie, Men in Battle: A Story of American in Spain (1939), p. 297
- In April 1937 Franco, as effective head of state of Nationalist Spain, fused the Falange with the Carlists, monarchists and the rest of the right to form the single party of his regime: a process, though differently conducted, somewhat similar to Italian fascism's fusion with Nationalism and Clerico-Fascism after 1922. The product, like the Italian Fascist regime, was a compromise between radical fascism and conservative authoritarianism, in this case with unambiguous military and Church support.
- General Franco is an authentic national hero. It is generally conceded that he above others had the combination of talents, the perseverance, and the sense of righteousness of his cause, that were required to wrest Spain from the hands of the visionaries, ideologues, Marxists and nihlistis that were imposing on her, in the thirties, a regime so grotesque as to do violence to the Spanish soul, to deny, even Spain's historical identity.
- "It has thicker skin than a rhinoceros."
- (At the beginning of the Second World War) Confidential note from Spanish diplomacy of the comment that a senior officer of Allied diplomacy (it is said that it is specifically British) would have made about Franco and specifically the maintenance of strict neutrality on the Western Front and even a supposed and veiled logistical support and bilateral cooperation between the Spanish State and the secret treaties of Friendship and anti-communist cooperation with the Axis Powers and the disagreement tending to a future and posible war and non-beligerancy state against The Empire of the Rising Sun at the end of the war with the massacres of the Japanese army with Phillippines and Spanish citizens in the Philippines and the Pacific.
- General Franco made it clear that Spain could enter the war only when England was about ready to collapse.
- Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. Quoted in The Last European War (1976) by John Lukacs (p. 114).
- I most sincerely wish to go on record as being unalterably opposed to Franco and fascism, to all violations of the legal government and outrages against the people of Republican Spain.
- William Faulkner, 1938, quoted in Frederick Robert Karl, William Faulkner, American writer:a biography (1990), p. 630
- Franco ruled Spain, but not as a Republic. The Succession Law of 1947 defined the country as a monarchy, although it recognized Franco's power for his lifetime. He intended to name Juan Carlos, grandson of the late King Alfonso XIII as his successor, although he waited another 22 years before naming him. Franco called a plebiscite that approved his succession plans by a huge margin. He termed this (and similar votes) his 'democratic mandate': no other forms of democracy were needed. Franco was always cautious and considered all options before making up his mind. Reserved and spacious, but courteous and proud, he rarely revealed his feelings. But a particular book he published in 1952 exposed his thinking. Freemasonry blamed the problems of the world on Spain's enemies, Freemasons and Communists. For him, Roosevelt, Truman, and Churchill were all Masons, part of a destructive tide only temporarily held back by Hitler and Mussolini. When the western leaders met Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam, they confirmed Franco's worst fears. These erratic views were not widely publicized abroad.
- Clive Foss, The Tyrants : 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006) pp. 145-146
- Franco celebrated 25 years of peace in 1964, basking in a cult of personality that called him 'the man sent by God and made leader' or 'hero of the hosts of heaven and earth.' Although he was less active in the government, he was still very much in charge. His beliefs never changed: freedom would lead to corruption and Communism, and the state should be based on the family, the towns, and the party. For the first time, Franco defined his view of the state in the Organic Law (1966): a monarchy whose only political activity was Franco's movement, whose head had extensive powers that could be challenged but not threatened by an assembly. Strikes, student unrest and regional problems, however, made it clear that his ideas were not compatible with a modern state that needed representative institutions to deal with ever more complex problems.
- Clive Foss, The Tyrants : 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006) p. 146
- It would be naïve in the extreme to dismiss General Francisco Franco as a villain or a butcher. He is a creature of his caste, a product of his moral environment, and a fairly typical example of it. He has been commended for intelligence and courage, and he possesses social grace and charm. Beyond doubt, as he sees patriotism, he is a patriot. He is an idealist too. But let it be remembered that he started the war, and if he loses it, he will be a man like such tragic figures as Wrangel and Deniken, who helped create what they sought to destroy. It is Franco- and what he represents- who knit Leftist Spain into a competent unity; if communism comes to Spain, General Franco will have been its accoucheur.
- John Gunther, Inside Europe (1933), 1938 Edition, New York: Harper & Brothers, p. 177
- Franco is hardworking, has a thorough knowledge of the Spanish political and economic situations, and is more astute politically than any of his opposition.
