back to article Franco-stein's on the move: Spanish dictator turfed out of decadent mountaintop mausoleum

The remains of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco have been exhumed from the civil war monument Valle de los Caídos and are being transported to a cemetery just north of Madrid. The draped coffin was carried out of the mausoleum by members of his family, placed in a hearse and blessed by a priest. They will then be transferred …

  1. iron Silver badge

    Parties on the right are worried the population will find out just how many people they murdered during the Franco years.

    1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

      Pretty sure they already know. But realistically, what can they do about it now?

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Flame

        They can ensure it never happens again by not voting for fascist parties in elections.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          The problem is that if you don't teach history to people, they can't learn from it...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I disagree that they don't learn from it as histories close friend experience tends to be a very able teacher.

            1. Psmo Bronze badge

              A master learns from experience, that's true.

              The wise (and alive) master learns from the experience of others as well as his own.

              Some lessons should not be learned through experience.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          They can ensure it never happens again by not voting for fascist parties in elections.

          While I support this plan, the Spanish far right didn't need voters in 1939. And they didn't try that route in '81, either. So "never happens again" is too strong an expectation, I think.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        On the other hand he was such a dick that even Hitler didn't want to be his friend and that stopped Spain being an axis base which saved a lot of allied lives.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Incidentally it also saved a lot of spanish lives. But even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

        2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          IT Angle

          A rumour

          persists that Hitler sent Admiral Canaris, the head of the german secret service, to talk to Franco about getting involved in WW2

          Canaris is alledged to have told Franco not to get involved with Hitler or the nazis and in later talks between Franco and Hitler, Hitler remarked he'd rather have his teeth pulled out than talk to Franco again.

          And whats this news about an old dead fascist doing on an IT related site?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A rumour

            It is in bootnotes.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A rumour

              jack bootnotes?

      2. HildyJ
        Flame

        No

        Franco gained power in a military coup and subsequent civil war which eliminated the democratic Second Spanish Republic. The idea that Spain could have become a Soviet client state is absurd. Yes, the republic elected trade unionists and socialists . . . just like the UK . . . but Franco's drive was power, not politics.

        My great grandfather was arrested by the fascists while in his 70's, not for being an active fighter or even a protester, but for being outspoken in his views on the civil war. He was sent to a concentration camp and is in some unmarked grave.

      3. Mooseman Silver badge

        "soviet client state"

        Have you taken your tablets today?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          It's a bot, man. It's even in its handle.

          Basically this looks like the Spanish-far-right version of the Serdar Argic bot.

      4. james_smith Bronze badge

        No, Franco attempted to overthrow a social democrat government. The Communists took over later in the civil war when they had finished isolating the democrats and anarchists. Which is why the statue to La Pasionara in Glasgow is an insult to those who fought in the mostly non-communist International Brigades. She, her Spanish Stalinist colleagues and the Soviet NKVD destroyed the unity and fighting ability of the Republic.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Communist parties had a major advantage fighting dictatorships in southern Europe, as they were a lot more organized than any other combatants and had outside support lines already in place.

          1. james_smith Bronze badge

            Not in Spain. The anarchists (ironically I suppose) were the most organised, along with the social democrats of the PSOE. Stalin ordered that the equipment sent from the Soviet Union only go to the communists, although even that was limited compared to the support given to the rebels by Hitler and Mussolini. The communists spent much of 1937 undermining the anarchists and other non-Stalinist socialists, even risking collapse of the frontlines in Catalonia and around Madrid by withdrawing troops to attack their supposed allies. This culminated in the "May Days" in the anarchist stronghold of Barcelona.

            As for Southern Europe, especially the Balkans, I'm only aware of the Yugolsav partisans being a successful and ostensibly communist organisation, although many of Tito's partisans weren't communists. Tito himself was extremely distrustful of Stalin, resulting in cooperation with and resceiving support from the Western allies.

  2. Sleep deprived

    Wondering

    What was the point of burying Franco at Valle de los Caídos in the first place? He's not a war victim, he died in 1975. As for the Falange leader, he remains more equal than others to have his sole grave marked among the 30,000 unidentified victims?

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Wondering

      Because at the time, those with the power could have him buried there.

      Unsurprisingly the Civil War has left its effects long after the fighting (officially) ended.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Wondering

        Like the English Civil War way back in Cromwell's days, or the American Civil War that happened more than 150 years ago, these kind of fratricidal conflicts have lingering, important impacts on a society.

