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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 Political Responsibilities Act


The gestation process of the LRP has already been studied in depth by Álvaro Dueñas (2006: 84 and ff.), among others, for which reason suffice it to underscore its essential aspects from a procedural point of view and in the context in which it was enacted. With regard to the latter, it is worth pondering on the reasons behind the substitution of the regulations governing civil liability which, besides their scope, had brought about a significant change in the Spanish legal tradition and the creation of a special jurisdiction in an attempt to resolve the problems inherited from the previous period. The war auditor Rafael Díaz-Llanos Lecuona (1939: 10–11) referred to ‘windfall profits indisputably produced by the provisions of the new legal system in the interests of the national economy and of private citizens’, perhaps implicitly acknowledging, as with the Order of 20 March 1939, the financial losses brought about by the provisions governing the intervention in the credit system and the problems posed by the enforcement of judgements. Likewise, a sector of historiography has referred to the evolution of the war and the need to build on past experiences, despite originating ‘from a legislation emerging in a fairly “pell-mell”, confusing and sometimes even contradictory fashion, it was commonplace that regulatory provisions of a regional nature […] often overlapping with others of a more general character, were intended to be applied throughout the “liberated territories”’ (Barragán 2009: 184–185).

To our mind,...

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