Fascism is a philosophy that is as old as history. It really means that when there is chaos in society then the government should take over with an Iron hand. This concept of Fascism comes down to modern times from the Roman era. In the 20th century when Europe had an economic recession and people were wondering what to do and unemployment and lack of real wages had come to the fore, the stage was set for an extremist philosophy. In this scenario, Europe became the breeding ground of fascism.
Fascism rose in Italy under Benito Mussolini. He was a fantastic man in his own way but his wayward life let him down. Towards the end of the war, he was a broken man who nearly became a running boy of Hitler. He met a sad end as stunt fighters shot him dead and his body was hung in the public square in Milan. Another place where Fascism climbed was Germany. The First World War had so crippled Germany, that buying a loaf of bread was a torture. With all-round economic stagnation, Adolf Hitler came to power on the concept of Fascism and German Pride. Hitler formed the Nazi party and over a period of a half-dozen years, he took control over whole Europe.
He turned his attention to Spain where another Fascist General Francisco Franco was battling the Royalists in a civil war.
Hitler and Franco
Hitler thought his this obligation to assist Franco and he dispatched guns and volunteers to help the Spanish leader. Franco believed in Fascism and he won the Civil war. The forces of general Franco managed to consolidate his rule and by mid-thirties, Franco became Caudillo or the leader of Spain. In 1940 Adolf Hitler made a train journey after the conquest of France to meet the Caudillo. He came up with the idea of asking Spain to assist him in the war
Franco was a wise man and though he made some verbal promises, he did not commit on the dotted line to Hitler and Mussolini. I don’t know if he had a Sixth Sense but likely he had a sense that the bubble may burst anytime and it would harm him. Therefore he did not actively participate in the war on the side of Hitler though he was a Fascist to the core.
The fact that general Franco didn’t join Hitler and Mussolini in World War II was a factor that saved him in the end of the war. With Mussolini and Hitler dead, general Franco was the last surviving fascist. Franco ruled for nearly 40 years and during this period he made some very far-reaching decisions. One of his decisions was that after his departure the Spanish royal house could be restored and Spain would become a monarchy again. In my opinion, this was a really great decision and Franco should take credit for this. He could have easily asked one of his kids to succeed in him but Franco was a changed man after World War II. To show the United States and the UK that he was on their side and to ensure his own survival he joined NATO
During the four decades of Franco’s rule, the one gift he bestowed on the Spanish people had been equilibrium. He suppressed separatist tendencies and Catalonia which desired liberty was boxed in. What’s next? He believed in the unity of Spain and it’s on record that Franco seldom went from Spain.
He was lonely but narrative records he not only survived in Spain but continued ruling four decades. This is no mean achievement. Franco is still one of the most enduring rulers in Europe throughout the 20th century. Franco was the only fascist leader who died a natural death. The Spanish individuals sometime must be wondering how Franco who was a designated friend of Hitler and Mussolini lived.
Set in history
Franco has a permanent place in the history of Spain. Lots of people still remember him as a strong man- as a man who brought order in society. Now with Franco dead and gone, fissiparous tendencies have emerged in Spain and people wonder whether Franco’s rule was good for Spain.