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Why didn`t Franco come into the war on the Axis side ? And what would have happened had he done so ?

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Justin Smith, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Interestingly that was the same opinion they voiced about the performance of the W-SS in Poland and France ..... IIRC the 250 ID served in AGN alongside the similartly equipped SS - Polizei, wonder if any comander ever compared the two.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Pretty much what I've said on a number of occasions.
    Amphibious invasions are problematic without both naval and air supremacy. If the defenders have either their probability of success is vanishingly small.

    As for Hitler's invasion of the Soviets I can kind of see a twisted logic to it. In order for Britain to "win" the war she needed at least one and perferably more very powerful allies. Two were available. Hitler couldn't do much about the US and may not even have considered the US all that powerful. If on the otherhand he defeated the Soviets Britain would have little hope of winning and he might be able to come to terms with them. Now he could have achieved the same by binding them closer to him as alllies but ....
     
  3. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    There is a fifth item. Spanish businessmen were making a profit from importing items the Germans badly needed from outside Europe. The British of course sought to interdict this trade, but it took several years to close this route completely. Meanwhile Spaniards made some cash passing the goods along to Germany. Were Spain to declare war on Britain it becomes much easier to blockade and halt the imports, and Spain's people cease pocketing German money.
     
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  4. efestos

    efestos Member

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    In fact the allies bought the spanish tugsten at very high price. That trade fleed by train, so it was very difficult and not worthwhile to stop it. And it wasn´t the german money, it was the Franco´s debt for the supplies the nazis send during the civil war... There are a lot of histories about the tungsten smuggling on the border with Portugal. The best: battles of kids throwing stones at both sides of the border: in the Spanish side, with stones of tungsten.
     
  5. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    About the Spanish trade during WWII,the following is from "Neutrality for self-benefit :Spanish Trade in WWII"
    Spanish imports (in %)
    1939:from the Allies :79,from the axis :9
    1940:67 /25
    1941:39/41
    1942:33/46
    1943:35/48
    1944:37/41
    1945:66/3
    Exports
    1939:90/5
    1940:54/39
    1941:27/68
    1942:34/55
    1943:37/50
    1944:46/33
    1945:68/6
     
  6. Duns Scotus

    Duns Scotus Member

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    I agree with SteveRodgers-the main reason that Franco didn't join the Axis full scale (Don't forget he sent the Spanish Fascist Blue Division to fight with the Nazis the Soviet Union during ''Operation Barabarossa'' ) was that Spain in 1939 was materially exhausted after a bloody three year Civil War 1936-39 and he wanted to consolidate his Falangist government rule-not (apart from the Blue Division'' )get involved in Nazi adventures which could have had serious reprecussions for him and his Fascist cronies.
    In fact, Hitler said after his meeting with Franco in 1940 where the latter declined to join the Axis full on, that dealing with Franco was as pleasant as having his teeth pulled.
    Franco as the defender of Jews is a new one on me although Jews who escaped over the Pyreness to Spain were not generally sent back to occupied FRANCE AND THEIR DOOM.
    P.S. IN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND throughout the 1960's the Edinburgh Communist party HQ was situated right next door to a firm called ''FRANCO SIGNS''-the only place in Europe where Franco and the Commies peacefully co-existed side by side.
     
  7. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Not specifically related. But in my research on ww2 monitoring and my local adopted area found this interesting snippet:

    Context

    HW Records created and inherited by Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
    Division within HW General records of the Government Code and Cypher School
    HW 14 Government Code and Cypher School: Directorate: Second World War Policy Papers
    Top of page
    Record Summary



    .................................................................................Sept 1-Nov 11, 650 V1 Flying Bombs launched, all from HE-111; AS order Nov 30 for dealing with V2 low grade traffic; Nov 29 instructions for dealing with V2 Antic traffic intercepted by Cheadle and Broadstairs; future of AS Air Raster Sub-section Nov 23; DDI 4 to OC RAF Canterbury and DD (AS) Nov 21 re training of Canterbury Sigint staff at Cheadle and AS, comments from DD (AS) Nov 26; DDI 4 to Cheadle and AS Nov 22 re withdrawal of GPO operators taking Spanish tasks at Evesham, accommodation required by BBC; AS order Nov 30 on passing Hutment and Tentage Sigint to Canterbury; paper by RH Parker of Hut 6 Nov 29 on discriminating GAF traffic, new system expected;..................................................

