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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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Accusers and Informers


Social attitudes towards collaborating with the rebels were not only expressed in making a more or less diverse set of assets available to them. In the introduction, reference has already been made to the historiographical debate on the role played by allegations in the setting in motion of the bureaucratic machinery of the economic repression in its different forms, particularly in relation to proceedings involving civil liability or political responsibilities. Therefore, suffice it to recall that social involvement in this regard was much greater than the number of proceedings that were initiated as a result of an accusation. In this connection, not even the bureaucratic manipulation of the records has been able to conceal the instances in which some of the accused shifted the blame onto fellow citizens with whom they had an axe to grind or a score to settle and, with their allegations or confidential information, passed their names onto the bodies responsible for drawing up long lists on the basis of which the competent authorities ordered the initiation of proceedings. However, these people have remained anonymous and, consequently, evade the cold statistics collated by historians.

At any rate, the cooperation of the authorities and the citizenry with the repression was not limited to reporting fellow citizens. Their role in informing on their behaviour was much more important. During the stage of civil liability, it was already commonplace for examining magistrates to send a standard form to the body supplying the information, requesting its...

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