- October 16, 2008 at 12:25 am #54413
‘Winston Churchill ‘bribed Franco’s generals to stay out of the war’
Winston Churchill authorised millions of dollars in bribes to stop General Franco from entering the Second World War on the side of Germany, a new book claims.
The British wartime leader persuaded Juan March, a Spanish banker, to act as a secret agent, organising payments of millions of dollars to the generals. In return the generals persuaded Franco not to side with Hitler.
The plot was revealed by the historian Pere Ferrer in Juan March: The Most Mysterious Man in the World, after researching papers in British and US archives.
In the summer of 1940 Churchill was convinced that Spain would enter the war on the side of Hitler after receiving reports that Franco and the Germans were planning to invade Gibraltar. Ferrer has claimed that a British officer, Alan Hillgarth, came up with a plan to bribe the generals, believing that Franco’s high command was corrupt and, because they were not paid much, would be open to bribery.
Times Archive, 1944: Mr. Churchill and General Franco: the letters
A letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Solborg, a US agent in Portugal, to J. Donovan, the head of strategic services, read: “The Spaniard selected to be the main internal instrument to acquire the political favours of these generals was the rich financier Juan March.”
March, who earned a fortune during the First World War dealing in contraband tobacco, seemed an unlikely ally because during the Spanish Civil War he sided with Franco.
Ferrer said that questions remained as to whether March was a double agent. He claimed that documents suggested March may have stayed in the pay of the Germans while working for the British. When he was approached by the British in 1940, however, March accepted the role. He approached 30 generals who had fought in the Spanish Civil War. Though their sympathies had been with the Nazis they switched sides.
The $10 million bribe money was deposited in a bank account in New York in 1940 but the plot nearly fell apart a year later when the US Treasury thought that March was using the money to support Hitler.
The British Ambassador in Washington convinced President Roosevelt that British military interests depended on the account being unfrozen. The Americans relented and in 1942 alone the generals received between $3 million and $5 million.
The book said that some generals were not simply bought off by bribes – many loathed Franco. In a reference to Franco, General Alfredo Kindelan wrote in his memoirs: “You could sense vertigo in him above all else because, like climbers who go higher than they are able, he felt dizzy from having reached such heights with limited abilities.”
After the Second World War March returned to the sedate life of finance, dying in 1962 aged 82.
- October 16, 2008 at 12:29 am #87014
Well! Just fancy that!
Spaniards in a position of power taking bribes! Well I never!
Bear just seen heading towards woods with a roll of Andrex
- October 16, 2008 at 9:15 am #87018
What does it say about Churchill & his side kicks I suppose all is fair in love & war.
- October 16, 2008 at 12:38 pm #87024
Reminds me of the actor Leslie Howard – remember Brief Encounter 😥
He was apparently personally sent by Churchill to General Franco on a mission. I think there was a Spanish beauty involved – can’t remember her name. He was killed when the ‘plane he was travelling home in was shot down.
Will look for a link.
- October 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm #87025
‘…..The alleged message conveyed by Howard was just one of the British attempts to keep Franco, who had come to power with the support of Hitler and Mussolini, from joining the wartime Axis alliance, Rey-Xímena said.
Howard used his contacts with a former lover, Conchita Montenegro, to get through to Franco and deliver the message, the writer said. Montenegro, a Spanish actor, told Rey-Xímena the full story of Howard”s visit to Madrid shortly before her death at the age of 95 last year.
Montenegro, once dubbed the Spanish Greta Garbo….’
- October 16, 2008 at 8:42 pm #87032
Spanish judge to probe Franco era
Judge Garzon is famous for crimes-against-humanity cases
A Spanish judge has launched a criminal investigation into the fate of tens of thousands of people who vanished during the civil war and Franco dictatorship.
Judge Baltasar Garzon – Spain’s top investigating judge – has also ordered several mass graves to be opened.
One is believed to contain the remains of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was murdered by fascist forces at the start of the war in the 1930s.
Correspondents say the historic ruling will be controversial in Spain.
They say there has been a tacit agreement among political parties not to delve too deeply into the civil war and Franco era.
In his 68-page ruling, Judge Garzon says that Francoists carried out “illegal permanent detentions” which he says falls within the definition of crimes against humanity.
He refers to 114,000 people who disappeared during a 15-year period after the outbreak of war in 1936.
The BBC’s Steve Kingstone, in Madrid, says that never before has Spain’s civil war been investigated by a judge.
And in using the phrase “crime against humanity” Judge Garzon is taking a highly controversial step.
The conflict was triggered by the military uprising of General Francisco Franco, whose supporters are said to have systematically eliminated left-wing opponents, even after the war was won in 1939.
