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Britain and the Spanish Anti-Franco Opposition, 1940–1950 by David J. Dunthorn

By David J. Dunthorn

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This was followed by a letter to Aranda in December in which he formally declared himself a monarchist and 26 Britain and the Spanish Anti-Franco Opposition, 1940–1950 pledged the ‘mass of opinion which formerly supported my party to the service of the Monarchist cause . 56 He persuaded Don Juan that the role of the monarchy was not simply to substitute Franco as protector of the Spanish Right. There was, instead, a need for a radical departure from the policies of reprisal pursued by the Dictator, since these would never bring peace to Spain, and only the monarchy could act as a force for reconciliation.

The Foreign Office Research Department, for example, advised that the government ought to encourage the Free Spaniards Committee in the hope that it would agree on a monarchist restoration after the war. 36 In November 1944 negotiations between the exiled conservative republican, Miguel Maura, and Franco’s representative to de Gaulle, José Antonio de Sangróniz, on a transitional government of national unity briefly raised hopes of a moderate alternative to the Franco regime. 37 Officially, the British government’s attitude during World War II to the restoration of the monarchy to Spain was that it was an internal question for the Spanish people alone to decide.

Given the prejudices of the Foreign Office, association with the communist controlled UDE and UNE was inconceivable, while the republican-socialist ARE’s fidelity to the 1931 constitution was also unacceptable. When the JEL was formed in Mexico in November 1943, it seemed that a moderate republican opposition front had at last emerged worthy of British support. To counter this eventuality, however, Jordana, the Spanish Foreign Minister, immediately warned that any dealings with the JEL would be totally incompatible with good relations with Spain.

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