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Why didn`t Franco come into the war on the Axis side ? And what would have happened had he done so ?

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Justin Smith, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    Apologies if this has been asked before, I put Franco into the search box and it didn`t come up as a thread !

    Loathe as I am to praise a Facist, one has to agree that Franco was very wise not to come into the war on the side of the Axis.
    But the question is why didn`t he ?
    He undoubtedly had a debt to the Axis powers (particularly the Germans) after their help to him during the Spanish Civil war, which he may well have lost had he not had that assistance.
    In June 1940, with the fall of France, the Axis were well on top, let`s face it, they must have been for the Italians to come in on the German side !
    Franco would have had much to gain from being on a winning German side, not least gaining sovereignty over Gibraltar. Had the latter occurred that may have meant a completely different scenario in Malta and then Nth Africa which may well have ended up with the Germans actually winning in that theatre
    I know the Spanish sent a Division to fight with the Germans on the Eastern front, how did that not cause them to come into conflict with Britain ? Did Stalin actually declare war on Spain, and if not why not ? What was Stalin`s view when Britain didn`t declare war on the Spanish for helping the Germans against them (Russia being a British ally against the Germans) ?
     
  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    A couple of the problems facing Franco were oil and food, he got the one from the US (oil) and the other from both the US and the UK, neither Germany or Italy could help him in these fields. He was also close friends with Admiral Canaris, and Hitler would send Canaris to speak to Franco and the head of the Abwehr was pretty sure that the Axis was going to loose eventually. He (Canaris) urged Franco to ask for so much aid to Spain in exchange for his actively joining the Axis that Hitler couldn't afford the deal. Their status (Spain) was one of armed neutrality with a Fascist leaning, and very limited military aid to the Axis. The Blue Division being the largest military offering, and those being volunteers only. Franco was an adroit politician as well, the most vocal for Spain's joining the Axis were the same men who (largely) volunteered to go fight. This solved two problems for Franco, it removed them from his immediate vicinity and silenced them politically (some permanently) from voicing their opinions in contrast to his own.

    These are just my opinions of course, but Spain was a net importer of food, fuel and fiber; and Germany/Italy simply couldn't fill Franco and Spain's needs. BTW, here is a link to the letters between Spain and the other Axis powers which illuminate the difficulties Spain was having after the Spanish Civil War.

    Goto:

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/spmenu.asp


     
  3. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Essentially,the answer is
    1) at the end of 1940,it was dubious that Germany could win
    2) Spain was feeded and received its fuel from the US
    3)Germany never could replace what Spain received from the US
    4)The military value of the Spanish military was insignifiant .
     
  4. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    Well 3 out of 4 is pretty good, but point 1 was far from a given in late 1940. By late 1941 without doubt, Besides Franco, for all his flaws, was smarter than your average bear, Bobo!
     
  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    IIRC it was revealed a few years ago that the British were paying of quite a few of Franco's closest advisors/cronies. How early in the war did this start?
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    Bribary! I'm Shocked, just shocked :rolleyes:
     
  7. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Another important factor was that Franco was a devote Catholic and a military dictator of the old school, he had none of the ideological baggage that Hitler and Mussolini had.
    It should also be noted that Franco had been horrified by Germany's attack on Catholic Poland, a nation Franco had a good relationship with.
     
  8. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Another point was that the Canary Islands would be immediately occupied by the Allies. I believe Franco raised this issue when Hitler encouraged Spanish participation in the Axis with the bate of Gibraltar.
     
  9. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Another thing to keep in mind here is the fact that Franco's ancestors were Marranos, Spanish Jews who converted to Christianity during the Middle Ages, and while he himself was a staunch Catholic, he still had a "protective" mindset when it came to the Jews. Hitler's vocal anti-Semite position wasn't well received by Franco.

    James Michener in Iberia, 1968, page 547: "...Generalissimo Franco is highly regarded by Jews; during the worst days of World War II, when pressures from Hitler were at their heaviest, Franco refused to issue anti-Jewish edicts and instead provided a sanctuary, never violated, for Jews who managed to make it to Spain. Many thousands of Jews owe their lives to Franco, and this is not forgotten."

    In Resolutions of the War Emergency Conference of the World Jewish Congress, Atlantic City, New Jersey, November 26-30, 1944, page 15: "The War Emergency Conference extends its gratitude to the Holy See and to the Governments of Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain... for the protection they offered under difficult conditions to the persecuted Jews of Hungary..."

