In the spring of 1939 Spain resembled a country occupied by a victorious foreign army.1 After almost three years of vicious war the economy was in tatters, the transport system had collapsed and there were critical shortages of food and fuel. These appalling conditions did not deter the triumphant Nationalists from embarking upon an unprecedented programme of economic and political reaction. For most of the population, the period until the early 1950s was known as los años de hambre (‘the hunger years’): worsening living standards, widespread misery and rationing of basic staples. Yet protection for the interests of the social elites whose privileges had been threatened by the Republic’s reforms was a priority. Wages were slashed, strikes treated as sabotage and made punishable by long prison sentences and the labour movement regimented under Falangist control.
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- Franco, Regent for Life, 1939–75
Francisco J. Romero Salvadó
- Macmillan Education UK
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