the emergance franco as leader:
- He commanded the army of Africa.
- He outranked General Mola, the organiser of the rising and commander of the rising in the north
- Calvo Sotelo had been assassinated
- José Antonio Primo de Rivera was captured by Republicans at the outset of the rising and executed in November 1936
- General Sanjurjo, the intended figurehead of the rising, was killed in a plane crash at the outset
- Gil Robles was in France when the rising began (and was weakened by the 1936 elections anyway)
- The only generals apart from Mola who matched Franco for prestige…Goded and Fanjul…were captured in the early part of the rising and executed
- The Germans and the Italians favoured Franco
Essentially it was either Franco or Mola…and Mola was inclined to accept Franco’s leadership. At a key meeting in September the rebels Defence Committee voted to make Franco commander in chief – Generalísimo – of the nationalist forces and head of the govt. Mola’s death in a plane crash in June 1937 meant there would be no one left anyway of Franco’s stature.
unification of nationalist party
In April 1937 Franco eliminated the possibility of independent party rivalries disrupting his camp: he ordered the fusion of the Falangists and the Carlists into a new party organisation: Falange Española Tradicionalista de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (FET y de las JONS). The CEDA (Confederación Española de Derechas Autónoma) and monarchist Renovación Española and other right wing parties were ordered to dissolve themselves into the FET y de las JONS.
The nationalists were therefore unified behind a single party and one leader from an early stage in the civil war.
Franco eliminated all left-wing opposition as his forces advanced. In Andalusia there were particularly sweeping executions…but this applied to all areas. At the end of the war the executions continued with about 200,000 shot between 1939 and 1943. Tens of thousands of others were sentenced to prison or penal labour battalions.
- Ideology and character of the nationalist regime.
The rebels quickly offered a special relationship with the church and used the concept of a crusade in defence of Holy Catholic Spain against Bolshevism. The church gave backing to Franco. Spanish bishops argued in a collective letter of July 1937 that the rising was legitimate self-defence. All anti-clerical legislation was reversed including separation of church and state. State paid clergy, Jesuits allowed back etc.