Fascism is a philosophy that’s as old as history. It actually means that when there is chaos in society then the government should take over with an Iron hand. This theory of Fascism comes down to modern times from the Roman era. In the 20th century when Europe had an economic recession and people were wondering what to do and unemployment and lack of real wages had come to the fore, the stage was set for an extremist philosophy. In this scenario, Europe became the breeding ground of fascism.
Fascism rose in Italy under Benito Mussolini. He was a great man in his own way but his wayward life let him down. Towards the end of the war, he was a broken man who almost became a running boy of Hitler. He met a sad end as stunt fighters shot him dead and his body was hung in the public square in Milan. Another place where Fascism grew was Germany. The First World War had so crippled Germany, that even buying a loaf of bread was a torture. With all-round economic stagnation, Adolf Hitler came to power on the theory of Fascism and German Pride. Hitler formed the Nazi party and within a span of a half-dozen years, he took control over entire Europe.
He switched his attention to Spain where another Fascist General Francisco Franco was battling with the Royalists in a civil war.
Hitler and Franco
Hitler thought his this duty to assist Franco and he dispatched guns and volunteers to help the Spanish leader. Franco believed in Fascism and he won the Civil war. The forces of general Franco managed to consolidate his rule and by mid-thirties, Franco became Caudillo or the leader of Spain. He came up with the idea of asking Spain to assist him in the war
Franco was a wise man and though he made some verbal claims, he did not commit on the dotted line to Hitler and Mussolini. I do not know if he had a Sixth Sense but likely he had a feeling that the bubble could burst anytime and it would hurt him. Therefore he did not knowingly take part in the war on the side of Hitler though he was a Fascist to the core.
The fact that general Franco did not join Hitler and Mussolini in World War II was a factor that saved him at the end of the war. With Mussolini and Hitler dead, general Franco was the last surviving fascist. Franco ruled for nearly 40 years and during this period he made a few very far-reaching decisions. One of his decisions was that after his death the Spanish royal house could be restored and Spain would become a monarchy again. In my opinion, this was a really terrific decision and Franco should take credit for this. He could have easily asked one of his children to succeed in him but Franco was a changed man after World War II. To show the United States and the UK he had been on their side and to ensure his own survival he joined NATO
During the four years of Franco’s rule, the one gift he bestowed on the Spanish people was stability. He suppressed separatist trends and Catalonia which desired liberty was boxed in. He believed in the unity of Spain and it is on record that Franco rarely went out of Spain.
One reason for this was that he had the stigma of being the last surviving fascist companion of Hitler and Mussolini. He was lonely but story records he not only lived in Spain but lasted ruling four decades. This is no mean achievement. Franco is still one of the most enduring rulers in Europe throughout the 20th century. The Spanish people sometime must be thinking about how Franco who had been a designated friend of Hitler and Mussolini survived.
Place in history
Franco has a permanent place in the history of Spain. Lots of people still remember him as a strong man- as a man who brought order in society. Now with Franco dead and gone, fissiparous tendencies have emerged in Spain and people wonder if Franco’s rule was good for Spain.