After the end of the three-year-long Spanish Civil War on April 1st, 1939, reconstruction under Generalissimo Francisco Franco began quickly and virtually without outside help. After World War II Spain was isolated because of its ideological affinities with defeated Axis powers Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany.
In just under ten years, the Nacional Service for Devastated Areas and Reparations (Servicio Nacional de Regiones Devastadas y Reparaciones, SNRDR), founded in 1938 by the Nationalist government in Burgos, managed to rebuild countless destroyed towns and villages, as well as at least 20,000 churches badly damaged by the Republicans.
From 1953 on, as a new anti-communist ally of the United States, Spain benefited from the Marshall Plan and developed into an industrialized country with a continuously growing middle class that could afford to buy a flat, a car and a small country house or a beach apartment.
A national car and truck industry (SEAT and ENASA) was established. At the beginning of the 1970s, Spain had built two nuclear plants, Zorita near Madrid and Garoña near Burgos. At the time it was ranked 9th among the industrialized nations.
Many additional reservoirs were built everywhere to cope with a chronic shortage of water, becoming proverbial and the topic of many jokes. Most of them are still in use today.
Since 1962, thanks to the efforts by Manuel Fraga Iribarne (1922-2012) Minister of Information and Tourism, the country opened up more and more due to the steadily increasing influx of foreign visitors.
Of course Spain remained a conservative, deeply Catholic country, but the contact with the outside world, often through Spaniards who had immigrated to other parts of Europe, had a big impact.
Therefore, after Franco’s death in 1975, the transition to democracy went quite smoothly, despite the oil price crisis, the rise of the radical Left and the related murders committed by the Basque terrorist organization ETA.
On September 15th, 2020 the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the Draft Bill of Democratic Memory that repealed the Law of Historical Memory approved by the leftist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on October 31st, 2007.
Even more controversial and one-sided than the previous one, it’s an obvious attempt to silence those who dare to mention any of the above facts with the prospect that they might face criminal charges.
The wounds of a bygone era were deliberately reopened by Socialists and Communists, who increasingly try to force their version of history on everybody else.
Especially radical Separatists, who never gave up their sinister plans to dismember Spain, are profiting from this and put themselves above the Constitution.
However, the clear recognition of historical realities such as Spain’s astonishing rise from the ashes after the civil war is a prerequisite for the nation finding its inner peace 80 years after the fratricidal conflict.