Survivors of the civil war Falange movement may face prosecution
Judge Garzon’s document names Gen Franco and 34 of his senior aides as the instigators of the alleged crimes.
He even asks that their death certificates be produced, to prove that they can no longer face prosecution.
The judge has also asked Spain’s Interior Ministry to provide names of senior members of the fascist Falange Party, which supported Franco, with a view to possible prosecutions.
He has ordered the opening of 19 mass graves, believed to contain victims of the Franco regime. The remains of the poet Lorca, who was murdered at the start of the war, are thought to be buried in the southern province of Granada.
Judge Garzon is famous for bringing crimes-against-humanity cases against figures such as former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Last year he was asked by the families of people who vanished during the Spanish civil war or during Franco’s dictatorship, that the remains of their loved ones be found and the circumstances of their deaths clarified.
An estimated 500,000 people died in the civil war.
- October 16, 2008 at 9:19 pm #87034
I wonder if they will be as keen to investigate the atrocities committed on the other side too. Rather trendy though to focus on victims such as Lorca et al! Very romantic 🙄 My Grandfather and his family left Spain because of both sides (thank God). Not very Glam to focus on the ordinary people though is it.
- October 17, 2008 at 7:14 am #87036
while there were obviously atrocities on both sides, i’m suprised you are trying to bring balance to a hideous dictatorship?. Franco, Hitler and Mussolini were right wing monsters of the worst possible kind.
As for your ‘ordinary people’, i would be suprised if anyone would have prefered to live under their rule, rather than a central/left democracy, war or no war?. Unless of course they were very rich or in government circles themselves.
- October 17, 2008 at 8:38 am #87038
I think katy is refering more to the civil war and not any outside groups involved. And although the fascists can claim more atrocities, during hte actual conflict the communists committed their fair share of atrocities.
- October 17, 2008 at 9:22 am #87040
I, am a fan of Judge Garzon, as he is the only one who looks into cases where other judges do not have the guts to dwell into. Pinochet is a good example. I beleive he is also looking into the cases of the Madrid train bombers.
The civil war, despite of its passage of time still divides the Spanish society. I however feel that despite its horrors, it now serve no practical, emotional, political purpose. Apart from the families who were affected by it emotionally. These people need a closure & this can be done by other means considering the size of the task, passage of time etc.
I, rather have Judge Garzon, look at the corruption & the inept “colegio de abagados ” because to my knowledge he is the only one who has what it takes to look at it deeply & profoundly. If he does this he will be doing more for the Spanish people & Spain than digging up old graves.
Lorca, was killed not only for his views but for his sexuality as well. The issue of Lorca was in the media only a few years ago in Spain.
- October 17, 2008 at 9:24 am #87041
Perhaps the money was used by Franco to install the oil refinery in La Linea to give it a space station look from Gibraltar & turn into a lunar theme park. l
- October 17, 2008 at 9:52 am #87043
In no way did I say I supported Franco! Many people did not actively support any side, they wanted to get on with their lives and businesses. There was little of the ‘Brother fighting Brother’ Those at the bottom of the pile fought for who they were told/ordered to fight for. Who knows what would have happened to Franco supporters if they had lost. Civil war is always messy and because this one was glamourised with the help of a few celebs etc. little has been written about the other side. Fairly similar to UK history, the Roundheads and Cromwell were always the villians.
Many Spaniards do not support Garzon’s aim, not because they supported facists but because they prefer this period to be closed. Even some of Lorca’s family are against the excavation. Right now they are excavating in Málaga and it was recently stated that most will never be identified because they do not have the resources to do it. It will not bring closure, just open up old wounds.
- October 17, 2008 at 10:21 am #87047
i see what you are getting at. I just think although ugly, reminders of how bad things were under the notorious far right dictators (or far left system for that matter) is required, lest those in future generations who feel unconected from the atrocities think that’s perhaps the way to go?
- October 17, 2008 at 10:37 am #87048
I think most families will talk about it amongst themselves and pass it on to other generations. About 20 years ago I was in a Spanish friend’s house. Her Father had just had a heart attack and her Grandmother was there. She began talking about him as a young child in the Civil war. She carried him through the streets of Valencia when the place fell. Her description of the mayhem as they tried to avoid stepping on dead bodies was amazing (wished I could have recorded it). I had the feeling that she was talking about it for the first time. She had the belief that those terrible times shaped his character (selfish B) but maybe she was just excusing him? During her story she never stated which side they were on but I thought it was Franco’s or perhaps none!
- October 17, 2008 at 11:07 am #87049
Katy, I am sure that the Spanish civil war or any other civil war leaves its marks on people for generations.
Like, you I had been in Spanish friends/families houses & they had very proudly displayed the guns etc that they used during the period.