        (Also, I would like it known that I was the one who coined the moniker "Franco-stein" in the comments for the original El Reg article posted on this subject.)

    2. james_smith Bronze badge

      Re: Wondering

      The Falange was co-opted by the military rebels lead by Franco, as it gave them the nearest thing they had to a populist front. The murder of Primo De Rivera was fortuitous for Franco, as it removed a potential opponent - one with far more charisma (well, not that Franco had any at all).

  3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Devil

    Should have been put in an unmarked grave...

    ...like his victims.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should have been put in an unmarked grave...

      i'm in two minds about hiding twats graves, a marker tells you where to take a piss

      reminds me I'm overdue for maggies drenching

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Should have been put in an unmarked grave...

      An unmarked grave is still too good for him, remains should have been burned/cremated and the ashes scattered on the winds (from an unmarked location) or in the sea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Should have been put in an unmarked grave...

        As hard as it is (and its often THE hardest thing to do), being the better person and not stooping to their level is the right thing to do, otherwise you cede the moral high ground and leave yourself open to claims of "they are just as bad"

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Should have been put in an unmarked grave...

          There's also the argument to be made for not erasing history, and for not giving Franco-philes something else to agitate about.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Keep him on ice

    Until New Years Eve, they will be digging up John Dillinger's body, we could throw a zombie themed party...

    my coat, name patch Igor..

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It was built by slave labour after the war ended."

    - there FTFY.

  6. martinusher Silver badge

    He was an authentic, bona fide Fascist

    Franco was first and foremost as Fascist. He only survived WW2 by only being marginally involved in the war -- the Spanish contributed to a couple of divisions to the invasion of the USSR and provided some low profile servicing facilities for German u-boats but otherwise Franco kept out of that war. Like many other Fascists post-war he was rehabilitated because fascists are merely an openly authoritarian manifestation of right wing governments, one that can be guaranteed to ruthlessly suppress any manifestation of socialism or trade union organization.

    What's surprising in retrospect is just how many ordinary people support these sorts. I know that conformity and adherence to rules is a form of security blanket for many, they're more comfortable when they are being told what to do (and how to think), but the interests of such people are definitely not aligned with the interests of ordinary people. You don't have to be a marching in the streets Red Revolution type to see this (and that kind of revolutionary brings its own problems), its quite obvious just from the way that wealth is distributed, how social provisions have been undermined (social provisions bought at considerable cost from fighting Fascism in the first place) and how our world has been degraded just to feed the wealth and vanity of a tiny minority. Now a significant amount of our communal productive effort is geared to just protecting that wealth -- we feed on crumbs from the table, fighting among ourselves for the scraps and comforted by knowing just hour special we are compared to 'the other'.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: He was an authentic, bona fide Fascist

      Excellent post. It's amazing how many countries say they are democracies but are moving rapidly to the Fascist state and a personality cult of the leader. And yet, people vote for these governmental leaders but damned if I know what the voters are expecting. Where I am, teaching "government" in schools is dead. The kids (and many of their parents) have no clue about politics or government.

    2. Vincent Ballard

      Nuance

      His policies weren't all "Grind the poor into the dust". Lots of blocks of flats around where I live, including the one I'm typing this answer in, have a fascist symbol over the door on a plaque which proclaims that they were built as affordable housing in Franco's time. (I think the local government should strictly have removed or replaced all of these plaques to comply with the Historical Memory Act; occasionally I read in the newspaper about someone taking it into their own hands).

      It's also worth remembering that there were absolute nutters on both sides. After various groups of Republican extremists had killed about an eighth of the priests and a quarter of the monks in the country, it's understandable that some people should consider Franco the lesser evil.

      1. slimshady76
        Boffin

        Re: Nuance

        Cutting some slack to Franco is the same as cutting it to Pinochet. They were both fascist bastards who used the "red menace" moniker to massacre the opposition. So they made a couple cheap buildings for the poor. Surprise! So did Hitler. The summary judgements carried on a lot or rural towns, where the Guardia Civil deciced the fate of common people in the same way the Inquisition did several centuries ago were a cabal display of the brutality of the Spanish fascist party. And Primo de Rivera should be expelled off the same premises where Franco's remains were held. To a dirty pigpen if possible.

