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Free from the Archives
In the NYR Online this weekend, Omar Encarnación writes about Spain’s snap elections, to be held on July 23, and the influence that two of the country’s autonomous communities—Catalonia and the Basque Country—have had on their national politics: “They introduced political freedoms during the interwar years, led the resistance to Franco’s authoritarian regime, and ensured the success of the transition to democracy in the 1970s. Less apparent, though just as important, is that in recent years they have emerged as bulwarks against the far right.”
In the Review’s November 17, 1994, issue, Raymond Carr wrote about the figure that Spain’s far right continues to rally around: Francisco Franco. “A man whom the more intelligent of his early collaborators dismissed as a garrulous second-rater,” wrote Carr, the Franco nonetheless “came to see himself as his propaganda machine presented him—the providential leader granted by God with the exceptional powers of the charismatic leader, the Caudillo, the Spanish equivalent of the Führer and the Duce, who had saved his society from barbarism and disintegration.”
“Franco himself emerges as a colorless figure, a bourgeois family man, with no private vices and no civic virtues beyond a military sense of duty and honor, addicted like his subjects to TV and football, his mind inhabited by the ghosts of the past and snatches of stale Falangist rhetoric.”