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SPAIN: !Arriba Espana! The rehabilitation of Franco



Rosa de Pena comments on the success of the book by Pio Moa praising Franco: "I have read some of Moa's writings, and while he might go overboard in his reappraisal of Franco, it remains that the II Republic was a regime that lacked political stability, due to the absence of a common ground. The result of such lack is always civil war. Put it this way, the Civil War and Franco was the price that had to be paid for the inability to achieve a tacit basic agreement in society. It was a steep price, but there are worse...

I am now reading Norman Stamps Why Democracies Fail, in which he examines regimes that were paralyzed by the lack of agreement and infighting between political parties to the point that no effective government existed - which resulted in dictatorships, be they royal, party, military, or fascist. Spain there is put as an example of such paralysis, with the caveat that the scheme that he puts there is simplified, since there were even more divisions...

As for Churchill's cruelty, you have the testimony of Herbert Hoover about his unwillingness to provide relief to the hunger in Europe, and his advocacy of gassing Kurdish rebels in 1922, when poison gases had been banned after their horrors in the battlefield, and dismissing as sentimental those who talked about children being poisoned that way...

It does not diminish Franco's cruelty, but puts him in perspective. As for Moa's popularity, it might have something to do with the demonization of Franco in academic circles, which, like all demonizations, eventually runs into its own contradictions (e.g. Franco was a bad general who somehow won his battles...).

RH: I would like Rosa to provide verification of her statement about Churchill and the Kurds.

Ronald Hilton - 4/22/03


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