Dec 4, 1892 to Nov 20, 1975
SpainFrancisco Franco Bahamonde (4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general and politician who ruled over Spain as Head of State and dictator under the title Caudillo from 1939, after the nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War, until his death in 1975. This period in Spanish history is commonly known as Francoist Spain.
This landing in the heartland of Abd el-Krim's tribe, combined with the French invasion from the south, spelled the beginning of the end for the short-lived Republic of the Rif. Franco's recognition eventually caught up with him and he was promoted to brigadier general on 3 February 1926.
After the ruling centre-right coalition collapsed amid the Straperlo corruption scandal, new elections were scheduled. Two wide coalitions formed: the Popular Front on the left, ranging from Republican Union to Communists, and the Frente Nacional on the right, ranging from the centre radicals to the conservative Carlists. On 16 February 1936, the left won by a narrow margin.
In June, Franco was contacted and a secret meeting was held within the forest of La Esperanza on Tenerife to discuss starting a military coup. An obelisk commemorating this historic meeting was erected at the site in a clearing at Las Raíces.
Following 18 July 1936 pronunciamiento, Franco assumed the leadership of the 30,000 soldiers of the Spanish Army of Africa. The first days of the insurgency were marked with a serious need to secure control over the Spanish Moroccan Protectorate. On one side, Franco had to win the support of the natives and their (nominal) authorities, and, on the other, had to ensure his control over the army.
From 24 July a coordinating junta was established, based at Burgos. Nominally led by Cabanellas, as the most senior general, it initially included Mola, three other generals, and two colonels; Franco was later added in early August.
On 21 September it was decided that Franco was to be commander-in-chief (this unified command was opposed only by Cabanellas), and, after some discussion, with no more than a lukewarm agreement from Queipo de Llano and from Mola, also head of government. Emilio Mola y Vidal, 1st Duke of Mola, Grandee of Spain was one of the three leaders of the Nationalist coup of July 1936, which started the Spanish Civil War.
On 21 September, with the head of the column at the town of Maqueda (some 80 km away from Madrid), Franco ordered a detour to free the besieged garrison at the Alcázar of Toledo, which was achieved on 27 September.
Victory was proclaimed on 1 April 1939, when the last of the Republican forces surrendered. On the same day, Franco placed his sword upon the altar of a church and in a vow, promised that he would never again take up his sword unless Spain itself was threatened with invasion.
On 19 June 1940, Franco pressed along a message to Hitler saying he wanted to enter the war, but Hitler was annoyed at Franco's demand for the French colony of Cameroon, which had been German before World War I, and which Hitler was planning on taking back for Plan Z.
On 23 October 1940, Hitler and Franco met in Hendaye in France to discuss the possibility of Spain's entry on the side of the Axis. Franco's demands, including supplies of food and fuel, as well as Spanish control of Gibraltar and French North Africa, proved too much for Hitler.
Franco and Serrano Suñer held a meeting with Mussolini and Ciano in Bordighera, Italy on 12 February 1941. Mussolini affected not to be interested in Franco's help due to the defeats his forces had suffered in North Africa and the Balkans, and he even told Franco that he wished he could find any way to leave the war.
When the invasion of the Soviet Union began on 22 June 1941, Franco's foreign minister Ramón Serrano Suñer immediately suggested the formation of a unit of military volunteers to join the invasion. Volunteer Spanish troops fought on the Eastern Front under German command from 1941 to 1944.