Looking back I am certain that the most people I met were on the side of Franco, except one family, who I recall spoke about it with a very heavy heart & emotions came flooding in. They were reluctant to show me the guns, but stated to me that they will always keep it and use it as medium to learn from history.
I, only wish that other countries, races who had suffered when humanity turned onto one another stop making foundations, centres & politicising in order to establish power base on the local or world stage.
- October 17, 2008 at 1:32 pm #87059
This is a really good long read. Wasn’t intending to put it on as it is in Spanish but there are lots of photos too. Some of the things that happened in Málaga before the Civil War started resemble the French Revolution. Tit for Tat asassinations, burning houses of the wealthy etc.
There are also live accounts of the refugees on the way to Almería. Most were children at the time, some horrifying accounts. Suprisingly (for Franco’s reputation) most of them seemed able to return at the end of the war. Most of the military were in prison for just a few months.
- October 20, 2008 at 3:08 pm #87153
There has been a vote in Diariosur newspaper.
Question: Do you agree with Balzón’s intention to prosecute facists who committed crimes against humanity in the Civil War?
Many comments are saying the same as I said about opening old wounds.
- October 20, 2008 at 3:57 pm #87156
yes, that must the general feeling then.
the irony is, that those who lived under the old regime who recently voted not to prosecute the fascists, (with 65% there must have been some) wouldn’t even have had the freedom to voice any critisism against them at the time, however badly they were treated.
- October 20, 2008 at 7:01 pm #87163
“wouldn’t even have had the freedom to voice any criticism against them at the time, however badly they were treated “
Katy, It may come as a surprise that a majority of them are not concerned about the freedom to voice, in the so called democracies of this world.
A democracy where one goes with a play card protesting, so called raising their voices in an impotent manner, feeling content with them selves that they have used their democratic rights, whilst another set of people are not allowed to enter certain streets and or filmed for their presence in a particular location.
Frankly, I rather live under a dictatorship, where I know clearly what I am expected to do than being deceived by the propagators of freedom of Speech/expression.
- October 20, 2008 at 7:52 pm #87165
Simple – get married!! 😆
- October 20, 2008 at 8:19 pm #87166
Inez, how can you, Franco is dead, until you are refering to Manual Fraga !!!!!!.
- October 21, 2008 at 8:10 am #87167
”I rather live under a dictatorship, where I know clearly what I am expected to do than being deceived by the propagators of freedom of Speech/expression.”
that’s one way of looking at it, and we certainly are often deceived, but for me living under a dictatorship would be living in hell. Freedom of speech and the right to oppose the things i feel strongly about means everything to me.
Each to his/her own of course.
- October 21, 2008 at 9:48 am #87168
We all live in a Dictatorship one way or another because we allow them to dictate. Whinging is allowed but the things that matter don’t change. Press is biased too and more heavily censored than you think!
- October 21, 2008 at 9:52 am #87169
“Press is biased too and more heavily censored than you think”
Press/media is in the hands of a few who have their own agenda or the agenda for a communty/sector. The politicians are in their pockets.
- October 21, 2008 at 10:34 am #87171
agreed, it’s a long way from perfect, but compared to the alternatives??
- October 21, 2008 at 10:36 am #87172
Perhaps those who seem to favour living under a dictatorship should talk to Poles, Romanians, Hungarians & former East Germans who lived that way for almost 50 years.
I think they might change their minds.
- October 21, 2008 at 11:42 am #87173
Rob: Let me first start from the point that there is no Utopia.
I have friends from Romania, Poland, Slovenia & have travelled to these countries along with Cuba. I have spoken to their friends, family of different ages. They may not been allowed to say what they thought about the system. However the system served them well. We in the west is also not allowed to say/comment on certain issues. A case of point is the recent deportation/charge of an Australian from UK.
The education, medical & other system worked well. The basics of economics such has food, cloth & shelter was provided. Most of the people spoke a few languages and their graduate were highly trained as can been seen how they have been easily absorbed in the Western economies.
My, stance here is that I rather know where I stand and not be deceived and hoodwinked by the politician in the name of democracy etc.
- October 21, 2008 at 2:48 pm #87176
However, the system served them well!
So well, the Soviet Union stationed hundreds of thousands of soldiers in those countries to control them, so well the Poles, Hungarians & East germans revolted, as did the Romanians.
Why don’t ask the former ‘political prisoners’ in those countries if they think it served them well.
Why not ask those who tried getting across the Berlin Wall what they think? Of course, you can only ask a few as most were killed in the attempt.
Knowing where you stand is fine but freedom to think & do is more important.
Those who give up freedom for security end up with neither security or freedom.
- October 21, 2008 at 3:25 pm #87177
Grass always green on the other side.
