Who was Franco?

   Francisco Franco (1892-1975), generalissimo and head of the Span­ish state, was born in Galicia. Educated in the military academy of the Alcazar at Toledo, he served in Morocco so successfully in the 1920's that by the time he was 32 he was a general. From 1928 to 1931 he was director of the military academy at Saragossa, but the establishment of the republic in 1931 caused that institution to be abolished and Franco to be banished to the Balearic Islands. He was brought back to Spain in 1933, however, by a decisive election victory of the right, and by 1935 he was chief of staff. The following year, Franco, dissatisfied with the republic, organized Moroccan troops in a rebellion against it. His ultimate success, which came with the surrender of Madrid and Valencia in 1939, was largely due to assistance from Germany and Italy. He did not forget these friends during World War II, for he gave them all aid short of entering the war, including a divi­siĆ³n of "volunteers" (the Blue Divi­sion) to fight on the Soviet front. Not until 1945, when Germany had plainly lost the war, did Franco sever relations with Berlin. But the action came too late, and Franco was diplomatically isolated. By 1953, however, the world situation had forced the West to seek his help against Communism. In 1947 Spain was declared a kingdom. Franco was named chief of state for life, and the Cortes—or Spanish parliament—gave him the right to appoint his successor.