    In the Congressional Record of January 24, 1950, Rep. Abraham Multer quotes a spokesman for the Joint Distribution Committee: "During the height of Hitler's blood baths, upwards of 60,000 Jews had been saved by the generosity of Spanish authorities."

    Newsweek, March 2, 1970: "...a respected U.S. rabbi has come forward with surprising evidence that tens of thousands of Jews were saved from Nazi ovens by the personal intervention of an unlikely protector. Spain's Generalissimo Franco, in so many other respects a wartime collaborator of Adolf Hitler. "I have absolute proof that Franco saved more than 60,000 Jews during World War II," says Rabbi Chaim Lipscitz of Brooklyn's Torah Vodaath and Mesitva rabbinical seminary.
     
  10. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    In June 1940 it didn`t seem dubious that Germany could win. It can`t have been, even the Italians came in with him !

    As regards military value, Spain might not have had a powerful army, navy or airforce, but as allies of Germany it`d have been a pretty safe bet they could have ejected the British from Gibraltar. Doing so may well have had huge implications on the course of WW2, therefore it would have been something the Germans should have been prepared to go to some lengths to achieve. Then again we are talking about Hitler, not the most rational person ever to walk this earth.......
     
  11. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Admiral Canaris was already informing Franco in late 1939 and mid-1940 that the Germans were going to loose the war in the long run, and if he threw in his lot with the Axis; the blockade of Spain would be a foregone conclusion. Both he and Franco knew full well neither Germany nor Italy, nor the two together could replace the import losses that a Royal Naval blockade would incur. Franco was a pragmatist, not a zealot in the Fascist/Nazi cause a'la Mussolini/Hitler.
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1) june 1940 is irrelevant,because Hitler was not asking in june 1940 that Spain would come into the war on the Axis side
    2)Spain joining the Axis in the war only would result in an other drain (as Italy) on German resources
    3) What Germany got from a neutral Spain during the war,was more important than what it could have from an allied Spain .
     
  13. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    While it might not have been clear that Germany would win, the German defeat in the Battle of Britain certainly made the situation dire for Germany.
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Adding ,the Italian disasters as :the battle of Tarento,the catastrophe in Libya,the fiasco in Greece,etc
     
  15. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Much to gain by being on the winning side....But unless you know who the winning side is...Bit like Ribbentrop telling Molitov that Britian was finished, and Molitov asking in that case why are we having this conversation underground and who's aircraft are up above us dropping bombs? Taking a pair of Binoculars and looking at the Med from Franco's Spaiin never gave him the impression Germany was a guaranteed winner...So unless you want to throw all your eggs into one basket when you do not need to...why bother..Wait...and wait again.
     
  16. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    How could Canaris know in 1939 (or June 1940 ! ) that Germany would lose the war ? ! ?
     
  17. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    Do we know that Hitler, or intermediaries, wasn`t wanting Franco to enter the war in June 1940 ? Furthermore Franco could have made the offer anyway. Lastly Germany`s position looked pretty positive up to June 1941, or even December 1941.

    The question is how much of a debt did Franco think he owed the Axis, and, more significantly, how much did he want Gibraltar ?

    I think the fall of Gibraltar could potentially have had massive implications for the war, and not ones we`d be happy about either.
     
  18. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Canaris was not the provincial personage of the type Hitler was, he was well traveled, spoke multiple languages, and was fully aware that the next war was going to require material resources which Germany didn't have and would have much trouble gaining access to. Canaris understood full well that (while he initially supported Hitler for his strong nationalist stance), by 1939 the man was dangerous to both Europe in general and Germany in particular. He (Canaris) worked behind the scenes to undermine the Nazi state in every way he could.

    He also fully understood that joining Hitler's Axis would place the Spanish under Royal Navy blockade, and Spain could ill afford to suffer that fate. They needed the import goods much more than they needed German goods. At least these are my takes/opinion on the subject, I could be wrong of course but as history unfolded they seem to be more true than not.
     
  19. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    I don`t agree that defeat in the Battle Of Britain (depending on your definition of defeat) meant Germany`s position was dire. Hitler`s invasion of Russia maybe, his declaration of war on the USA maybe, his poor judgement as a general maybe, we could go on. All were more significant than the Battle of Britain, particularly as the outcome of the latter was not definitive either way because of the English Channel and the Royal Navy.
     
  20. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    Absolutely, Franco the pragmatist v Hitler the (mad) idealist. And it doesn`t show Mussolini up in a wise light either !
     

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