The defeat of Hitler in May 1945 was greeted by Spain’s tightly controlled press with extravagant eulogies of Franco, the genius who bestowed the gift of peace upon Spain. According to the Falangist Arriba, the end of the war was ‘Franco’s Victory’. The monarchist ABC carried a front-page picture of the Caudillo ‘chosen by the benevolence of God. When everything was obscure, he saw clearly … and sustained and defended Spain’s neutrality.’ For the next thirty years, Franco’s admirers hailed wartime neutrality as something achieved by dint of skilful and courageous deceit of Hitler.
There was no more fervent admirer of Franco than the Caudillo himself. Either directly in his speeches, books and articles, or in published interviews with journalists, or private audiences granted to his hagiographers, he worked tirelessly to create a life story that justified comparison with the great figures of Spanish