Civil War Leads to Franco's Rule and the Reestablishment of a Ceremonial Monarchy
On July 18, 1936, a conservative army officer in Morocco, Francisco
Franco Bahamonde, led a mutiny against the government. The civil war that
followed lasted three years and cost the lives of nearly a million people.
Franco was aided by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, while Soviet Russia
helped the Loyalist side. Several hundred leftist Americans served in the
Abraham Lincoln Brigade on the side of the republic. The war ended when
Franco took Madrid on March 28, 1939. Franco became head of the state,
national chief of the Falange Party (the governing party), and prime
minister and caudillo (leader).
In a referendum in 1947, the Spanish people approved a Franco-drafted
succession law declaring Spain a monarchy again. Franco, however,
continued as chief of state. In 1969, Franco and the
(“states”) designated Prince Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor
María de Borbón (who married Princess Sophia of Greece in
1962) to become king of Spain when the provisional government headed by
Franco came to an end. Franco died on Nov. 20, 1975, and Juan Carlos was
proclaimed king on Nov. 22.
Under pressure from Catalonian and Basque nationalists, Prime Minister
Adolfo Suárez granted home rule to these regions in 1979. Basque
separatists committed hundreds of terrorist bombings and kidnappings. With
the overwhelming election of Prime Minister Felipe González
Márquez and his Spanish Socialist Workers Party in the Oct. 20,
1982, parliamentary elections, the Franco past was finally buried.
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