Franco and Hitler

Spain, Germany, and World War II

Stanley G. Payne

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Was Franco sympathetic to Nazi Germany? Why didn't Spain enter World War II? In what ways did Spain collaborate with the Third Reich? How much did Spain assist Jewish refugees?

This is the first book in any language to answer these intriguing questions. Stanley Payne, a leading historian of modern Spain, explores the full range of Franco’s relationship with Hitler, from 1936 to the fall of the Reich in 1945. But as Payne brilliantly shows, relations between these two dictators were not only a matter of realpolitik.  These two titanic egos engaged in an extraordinary tragicomic drama often verging on the dark absurdity of a Beckett or Ionesco play.

Whereas Payne investigates the evolving relationship of the two regimes up to the conclusion of World War II, his principal concern is the enigma of Spain’s unique position during the war, as a semi-fascist country struggling to maintain a tortured neutrality. Why Spain did not enter the war as a German ally, joining with Hitler to seize Gibraltar and close the Mediterranean to the British navy, is at the center of Payne’s narrative. Franco’s only personal meeting with Hitler, in 1940 to discuss precisely this, is recounted here in groundbreaking detail that also sheds significant new light on the Spanish government’s vacillating policy toward Jewish refugees, on the Holocaust, and on Spain’s German connection throughout the duration of the war.

Stanley G. Payne is Hilldale-Jaume Vicens Vives Professor of History Emeritus, University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a world authority on the history of European fascism and is the author of many books on Spanish and modern European history, including The Spanish Civil War, the Soviet Union, and Communism and The Collapse of the Spanish Republic, 1933–1936, both published by Yale University Press. He lives in Madison, WI.

A main selection of History Book Club

A main selection of History Book Club

“Stanley Payne is recognized as the most serious and informed foreign historian of modern Spain in a whole range of areas. Here he deals with a subject of considerable debate and makes a major contribution to European and Spanish history.”—Juan Linz, Yale University 

"Stanley Payne has written an excellent study of the relations between Franco and his regime and the Germans during the years of the civil and world wars. Much of what he writes has been known in outline for a long time. But Payne has brought together the result of the latest research on this thorny topic to our great benefit, in a fascinating book."—Hugh Thomas

Franco and Hitler is the crowning achievement of Payne’s work which includes an impressive number of studies of Spain 1931-1945, a complex subject matter of which he is now the outstanding non-Spanish historian.”—John Lukacs

"An excellent account of the Franco government during World War II and its relationship with Hitler’s Germany. It deserves praise because it tells in a clear and engaging fashion a very compelling story. As a study of Franco's relationship with Hitler, Payne's work is simply unmatched."—Geoffrey Jensen, author of Franco: Soldier, Commander, Dictator

"Franco and Hitler shatters many myths, especially those fostered by the Franco regime, concerning Spain's role in the conflict. It is compelling, iconoclastic, and insightful."—Michael Seidman, author of Republic of Egos: A Social History of the Spanish Civil War

"Immensely detailed and finely argued. . . . It is a study of the entire role of Spain during the war, preceded by an introduction setting out the Civil War and its aftermath with a snap and succinctness that only a master could achieve."—Richard Eder, Boston Sunday Globe

"There is something faintly preposterous about the pairing of these names—Franco and Hitler—so radically different in scale and in the range of associations they evoke. And yet, as Stanley Payne shows in [Franco and Hitler], we can profit greatly from an account of their peculiar connection. . . . I hope you will read the entire book."—John Wilson, Books and Culture

"Franco and Hitler takes a careful and balanced approach to its subject. Payne portrays Franco as more perceptive than his posthumous image as an incompetent had it. The author gives Jordana credit for his skill in bringing Spain toward the Allied position and describes the Hitler-Franco rendezvous in Hendaye accurately, separating fact from fiction."—Henry S. Cohn, The Federal Lawyer

"One of the virtues of Payne's work may be . . . that it makes available in English an in-depth study of the subject using many sources that until now were only available in Spanish. . . . [The book] is a useful primer on international relations between Spain and Germany before and during World War II."—Soledad Fox, American Historical Review
ISBN: 9780300151220
Publication Date: February 24, 2009
336 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
The Collapse of the Spanish Republic, 1933-1936

Origins of the Civil War

Stanley G. Payne

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