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In: Historical Events

Submitted By settles77
Words 2730
Pages 11
Craig Settles
HIST 29B

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When American schoolchildren are educated about Europe between the

years 1936 through 1975, they are taught about the aftereffects of World

War I and about World War II. Europe, in high school history classes, ceases

to exist after 1945 and the close of World War II unless, of course, one is

learning about the Cold War and the Berlin Wall may be mentioned. They do

not learn, however, that World War II era Spain—because Spain was neither

an ally or a foe during the war—went through enormous conflict of its own.

The three-year Spanish Civil War and the fascist dictatorship that followed are

largely kept out of the American history books. Yet, the world is privy to much

of its legacy through literature, art, film, and personal memory. Spain certainly

remembers three hellish years of war and thirty six years of repression under

Generalisimo Fransisco Franco, but how is General Franco remembered

by the rest of the world? What legacy did he leave internationally? 2 It is a

confused and varied one: to those closest to him he was a husband, father,

and statesman; to Hitler, he was an obstacle on the road to world domination;

to the Jews who fled from Hitler he was a hero; but to the many Spanish

minorities and to his opponents in the Spanish Civil War he was a monster.

The answers to the questions posed are addressed in a variety of sources.

One of these sources is the book Hitler Stopped by Franco, by Jane and Burt

Boyar, who write a relatively straightforward book that explores many positive

sides of Franco’s character. An alternative, contemporary view of the dictator,

Franco: A Concise Biography written by Gabrielle Hodges focuses on the

negative legacy of General Franco. This side of Franco rears its head in many

other sources, including Hitler and Spain: The Nazi Role in the Spanish Civil

War 936-939, a monograph by Robert H. Whealey. In it he focuses, as the

title suggests, on Franco and Hitler’s relationship during the Spanish Civil

War. In contrast, Tremlett Giles in his Ghosts of Spain addresses the issue of

the tangible legacy Franco left to Spain in El valle de los caídos—The Valley

of the Fallen—a memorial monument, and the Spanish peoples’ reaction to it.

Not all aspects of a person’s legacy can be found in the sphere of academia,

however. Art, film, and literature also reflect the events in the historical record,

and from this material one may discover new and fresh angles to pursue. 6

For example, Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece painting titled “Guernica” presents

just such an opportunity—it provides a window through which one can bear

witness to Franco’s darker side. Another source that stresses the violence

and horror of the Civil War and the oppression under Franco’s regime, but

is symbolic rather than straightforward, is Guillermo del Toro’s El laberinto

del fauno, released in the English-speaking sphere as Pan’s Labyrinth. This

film draws parallels to Franco’s world through the eyes of Ofelia, the young

female protagonist who is struggling in an atmosphere of parental oppression.

Manuel Rivas, in his short story La lengua de las mariposas (or Butterfly

tongues), gives his readers a similar child-like perspective, but his is that of a

little boy who struggles to understand the changes in his life brought about by

the Civil War.

One particularly interesting piece of literature that tries strenuously to

highlight Franco as the family man is Hitler Stopped by Franco, a “novelized”

history, written by Jane and Burt Boyar. Naturally one’s family would be hard-

pressed to believe in the darker side of an individual. Franco’s family was no

different. In their memories, as Jane and Burt Boyar would have one believe, he was

a loving and affectionate husband and father. On October 22, 1923, Franco married

Maria del Carmen Polo in a lavish public ceremony.

The Boyars would indicate that his wife revealed to them that her parents

disapproved of her choice in suitors, and she could not “have imagined that he

would be as devoted a husband and father as he was.”They portray her as privy to

his strategies as ruler of Spain, and in their conversations in the book, Carmen

Polo affectionately calls her husband Paco, the endearment common in the

Spanish language for Fransisco: “Paco, what are you going to do about the

Germans?”

This would prove Franco to be accessible, intimate with his wife,

and open with her about the state of Spain and his decisions regarding her.

General Franco’s daughter, Carmen, was born on September 14, 1926.

Carmencita’s memory according to the Boyars is similar. One of the first

incidences of her in the Boyars’ book is Franco’s concern for her safety-the

concerned father.

Franco chose a more isolated, and therefore more secure location in which to

house his family, the Palace of El Pardo.

