Date of Award
Undergraduate Honors Thesis
In 1939, General Francisco Franco rose to power as a result of his victory in the Spanish Civil War. The Spain he ruled over was war-torn and fractured, grieving over lost loved ones and burning towns. As he looked to repair Spain, Franco turned to education. He entrusted the Catholic Church to administer his new curriculum which looked to accomplish one goal: indoctrinate Spanish youth into a new generation of National-Catholic sycophants. Although this goal seemed sound, Franco and his disciples failed to build upon their foundational legitimacy, which I argue was the fear and terror inflicted upon the public during the war. As the century churned on, growing numbers of young Spaniards, not frightened of Franco as their parents were, began to dissent. This protest encouraged the Church to divorce itself from the Franco regime and its educational strategy. I argue that the split between the Franco Regime and the Catholic Church in the realm of educational policy was fostered by the lack of historical memory surrounding the Spanish Civil War. Furthermore, I argue the regime failed to establish a historical narrative of the Civil War through education, which created a void that was filled with dissent. My thesis draws on a powerful combination of firsthand accounts and government action to create a clear timeline of educational policy in the Franco regime. In other words, I undertake a thorough examination of both oral history testimony and statutory actions by the Franco regime to support my claims. The study of Franco’s educational policy through the lens of historical memory provides what I feel to be a useful model for Spanish historians looking to inform modern debates raging in Spain.
Cupp, Cameron, "Franco’s Failed War of Legitimacy: Constructing the Historical Memory of the Spanish Civil War in Education." (2022). History Honors Program. 29.