The advent of the Second Republic heralded the introduction of a fully developed democratic system in Spain. However, deepening political divisions soon emerged between the antagonistic forces of the Left, which demanded social justice, and those of the Right, which feared imminent popular revolution. In July 1936, a military pronunciamiento triggered a bloody civil war, which was finally resolved three years later in favour of the right-wing Nationalists, led by General Franco. For the next 36 years, thanks in large part to his political acumen, his fierce repression of any signs of opposition, and, not least, the support of the army, the Church and the United States, General Franco was able to maintain his grip on power. During the 1960s, Spain underwent a process of far-reaching economic and social change, but it also experienced a growth in opposition to the regime. By the time of Franco’s death in 1975, Spain’s boom had ground to a halt, and many among the political and economic élites were of the view that political change was imperative if the nation were to flourish. As a result, from 1976, the structures of Francoism were gradually dismantled and the peaceful transition to democracy was accomplished.
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