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Spain: Francisco Franco and Removal of His Remains Cannot Obliterate His Role in Making of Spain
Fransisco Franco is a name connected with Spain in world history. Almost four decades of General Franco's rule is imprinted on European history. Also called "Claudillo" Franco steered the Spanish Republic for almost four decades. This is a pretty long time in world history and extremely significant for Europe and Spain.
The general died in 1975. He is once more in the news. The present Spanish government is committed to removing the remains of general Franco from his resting place from the present mesothelium at Valley Delos Caldos to be burried alongside his wife at the cemetery of El Prado. His supporters including his family are opposed to this move. The fact is for many decades this place was like a beacon to his supporters who congregated there every year.
Erasing the Memory
The government was keen to erase the memory of general Franco and hence it decided that his remains will be shifted to a cemetery at El Prado and buried next to his wife.
Who was general Franco? general Franco was a Republican leader who waged a civil war in Spain with the support of Adolf Hitler and came to power in 1939. General Franco was a fascist on the lines of Hitler and Mussolini but we must give him credit for being a more astute leader than the other two dictators. The result is that Mussoloni and Hitler passed away into oblivion after a very short time but Franco survived in power for almost four decades before he died a natural death.
During this period Franco kept his wits around him and though supporting Germany did not join the German war machine against the the alliance led by the USA. After World War II he continued as a dictator but changed his orientation and joined NATO. This gave him a fresh lease of life. The western powers did not disturb Franco. He continued to rule with an iron hand over Spain. Under Franco Spain became a naked dictatorship. There can be no two opinions about it. Franco imprisoned his opponents and many were jailed for life.
An Astute Leader
To the credit of Franco, it must be mentioned that he brought stability to Spain and the rule of law was established for all. He was also a visionary to an extent that he had decreed that after his death the Spanish royal family would become the rulers again. The same has happened and after Franco died the Spanish royal family has been restored. In the balance sheet, there are many negative points against Franco but in my opinion, positives outweigh his negatives.
Erasing the Memory of Franco
General Franco died in 1975 and now almost 44 later Spain has a socialist government that is bent on erasing the memory of Caudillo The wish is to deny general Franco a place in the sun in Spanish history. Another point is to ensure that the Fascist right and similar forces have no rallying point again. They want Franco to become a shadow in Spanish history.
There is much debate in Spain about general Franco and the mausoleum built for him. Spanish people simply want to forget the four decades of Fascist rule. His supporters had clung to hope and the last nail in the coffin was the judgment in the supreme court which has now said that the body of The Dictator can be moved from the present location to the cemetery at El Prado.
Franco had kept opposition movements on a leash. He imprisoned many people. The result after his death is a rise in separatist agitations like the movement for an independent Catalonian state. This was kept under wraps and suppressed by General Franco when he was in power.
The present Spanish government may very well remove the remains of Franco from the mausoleum but it is a moot point whether they will be able to erase the history books. Historians give credit to general Franco for keeping Spain out of Hitler's Orbit. One can recollect that after the battle of France in 1940, Adolf Hitler took a special train from Berlin to the Spanish border to try to convince Franco to join the war against the West.
Franco adroitly managed not to join the war and stayed Spain from joining Adolf Hitler. This in the ultimate saved Spain from destruction.
He followed up by bringing stability to the country. The Spanish government is determined to remove the remains of the dictator but in real terms, it hardly matters as Franco is long dead and gone.