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Biography

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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 4 December 1892Ferrol, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain
Date of Death 20 November 1975Madrid, Madrid, Spain  (cardiac arrest)
Birth NameFrancisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde
Nicknames El Caudillo
El Generalísimo
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teoula Franco y Bahamonde was born on December 4, 1892, in Ferrol, Spain. He entered the Spanish Military Academy in 1907 and upon graduation three years later was commissioned as a lieutenant. His career path seemed assured after he was detailed to the colony of Spanish Morocco to fight against the Berber tribes and acquitted himself well. In 1916 he won the Battle of El Biutz, which stopped Berber attacks against Spanish outposts. In 1923 he was appointed commander of the Spanish Foreign Legion, and in 1926 at the age of 33 was named the army's youngest brigadier general.

Franco returned to Spain in 1927 to lead the National Military Academy. He was assigned to quell a miners' strike in the Masturias in 1934, and revealed himself to be a ruthless authoritarian by ordering the execution of over 2,000 miners and other workers who were "suspected" of being Marxists. Franco proved to be one of Spain's staunchest and most rabid anti-Communists, and as such was invited to take a leading role in a right-wing coup being planned by fellow officers to overthrow the government of the Republic of Spain, which had large numbers of Socialist and democratic members in its ruling circles. Franco accepted and, shortly after the revolt broke out on July 17, 1936, he was named commander of the nationalist forces with the title of "Generalísimo". Although he had hoped to seize control of the government quickly, the republican forces proved to be more formidable than Franco and his conspirators had counted on, and the struggle evolved into a full-scale civil war that lasted nearly three years. With much political, financial and material support from Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, both of whom sent tanks, arms and even combat troops to aid him, Franco emerged as the victor, capturing the capital of Madrid on March 28, 1939, which ended the Spanish Civil War. Named "el caudillo" (the leader), dictator for life, Generalísimo Franco proved to be an astute political leader as well as a masterful military commander. Although he owed a great debt to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy for their aid, he managed to keep Spain officially neutral during World War II despite pressure from many senior political and military leaders in the government to enter the war on the side of the Axis Powers. Franco decided to stay out of the conflict and let Spain recover from the terrible civil war that wrecked its economy and severely weakened its military. However he provided considerable help to the Axis from 1940 to 1943. After the Axis Powers were defeated in 1945, Spain was isolated for many years before Franco tried allying himself with the west by pushing his anti-Communist "credentials". Spain was admitted into the United Nations in 1955 and was soon allied with the United States and other western powers. He served as supreme leader of Spain until his death on November 20, 1975, at the age of 82.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Matthew Patay

Spouse (1)

Carmen Polo (16 October 1923 - 20 November 1975) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (16)

Dictator of Spain from 1936-1975.
In July 1974 he suffered an attack of thrombophlebitis, which that signaled a host of successive afflictions over the following 16 months: partial kidney failure, bronchial pneumonia, coagulated blood in his pharynx, pulmonary edema, bacterial peritonitis, gastric hemorrhage, endotoxic shock and finally, cardiac arrest. After relatives asked doctors to remove his support systems, he died on November 20, 1975.
His death was a recurring running gag on the "Weekend Update" segments of Saturday Night Live (1975) during its first year on the air (i.e. "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!")
He was the last (and longest-surviving) fascist leader from the Nazi era.
In 1963, when Walter Cronkite interviewed him, Franco's questions and answers were submitted in advance and he read his prepared answers from off-camera. This may have been somewhat unusual for interviews with world leaders, but not with Franco--the only way he would grant interviews was under these conditions.
His favorite film was Nobleza baturra (1935).
After he captured the city of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, he was asked how he did it. He replied, "I had five columns attacking the city; four outside it and one inside it." That gave rise to the terms "fifth column" and "fifth columnists", indicating an agent or group secretly sent to infiltrate an enemy stronghold and work to help the besieging forces from the inside.
Requested help from the German and Italian air forces to bomb rebel positions during the Spanish Civil War.
Considered joining World War II on the side of the Axis after the Fall of France so he could invade Gibraltar.
Although Franco was a brutal dictator it is disputed whether his regime was a fascist one.
Used more than 190 concentration camps to intern opponents.
In May 2013 documents were released showing that the UK's MI6 spent the present-day equivalent of more than $200 million bribing senior Spanish military officers, ship owners and other agents to keep Spain from joining World War II on the side of the Axis Powers.
Joined the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1937, and signed a revised version in November 1941.
Formed the Blue Division to fight under German command against the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944.
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin wanted to invade Spain in 1945, due to the considerable help Franco's regime had given to the Axis Powers.
Ordered a list of all Spanish Jews to be compiled on 13 May 1941 for the Final Solution.

Personal Quotes (1)

I am responsible only to God and history.

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