Francisco Franco (4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975), in full Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde, also called El Caudillo (“The Leader”), was a Spanish general who commanded the Nationalist side during the Spanish Civil War and who after the victory ruled Spain until his death.
Many of the controversies involving France involve the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. See the article on the Spanish Civil War.
Despite the extensive military aid given during the Spanish Civil War, Franco did not join the Axis powers during WWII. The important Allied spy Wilhelm Canaris has been argued to have been involved in this.
In 1953, during the Cold War, Spain and the United States signed the Pact of Madrid, in effect recognizing Franco's Spain as an important anti-Communist ally.
Supporters have emphasized aspects such as preventing a Communist regime and associated terror, the economic development of Span, and support for traditional values. Critics have emphasized real or alleged repressions, especially in association with the Spanish Civil War.
Franco has been stated to have been a role model for several anti-Communist regimes in South America.
Descriptions of Franco may be influenced by the leftist, or even the far leftist, sympathies of many politically correct historians as well as by guilt by association with National Socialism. As not participating in the Second World War and alleged associated atrocities, there was less Allied psychological warfare, but, for example, the large-scale Soviet propaganda machinery may during the Spanish Civil War have fabricated various forms of deceptive propaganda.