Franco and the Axis Stigma by David Wingeate Pike (auth.)

By David Wingeate Pike (auth.)

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On 13 June 1939 Serrano Súñer, as minister of the interior, was in Rome for talks with Mussolini and Ciano, telling them that, in the event of war, Spain would be at the side of the Axis because she would be guided by feeling and by reason. 31 Press reports subsequently appeared to the effect that Rome had invited Madrid to sign a military alliance with Germany and Italy. In Paris, Félix Lequerica, the former mayor of Bilbao and now the Spanish ambassador, hastened to inform Georges Bonnet, the French foreign minister, that the Spanish government had rejected the invitation from Rome.

For the rest of the war and after the Liberation, Leopold III was to face accusations of treason, and on 16 July 1951 he would be forced to abdicate. 24 Franco and the Axis Stigma Any evacuation from Dunkirk was considered a lost cause. ’74 The reality, that the Royal Navy succeeded in evacuating no fewer than 340,000 Allied troops, must have come as a grave disappointment to Arriba. Augusto Assia, on the other hand, had some kinder things to say. He wrote from London: The organisation was truly perfect and impressive.

It was Orgaz, to whom Franco entrusted the highest military command, with 150,000 men in North Africa, who authorised the Vichy France and Britain’s Battle for Its Life 33 Germans to set up six observation posts (employing 400 men) between Tangier and Melilla. With the capitulation of France, and German control over the entire French Atlantic coastline, Hitler did not have the same need for Spanish bases that he had had from September 1939 to June 1940, but this does not mean that Operation Moro was downgraded.

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