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95 Chapter 3 Andalusia and Franco Spain On May 5, 1939, the day after nationalist Spain’s victory parade, Francisco Franco entered Madrid’s Santa Bárbara church in royal style, under a canopy, to attend a thanksgiving mass. In a carefully staged ceremony, the triumphant general was surrounded by relics of Spain’s crusading past, including the battle flag of Las Navas de Tolosa, a hilly enclave in northeastern Andalusia where Alfonso VIII of Castile and his allies defeated the Moors in 1212, pushing the Reconquista decisively forward. As Franco reached the high altar, he presented his sword to Cardinal Isidro Gomá, the officiating priest, who laid it before the Christ of Lepanto, a symbol of the legendary victory of the Spanish Empire over the Ottomans in the sixteenth century. These memorabilia were hardly out of place. To his loyal supporters, the generalissimo was a holy crusader, the glorious savior of a Christian nation threatened by barbaric hordes of godless Marxists. The Spanish Civil War, Cardinal Gomá wrote in a 1937 pastoral letter in support of the rebel army, was “a true crusade in favor of the Catholic religion,” a second Reconquest against “red” Spain.1 Branded “anti-​ Spain,” the rural landless anarchists of the deep south, the growing proletariat in urban areas, and the liberal intellectuals and professionals who survived the war but could not flee became strangers in their homeland, much like the sixteenth-​ century Moriscos. Those who were not executed, incarcerated, or sent to concentration camps had to live in a country covered over by crosses and uniforms, a place where no sphere was immune to Franco’s sweeping ideological mobilization. Unlike his wartime allies Hitler and Mussolini, Franco did not usually seek consent through massive rallies and inflamed speeches. The uncharismatic leader, who was naturally quiet and reserved, relied instead on the pervasive power of the Roman Catholic Church to form the minds and souls of his subjects. Patriotism, social discipline, and blind respect for class hierarchies were enforced from the pulpit and in the schoolroom under the exclusive control of ecclesiastical authorities. Falange, the Spanish fascist party, contributed to the consolidation of the new order, but its goals and assumptions did not differ from those of the regime’s religious and military leaders. All supporters of the new regime embraced the mythology of Reconquest, 96 Chapter 3 Counter-​ Reformation, and sixteenth-​ century Empire and traced the roots of a united country back to the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella. The yoke and arrows, an emblem of religious and territorial unity during the reign of the Catholic kings that was appropriated by Falange as a party insignia, was dutifully stenciled on the walls of occupied towns and cities and printed in posters, pamphlets, and periodicals distributed in rebel Spain during the Civil War. A reminder of the subjugation and expulsion of the Muslims, the omnipresent icon reinforced the metaphorical connection between al-​ Andalus and the liberal and working-​ class constituents of the Second Republic. If“reds”were the new“Moors,”Franco, who was often portrayed in visual propaganda astride a white horse, was the reincarnation of Santiago Matamoros , Saint James the Moor Slayer, who is believed to have led medieval Christian troops on a white stallion. The glorification of Catholic victories over Islam persisted during the early Franco years in order to legitimate the military coup and indoctrinate Spaniards of all ages. Not coincidentally, one of the most popular comics in the postwar period was El Guerrero del Antifaz , a medieval champion of Christian values against sadistic Arab enemies. As in the fifteenth century, Spain was now a centralized Catholic nation with one language, one supreme ruler, and one God. Andalusia seems to have embodied all that the Franco regime wished to suppress. A hub of anarchist activity since the early twentieth century, it was one of the regions most battered during the war. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, the large estates of the rural south became battlefields where landless peasants fought against the oligarchic elite who would later support Franco’s coup. During the trienio bolchevique, or “three Bolshevik years” (1918–­ 20), rioting farmworkers destroyed property, terrified landlords, and alarmed moderate and conservative politicians in Madrid. Localized bursts of revolutionary activity persisted through the Civil War period.2 Stunned by the virulence of peasant unrest in the Andalusian sierras, observers referred to Spain as “the Russia of the West.”3 Like revolution, Andalusia’s turbulent political history was a specter that Francoists were...


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