        On the topic of the identification of those buried in unnamed massive graves around the country, the process has led to a big healing and retribution process here in Argentina. I believe it should be an integral part of the process there in Spain too. It'll help the future generations to put in context the amount of brutality displayed by the Falanges.

        1. Vincent Ballard

          Re: Nuance

          Pinochet wasn't universally hated either. I'm not saying that I'd have liked to live under Franco. I wouldn't. But I don't think that it's "surprising ... just how many ordinary people support[ed]" him when you look at the full context.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He was an authentic, bona fide Fascist

      Do not forget that Spain is the only European country where a WWII-era dictatorship ended only because the dictator himself died of old age. Other countries did get rid of them during WWII or made a coup d'état to depose them, like Portugal.

      The starting point of democracy is neither 1975, because we had several years with still plenty of political repression until we had a first general election in 1977, approved a new constitution in 1978, went through a failed coup d'état in 1981 and finally had a constitutionally-sanctioned general election in 1982.

      Even with all that, the very basis for the political transition to democracy was a general amnesty law which freed political prisoners but too made unprosecutable all the wrong-doings made by government officials: Billy el Niño, a well-known police chief officer for its torture detentions, is still a free man.

      The current political views about the dictatorship are also quite sad: while active public support is anecdotical, all right-sided parlamentary parties hold a "forget and move forward" view, in which while they did not oppose to Franco's reburial, they do not support it either.

      Without a general, full political condemnation of the previous fascist regime does not happen, we will never move forward. And we're still really far from that.

      By the way, the man who made the '81 coup d'état, who got a 30 year sentence but only served 15, was one of the demonstrators outside the Pardo graveyard where fascists gathered and was cheered. No single political party has made a comment about this. A demonstration that was forbidden by the government authorities but a judge ruled that that prohibition was illegal.

      A/C because I got questioned by Guardia Civil in 2017 for my political views.

    4. james_smith Bronze badge

      Re: He was an authentic, bona fide Fascist

      Franco wasn't actually a fascist. He was an ultra-conservative who opposed the liberal and democratic basis of the new republic. He and his colleagues saw the Fascist ideology as a convenient form of populism they could use to motivate a section of the Spanish populace. Fascism is distinct from the conservatism, no matter how authoritarian, of Franco and the other military rebels. Doesn't make Franco and his regime any less repellent, but it has worrying parallels with contemporary conservatives courting extremist support.

    5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: He was an authentic, bona fide Fascist

      the interests of such people are definitely not aligned with the interests of ordinary people

      Behavioral economics exists as a field because people do not, generally speaking, act in their own interests.

      Or, put another way, they act in their own interests; but those interests are usually dominated by perverse psychological rewards which are not aligned with material advantage.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in other news

    Generissimo Francisco Franko is still dead.

    1. el kabong Silver badge

      That is excellent news!

      I hope franco stays dead for as long as possible.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: That is excellent news!

        I hope franco stays dead for as long as possible.

        Keep him out of Israel, more resurrections of the dead than anywhere else in the world ;)

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: in other news

      I was surprised I had to scroll down this far until I saw that quote. I guess no one remembers SNL when it was actually funny.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: in other news

        Alas, those of us old enough to remember back that far often can't.

        (Though I have to say, I happened to catch the Weekend Update segment of a recent SNL episode some weeks back, and it had some good bits. I suspect it's often the strongest part of the show, thanks to the economical format it forces on the writers. Too many SNL skits are based on pounding an already-thin concept into a sticky film.)

    3. zuckzuckgo

      Re: in other news

      Chevy, is that you?

  8. A.P. Veening Silver badge

    Nothing but good about the dead

    He is dead and that is good.

  9. DrXym Silver badge

    Surely there was a skip they could have slung him into?

  10. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Just War

    I'm sure we all lost relatives we never met in WWII. I was raised to think it was a just war because it was a fight against fascism. If it had really been a fight against fascism then we would have deposed the Iberian dictators, and not tried to install one in Greece.

    Since we are here, a shout out for Aidan James, convicted today for fighting against Daesh.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50156963

    The law may not be an arse, but our attorney general certainly is,

    1. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Just War

      "If it had really been a fight against fascism then we would have deposed the Iberian dictators, and not tried to install one in Greece."

      More accurately, it was a war against fascists who were busy invading other countries. There was no stomach for actually invading countries not at war with us and deposing their leadership. Greece was in the grip of a civil war, the British were primarily intent on not letting it become communist, you may not remember it but at the time that was seen as a Bad Thing.