    The National Archives | The Catalogue | Full Details | HW 14/116
     
  8. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Having read about half of a very interesting book by Mark Mazower, Hitler's Empire, I will try and summarise his thoughts and facts:

    On 19 June 1940 (just before Petain signed the armistice), Franco offered to go to war with Britain in return for Gib, French Morocco, some other French Colonies. Spanish troops had occupied French Tangier a couple of days earlier.

    These demands were too high for Hitler because of the effect this would have on the French. He feared that giving French possessions to Spain (or for that matter Italy) would result in the whole of the French Empire going over to De Gaulle. In addition he was concerned about the French Fleet. In fact Petain played a weak hand very well in this respect.

    At their abortive meeting, on the one hand Franco talked at great length about Spain's rights in North Africa and on the other Hitler could not be pinned down on what Spain would get. Franco being a better judge than Mussolini realised that nothing was guaranteed.

    Also there was a suggestion that Germany had it own ambitions in Morocco and German Agents were secretly sizing up Airfields around Casablanca and a presence in the Canaries as well. So the simple truth was that each wanted more than the other was prepared to give.

    Events after 1940 merely confirmed to Franco that the had made the right decision.
     
  9. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    Mazower's a good read, the following outlines the actual attempted manipulations involving Franco, Petain, & Mussolini with Hitler in the Fall of 1940.

    France also had colonies in Africa of even greater import to Hitler’s machinations, and Petain was a greater influence on Franco than either Hitler or Mussolini was. Mussolini desired bits of French colonial possessions, but he hadn’t fared well against the French after his declaration on the heels of German success, and France remained more powerful in Africa than Britain was. Plus Hitler needed Petain’s support even more than he needed Mussolini’s.



    With this in mind, Hitler met Mussolini in the Brenner Passon the 4th of Oct. 1940 and they discussed a possible assault on Gibraltar. But Spain had to be fed - Hitler complained that Franco through his ambassador (and bro-in-law) Ramon Serrano Suner, had requested 400,000 tons of grain. He departed with what he felt was a spirit of warmth and trust. On the 22nd Hitler boarded “Amerika” again and travelled to Montoire France, enroute to meet Franco at Hendaye in Southwest France. He spoke to Laval at Montoire and arranged to meet Petain in 2 days. He hoped to get Vichy as an active ally against Britain.



    At their Hendaye meeting the next day, Hitler gave Franco vague assurances that he would get some “colonial territories in Africa”. However as he had told Ribbentrop before their meeting, “We cannot at the moment give the Spaniards any written promises about transfers of territories from the French Territorial possessions. If they get hold of anything in writing on this ticklish question with these talkative Latins, the French are sure to hear something about it sooner or later.” He was going to talk to Petain the next day, so he couldn’t promise French territory today. Hitler continued, “if such an agreement with the Spaniards became known, the French Colonial Empire would probably go over to De Gaulle.”



    During their discussions Franco flatly told Hitler that if Gibraltar fell, itwould be to Spaniards not to foreign invaders. Franco then pragmatically assessed German chances of clearing the British out of Africa; to the edge ofthe desert perhaps, but no further, “As an old African campaigner I am quite clear about that”. He also stated that he doubted that Germany could conquer Britain, and had already told his generals so – Germany had not won yet. That’s another reason why he didn’t back Hitler, but he remained genial, non-committaland would not be pinned down. Later Ribbentrop, attempted to have Serrano Suner persuade Franco to sign a secret protocol to which Italy would later add her signature. It stated on paper that Spain would receive French Colonial Possessions “to the extent that France can be indemnified from British colonial possessions”. Serrano Suner stated that Germany’s attitude towards France had changed and that Franco would have “to define more exactly the rewards of victory” to his people. Nothing was accomplished.


    Hitler got no further with Petain at Montoire when he attempted to woo him the next day. He repeated what he had said to Franco. He added that someone had to pay for the lost war then bullied, “That will be either England or France. If England bears the cost, then France can take the place in Europe which is her due, and can fully retain her position as a colonial power.” He added that to do this of course, France would have to protect her colonial empire from attack as well as re-conquer the central African colonies, which had already gone over to De Gaulle, knowing full well that Germany wasn’t able to assist in this regard. When he alluded that France join the war against Britain by asking what France would do if attacked again as at Mers-el-Kebir and more recently at Dakar, Petain stood firm and simply stated that his country was in no position to wage a war, and that was that. Germany was powerless where France’s colonies were concerned at this time, and they both knew it.



