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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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Zealous and Reluctant Collaborators

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We have already had the opportunity to observe how, in practice, far from being voluntary the patriotic subscriptions ended up becoming a forced imposition. However, an analysis of the social and ideological make-up of the first contributors to the patriotic subscriptions is very useful when studying the social support that the military uprising had, as we have done when dealing with the composition of their organizing commissions (Prada Rodríguez 2016c). If we focus on the largest cash contributions, the similarities between different cities are for all to see, although they were very closely related to the particular socio-economic characteristics of the area used as a reference. The organizations that stood out for their contributions varied little from one place to another: the Bank of Spain, Tabacalera, some or other savings bank or regional or local bank, chambers of industry and commerce, employers’ and traders associations, etc. As to individual contributions, the most willing included small and large merchants, landlords, industrialists, liberal professionals, servicemen and members of the security forces.

The study of the ideological inclinations of the donors is a much thornier matter, for as a rule there is no reference to them in the records and it is only possible to determine them on the basis of local studies that cross very different sources. Besides the specific figures for each political party, also highly influenced by the particular balance in each area, the information currently available does not hold many surprises for us. Dispensing...

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