- Stanton Griffis, United States Ambassador to Spain (1951-1952), in a dispatch to Dean Acheson, United States Secretary of State (1949-1953). As quoted by Jon Cowans (editor) in Modern Spain: A Documentary History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), p. 231
- Just like any honest man, I am against Franco and Fascism in Spain.
- Ernest Hemingway, quoted in Writers Take Sides : Letters About the War in Spain from 418 American Authors (1938) by the American Writers League, which asked various authors: "Are you for or are you against Franco and fascism?".
- Just as the [1936 United States] presidential campaign neared its climax the Spanish Civil War broke out, lending point to the fears of the isolationists that the United States might get dragged into a general war against its wishes. We have tended to forget, under the influence of the great war to follow, for which the Spanish struggle was only a rehearsal, the intense bitterness it generated. That bitterness spread far and quickly beyond national frontiers and begat class struggle in foreign lands to an extent the Communist revolution in Russia never approached.
For the Spanish war was nourished by religious fanaticism. In Spain the rich and conservative classes were devoted supporters of the Roman Catholic Church. It was their wealth that made the Church in Spain so rich as to be the main support of the Vatican in Rome. When the Spanish Republic, established after many vicissitudes following the departure of King Alfonso XIII, continued to gain strength at the subsequent elections and to attempt reforms, the rich Catholics decided things had gone far enough and that the good old days must be restored by force of arms. They made General Franco their champion and Mother Church their battle cry.
- Harold B. Hinton, Cordell Hull (1942), London: Hurst & Blackett, Ltd., hardcover, p. 206
- The general launched the Spanish Nationalist party, backed at the outset almost exclusively by Moorish mercenaries who were neither Spanish nor Catholic. The Catholic part of his slogan took root in the outside world, and subsequent developments failed to shake the conviction of good churchmen in Great Britain, the United States, and Latin America that there was only one side to the Spanish issue.
These violent foreign partisans were unshaken when Franco had to solicit military assistance from Hitler, due to the marked lack of enthusiasm of the Spanish for his "Nationalist" movement. If the good Catholics in the outside world had stopped for a moment to consider the dubious (to put the best interpretation on it) reputation of the German Fuehrer for dealing with the Catholics in his own country, they might have wondered how good a bargain Franco was driving. When the great "Nationalist" implored legions of mercenaries from Mussolini, the ex-Socialist who had been in constant hot water with the Vatican ever since he usurped power, their embryo suspicions should have been confirmed. But neither inference bore any weight, and Franco became the world's champion of Catholicism.
- Harold B. Hinton, Cordell Hull (1942), London: Hurst & Blackett, Ltd., hardcover, p. 206-207
- A great man...and the greatest and most representative of the Spanish people of the 20th century... one of the great leaders we have had in our history.
- Manuel Fraga Iribarne, Spanish Politician and diplomat, on the occasion of Franco's death. Quoted in "Frases que reflejan el recorrido de Manuel Fraga" in GARA Newspaper (16 January 2012)
- Franco, it is tempting to think, is too peripheral a figure to be ranked as a 'maker of twentieth-century Europe'- central to Spanish history of the era, naturally, but not necessarily of wider importance. It is, of course, obvious that Franco's wider impact scarcely compares with that of Hitler and Mussolini, or Lenin and Stalin. He presents a case-study in the role and impact of the individual in history at the lower end of the scale. And it is fair to say that for much of the twentieth century Spain was on the periphery of the key developments in Europe. It has been judged that Franco 'at best influenced world history during the 1930s. But the twentieth century would not have been much different without him.'
Such an assessment is too dismissive. European as well as Spanish history would certainly, in indefinable ways, have been different had the republic survived after 1936. That it did not survive owed much to Franco's leadership in the Civil War. Moreover, the importance of that war was such that it drew in- in different measure- Europe's major powers and attracted the participation of volunteer fighters from across the continent. Franco's dealings with the Axis powers during the Second World War and then with the West during the Cold War also gave his long dictatorship a significance not confined to Spain. Moreover, the character of the subsequent transition to pluralist democracy, and the impact of Franco's era on Spanish memory and political culture and on the divisive question of regional separatism in one of Europe's biggest countries, additionally make Franco a figure of relevance to European, not just Spanish, history. Not least, Franco demonstrates how an individual with recognized qualities as a military commander but no experience of political leadership could benefit from the historical conditions that made his assumption of power possible in the first place and enabled him to go on to 'make his own history.'
