Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pete's Parkinson's Portraits- Francisco Franco

Like Mao and Hitler, Franco was a brutal dictator of the Twentieth Century. Like them, he suffered from Parkinson's Disease. Franco managed to hang on from the thirties to the mid seventies, miring Spain in his iron grip. "Our regime is based on bayonets and blood, not on hypocritical elections" he boasted, backing it up with his feared police the Guardia Civil.

Franco became the leader of Spain after defeating the communists and anarchists in the Spanish Civil War. This war was seen by many at the time as a a critical battle in the world-wide struggle against Facism, prefiguring WWII. Because of this idealistic foreigners like Hemingway, George Orwell and Arthur Koestler went to Spain to fight on behalf of the anti-facists. Each came out of the struggle marked for the rest of their lives by the collapse of the forces allied against Franco.

Franco continues to haunt the image of Spain years after his death. Guillermo Del Toro's searing recent film "Pan's Labyrinth" was inspired by the post-war reign of Franco, who maintained power until his death in 1975.


ECleary78 said...

Pan's labyrinth was beautiful, dark and mezmorizing. One of my favorite films. However, I had NO IDEA that these three men all had Parkinson's Disease. I'll be darned...

Tomás Serrano said...

Franco in Alaska! How odd!
Franco and Civil War they are always topical questions here, thanks to the socialist leaders. A big percentage of the subsidized Spanish films treats the civil war. I think people want something new, but... You know in Spain there are two majority parties: PP (right) and PSOE (left). In Franco's times, don't think all the people was against the dictator...
I think the comparison with Mao or Hitler or Stalin is absolutely excessive.
I was 15 when Franco died, so I can't tell any personal experience in any sense.

Peter Dunlap-Shohl said...

Hello Tomás, I think it is true that in terms of sheer numbers that Franco cannot compete with the carnage and waste of Hitler or Mao. But, whether or not he was supported by many people or not, his record clearly is not one that embraced the values of free people. If one were to draw a line representing the spectrum of human behavior with perhaps Mohandis Ghandi on one end and Hitler on the other, would you not as most people would, place Franco much closer to Hitler than Ghandi?

This is not meant as criticism of Spain. I have visited there and thought it was a fascinating and beautiful country with great vitality.

Best regards,


Tomás Serrano said...

Maybe we can't find nobody by Gandhi in the politics world, he, he.
Ilove you like Spain, but it's no problem in the case if you didn't like some others thing. One of the good things of knowing other places is that people maybe think his country is not necessaryly the best place in the world.
Did you stay in Salamanca?