Editor: Lilith, after the outbreak of World War II, why Spain under fascist rule chose to be neutral and did not join Germany
after the outbreak of World War II, why did Spain under fascist rule choose to be neutral and not join the German, Italian and Japanese Axis camp to fight against the allies? This is indeed a topic worthy of discussion by history lovers of World War II. Generally speaking, combined with Spain's own situation and the international environment at that time, Spain under the fascist dictator Franco chose to be neutral in World War II for the following reasons.
first of all, Spain could no longer be directly involved in World War II.
this is directly related to the Spanish Civil War that broke out in 1936.
in 1936, the left wing of Spain won the general election of the Republic and returned to power. The Spanish right is very dissatisfied with the coming to power of the left. In order to subvert the republic regime led by the left-wing forces in Spain, the right-wing forces launched an armed rebellion with the support of Germany, Italy and other fascist countries. The rebels soon fought a fierce battle with government forces in the Spanish Republic, and the Spanish civil war broke out.
the Spanish Civil War lasted three years, during which government forces and rebels of the Republic of Spain invested millions of troops in the war, and a total of 500000 people on both sides were killed in the fighting. On March 28, 1939, Franco's right-wing rebels captured Madrid, the Spanish capital, and the Spanish civil war ended with Franco's victory. In the years after the end of the war, Franco executed 15000 to 35000 left-wing political prisoners, and the whole country was shrouded in white terror.
however, the civil war has had a great impact on the Spanish economy. 60% of Spain's houses and 40% of its railways and bridges were destroyed in the civil war, which soared prices and brought Spain's finances to the brink of collapse.
coupled with Franco's bloody dictatorship in the country after the end of the civil war, the domestic political situation is very tense. Therefore, Franco, who was born as a soldier, knew very well that Spain's participation in World War II was undoubtedly a great disaster. Franco needed to consolidate his rule and develop the economy after the end of the civil war, rather than rashly involved in the war.
second, Spain has both sides in diplomacy.
the answer can be found in the geographical location and resources of Spain.
from the map of Europe, we can see that Spain holds the strategically important Strait of Gibraltar, which is not only the only passage from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean, but also an important dividing line between Europe and Africa. It is known as the channel of life in Europe. Therefore, once a war breaks out between the allies and the Axis powers near Spain, Gibraltar is bound to become the focus of contention between the two sides.
in addition to the extremely important Strait of Gibraltar, the rich resources of Spain have also become a continued strategic resource for the Axis and allies. For example, Spain's rich nickel and iron ore deposits were the lifeline of military development during the war. Spain's domestic zinc, tungsten and other resources have also become indispensable raw materials for the development of military industry in various military powers.
because of Spain's special geographical location and extremely rich domestic resources, Spain has become the object of courting by allies and axis powers after the full outbreak of World War II.
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Franco is very pragmatic in the face of the struggle between the allies and the axis powers. The dictator, who rose to the highest position of power through the civil war, knew very well that in terms of strength, the boss of the Axis was Germany, and that of the allies was the United States, both of which were great powers at that time. It is very disadvantageous for Spain to offend either one. In addition, after the outbreak of World War II, the duel between the allies and the Axis powers was neck and neck for quite a long time, and both sides had their own wins and defeats. Franco would not choose to stand on the team easily until the war was clearly distinguished.
therefore, in the face of the joint courtship of the axis powers and the allies, Franco has both sides in diplomacy. For a moment, he made out with the Axis countries, and then he was very close to Britain and the United States. This diplomatic strategy is so amazing that it is hard for people today to imagine what kind of strategy Franco has adopted between the sworn allies and the Axis powers. Next, let's take a look at Franco's specific methods.
in order to prevent Germany from dragging Spain into World War II, Franco tried every means to stabilize Germany. After all, Germany directly helped Franco seize power in Spain! In order to return the favor to Hitler, Spain sent 40,000 troops to form a "Blue Division" to attack the Soviet Union with Germany. However, in order to prevent the allies from putting Spain in the "axis camp", the extremely clever Franco asked the Spanish "Blue Division" to take part in the Soviet-German war in the name of volunteers rather than national regulars. This gives Spain neutrality, which in turn gives it room for manoeuvre in dealing with its allies. When the Germans turned to defense on the Soviet-German battlefield, Spain withdrew its "Blue Division" directly.
while dealing with the axis powers, Franco and the allies are also active in dealing with each other. This is closely related to the assistance of Britain, the United States and other countries to Spain. The first country to woo Spain is Britain. At that time, Britain clashed with the Atlantic and the Germans, and in order to prevent Franco from turning to Germany and handing over the Strait of Gibraltar to the Germans, the British government tried every means to assist Spain. From 1940 to 1945, Churchill provided 4.5 million pounds in various loans to Spain under a tight economy, as well as wheat, oil and other urgent needs for economic development.
British aid paid off quickly. For Spain, these are aid that Germany cannot give at all. For Franco, who is in urgent need of a stable regime, there is no doubt that it is a timely help. In order to get more British aid to stabilize the domestic economy, Franco will not openly turn to the Axis camp.
and, in order to further woo Spain, the United Kingdom andThe United States has also made a tempting offer to buy Spanish tungsten ore at $16800 a ton. This is a convenient channel for Spain to develop its economy. Franco naturally misses the pursuit of unattainability.
the courtship of Britain and the United States soon had an effect: Franco thanked Britain and the United States from the bottom of his heart for their support for Spain. While Spain maintained a certain degree of cooperation with the axis powers, it also dealt with Britain, the United States and other allies. This kind of diplomacy brought great benefits to Spain and allowed Spain to escape from the flames of war. After the end of World War II, the European continent was in ruins, while Spain developed its economy rapidly by relying on the funds obtained from doing business with the Axis and allies at the same time, and established a high welfare system covering the whole country after the war. At the same time, Franco also took advantage of his neutral status after the war to get further assistance from the United States, Britain and other countries, which made the Spanish economy begin to take off after the war. Franco's position in Spain is now completely secure.
Franco is like a tumbler in politics. Some say he is a diplomat, others say he is a dictator. But no matter what future generations may say about Franco, the fact that Franco led Spain to remain neutral in World War II once again confirms the eternal truth in international relations-there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.