Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

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DavidFrankenberg
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Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 25 Sep 2019 22:48

We all know the story : in 1940, at Hendaye, Hitler asked Franco to join him in the war.
And w all know Franco refused. Hitler is said to have said : "i would prefer to get one of my teeth out".

So it seems that Spain was not ready for the war, exhausted after the civil war.

But, i just learnt that Hitler told Dönitz in may 43 : "the failure of the italian attack in Greece caused a disastrous impression on the Spanishs. The Italy was responsible of that." (See Deakin, Brutal friendship, book 3 chapter 1).

So, indeed, it was the failure of the italian offensive in Greece that persuaded Franco not to get into the war.

Interesting.

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by pugsville » 26 Sep 2019 00:32

DavidFrankenberg wrote:
25 Sep 2019 22:48
We all know the story : in 1940, at Hendaye, Hitler asked Franco to join him in the war.
And w all know Franco refused. Hitler is said to have said : "i would prefer to get one of my teeth out".

So it seems that Spain was not ready for the war, exhausted after the civil war.

But, i just learnt that Hitler told Dönitz in may 43 : "the failure of the italian attack in Greece caused a disastrous impression on the Spanishs. The Italy was responsible of that." (See Deakin, Brutal friendship, book 3 chapter 1).

So, indeed, it was the failure of the italian offensive in Greece that persuaded Franco not to get into the war.

Interesting.
Spain was very dependent on imports, and those imports could be controlled by the British. IF Spain entered the war the British would cut Spain off from imports and the economy was barely limping along, food was very short already. Without replacements for the imports entering the war could catastrophic for Spain. Franco had a economic demands, food and vital resources like oil the Spain would need to replace these imports.

The Spanish army lacked almost all heavy weapons, artillery, anti tanks guns, flack, tanks, aircraft. So Franco had a another long list of military equipment that they would need to enter the war.

Hitler was unwilling to come up with firm commitments on either of these lists. Hitler basic position was enter the war first and we'll see what we can do. Franco wanted his requirements met before hand. Neither side really budged on their opening positions.

HistoryGeek2019
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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 26 Sep 2019 01:52

According to Norman Goda in "Tomorrow the World", Hitler insisted on establishing German enclaves and military bases in Morocco, and on Spain ceding one of the Canary Islands to Germany. Hitler wanted these bases to protect North Africa against American encroachment.

Franco, on the other hand, dreamed of taking Morocco from France and establishing a mini-Spanish Empire in northwest Africa. Franco did not want Germany to own any territory in Morocco, and he absolutely would not accept giving up one of the Canary Islands to Germany. Franco wanted a military alliance where Germany provided supplies and equipment but Spanish soldiers did all the fighting. Spain could call on Germany to send reinforcements if Spain got into trouble, but Franco was unwilling to grant a permanent German military presence in Morocco or the Canaries.

Hitler of course knew that Spain's military was pathetic and wouldn't even be able to hold the Canaries against the British, let alone the Americans, so he insisted on Spain giving Germany permanent bases in Morocco and the Canaries. Franco was so offput at the prospect of a permanent German military presence in this theater that he stalled the Germans until Barbarossa made it impossible for Germany to militarily threaten Spain.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by Ironmachine » 26 Sep 2019 07:05

DavidFrankenberg wrote:So, indeed, it was the failure of the italian offensive in Greece that persuaded Franco not to get into the war.
So, indeed, no. Hitler's opinion looks like a poor excuse.
Franco had a good number of reasons for not entering the war, some of them has been stated in the previous posts.
Even if the Italian failure in Greece came as a surprise, nobody in Spain really expected the Italians to be a decisive part of the Axis; Germany was the super power that has defeated France, German forces were at the Spanish border, and all the negotiations were with Germany.
And it should be remembered that the Hendaye conference took place on 23 October 1940, and there it was clear that Franco had no intention to go to war unless their petitions were fulfilled (and Germany could not do that), and then only when he saw fit. The Italian invasion of Greece started on 28 October 1940, so at most it could have added another reason for the Spanish negative to joint the war, but it didn't change Franco's decision.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Sep 2019 08:58

pugsville wrote:
26 Sep 2019 00:32
DavidFrankenberg wrote:
25 Sep 2019 22:48
We all know the story : in 1940, at Hendaye, Hitler asked Franco to join him in the war.
And w all know Franco refused. Hitler is said to have said : "i would prefer to get one of my teeth out".

