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About this book

Spain since 1939 provides students with a comprehensive guide to one of the most exciting historical narratives of the twentieth century: Spain's development from poverty and isolation after the Civil War to its current role as a key player on the European and world stages. Incorporating the most relevant existing research, Stanley Black covers the modern political, cultural and social events that have shaped Spain's evolution through to the present day. This essential introduction charts momentous periods such as:
• the violence and repression of the post-war years
• the durability of the dictatorship of general Franco
• one of the most successful transitions to democracy
• the post-transition boom and integration into the European Union.

As this fresh new study shows, Spain's history continues to fascinate as it transforms itself into one of the most dynamic and progressive societies in Europe while battling with economic vulnerability, the phenomenon of mass immigration, and the painful buried legacy of its Civil War past.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
Although Spanish history in the twentieth century is without a doubt marked, some might say scarred, by the cataclysmic event of the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939, one cannot really speak of a watershed moment or a historical turning point. While the international dimension of the Spanish Civil War has ensured its enduring interest for historians (Preston 1995b: 35), it has long been accepted that the war was not simply the stage for an international conflict, a battle of twentieth-century ideologies or even a prelude to the even greater catastrophe which was the Second World War. It was, fundamentally, as the liberal intellectual Salvador de Madariaga observed, ‘a strictly Spanish event’ (1942: 367), born out of tensions and issues that, while not particularly original in themselves (issues of class, adjustments to modernity, growing secularization, and so on), acquired a very Spanish hue over the decades, if not centuries. In the Spanish case, the Civil War was not an exorcism of these national demons or an opportunity to achieve some form of national reconciliation. Instead, the war and its aftermath perpetuated and even exacerbated the problems that had given rise to it.
Stanley Black

1. Spain’s Dark Decades, 1939–59

Abstract
The regime that emerged at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 had the unusual characteristic of being not a new post-conflict administration but rather a continuation of a government, illegitimate in every way, that had been constituted during the conflict itself. The Francoist state, an alternative to the legitimate government of the Spanish Second Republic, had been declared by the military rebels themselves by the Decree of 21 September 1936, according to which Franco assumed all the powers of the New State (Carr 1986: 259). Moreover, Franco, by clever political manoeuvring, had made sure that his hold on power would not be temporary. He had been declared ‘Head of Government of the Spanish State’, but his supporters had made sure to remove the words ‘for the duration of the war’ that appeared in the original draft document. Gloomily but correctly his military colleagues predicted that, like a true africanista, once in power he would never relinquish it (Graham 2005: 71). As his military dominance asserted itself, it was boosted by gradual recognition by foreign powers. This had begun in August 1937 when the Vatican had recognized the Nationalist government and sent an ambassador.
Stanley Black

2. The Spain of Desarrollismo, 1960–75

Abstract
While the Civil War and the democratic Transition are the most studied periods of Spain’s history in the twentieth century, the period of the 1960s and early 1970s was also one of momentous change and significance. A relative economic backwater emerged as the ninth most industrialized country in the world. It was a time of such deep transformation that it is now commonly acknowledged that it paved the way for the success of the democratic Transition of the 1970s. Edward Malefakis, speaking of the two decades that preceded Franco’s death, has referred to a period of ‘protodemocratization’ (Palomares 2004: 3). There were two distinct narratives as to why this actually happened. One was the ‘triumphalist’ version presented unrelentingly by the spokesmen for the regime, including Franco himself, according to which the regime had steered Spain for 25 years through a turbulent international context, had solved economic difficulties with the Stabilization plan and, through its Development Plans, was the architect of what became known as the ‘economic miracle’, or developmentalism (desarrollismo).
Stanley Black

3. The Transition, 1975–82

Abstract
The death of Franco marked the beginning of a period which became known simply as the Transition. It is considered to end with the victory of the Socialists in the general elections of October 1982. The political maturity and democratic stability that allowed a peaceful accession to power by means of free elections of a left-wing party so relatively soon after the end of a prolonged right-wing authoritarian regime was seen as a sign that democracy was truly installed. Of course, this situation was not limited to Spain. Similar transitions and comparable successes by the local Socialist party were a characteristic of Greece and Portugal (Judt 2007: 523). Some might argue that the Transition ended with the entry into effect of the Constitution in December 1978, or even with the first truly free democratic elections held in 1977. One influential documentary by the journalist Victoria Prego begins with the assassination of Carrero and ends with the first democratic elections of 1977. Prego justifies her decision for the start date, not with the idea that the elimination of Carrero put an end to the continuance of the regime, but rather that it was a brutal psychological blow to the regime showing its leaders were vulnerable (Prego 1995–6: 159). Hence it marked a watershed.
Stanley Black

