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The Plundering of the Vanquished

The Economic Repression during Early Francoism

Julio Prada Rodríguez

Economic repression became a keystone of the social exclusion policies of the Franco dictatorship from the stage of the coup dʼétat. Beyond its utility in provisioning the warfronts and for the proper functioning of the rearguard, it became a valuable deterrent and a weapon of intimidation that smothered any expression of non-conformity. If its efficiency was so remarkable, this was due to the fact that it did not act in an isolated fashion, but projected itself on the social body that had already suffered the combined effects of the Civil War, the physical repression and the rest of the coercive and social control mechanisms employed by the regime.

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The Patriotic Subscriptions

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The historiographical interest of the fundraising process does not only lie in quantifying the contributions and in determining their importance for financing the war effort. First of all, it enables us to examine in greater depth an essential aspect closely related to the initial stages of the regime’s institutionalization at a local level, highlighting the absence of a clearly defined project following the coup and the need to adapt to the evolution of the conflict. It also allows us to analyse the incipient social support for the rebels and the not always smooth relations that the regime’s adherents maintained with the military authorities. Lastly, it reveals the reluctance of specific sectors of the population to collaborate with the rebels, the level and type of involvement of others and the role played by the symbolic construction of the Franco regime and the identities of its minions109.

The co-called ‘patriotic subscriptions’ constituted a fiscal resource of an exceptional nature that differed from others – also remarkable – such as requisitioning and other impromptu forms of taxation, including, among others, the ‘single course’110, the ‘combatant subsidy’111 and the wage deductions affecting civil servants, for, in theory, they maintained the ‘voluntary’ character with which they had been originally devised. Since their advent, they were presented as part of a patriotic campaign aimed at providing the treasury with resources. An endeavour, especially in the case of gold, whose purpose was to meet the pressing need for foreign currency to meet international payments, to...

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