Another scene in the Boyars’ book in which we see Carmen and her father together shows us Franco, the father and host: “He was happy to see Carmencita’s best friend, Maruja Jurado, and kissed her hello…they (the Francos) encouraged her friends to visit.” In Carmencita’s own memory not only was Franco warm and intimate with his family, but with her friends and visitors as well. While it may be true that Carmen Polo, Franco’s wife, and Carmencita had the closest relationship with the Generalisimo, there are two problems with the portrait of loving husband and doting father painted by the Boyars. First, there is conflicting evidence

In Carmencita’s own memory not only was Franco warm and intimate with his

family, but with her friends and visitors as well. While it may be true that Carmen Polo, Franco’s wife, and Carmencita had the closest relationship with the Generalisimo, there are two problems with the portrait of loving husband and doting father painted by the Boyars. First, there is conflicting evidence.
One passage in particular deserves to be quoted at length, as the image it

Franco stalled again, responding to Hitler’s letter in his own, dated

September 22, 1940. He responded cleverly to Hitler’s offer of modern equipment

and German troops to take Gibraltar.16 He wrote, “I agree with your view that it

is possible to achieve the success of this operation within a few days by the

use of modern equipment and tried troops. In this sense the equipment which

you offer me will be of great effect.”17 Franco responded in such a way that

he was properly appreciative of Hitler’s offer, but also in a way that rebuffed

Hitler’s attempt to bring German troops into Spain. After an unsuccessful

attempt to convince Franco that he should bring Spain into the war as an ally

of Germany, the two dictators met in person for the first and last time on the

Spanish-French border, at Hendaye.18 In his book Hitler and Spain: The Nazi

Role in the Spanish Civil War, Robert Whealey describes the October 1940

event as a “chilly meeting.”19 Hitler, again, failed to convince Franco to take

Gibraltar immediately.

In February of the next year, Hitler again wrote to Franco, but this time using

stronger language: “I asked you…to permit the German concentration of

forces against Gibraltar to start by January 10th…”20 Hitler was growing

increasingly frustrated with General Franco’s ability to put him off, as Franco

did in response to his February letter, with more pleasant, appreciative talk

but no action.21 Hitler sought to send a still more effective message. Later in

the same year, German U-boats torpedoed and sank the Monte Gorbea, a

Spanish grain ship bound for Spain with much-needed wheat.22 Despite his

country’s desperate need for grain and staples to feed his people, Franco

did not allow Hitler’s troops onto Spanish soil and on June 20, 1943, after

almost three years, the German army left the Spanish border and retreated

back into France.23 Hitler did not take Gibraltar, and Franco is the man who

is remembered for stopping what could have been a devastating blow to the

British navy—a blow that could have changed the course of the war. 17

18 In the course of disobeying Hitler’s thinly disguised demands, Franco also

saved the lives of “at least 40,000” Jews fleeing France in front of the German

army.24 In an article published in his honor after his death in The American

Sephardi, Franco was credited with not only denying Hitler in his attempt

to make Franco pass anti-Semitic legislation, but he also repealed the law

that expelled the Jews from Spain in 1942. He also founded Departments

of Jewish Studies in all the major Spanish universities, wrote a law giving

permission for public worship in all non-Catholic religions, and restored the

Tránsito Synagogue of Toledo into a museum of Judaism until the time when

it could be opened for worship again.25 In purposely going against Hitler by

allowing refugees from Nazi France into Spain, and in his proactive approach

to restoring positive official relations between the Catholic regime and the

Jewish people, Franco set a place for himself as hero in the minds and hearts

of the international Jewish community as well as the Spanish one.

However, General Franco had not always gone contrary to Hitler. During

the Spanish Civil War, from 1936 to 1939, the Republicans—the leftist

party—fought against the Nationalists—the conservative party—for control

of the government. General Franco, a highly skilled and courageous soldier

and brigadier general by the age of 34, led the Nationalist armies.26 Many

of the men who followed him on the battlefields of North Africa followed him

into the war, so that the Nationalist cause had the benefit of professionally

trained soldiers while the Republican forces were mostly militia and civilians.

Franco used the full power of the army and he took aid from Hitler. Whealey

describes in Hitler and Spain that Franco “told the German ambassador that

the services of the ‘Legion Condor could not be dispensed with.’”27 Franco

used especially the Luftwaffe, since often he had the infantry support he

needed, being a respected general of the Spanish Army.

He goes on to explain that Gernika was an experiment in a new bombing

campaign that Franco decided not to pursue after public outcry ensued. He

did consider it a success; however, with 1,000 civilians dead, they still missed

what they aimed for—a munitions factory and a strategic bridge.29 Much of the

city was destroyed by fire. (See figure A below). Franco worked with Hitler

during the bloody Civil War to meet his own ends (what he envisioned for

Spain), and in this one case especially, to be a practice range for the fledgling

Luftwaffe.

The means through which he accomplished those ends, however, often

come under scrutiny and not just in historical or political circles. Painter

Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain in 1881. He was a supporter of the

Republicans and because of this, he lived most of his adult life in France. In

January of 1937, the Republican government commissioned a painting to

represent Spain’s struggle at an exhibition in Paris—a propaganda piece.

After the bombing of the village, however, the painting was rededicated

to symbolize the suffering and horror that Gernika suffered, and so the

Republicans renamed it “Guernica.” The painting is completely devoid of

color, but Picasso painted it in black, white, and gray for a reason. The

black represents the despair and hopelessness of the people of Gernika,

mourning for the thousands of lives lost in the bombing. The white is meant to

be polarizing, a contrast to the darkness, emphasizing the innocent lives that

were lost, but also symbolizing hope—hope that Spain would one day see

peace and an end to the bloody Civil War that claimed so many of its men,

women, and children.

