World War II
Spain 1949-1959

Spain, 1945-1949

Foreign Policy. In the European theatre, World War II ended with the German unconditional surrender on May 8th/9th 1945. The western allies treated Spain as a neutral power, notwithstanding her close relations with the Axis Powers during the war. An August 1945 conference demanded Spain to withdraw from the international city of Tangiers, which she had occupied in June 1940; Spain complied.
Yet the Spanish Falangist administration, both for her foreign policy during the war and for her human rights record, did not enjoy much popularity abroad. In Dec. 1945, France, the UK and the US declared their hope that "leading patriotric and liberal-minded Spaniards may soon find means to bring about a peaceful withdrawal of Franco, the abolition of the Falange and the establishment of an interim or caretaker government under which the Spanish people may have an opportunity freely to determine the type of government they wish to have and to choose their leaders" (after Britannica BoY 1947). In 1946 the UN called on her members to withdraw their ambassadors from Madrid. The USSR and her satellites, most notably Poland, were sharply critical of the Spanish administration and pursued a policy aiming at the isolation of the Iberian dictatorship. Spain was not included in the list of countries to benefit from the Marshall Aid programme, and when NATO was founded in 1949, Spain was left outside. The country had pariah status; however relations with neighbour Portugal, another Fascist dictatorship, were good; a number of Latin American states maintained diplomatic relations with Spain, most notably Argentina; First Lady Eva Peron visited Spain in 1947. In 1946 Spain and the Vatican signed a concordat.

Domestic Policy. Nazis and Nazi collaborators who, at the end of the war, were on Spanish soil, among them Belgian Leon Degrelle, became a bone of contention between Spain and the Allies; while Spain extradited 1600 in 1946, the Allies suspected several thousand to hide in the country. Franco's Spain continued to deny her citizens freedom of opinion and freedom of the press; the violation of human rights (abuses by the police force, executions of political prisoners etc.) continued. In 1945 a Spaniards' Charter was drafted, which did have little impact on the political situation, as the rights listed were not enforced. In Spain's limited democracy (the leftist parties were outlawed), the Falange lost seats to the Catholics; another legitimate movement were the monarchists. A 1947 plebiscite confirmed Spain to be a kingdom.

The Economy. Many items remained rationed. Spanish foreign trade mostly was on bilateral trade agreements with other countries. Spain imported most of its grain from Argentina. In 1947 strikes in the Basque country were suppressed.

Spain : Foreign Policy under Franco, from
L'Espanya Franquista 1939-1975, from La Pagina de la Historia, in Catalan
DOCUMENTS Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Franco and Salazar, 1949
UN General Assembly 1946 Resolution No.39
REFERENCE Peter Pierson, Dictatorship, 1939-1975, in : P. Pierson, The History of Spain, London : Greenwood 1999 KMLA Lib.Sign. 946 P624t
Francisco J. Romero Salvado, Twentieth Century Spain, Politics and Society in Spain 1898-1998, NY : St. Martin's, 1999, 219 pp.; KMLA Lib.Sign. 946.08 S182t
Joseph Harrison, The Spanish Economy : From the Civil War to the European Community, Cambridge UP 1996; KMLA Lib.Sign. 330.946 H318s
B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics, Europe 1750-1988, N.Y. : Stockton Press, 1992
Article : Spain, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 pp.691-693, 1947 pp.713-715, 1948 pp.691-692, 1949 pp.598-599, 1950 pp.639-640 [G]
Article : Spain, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1946 pp.382-384 [G]
Article : Spain, in : Americana Annual 1947 pp.662-664 (on events of 1946) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on March 19th 2007

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