    On his return to Germany, Hitler found that he had received a letter from a vengeful Mussolini dated shortly after their previous meeting, condemning Vichy and saying “one cannot think of their collaboration”, and making claims on France’s colonial possessions. Hitler aware that he needed Vichy’s support, and the sensitive nature concerning Vichy’s colonies regarding De Gaulle, also with Franco in mind, could not address Mussolini’s concerns. When a frustrated Hitler met Mussolini in Florence on the 28th, it was with the knowledge that Mussolini, despite being privy to his machinations for carrying the war to the British via Gibraltar, and then the Med., had vaingloriously attacked Greece the day before. The Greeks more than held up their own, Germans would soon befighting in the Balkans and in Africa to prop up Mussolini, but Hitler’s plans for co-ordinated action with Spain, Vichy, and Italy, against Britain to force the Western Med., had been dashed, in no small measure, by none other, than Mussolini.


    Franco was no saint, but he paid his bills. Post-CW Spain was heavily in debt and running trade deficits. Franco was able to walk a fine line between Hitler and the Allies early on while still benefiting and taking advantage of huge increases in certain open market commodity prices, particularly wolfram i.e. tungsten, production increased. In spite of the war and Allied economic warfare, what in reality amounted to infringements on Spanish neutrality, which forced controls on raw material exports to Germany and stifled trade overall, Spain’s industrial per capita output increased over the course of the war, coal, iron ore and steel output approached 1929 levels, i.e. pre Depression-CW. Franco used his gains to repatriate a good chunk of his CW acquired foreign debt.
     
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  10. scipio

    scipio Member

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    Much better than my summary Marmat
     
  11. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    ... this piece is from an old "Counter Gib./German Med. Option" post, which long predates Mazower, which certainly confirmed alot of it. The conversational bits are from Toland's book on Hitler, which draws on Ramon Serrano Suner's book, "Entre les Pyranees et. Gibraltar", one of the best books on Franco et. al.
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I should be very carefull with the use of "Entre les Pyrenées et Gibraltar".
    It is a book written by a man,who was fired when he was the number two in Spain (well,he imagined he was the number two)and,for the rest of his live,he was nothing;reasons enough to be embittered and to have a lot of bones to pick with Franco .
    On what version ,Toland was drawing of the work of Serrano? The first edition was published(abroad?or in Spain ?) in 1947,and,from what I have read,Suner was known to "correct","change" his work when there was a new edition .And,as he died on the age of 102..........
    I have read the following comment :the memoires of Serrano are as reliable as the memoires of Ciano .
     
  13. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    "Georgetown University Cool as a Cucumber" (about the Hendaye Meeting) is very harsh about the memoirs of Serrano.It says the memoirs are very disappointing,he did not mention the Hendaye meeting ,but,this was changed after the death of Franco,it says the following :this suggest that Serrano omitted purposely certain information from his memoirs .
     
  14. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    For what it's worth, I checked Toland's "Sources", which indicate that he used the 1947 edition, what's more he interviewed Suner in 1963. I'm sure that he wasn't duped by any duplicity on Suner's part.

    Checking Toland's Notes for the Suner-Ribbentrop/Hitler Berlin Meeting, the Laval/Petain-Hitler Montoire Meetings, and the Franco-Hitler Hendaye Meeting indicates Toland used the likes of "Documents on German Foreign Policy", "Hitler's Secret Conversations", Hills work on Franco, and most notably Paul Schmidt's, "Hitler's Interpreter". The conversational quotes above clearly come from Schmidt, Hitler's chief interpreter, for example Toland gives the interpreters a place at the table with comments such as "Secretly the interpreter was delighted by the tactics of the Spaniards" (in this case it was Schmidt with von Ribbentrop, enroute to Montoire by aircraft).
     
  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Hm,"Cool as Cucumber" says (with Serrano as source) that Schmidt was NOT present at Henday (he spoke not Spanish)and that his report about Hendaye was only hearsay .
     

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