4. Felipismo, 1982–96

Abstract
The slogan for the electoral campaign of the Spanish Socialists in 1982 was Por el cambio, ‘Time for a Change’, and their very victory showed that Spain had in fact undergone a major change in allowing a party of the left to assume power a mere seven years after Franco’s death. The Spanish people were not expecting with the idea of change anything more radical than the possibility of a government of a different hue and one of greater honesty and openness. In other words, the ambitions that had once been cherished for the Transition itself but which, colliding as they did against the hard rocks of political pragmatism, had resulted in the desencanto of the latter half of that period. With democracy restored, Spaniards now looked to the possibility of harmonization with its Western neighbours. This was an aim that the Socialists would be able to deliver, albeit imperfectly. The period was dominated by the charismatic party leader, Felipe González, and his almost fourteen years in power is still the longest term of any Prime Minister in the democratic period. Unsurprisingly, it was punctuated by highs and lows, and the four governments over which he presided traced an almost perfect arc from youthful optimism in hard times, through international success and economic boom, to the final weary decline into the mire of scandal and controversy. Nevertheless, if we take, as many do, its overall aim as that of making Spain ‘a player on the world scene’, then it is hard to deny that it succeeded. Sadly, they were also victims of their own success.
Stanley Black

5. The Return of the Right, 1996–2004

Abstract
José María Aznar’s victory in 1996 was both the successful result of a process that commenced within the opposition a decade before and an inevitable effect of evolving difficulties for the Socialist Party in government. Given that the latter would not always be the case, Aznar supported Fraga’s view that the party needed a more populist orientation to capture the ‘natural majority’ (Balfour 2005a). The party had to escape its Francoist past and project a more moderate image, something Aznar planned from the party’s 1990 Seville Congress (Aznar 2004: 68). That this was clearly an electoral strategy rather than a genuine ideological shift can be judged from the contrasting patterns of the two legislatures between 1996 and 2004. Aznar’s first period in office was characterized by the need to establish pacts with Basque and Catalan regionalist parties that, while not dissimilar in terms of economic principles and conservative values, were diametrically opposed to the PP when it came to constitutional matters and their vision of a future Spanish state. However, after the 2000 general elections when the PP won an overall majority, such a need for conciliatory politics became unnecessary.
Stanley Black

6. Zapatero in Power

Abstract
The 2004 victory of Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero could not have occurred in a context of greater controversy nor greater tragedy, and this was destined to colour virtually the whole of his first term in office. In the run-up to the elections the majority of polls showed Zapatero’s PSOE to be in line for a close defeat at the hands of the People’s Party under Mariano Rajoy, Aznar’s hand-picked successor, with 43 per cent of the vote compared to 36 per cent for the Socialists (Méndez Lago 2005: 19 1; Colomer 2005: 151). Tusell points out, however, that since Zapatero took over the leadership of his party in 2000, the PP’s popularity rating had gone down by 8 per cent, whereas the Socialists’ had risen by 7 per cent. Furthermore, as we will mention below, to interpret the election results purely in terms of a reaction to the 11 March bomb attacks would both contradict the evidence of research into voting behaviour on the day (Moreno 2005; Bali 2007; Lago and Montero 2006) but also underestimate the enormous work done by the PSOE under Zapatero in developing an innovative social project and connecting with a wide range of minority and marginal groups which clearly gave him their support on 14 March (Kennedy 2007: 191). Still, that is not to deny that 11 March 2004 did have enormous impact, not only in electoral terms but at all levels of society in Spain and, unusually for a Spanish election, had profound international repercussions.
Stanley Black

Conclusion

Abstract
The preceding chapters have charted Spain’s progress from the trauma and devastation of the Civil War, where it was by turns the stage of the ‘last great cause’ and testing ground for a larger international conflict, to a situation today where Spain is if not at, then at least very near to the centre of contemporary world events. In that process, many of the standard myths of Spain have been laid to rest. A country famed for its unreliability and economic backwardness has from the late 1980s been one of the great economic success stories of Europe. Prior to the recent global banking crisis the outstanding success was Banco Santander, seen as an example of that ‘combination of international ambition and risk-aversion [which] is characteristic of Spanish business’ (The Economist 2008: 18).
Stanley Black
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