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Revision of World War Two History

Revision of World War Two History Veterans of the Francoist Blue Division in Spain.

The glorification of the Frankist regime, an ally of Nazi Germany, remains a matter of concern. Indeed, because of the specificities of the Spanish transition to democracy, which transformed a dictatorial regime into a liberal democracy without civil war or revolution, there are now some problems in the assessment of that period, as well as corresponding unresolved problems in the area of memory of the Civil War (1936-1939) and subsequent repression of the Francos. In fact, there are still at least 114,000 people "disappeared" (desaparecidos) in Spain, for whom the state has never taken responsibility, despite UN calls to do so.

After 2004, for the first time since the end of the dictatorship, the Socialist Party government of President Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero took some initial steps toward recognizing victims of Franco repression. First, in 2006 Spain signed the UN International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. And after that, in 2007, the Spanish Parliament passed Law 52/2007 of December 26, commonly known as the Historical Memory Law, which, among other things, provided funding for the exhumation and identification of human remains from mass graves and partially addressed the issue of Franco memory in public space.

As a consequence, already in 2007 and in the following years, people began to come to the streets or squares in Spain with the names of former Francoists as well as of soldiers who took part in the 1936 coup. In 2017, the phenomenon became less prominent on the streets of Spanish cities.

But in 2011, with the victory of the conservative Popular Party (PP) and its entry into government, the provisions of the Historical Memory Law, including budget allocations for exhumations, were revised. Three years later, Pablo De Griff, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees Against Recidivism, urged the government to continue a "memory policy" that would clarify these past violent acts. In 2017, the Socialist Opposition Party put forward a resolution for the removal of Franco's remains from the crypt of the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen, and for the creation of a truth commission to investigate the crimes of his regime. The resolution was rejected by the NP.

In accordance with the decision, in October 2019, the remains of the dictator Franco were removed from the mausoleum and buried in the municipal cemetery in the El Pardo neighborhood in northern Madrid, where his wife's grave is located. All 44 years after his death, Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain with an iron hand for decades, rested in the basilica of the Valley of the Fallen memorial complex near Madrid. The reburial procedure took place under heightened security measures. Only Spain's justice minister, a medical examiner, a priest and 22 descendants of Franco were present at the exhumation.

"This is a tremendous victory for dignity, memory, justice and retribution - and therefore for Spanish democracy," said Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Franco's family has long and unsuccessfully challenged the reburial in court.

In this regard, it is worth mentioning the existence till September 2020 of the Francisco Franco Foundation, which aims to protect the dictator's legacy. In particular, it provides legal assistance to city councils that did not want to change the names of streets from the Franco era and organized celebrations in honor of Franco.

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