So it seems that Spain was not ready for the war, exhausted after the civil war.

But, i just learnt that Hitler told Dönitz in may 43 : "the failure of the italian attack in Greece caused a disastrous impression on the Spanishs. The Italy was responsible of that." (See Deakin, Brutal friendship, book 3 chapter 1).

So, indeed, it was the failure of the italian offensive in Greece that persuaded Franco not to get into the war.

Interesting.
Spain was very dependent on imports, and those imports could be controlled by the British. IF Spain entered the war the British would cut Spain off from imports and the economy was barely limping along, food was very short already. Without replacements for the imports entering the war could catastrophic for Spain. Franco had a economic demands, food and vital resources like oil the Spain would need to replace these imports.

The Spanish army lacked almost all heavy weapons, artillery, anti tanks guns, flack, tanks, aircraft. So Franco had a another long list of military equipment that they would need to enter the war.

Hitler was unwilling to come up with firm commitments on either of these lists. Hitler basic position was enter the war first and we'll see what we can do. Franco wanted his requirements met before hand. Neither side really budged on their opening positions.
Mussolini issued an his ultimatum to Greece, and invaded that country on the 28th October, a week later than Hitler's meeting with Franco at Hendaye on 23 October.

There was an economic incentive for Franco to stay out of the war. During the war the British would buy up as much of Spain's strategic resources such as chrome and wool as the Spanish could provide. Hard cash offered by the British v German vague promises? This was part of the policy of the British economic warfare department. Maybe one reason for German troops shivering without their woollies in Russia while the British squaddies endure hairy woolen shirts?

DavidFrankenberg
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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 26 Sep 2019 13:11

Sheldrake wrote:
26 Sep 2019 08:58
Mussolini issued an his ultimatum to Greece, and invaded that country on the 28th October, a week later than Hitler's meeting with Franco at Hendaye on 23 October.
You are right, the chronology is speaking against Hitler.

During his conversation with Dönitz, Hitler seeked to put the blame on Italy for the bad turn of the war... like a "we can not trust italians".

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Ironmachine
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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by Ironmachine » 27 Sep 2019 06:49

Also speaking against Hitler is that he was the one who asked Franco to have a meeting with Mussolini (Bordighera, 11 February 1941), expecting that the Duce could talk him into entering the war.

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by corbulo » 24 Oct 2019 17:35

DavidFrankenberg wrote:
25 Sep 2019 22:48
We all know the story : in 1940, at Hendaye, Hitler asked Franco to join him in the war.
And w all know Franco refused. Hitler is said to have said : "i would prefer to get one of my teeth out".

So it seems that Spain was not ready for the war, exhausted after the civil war.

But, i just learnt that Hitler told Dönitz in may 43 : "the failure of the italian attack in Greece caused a disastrous impression on the Spanishs. The Italy was responsible of that." (See Deakin, Brutal friendship, book 3 chapter 1).

So, indeed, it was the failure of the italian offensive in Greece that persuaded Franco not to get into the war.

Interesting.
If Spain had entered the war and with German help had invaded Gibraltar, Britain would have been screwed. Taking Gibraltar was almost as good as taking Suez.

Discuss

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 24 Oct 2019 22:34

If Gibraltar fell, Britain would have taken the Canaries. Britain could still supply the Commonwealth forces going the long way around Africa, and was still getting unlimited supplies from America, so taking Gibraltar doesn't change much. At most it delays Operation Torch, but eventually America can land far more forces in Morocco then Germany can station there on top of its other commitments (and Spanish forces would have been worthless).

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by pugsville » 24 Oct 2019 23:09

corbulo wrote:
24 Oct 2019 17:35

If Spain had entered the war and with German help had invaded Gibraltar, Britain would have been screwed. Taking Gibraltar was almost as good as taking Suez.

Discuss
Why? Almost all British convoys to Egypt went around Africa the long way already.It would have made almost no difference to the British Logistics defending Egypt and the Middle East.

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Dec 2019 19:28

There's another reason nearly as powerful as the economic reasons. Spain's internal politics.

First Franco was not a secure dictator like Mussolini or Hitler. He had scrambled to the top of a shaky coalition of parties with divergent goals. Several of these were focused on internal matters & had zero interest in joining anyone's war. I'm not a expert on Spanish politics but it appears a leader attempting external war would b e at risk of removal.

