Britain and the Spanish Anti-Franco Opposition, 1940–1950 by David J. Dunthorn

By David J. Dunthorn

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Franco’s close adviser, Luis Carrero Blanco – appointed Under-Secretary of the Presidency in May 1941 – was sufficiently alarmed by all this to instruct the three Armed Forces Ministers to take the monarchist conspiracies seriously. His fears, though, proved groundless. 42 In fact, the furthest the monarchist generals were prepared to go in the autumn of 1943 was to send a collective letter to Franco on 15 September. This, though, amounted to no more than a mildly worded petition which respectfully asked him to consider whether the time had not yet come to grant Spain a monarchy.

In his scheme of things, it did have a role to play in his New Spain and was intended to be the crowning piece on his work of national regeneration, the completion of his ‘national revolution’. 51 This, then, was the issue that defined monarchist opposition to Franco and, on 25 January 1944, the Pretender unambiguously stated his position: The information which I have received from extensive and authentic national sources increases the divergence between our respective Spanish Opposition before 1945 25 visions of the international situation and over the repercussions which world events may have on our internal policies.

In Spain these might have included the socialists, libertarians and republicans of the ANFD, since, as a coalition of moderates seeking a compromise solution to the problem of Franco’s succession, the ANFD had much to commend it in British eyes. However, the opportunity for British support of the ANFD was temporarily lost at the end of 1944 after police arrests had incapacitated it. Apart from the ANFD in Spain in late 1944 and the JEL in Mexico the year before, and until the exiled PSOE’s conversion to the prietista thesis in mid-1947, there were few other moderate republican organisations or initiatives to which the British government could relate.

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