45 years ago on November 20th, 1975, the man that had shaped Spain for almost four decades, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, died in Madrid. Born in the small Galician town of El Ferrol on December 4th, 1892, he defeated the Second Republic, backed by Joseph Stalin, in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), modernized the country and in his final years prepared the way for the democratization of his homeland.
Nowadays Franco is much vilified and those who honor his memory will probably soon face criminal charges if the current coalition government of Socialists and Communists gets its way.
By recently creating an Orwellian Ministry of Truth, the declared enemies of the current constitutional system continue to rewrite history, portraying it as an eternal fight between Good and Evil.
Somehow they try to win the fratricidal war 80 years too late, dividing the nation again. The Left is obsessed with Franco and even dared to exhume him on October 24th, 2019, as if Spain wouldn´t have other problems.
I was living in Valencia and only eight years old when Franco passed away, but remember vividly how deeply saddened Prime Minister Carlos Arias Navarro (1908-1989) announced his death on television. He and his fellow countrymen knew that it was the end of an era.
After the assassination of his predecessor, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco (born 1904) by the Basque terrorist organization ETA on December 20th, 1973, Arias Navarro took over the post and served until July 1st, 1976.
Juan Carlos I (born 1938), who during the periods of Franco’s temporary incapacity in 1974 and 1975 had been acting as head of state, was proclaimed King on November 22nd and reigned until his abdication on June 19th, 2014.
There are unconfirmed rumors that Franco had actually succumbed to a septic shock a day earlier and that the disclosure of his expected passing was delayed to coincide with the day that Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera (1903-1936) had been executed by the Republicans.
30 days of national mourning were declared and at the German School we got some days off. I don’t recall how many exactly, though it could have been three. I will ask my classmates to know if they remember.
The Spain that I grew up in has disappeared and with it many good things. The destruction of Franco’s legacy was the declared intention of future Vice President Alfonso Guerra (born 1940), as he bluntly stated in public on October 28th, 1982 after the Socialists came to power for the first time.
Considering that the middle class that Franco created due to a successful economic policy, designed by technocrats and not demagogues, is slowly disappearing, crashed by high taxes, an inefficient bureaucracy and open despise for entrepreneurship, quite a few Spaniards are looking back on a period of time that wasn’t so bad with certain nostalgia.