Jane and Burt Boyar had something to say about the way Franco was able

to run the Civil War and his dictatorship after the war: “when you had to sign

death warrants for thousands of men, when you had to look into a prisoner’s

eyes and say, ‘Execute him,’…when ones’ emotions have been subjected

to all those things then perhaps understanding occurs before anger.”

The context of this statement is not to highlight the actions of the killing of

thousands or the execution of a political prisoner, but to emphasize the

efficiency of Franco’s actions, his ability to be a statesman, and do what was

necessary: “he tolerated the intolerable, accepted the unacceptable—anything

to save Spain.” The concept is too Machiavellian, however: the endlessly

paraphrased ‘the ends justify the means’ is no longer acceptable in a ruler.

This statement by the Boyars, then, depending upon its reader, makes Franco

seem somehow less than human, incapable of the emotion that stays one’s

hands from committing atrocities and makes his legacy ring more truly in the

realm of monster.

The most poignant example of this legacy is a film by writer, producer, and

director Guillermo del Toro. The film is called El laberinto del fauno, or in

English, Pan’s Labyrinth. Del Toro released the film in 2007, thirty two years

after the end of Franco’s dictatorship. The scene is set in 1944, after the

official end of the Civil War, but there are still skirmishes between Francoan

soldiers and leftist rebels. Ofelia, the main character, is a young girl whose He goes on to explain that Gernika was an experiment in a new bombing

campaign that Franco decided not to pursue after public outcry ensued. He

did consider it a success; however, with 1,000 civilians dead, they still missed

what they aimed for—a munitions factory and a strategic bridge. Much of the

city was destroyed by fire. (See figure A below). Franco worked with Hitler

during the bloody Civil War to meet his own ends (what he envisioned for

Spain), and in this one case especially, to be a practice range for the fledgling

Luftwaffe.

The means through which he accomplished those ends, however, often

come under scrutiny and not just in historical or political circles. Painter

Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain in 1881. He was a supporter of the

Republicans and because of this, he lived most of his adult life in France. In

January of 1937, the Republican government commissioned a painting to

represent Spain’s struggle at an exhibition in Paris—a propaganda piece.

After the bombing of the village, however, the painting was rededicated

to symbolize the suffering and horror that Gernika suffered, and so the

Republicans renamed it “Guernica.” The painting is completely devoid of

color, but Picasso painted it in black, white, and gray for a reason. The

black represents the despair and hopelessness of the people of Gernika,

mourning for the thousands of lives lost in the bombing. The white is meant to

be polarizing, a contrast to the darkness, emphasizing the innocent lives that

were lost, but also symbolizing hope—hope that Spain would one day see

peace and an end to the bloody Civil War that claimed so many of its men,

women, and children. (See Figure B below).

Jane and Burt Boyar had something to say about the way Franco was able

to run the Civil War and his dictatorship after the war: “when you had to sign

death warrants for thousands of men, when you had to look into a prisoner’s

eyes and say, ‘Execute him,’…when ones’ emotions have been subjected

to all those things then perhaps understanding occurs before anger.”

The context of this statement is not to highlight the actions of the killing of

thousands or the execution of a political prisoner, but to emphasize the

efficiency of Franco’s actions, his ability to be a statesman, and do what was

necessary: “he tolerated the intolerable, accepted the unacceptable—anything

to save Spain.” The concept is too Machiavellian, however: the endlessly

paraphrased ‘the ends justify the means’ is no longer acceptable in a ruler.

This statement by the Boyars, then, depending upon its reader, makes Franco

seem somehow less than human, incapable of the emotion that stays one’s

hands from committing atrocities and makes his legacy ring more truly in the

realm of monster.…...

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Germany

...Economic Research Economic Briefing Germany: Analysts’ concerns are growing The ZEW Index for Germany tumbled again in October. Poorer economic data and a far from solved debt crisis are making analysts more skeptical about the future. How companies view the situation is more important though. This will be revealed by the Ifo business climate on Friday, which is also set to fall again. Financial analysts give an increasingly negative assessment of the outlook for the German economy. The ZEW index for the economic expectations in Germany dropped again in October. At -48.3, it came in slightly below expectations (Commerzbank forecast and consensus: -45.0). Well over half of the analysts surveyed meanwhile believe that the economic situation in Germany will deteriorate in the next six months. That said, Germany is the only country for which the index for the current situation is still clearly in positive territory, at 38.4. For the euro zone and the other surveyed countries, the figure is already in deep negative territory. These figures do not really bring much news; the fact that analysts have reduced their growth estimates again for next year – meaning they assess the outlook less favourably – is already in the newspapers. Furthermore, a look at the markets shows that the sovereign debt crisis is causing unrest on the financial markets (and therefore among the analysts working in this sector). What is more surprising is that 8% of those asked still anticipate an......

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