Even in the early stages of Franco's rule, it was clear that he would give power. His “Movement” was originally prokorolevskim, although the king was expelled from Spain before the civil war of 1936−1939. Alfonso XIII died in exile in 1941, but he did not abdicate the throne. His son don Juan was the legitimate heir and enemy of Franco, an opponent of his regime. In turn, Francisco Franco believed that the return to power of the liberal don Juan would have been a disaster for Spain, among whose people the spirit of the civil war was still alive. And yet, in 1947, Franco declared that after his death the monarchy would be restored
In the 1960s, the Franco regime moved from totalitarianism to authoritarianism. A new generation grew up, and civil society was raising its head. The Spaniards wanted more freedom. Despite prohibitions and criminal liability, strikes and student unrest occurred regularly. Franco was already seriously ill. This was only rumored, and the media glorified the magnificent health of the caudillo. At that time there were a lot of jokes about his immortality. In one of them, he was presented with a rare tortoise that could live 150 years, but Franco refused to accept the gift, saying that he would be very sorry when she died.
F. Franco. Source: diletant.media
Nevertheless, it was clear that Spain was on the verge of a change brought by the death of the caudillo. And there was a question about the restoration of the monarchy. The Phalangists have always opposed the monarchy in principle and against the former Bourbon dynasty. Don Juan de Bourbon, who lives outside Spain, declared his legitimate right to the throne and did so openly. “I am not the head of the conspiracy,” he said, “I am the legal representative of that political priceless treasure of the present century, which is the Spanish monarchy. My highest goal is to become the king of Spain, in which all Spaniards who come to an agreement will live together. ”
Don Juan Source: wikipedia.org
Franco knew about the activities of supporters of the monarchy in Spain, but the repression against them was limited to non-admission to important government posts. For Franco, then it was important above all to preserve his absolute power and regime with his censorship and repression against the left, but not to destroy the monarchists. He even kept in touch with don Juan. They met in 1948 on the dictator's yacht. Don Juan’s son Juan Carlos was allowed to live in Spain.
Given the possibility of the future government of Juan Carlos, Franco himself drew up his plan for education - military schools and the Academy of the General Staff. He instructed him in conversations just as monarchs usually instruct heirs. For example, he said that "kings should be in contact with the people, as directly as possible, in order to know their needs and try to solve them."
F. Franco. Source: ma7. sk
Franco wanted his influence on Juan Carlos to be stronger than his father. Don Juan's liberalism curbed the dictator. Juan Carlos himself believed that the monarchy should be democratic, constitutional. In 1964 it came to the point that, by order of Franco, the secret police followed Don Juan’s contacts with his son.
At the same time, when Juan Carlos said that he was ready to become king only after the death of his father, the legitimate heir, Franco appointed vice-president, that is, the formal heir, his friend Munoz Grandes, the former blue division. Opponent of the restoration of the monarchy Grandes was almost until the late 1960s, the main contender for power after Franco. Until personal differences ruined Caudillo’s friendship with Grandes, Franco made the final choice.
Photo 4. Munoz Grandes. Source: wikipedia.org
Only in 1969, Franco finally declared that he was appointing Juan Carlos the successor. In the kingdom of Spain after the death of the dictator will return the king. The prince (to the great displeasure of his father) pretended that he was committed to the principles of the Franco state. In the end, he believed, it is necessary now, so that later, after the death of Franco, to carry out democratic reforms. And yet, while traveling abroad, he sometimes said that he wanted to give more freedom to Spain. Many supporters of Franco now did not approve of his decision to make Juan Carlos a successor. There were a lot of applicants. Franco himself believed that the prince "could and should" make these statements abroad, and only by the end of his life he was finally convinced that Juan Carlos would not save the regime. But still, he left him his successor. Don Juan didn’t like this decision - he thought that his son had betrayed, that he had destroyed the dynastic succession, and that he really intended to preserve the Franco regime.
F. Franco and the future King of Spain Juan Carlos I in 1973 Source: inosmi.ru
When Franco became seriously ill in July 1974 and realized that the end was near, he ordered to prepare a decree on the transfer of power to Juan Carlos. While Franco was sick, the prince did business. Before his death (November 20, 1975), Franco spoke to him and ordered him to lead Spain to unity. He believed that the symbolic figure of the king of all Spaniards (winners and losers) would ensure this unity. In his testament, he wrote to the Spanish people: "In the name of love for our fatherland, I ask you all to be in unity and peace and rally around the future King Juan Carlos de Bourbon." And not a word about saving mode.
King of Spain Juan Carlos I. Source: spletnik.ru
The king, with the support of the all-powerful army and most of the people, managed to overcome the resistance of opponents of democratization and turn the country into a constitutional monarchy. He did not keep the regime, but step by step, according to the covenant Franco led the country to unity, destroyed by the civil war. Spain, after all, did not remain united at the moment when Franco died. The reaction of the people to his death especially eloquently showed this. As historian G.E. Hodges writes, “the demand for black clothes could only be compared with the demand for champagne that flowed like a river.” But in spite of everything, Franco’s last act, the transfer of power to Juan Carlos, showed that he loved Spain.
Pozharskaya S.P. Francisco Franco and his time. M .: OLMA Media Group, 2007.
G. E. Hodges: A Short Biography / G. E. Hodges; Per. from English G. M. Tsaregradsky. M .: OOO Publishing House AST: ZAO NPP Ermak, 2003.
Lead image: pravda.com.ua
Cover Image: jeuxvideo.com