- Ian Kershaw, Personality and Power: Makers and Destroyers of Modern Europe (2022), New York: Penguin Press, 1st printing hardcover, p. 235-236
- In personality, Franco was self-contained and detached, emotionally cold, calculating, not spontaneous, driven by an overweening sense of duty, discipline and obedience, seldom revealing outward emotion and merciless toward defeated enemies. And he was ambitious. He approved of the atrocities of his brutal legionaries against captured Moorish villages in the colonial wars in Morocco. He later showed the same lack of humanity in his treatment of political enemies in Spain. Cold revenge against his enemies, external or internal, was a trait that ran through his character. And the long list of internal enemies amounted to all in his eyes who were ruining Spain- the revolutionary Left, anti-monarchists, pacifists, liberals, those determined to destroy the Catholic Church and the separatists in Catalonia and the Basque Country who dreamed of breaking away from the centralized Spanish state. Behind them he came to see hidden backers- Moscow, Jews, but above all international Freemasonry, which, in his eyes, was responsible for Spain's plight.
- Ian Kershaw, Personality and Power: Makers and Destroyers of Modern Europe (2022), New York: Penguin Press, 1st printing hardcover, p. 237-238
- Mola shared Franco's ideological obsessions, including his hatred of Freemasonry and Jews. He favoured extreme violence, terror and exemplary punishment in the pursuit of internal enemies and the 'purification' of Spain. Whether the thirst for revenge, so characteristic of Franco, would have been so vicious and lasted so long after the Civil War under another military leader cannot of course be known. Franco's military skill undoubtedly played a significant part in defeating the republican forces. Without the supplies of arms from the Axis powers, however, Franco's prowess as a commander would most likely not have been enough. And with those arms, another nationalist general might well have attained victory. So Franco was in certain respects fortunate to receive all the victory laurels. By the time victory was won, however, there were few in Spain prepared to argue the point.
- Ian Kershaw, Personality and Power: Makers and Destroyers of Modern Europe (2022), New York: Penguin Press, 1st printing hardcover, p. 247
- Throughout the Spanish Civil War, Franco had been in awe of Mussolini and even more so of Hitler. During the first years of the Second World War while the Axis powers seemed to be heading for victory Franco courted both dictators. He felt ideologically in tune with them. More than that, he saw advantages for Spain from the war itself, and from what he took to be the certain defeat of western democracy by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. He wanted Spain to join the Second World War as a belligerent power and to share in their imagined triumph.
That was, naturally, not the image he wanted to portray either to the Spanish people or, more importantly, to the victorious Allies once the Second World War was over. As the war began to turn against the Axis powers and their defeat became ever more certain, Franco's early enthusiasm wilted. At the same time, Spanish propaganda began the process of reversing the public image of the Caudillo from avid supporter of the Axis to wise leader whose brilliant diplomacy had skillfully kept Spain out of the war and nobly preserved the country's neutrality. It marked the start of the attempt in the immediate post-war waorld to overcome the hostility of the West and to end Spain's pariah status in international relations. But the strategic demands of the Cold War, not Franco's own abilities or efforts, brought the breakthrough to Spain's partial rehabilitation. During both the Second World War and the Cold War, external factors, not Franco himself, were the key determinants in shaping Spain's international relations. Franco represented their contradictory public face.
- Ian Kershaw, Personality and Power: Makers and Destroyers of Modern Europe (2022), New York: Penguin Press, 1st printing hardcover, p. 249
- A democracy can be highly illiberal, while on the other hand an absolute ruler could be a thorough liberal—without being for this reason the least bit democratic. Even a dictator, theoretically, could be a liberal. [...] A purely military dictatorship based on the bayonets and sabres of a handful of professional soldiers has greater liberal potentialities (one has only to compare Franco, Oliveira Salazar and Pétain with Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin).
- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1952). Liberty and Equality: The Challenge of Our Time, Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, pp. 87-88
- Neither the Nazis nor the Italians were able to cash in on their "investments" in Spain. Franco saw Hitler only once and, as an old specialist on criminals from his days in the Tercio, he immediately sized up his partner.
- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1974). Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse, Arlington House Publishers, p. 271
- The Madrid victory parade took place on May 19. This time we formed the letters "F-R-A-N-C-O," a still more difficult flying maneuver. We flew straight up the Castellana, high in the clear sky, while thousands of troops, tanks, and guns moved through the city. The enthusiasm was unsurpassed. A few months later I retired from the air force, but I remain in the reserve to this day. On October 19, 1939, Paz and I were married in Seville's magnificent cathedral. We now have six children, two girls and four boys, age eight to twenty-four. We had won the war, yet our troubles were not over by any means. A major work of reconstruction lay ahead for a ruined but vigorous and proud country. But a new World War was looming up menacingly and was to delay and hinder the steep uphill climb; also ahead lay the years of isolation by a hostile world. The years have flown and hate's sharp and bitter edge has been dulled and blunted by the healing balm of time. New generations have sprung up to fill the ranks where once stood veterans, united, shoulder to shoulder, to save Spain, our beloved country, from national death. Reconstruction has, in truth, flourished under the warm sun of social justice and twenty-five years of peace, our hard-won peace. The firm and steady hand of a great captain and patriot, in my view one of the greatest in Spain's long history, has held the tiller of the ship of state through fierce gales and in and out of sharp reefs, to steer it to a calm and prosperous anchorage. If the spirit, courage, and overwhelming national enthusiasm born on July 18, 1936, can be kept alive by present generations and kindled in succeeding ones Spain need have no fear from any internal foes nor from inveterate enemies beyond her frontiers.
- José Larios, veteran of the Nationalist side of the Spanish Air Force in the Spanish Civil War, Combat Over Spain (1966), New York: Macmillan Company, hardcover, p. 266-267
- And who could tell if we were to be forced into the conflict? No one at the time could predict. We were to suffer long years of uncertainty during the World War while Spain slowly but proudly recovered from her deep wounds, unaided and isolated. Our not being drawn into war (which would have completed Spain's ruin), was, as everyone knows now, entirely due to General Franco's inflexible firmness of purpose. Not even Hitler, at the height of his power, was able to sway him to his side or alter his determination to keep Spain out of it- a remarkable feat. From the conclusion of the Spanish Civil War to this day, much has happened and much good has come to this country. Her astounding and heroic effort has not gone unrewarded, as fifteen million tourists (in 1964) can testify.
- José Larios, Combat Over Spain (1966), New York: Macmillan Company, hardcover, p. 268-269
- The crucial difference was between the regimes of the old Right, who wanted to turn the clock back to a pre-democratic elitist era, and the new Right who seized and sustained power through the instruments of mass politics. The former included General Franco and the Greek dictator Metaxas, men who feared mass politics and allied themselves with bastions of the established order such as the monarchy and the Church...the new radical Right, in contrast, rose to power in Italy and Germany through elections and the parliamentary process.
- Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe's 20th Century (1998), p. 27
- There is no question for any decent, kindly man or woman, let alone a poet or writer, who must be more sensitive. We have to be against Franco and Fascism and for the people of Spain, and the future of gentleness and brotherhood which ordinary men and women want all over the world.
- General Francisco Franco, the generalissimo of Spain from 1939 to 1975, is in some ways the forgotten tyrant, his deeds overshadowed by Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, yet he was truly one of history's monsters. In the 1930s, this fascistic warlord won power with brutality and terror in a savage civil war, aided by his ally Hitler, and proceeded to terrorize the civilian population of Spain for 25 years. As democracy thrived in the rest of Western Europe following the Second World War, his brutal military dictatorship continued to crush dissent, and to shoot and torture his supposed enemies.
- Simon Sebag Montefiore, Monsters: History's Most Evil Men and Women (2009), pp. 260
- Repression characterized every aspect of Franco’s regime. He nominally re-established the monarchy without appointing a king — but retained all executive powers in his own hands. Democracy was abandoned, criticism regarded as treason, imprisonment and abuse of opponents rife, parliament a mere puppet to the executive, rival political parties and strikes banned, the Catholic Church given a free rein over social policy and education, the media muzzled, creative talent strangled by strict censorship and any dissent ruthlessly suppressed by his secret police, who practised widespread torture and murder right up to Franco’s death in 1975. Dismissive of international criticism, Franco himself insisted on personally signing all death warrants until his death while his family married into the aristocracy and amassed colossal wealth.