Second is the removal of the Republican government and large scale incarceration or exile of opposition leaders did not vaporize opposition among the general population. The Communists and others went underground and we're reorganizing. The Army was Franco's best tool for keeping a lid on revolt or terrorism. Sending a large portion of it off to steal others turf risked lowering the critical mass of competent and reliable offices & ranks below what could keep a revolt suppressed

So Franco joins Germany at war, is faced with insoluble problems of food, fuel, & industrial material shortages. He also has to deal with a British supported underground & eventually a Free Spanish government

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by ljadw » 10 Dec 2019 19:42

Franco said that he would join the Axis when Britain collapsed,but at that moment the Axis would not need Spain .
The Axis and the Allies were better of without Spain . It is the same for Turkey .

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by Ironmachine » 11 Dec 2019 08:56

Carl Schwamberger wrote:First Franco was not a secure dictator like Mussolini or Hitler. He had scrambled to the top of a shaky coalition of parties with divergent goals. Several of these were focused on internal matters & had zero interest in joining anyone's war. I'm not a expert on Spanish politics but it appears a leader attempting external war would b e at risk of removal.
Actually, he had scrambled to power on the shoulders of the Army. The "Decreto de Unificación" of 1937 took care of the political parties, and the resulting (and only) political party was just a bureocratic structure without much real power. Falange, which could have been the most dangerous opposition to Franco's power, was neutralized by the decree. It should be remembered that the most popular support for the "Blue Division" came from the "new" Falange.
Far more dangerous was the reaction of the Army. Many of the top-ranking generals who had been top commanders during the SCW were not very fond of Franco and were not in favour of joining the war on the German side. However, most of the middle rank officers were very Francoist, and they could counter any movement made by the anti-Francoist generals. Thus, it is questionable that, at least for as long as the war is seen as going in favour of the Germans, the Army would have not been a problem for Franco.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:Second is the removal of the Republican government and large scale incarceration or exile of opposition leaders did not vaporize opposition among the general population. The Communists and others went underground and we're reorganizing. The Army was Franco's best tool for keeping a lid on revolt or terrorism. Sending a large portion of it off to steal others turf risked lowering the critical mass of competent and reliable offices & ranks below what could keep a revolt suppressed
Opposition among the general population was very, very small, at least if we talk about "active" opposition. That is, while a significant percentage of the population may have been not Francoist, there were far more pressing issues and repression was too strong. Most of the population, as always happens, would have done nothing. And after three years of war and the escape to France and other countries of many Republicans, and with the large number of Republicans incarcerated, the Comunist and others that went underground were few in numbers and unable to do anything. The possibility of British support in 1940-1941 was not strong enough to change anything. And if Spain went to war, I don't think a large portion of the Army would have been sent away, as this was not in the interest of both Germany and Spain (or even within the capacities of both countries).

On balance, I think Franco could have been quite confident about the internal front as long as Germany is seen as the winning side. Now, it is quite possible that Franco thought that Germany could not win the war unless the British agreed to surrender, and surely he was aware that the British had the capacity in 1940-1941 to obtain some victories (taking the Canaries or Guinea) that may stir problems inside Spain, mostly with the top commanders of the Army. However, the economic and military problems were so great that I don't think he even began to consider the political ones before deciding against going to war.

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by Peter89 » 11 Dec 2019 12:08

ljadw wrote:
10 Dec 2019 19:42
Franco said that he would join the Axis when Britain collapsed,but at that moment the Axis would not need Spain .
The Axis and the Allies were better of without Spain . It is the same for Turkey .
Exactly.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Why Franco didnt join the war in Hendaye ?

Post by Peter89 » 11 Dec 2019 12:25

Btw the Germans faced an interesting problem in late 1940 - early 1941. What is the best possible option to keep the economy of mainland Europe going?

Africa, the Middle East and large parts of Pacific Asia were exploited colonies already. Had the Germans defeated the British, two powers could gain the most from that scenario: the USA and Japan.

The transition that happened a few decades later, were already underway. The technological advancements started to show results which transformed the whole society. Birth control, improved farming techniques, benzinmotors, fridge, radio, television, bathrooms with tap water, electricity, antibiotics, etc. etc. The whole system began to shift from the emphasis of raw materials towards the complex production with added value.

The USA received an immense amount of brain from Europe at the eve of a technological breakthrough. Soon the results started to show.

But Hitler had outdated ideas of running the continent.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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