Eighty-two years ago today, the Spanish Civil War ended. On April 1, 1939, Generalissimo Francisco Franco declared victory over the forces of the so-called “Republic” who were in fact the tools of godless communism. Here is a short clip from a speech he gave that day:
With this victory, Franco saved Spain and saved Holy Mother Church from communism and anarchy. More importantly, his victory was the first setback suffered by international Bolshevism, and was a prophetic herald of the final victory won in 1989 by Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan. Had he not taken his firm and decisive stand, the course of world history would have taken a darker path.
Though his nation was devastated by three long years of war, Franco rebuilt it, stone by stone, on the firm foundation of Catholicism, Falangism, and Traditional Family Values. Not since the Medieval period had any nation come so close to embodying the ideals of Christendom. Though ignored or denigrated by liberals, Franco showed that it was possible to implement Catholic Social Teaching in the modern era. While the rest of Europe was paying the butcher’s bill for the Enlightenment—chaos, decadence, immorality—Franco helped Spain to preserve the best ideals of the ancien regime. Indeed, the greatest tribute to Franco is that even after his death, the nation he built persevered under the strong hand of the Borbon monarch, King Juan Carlos.
What is the legacy of the Franco? I think we can draw the following important lessons from the Spanish Civil War and the rebirth of Spain.
1) Communism is the greatest threat to civilization to ever emerge. Whether it is called Marxism, Bolshevism, Anarchism or Socialism, it is a scourge that must be defeated by any means necessary. Furthermore, as the “Popular Front” of the so-called “Republic” showed: liberalism is blind to the dangers of communism, and is far too willing to be its agent. Burned and looted churches and the martyrdom of so many holy priests reveals the inevitable consequences of liberalism’s “democratic egalitarianism”.
2) Holy Mother Church needs a strong protector in these dangerous times. The Church is the Bride of Christ, and must be preserved pure and spotless to be presented to the Bridegroom at the heavenly wedding feast. But within and without there are those who would defile her with their false doctrines and dangerous flirtations. Only a strong state, acting as a wise and benevolent father, can shield her from these dangers. Furthermore, only a state linked so closely to her can insure that the law of the land is in pure and perfect conformity with the law of God.
3) Desperate times require strong, resolute men. Though liberals have no understanding of tragedy, it is sometimes necessary for blood to spilled in order to preserve all that we hold dear. There were two kinds of violence in the Spanish Civil War: the destructive, nihilist orgy of destruction that the so-called “Republic” unleashed on the people of Spain, and the the purifying, blood sacrifice that Franco brought to his people to set them free. In our times, confronted by the resurgence of a “kinder, gentler” socialism, and with Christendom and the West again under attack by the forces of Islam, we need leaders who will take decisive action, no matter the cost.
4) Parliamentary democracy need not represent the will of the people, and can be hijacked and turned against the people. Only a handful of radicals and communists wanted what the so-called “Republic” offered Spain: immorality, anti-clericalism, the loss of liberty to the collective. Democracy in its truest sense, the will of the people, is best realized when the people place their trust in a champion, who understands what their real needs and desires are. Such a leader, unswayed by the fickle winds of popularity and with a clear understanding of our fallen natures and the path to which God has called us, can provide the firm hand to lead the nation to its rightful destiny.
Nuestra Senora del Pilar, Patronness of the Army of Spain, Guardian of the Nation, pray for us!