Jump to content
CoinPeople.com

Coin Portrait of the Week #14


Drusus
 Share

Recommended Posts

SPAIN FRANCO 5 PESETAS 1957

 

franco.jpg

 

KM 786 Modern Spanish 5 Pesetas Coin Depicting Generalissimo Francisco Franco

 

Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco y Bahamonde was commonly known as Francisco Franco and he was the absolute ruler of Spain for 36 years. His official title was "The Leader of the Final Crusade and of the Hispanic World, The Leader of the War of Liberation Against Communism and Its Collaborators."

 

Born on December 4, 1892, Franco rose to prominence in the army, after a stint in a military academy he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and sent to help in the Spanish attempt to occupy Morocco. With heavy fighting and heavy losses came fast promotions for capable leaders. Franco proved himself a capable leader and a popular one as he led his men in bloody battle against the Moroccan resistance, badly wounded in a skirmish he eventually obtained the rank of Colonel.

 

After a brief stint as second-in-command of the Legión Extranjera (Spanish equivalent to the foreign legion) he was put in command of the first wave of the massive invasion that would spell the end of the Republic of the Rif, the short lived nation started by Moroccan rebels who fought Spanish occupation. In 1926 at the ripe old age of 34 years old he became the youngest General in Spanish history.

 

In his early years Franco was relatively apolitical and a revered war hero, these factors meant that he was favored by the leaders in all factions with many honors and high posts. He was placed in command of the army in Africa and held the post of Chief of the General Staff in both the Monarchy (which fell in 1931) and the shaky Republic that came after. Amid corruption and scandal in this new republic nothing could stop the clash between Conservatives and Nationalists, the Spanish Civil War erupted and Franco, after multiple attempts at trying to intervene and quell the unrest, finally choose the side of the Nationalists.

 

After the death of the head of the Nationalist Party General José Sanjurjo Franco, being the most senior officer, was made commander and chief and led the Nationalist army towards Madrid, and with the help of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy the Republican camp surrendered and the civil war ended April 1, 1939.

 

Franco did not join the axis powers but he did not shun them either, disagreement on terms kept him from choosing sides decisively and Spain mostly stayed out of conflicts in World War II, they had little to offer to the axis powers and the axis powers had more important fish to fry as long as he stayed relatively dormant. Spain even acted as an escape route for a large number of Jews fleeing persecution by the Nazis.

 

After the war the hardened military man and national hero became a totalitarian leader who looked to control anything and everything that might transpire within his borders. He declared Spain a monarchy but appointed no monarch, he did not appoint himself but instead took the title of de facto regent. He wore the uniform of a captain general (a rank traditionally reserved for the King), his portrait appeared on most Spanish coins and he took the titles Jefe del Estado (Chief of State), and Generalísimo de los Ejércitos Españoles (General of the Spanish Armed Forces).

 

He enforced the use of the Spanish language only and his politics were a mixture of Roman Catholicism and conservative, traditionalist, rightist philosophy that became a typical, oppressive regime with heavy censorship. With armed military police he enforced strict adherence to conservative moral laws and oppressed all things he felt were not fit for public consumption. Although with age he softened a bit he continued to remain the undisputed ruler of Spain saying "Our regime is based on bayonets and blood, not on hypocritical elections." Elections caused partisans, partisans caused civil war, and he would have no more civil war in Spain.

 

In 1969 he named Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón as his successor by-passing Juan Carlos's father, Don Juan, the Count of Barcelona, who had superiority. In 1973 Franco resigned as prime minister but remained head of the country and commander in chief of the military forces.

 

Franco died on November 20, 1975, at the age of 82, he was succeeded by Juan Carlos. After helping to quell an attempted military coup by those who would take Franco's place and retain his style of government, Juan Carlos restored democracy.

 

Since Franco's death almost all of the monuments to him have been removed.

 

franco1.jpg

 

franco2.jpg

 

franco3.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks! Interesting that, on this coin and others, he called himself "Leader of Spain by the Grace of God". Maybe that was to express some monarchic continuity, as opposed to the republic that he despised.

 

As for Spain being neutral in WW2, that was somewhat surprising since it was also due to Nazi Germany's support (think of the bombing of Gernika) that Franco established his regime. But in that regard he was similar to his "neighbor": Both Spain and Portugal were ruled by "long term dictators" (Salazar in PT from the mid-30s until the late 60s), both countries stayed more or less neutral - and both regimes ended in the mid-1970s ...

 

Christian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah...under him I think spain WAS a monarchy, he just never appointed one, nor did he appoint himself but he took on all the powers and many of the titles...it was a monarchy with no king...just a regent for life :ninja:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a most fascinating treatise of Franco since I have been quite interested in the Spanish Civil War and it's lasting effects to this day.

 

For one thing, Franco was a shrewd diplomat, he played his cards and kept everybody at a bit of a distance and even played them against one another if it was in his best interest. Despite the fact that Germany and Italy gave troops, material, and funds to support the Spanish nationalist, he would give a little bit but would not side with them and join in on the Axis side. Some Spaniards did join some German units, but they were not sanctioned by the Spanish government. When the war started turning in the Allies favour beginning in summer of 1943, Spain basically doffed off the Axis and started identifying more with the Allied side. Despite Germany's, Italy's and the UK and The USA attempting to get Spanish support for their sides during the war, they never succeeded.

