How close did Spain come to intervening in France in June 1940?

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Sid Guttridge
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How close did Spain come to intervening in France in June 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Apr 2020 20:05

In mid June 1940 France reportedly only had a single battalion of Senegalese tirailleurs and some paramilitary republican guards (GRM) left on the Pyrenees border with Spain.

Presumably Spain had some sort of plan for possible military intervention and it certainly had some troops on the border.

How close did Spain come to intervening in France (and Andorra?) in June 1940?

Were any deployments made for this possibility?



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Re: How close did Spain come to intervening in France in June 1940?

Post by Sheldrake » 24 Apr 2020 20:33

Its wikipedia but it says some obvious truths.
During World War II the Spanish State under Francisco Franco espoused neutrality as its official wartime policy. This neutrality wavered at times and "strict neutrality" gave way to "non-belligerence" after the Fall of France in June 1940.

Franco wrote to Adolf Hitler offering to join the war on 19 June 1940.[1] Later the same year Franco met with Hitler in Hendaye to discuss Spain's possible accession to the Axis Powers. The meeting went nowhere, but Spain would help the Axis — whose members Italy and Germany had supported him during the Spanish Civil War — in various ways. Despite ideological sympathy, Franco even stationed field armies in the Pyrenees to deter Axis occupation of the Iberian Peninsula in 1940. The Spanish policy frustrated Axis proposals that would have encouraged Franco to take British-controlled Gibraltar.[2] Much of the reason for Spanish reluctance to join the war was due to Spain's reliance on imports from the United States. Spain was still recovering from its civil war and Franco knew his armed forces would not be able to defend the Canary Islands and Spanish Morocco from a British attack.[3]

Hitler described the Hendeye negotiations as a worse experience than an afternoon in the dentists chair.

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Re: How close did Spain come to intervening in France in June 1940?

Post by Loïc » 24 Apr 2020 20:58

There are much more than a single Senegalese Battalion and the Gendarmes of the GRM, who are full-military of the French Army not at all paramilitary, in the perimeters of the border departements facing Spain
and even more at mid-june 1940 near the Pyrénées because are coming a lot of units and depots withdrawn from the northern half of the country,
maybe ~70 000 men gathered in the depots only for the 18e Région Militaire of Bordeaux facing Navarra

actually the main Spanish threat was not on the Pyrénées for France but from Spanish Morocco where the garrison passed from 30 000 to 150 000 men

Luis Suárez Férnandez and Javier Tussell quoting Franco himself concerning Morocco

no es propósito de España la guerra con Francia pero dada la extensión de la guerra y los peligros de salpicaduras que hay
debemos estar preparados a dar la batalla en las mejores condiciones
debe tenerse estudiada la ofensiva sobre la zona vecina (...) si la debilidad y desmoralización de Francia nos obligara a la ocupación
(of the French protectorate)

España y Mussolini
Javier Tusell,
Franco y el III Reich: Las relaciones de España con la Alemania de Hitler
Luis Suárez Férnandez

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Re: How close did Spain come to intervening in France in June 1940?

Post by Ironmachine » 25 Apr 2020 07:51

The matter is studied in detail in La gran tentación - Franco, el imperio colonial y los planes de intervención en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, by Manuel Ros Aguado. Though the autor sometimes takes a leap of faith to draw some conclusions, the facts are clear in that Franco's view was centered in Gibraltar and North Africa (which does not necessarily imply an attack); there were neither interest nor plans to intervene in France.

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