- October 21, 2008 at 3:45 pm #87178
I would suggest you forget about Spanish property & look to buy in North Korea!
Perhaps then you will get a different perspective on life in a dictatorship.
- October 21, 2008 at 4:44 pm #87179
Don’t fancy North Korea. Cuba will be a different proposition.
- October 21, 2008 at 4:49 pm #87180
Yes it will, you will have the sun as well GROSS poverty & some 10,000 political prisoners, some have been locked up for 40 years! But hey, they know where they stand! They have certainty in their lives, so it’s all worth it!
- October 21, 2008 at 7:30 pm #87183
Yes it will, you will have the sun as well GROSS poverty & some 10,000 political prisoners, some have been locked up for 40 years! But hey, they know where they stand! They have certainty in their lives, so it’s all worth it!
Cuba seems to be the place to send your political prisoners! 😉
- October 21, 2008 at 8:17 pm #87184
so to clarify, you would rather live under a dictator than our current democracy?
- October 21, 2008 at 11:23 pm #87186
I had already stated there is no Utopia.
All, I was trying to say is that democracy, as it is touted around is not what it is packaged as.
- October 22, 2008 at 7:43 am #87187
i think the fact we have the freedom to say and do pretty much as we like in our system is relative Utopia compared to the alternative. We just take it for granted because most of us have known nothing else.
- October 22, 2008 at 9:37 am #87188
Goodstich44: That is a fair point and as you said
“i think the fact we have the freedom to say and do pretty much as we like in our system”
This, is what I am trying to say is being slowly eroded & people are losing the relativity of this erosion.
If, Icelandic Government on a financial situation can be looped under terrorism act, what chance an ordinary citizen has !!!!!.
- October 22, 2008 at 11:40 am #87191katy wrote:I wonder if they will be as keen to investigate the atrocities committed on the other side too. Rather trendy though to focus on victims such as Lorca et al! Very romantic 🙄 My Grandfather and his family left Spain because of both sides (thank God). Not very Glam to focus on the ordinary people though is it.
This is a usual tactic employed by left wing governments to distract the people, Spain is economically going to the dogs, so the government gives it´s favourite lapdog ,Judge Baltazar Garzon of Pinochet fame, the job of distracting the people by bringing up events of 70 years ago. Of course the Republican atrocities will not be mentioned.
What should be remembered is the fact that it was communism or Franco, and I always wonder how many people would have been killed by the Republicans if they had won ,afterall Stalin was responsible for the death of many more millions than Hitler ever was.
- October 22, 2008 at 11:49 am #87193
135years in waiting:
I agree with your overall observation & comments.
- October 22, 2008 at 12:11 pm #87194
“Press is biased too and more heavily censored than you think!”
I disagree. What internet news sites are currently censored in the UK or spain? And even in the newsite is biased the freedom of information the internet offers a myriad of opinions and information. Unlike say what is available in Syria, China, etc….
“If, Icelandic Government on a financial situation can be looped under terrorism act, what chance an ordinary citizen has !!!!!.”
that’s a misconcenption. The Uk gov invoked the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act
which under part 2 states under freezing orders:
Power to make order
(1) The Treasury may make a freezing order if the following two conditions are satisfied.
(2) The first condition is that the Treasury reasonably believe that—
(a) action to the detriment of the United Kingdom’s economy (or part of it) has been or is likely to be taken by a person or persons, or
(b) action constituting a threat to the life or property of one or more nationals of the United Kingdom or residents of the United Kingdom has been or is likely to be taken by a person or persons.
(3) If one person is believed to have taken or to be likely to take the action the second condition is that the person is—
(a) the government of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom, or
(b) a resident of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.
(4) If two or more persons are believed to have taken or to be likely to take the action the second condition is that each of them falls within paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (3); and different persons may fall within different paragraphs.
- October 22, 2008 at 9:50 pm #87207
You will have seen the comments section on British newspapers…try putting something on that doesn’t go with their editorial stance. It will either never appear in the case as some who do pre-censorship (Daily Mail) or others such as the Times will whoosh it away in (probably) minutes. I have put a few on this week regarding all the articles when these newspapers recommended Icelandic banks. None have lasted more than a few minutes or in the case of Money Mail never appeared at all…I call this censorship. The same could be said of all the articles recommending people to buy in a few places overseas, anyone having the time to research could come up with some damning articles, mostly from the Mail and Telegraph!
The internet has opened our eyes to these media liars but do not forget there are still many people who do not use it and rely on buying a biased lying newspaper.
- October 22, 2008 at 10:15 pm #87209
i thought your previous comment about censorship was in relation to government not business.
At the end of the day a newspaper is business and has the right to censor. Thankfully there is a range of media offering a variety of opinions/slants/bias on the same events.
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