 

Germany is known to have requested overland routes so that it's Wermacht could attack Gibraltar, which they would then hand over to Spain, but Franco blew it off. Now there is conjecture that perhaps Franco may have illicitly received funds from the British which kept the government of Franco solvent, which may explain why he stayed out of the conflict.

 

Spain did not join NATO or even the UN until the mid 1950's, there were still lingering from the Civil War and human rights abuses etc.

 

Spain suffered for so long under Franco, that it could only get better when he was gone, and it quickly did. One wonders that perhaps Franco thought Juan Carlos de Borbon would follow along his lines and be an autocratic ruler, but King Juan Carlos has been anything but, and in fact in my opinion Spain is a country that is unified with a monarchy as a form of government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah...under him I think spain WAS a monarchy, he just never appointed one, nor did he appoint himself but he took on all the powers and many of the titles...it was a monarchy with no king...just a regent for life :ninja:

 

 

Quite similarly Admiral Horthy ruled Hungary from right after independence until toppled from power, by his previous benefactors, the nazis. They then imprisoned him in Munich where he was captured by the Americans in 1945. He was the last living dictator left from WWII when he died in Portugal in 1957.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Technically speaking Hirohito ruled Japan, but while he may have rubber stamped the policies of Tojo etc, he was not the decision maker.

 

When you include monarchs that were on the fascists side, Simeon II of Bulgaria was King of Bulgaria from 1943-1945 when he was ousted by the Communists that came with the Russians.

 

He is very much still alive, as he was young then, and was recently Prime Minister of Bulgaria for awhile but is said at least to have no aspirations of Bulgaria becoming a monarchy again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the same point of wiew, the King of Romania Mihai I (Michael I) is still alive, he was the ruler of Romania until 1947, but only by the name, the Marshall Antonescu was the "Conducator" (the romanian translation of german word "Fuhrer") - the same situation like in Italy, where Vittorio Emmanuele III was the king, and Mussolini the ruler in fact of the state.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although Vittorio Emmanuele III was not truely in power by the time of WWII, he DID support fascism. I have done PotW of him and in essence his stance was:

 

"Victor Emmanuel's decisions were possibly based on his belief that Fascism offered political stability and opposition to left-wing radicalism which appealed to many people in Italy at the time. For many reasons the King felt Mussolini and his regime offered an acceptable alternative to years of political chaos, civil war, and was more appealing than the alternative: socialism and anarchism. "

 

He appointed Mussolini...he is the reason he is in power as mussolini did NOT have a majority support. He may not have known what his new government would become in the end, but he is responsible for mussolinis rise and indeed he was willing symbol and tool used by mussolini. Not just that but he was active in cementing an alliance with the nazis, he was silent when racial purity laws were proposed and worst of all, when it all went south he fled the country in the face of the advancing Nazis while the pope in Rome not only stayed but walked amongst the people.

 

IMO, he was much more than just a powerless figurehead if not the one in charge. I think he had much more of a hands on involvement than say Hirohito in Japan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the same point of wiew, the King of Romania Mihai I (Michael I) is still alive, he was the ruler of Romania until 1947, but only by the name, the Marshall Antonescu was the "Conducator" (the romanian translation of german word "Fuhrer") - the same situation like in Italy, where Vittorio Emmanuele III was the king, and Mussolini the ruler in fact of the state.

 

 

There was brief discussion of restoration of the monarchy there after Ceaucescu was toppled from power. He has visited Romania a couple of times, but wasn't universally received with open arms. And frankly it was the fact that Mihai was a figurehead King and nothing more that helped him escape the wrath that Antonescu suffered after the war.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just like to add a few bits to this discussion the Spaniards who initialy fought with the German army at the outset of opperation Barbarosa where authorised by Franco and they were called the 'Blue Division'

Here is a potted history ;)

 

"Spanish Blue Division".

General Agustín Muñoz Grandes was assigned to lead the volunteer division, it consited of 18,104 men; 2,612 officers and 15,492 soldiers. By the end of the war in total about 45,000 spaniards served in the division at one time or another. They also had there own Air arm, but I dont know a great deal about them :ninja: In 1943 it became known as the 'Blue Legion' as Franco was officialy in negotiations with the Allies to withdraw support for Germany, but at least 3000 men failed to obay the order to return to spain. Soldiers and officers of the Blue Division were awarded 2 Knight Crosses (one with Oak Leaves), 2 Golden Crosses, 138 Iron Crosses First Class, 2,359 Iron Crosses Second Class and 2,216 War Merit Crosses with Swords. I think the last members returned from imprisonment in Russia to Spain in about 1951.

 

De Orc ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Drusus fancy meeting you here LOL ;) That was a very interesting link thanks banivechi I can I think throw a bit of light on to why there was a large influx of volunteers from Barcelona & Valencia, it was in the hope that relatives in Francos prisons would receive better treatment if they proved loyal to the regime.

I have a number of Spanish coins with the Genrilisamo on, but have to say I would love to get one of those medals for my collection.

Generalissimo

De Orc :ninja:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...