‘The Franco Way’: The American Right and the Spanish Civil War, 1936–9

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The following article is an intellectual and cultural history of the American supporters of Francisco Franco (hereafter referred to as American Francoites) and the Nationalist Movement during the Spanish Civil War. This article examines political pamphlets, magazines, radio broadcasts, journal articles, and books to reconstruct the American Francoite worldview. Like pro-Franco Catholics across the globe, American Francoites insisted the war was not between democracy and fascism but communism and Christianity; as Americans, they believed that supporting Franco was critical in fulfilling a patriotic and providential duty to protect Western Christendom from godless communism. Investigating the American Francoite worldview contributes to a recent body of scholarship detailing the rise of transnational anticommunism and nationalism as a constellation of culturally contingent reactions to the growth and spread of international communism. American Francoites emerged as one peculiar form of anticommunist American nationalism. In conclusion, this article argues that the political myths perpetuated by the pro-Franco argument – that the war was a battle between godless communism and Western Christendom – survived both the Spanish Civil War and Franco himself, merging easily into the ‘new conservatism’ of the postwar period and continuing to inform the beliefs and attitudes of the present right.




Clements, A. J. (2022). ‘The Franco Way’: The American Right and the Spanish Civil War, 1936–9. Journal of Contemporary History, 57(2), 341–364. https://doi.org/10.1177/00220094211063089

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