- Simon Sebag Montefiore, Monsters: History's Most Evil Men and Women (2009), pp. 262-263
- The most baffling thing in the Spanish war was the behaviour of the great powers. The war was actually won for Franco by the Germans and Italians, whose motives were obvious enough. The motives of France and Britain are less easy to understand. In 1936 it was clear to everyone that if Britain would only help the Spanish Government, even to the extent of a few million pounds’ worth of arms, Franco would collapse and German strategy would be severely dislocated. By that time one did not need to be a clairvoyant to foresee that war between Britain and Germany was coming; one could even foretell within a year or two when it would come. Yet in the most mean, cowardly, hypocritical way the British ruling class did all they could to hand Spain over to Franco and the Nazis. Why? Because they were pro-Fascist, was the obvious answer. Undoubtedly they were, and yet when it came to the final showdown they chose to stand up to Germany. It is still very uncertain what plan they acted on in backing Franco, and they may have had no clear plan at all. Whether the British ruling class are wicked or merely stupid is one of the most difficult questions of our time, and at certain moments a very important question.
- George Orwell, in "Looking Back on the Spanish War" (1943)
- General Franco, whom Sir Winston Churchill has praised as a "gallant Christian gentleman", has forbidden any work of fiction alluding to adultery, though I believe he had made a special exception for the Iliad.
- Bertrand Russell, in Dear Bertrand Russell : A selection of his correspondence with the general public 1950-1968 (1970)
- "He paid no attention to Franco's military advice because he considered it cowardly, and because he preferred those of the Romanian with an Aryan-Teutonic racial appearance" (sic)."
- Paul Schmidt interpreter of Hitler, on the Führer's "mania" of allowing himself to be advised on military matters (tactically and strategically) by Conducator Antonescuwith whom he shared a passionate antipathy for Magyar people whom Hitler saw in part to blame for the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Antonescu as a threat to Greater Latin Romania, and not because of "his good advice" that Franco gave him in the military field and arguing the danger of declaring war on England because its monarchy and its government could go into exile in Canada and continue the fight from there, dragging the USA along with them. "I'd rather have five teeth pulled out before I talk to that man again."
Adolf Hitler to Benito Mussolini about the meeting with Franco in Hendaye. "Only a draft treaty could be reached after a nine-hour conversation, because Franco absolutely reserved the right to set the day and hour of his entry into the war. It was then that he uttered the phrase that would go around to the world (...)".
- I saw that Franco had made a heroic and colossal attempt to save his country from disintegration. With this understanding there also came amazement: there had been destruction all around, but with firm tactics Franco had managed to have Spain sidestep the Second World War without involving itself, and for twenty, thirty, thirty-five years, had kept Spain Christian against all history’s laws of decline! But then in the thirty-seventh year of his rule he died, dying to a chorus of nasty jeers from the European socialists, radicals, and liberals.
- It is time to visit General Francisco Franco. A short taxi ride does it, and I am deposited at the foot of a giant, prancing stone horse bearing a triumphant-looking granite copy of the dictator.This, the only public statue of the "caudillo (leader) for God and the fatherland" left in Madrid, stands at the gates to the environment ministry. Here, spattered with red paint hurled by protesters and with a few bunches of wilting flowers left by his admirers, General Franco must remain. For the conservative-run city hall has decreed the generalísimo does not deserve to be knocked off his pedestal. Barring a small, remote Caudillo Square and a Franco Street that may or may not be named after him, this is all that remains of the man who ruled Spain for 36 years.
- If I were a Spaniard I should be fighting for General Franco. As an Englishman I am not in the predicament of choosing between two evils. I am not a Fascist, nor shall I become one unless it were the only alternative to Marxism. It is mischievous to suggest that such a choice is imminent.
- Evelyn Waugh, in 1937, as quoted in The Picturesque Prison : Evelyn Waugh and His Writing, (1983) by Jeffrey M. Heath, p. 49
- At El Pardo, the former royal hunting lodge on the outskirts of Madrid where Franco lived and worked, his ormolu-mounted desk and a nearby table were piled high with reports and memorandums, virtually all of them unread. "When the piles become too high," he once told Prince Juan Carlos, "I have everything taken out from the bottom and burned."