      As to Aidan James, no idea why he's being prosecuted at all.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Just War

        And, at the end, a war against (notional) Communists who were invading other countries. It may not officially have been such, but it's unlikely the Western Allies would have made such a push through western Germany in February-April of 1945 had the Soviet and Polish forces not been making such rapid progress in the East.

        And the US would likely have abandoned the Pacific Theater after Okinawa, had the Soviets not been sticking their toes into Hokkaido. Previously-restricted diplomatic and other materials released over the past 25 years or so supports the theory that Truman's main reason for the nuclear bombings was to force a quick Japanese surrender; the Japanese military command was planning to fight a ground war for the Home Islands using the general populace until the US and USSR either got tired or turned on each other. Rapid surrender let Truman turn Japan into a US protectorate and keep the USSR out. (Frank's Downfall is an accessible analysis of the end of the US war with Japan.)

  11. 0laf Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Teaching

    The Spanish Civil War was only a couple of years before I was born yet I know next to nothing of it. That's quite worrying really. I have no recollection of any teaching, or even a documentary on it on the TV.

    1. Jay 2

      Re: Teaching

      It's not the most known of subjects, and may only turn up as a footnote to what the Luftwaffe and a few other bits of the Wermacht got up to just before WW2. I can recommend The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 by Antony Beevor.

      1. james_smith Bronze badge

        Re: Teaching

        I second the recommendation of Beevor's book, especially the second edition that ended up as a wholesale rewrite since so much more information was available. There are also several good English language documentaries that have been posted on YouTube.

    2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Teaching

      The first I heard of it was in high school when one of the teachers, but not the history teacher, showed us a picture from the war and asked if anyone could tell what was going on in it. It's definitely not taught in American schools. The only reason I have any awareness at all about the subject is that I enjoy reading about history.

      1. james_smith Bronze badge

        Re: Teaching

        If you've not read about them, then the Balkan wars that preceded the Great War are also worth reading about. Sadly, they aren't many books available on them but the quality of those that are is very good as they're aimed at an academic audience. The significance of those wars, as well as those in the same region during the late 19th century, is greater than most people realise. It explains why the Ottomans and Bulgarians sided with the central powers. The White War is also a good look at the Italian role in the Great War, another overlooked topic in English language history.

        1. Mike 16 Silver badge

          Re: Teaching

          @james_smith:

          Do you recall the name of the book on origins of the Great War that came out after a bunch of stuff was de-classified because it had reached 100 years of age? I saw a generally favorable review in The Economist, but lost that issue and forgot the title and author. Considering how much today looks like the inter-war period, it might make a valuable lesson.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Teaching

        I most remember Picasso's painting, "Guernica", that was about an incident during the Spanish Civil War. It's the thing that made *me* aware of it. I saw the painting in NYC before it was returned to Spain (Picasso's wish was that it would return to Spain when democratic rule returned there).

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Teaching

          I most remember Picasso's painting, "Guernica", that was about an incident during the Spanish Civil War. It's the thing that made *me* aware of it.

          Similarly, I first became more than vaguely aware of the Spanish Civil War when I was assigned to read Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. Art has its virtues.

        2. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Teaching

          >"Guernica", that was about an incident during the Spanish Civil War.

          Some *incident*! It was the first town wiped out by aerial bombing, giving rise to the term WMD.

          The first use of the term "weapon of mass destruction" on record is by Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1937 in reference to the aerial bombardment of Guernica, Spain:

          Who can think at this present time without a sickening of the heart of the appalling slaughter, the suffering, the manifold misery brought by war to Spain and to China? Who can think without horror of what another widespread war would mean, waged as it would be with all the new weapons of mass destruction?

          I read today in a local newspaper, as I read often nowadays, of a "collision between a pedestrian and a bus". It's supposed to be a non-judgemental euphemism but it's ridiculous. Nobody reads that and thinks, "I hope the bus isn't injured".

  12. batfink Silver badge
    IT Angle

    IT Angle?

    Yes we're all interested in the story, but what's the IT Angle?

    1. james_smith Bronze badge

      Re: IT Angle?

      El Reg has ties to Spain ever since the late Special Projects Bureau Chief, Lester Haines, moved there.

  13. herman Silver badge
    Devil

    I guess the rent payment of the late dictator was late.

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