History of Spain - The Franco Years
Spanish-Web Logo

Spain Info and Properties

☰ Show Main Menu ☰
˟ Hide Main Menu ˟

Return to main History of Spain page

Back to the Early 20th Century and the Civil War - 1900 to 1939

The war left it's scars, on the people, the buildings around them, and the infrastructure of the country.
Franco had said that everything would sort itself out but the country was not a good economic state. There was also another world war going, which Spain stayed out of.
Newspapers were censored before printing in early Franco times, later on, they could still be closed down for critisizing the regime.

The church became strong again and people could get into serious trouble for moral issues such as unmarried couples holding hands in public, or women exposing a little too much skin.
In-fact women do not appear to have had an easy time - divorce was not possible and by law they would need their husbands permission for things like getting a job. You would be unlikely to see a woman driving a car, even in later Franco years and adultery was considered a serious offense if committed by a woman but not if by a man.

Spain's economic recovery was given a boost in 1953 when, during the "cold war", the country received a large amount of aid from the United States in return for allowing US air bases to be built on Spanish soil. The Franco regime also received more international recognition at this time.

During the 1960's, Spain embraced tourism, bringing much needed foreign currency with the annual number of visitors reaching over 40 million by 1975. The tourists didn't always fit in with the Spanish moral issues in the early days though - and women could be arrested for wearing a bikini on a beach.
Spanish industry also grew at high rate and large numbers of the rural population moved to the cities to work in the factories. In Andalucia in particular (a strongly agricultural region) a large number of small villages were left deserted as the population moved out.

By the end of the 1960's, a certain amount of liberalism was creeping in and Franco was planning for what would happen after he was gone. He retired in 1973 and died in 1975.

In the same year that Franco died, Juan Carlos, took the throne, swearing a loyalty to the Franco regime. Franco had in-fact been grooming Juan Carlos for some time to take the role of king after he was gone.

This could have been a difficult time, the king was still relatively unknown to the people, the king's father still had a claim to the throne which had passed him by (the last king had been Juan Carlos' grandfather), and unrest had been brewing a few years with violence on the increase.

On to the Democracy and the present day