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Francisco Franco was a general and authoritarian leader who governed Spain from 1939 to 1975 He came to power shortly after the start of the Spanish Civil War In that war he led the rebel Nationalist Army to victory over the Loyalist forces After the war ended in 1939 Franco held complete control of Spain His regime was similar to a Fascist dictatorship He carried out the functions of chief of state prime minister commander in chief and leader of the Falange the only permitted political party He adopted the title of El Caudillo the leader In the early years of his regime he tried to eliminate all opposition He later eased some restrictions Francisco Franco Bahamonde was born on December 4 1892 in El Ferrol de Caudillo Spain His father was a naval officer He schooled at the Infantry Academy of Toledo After graduating from the infantry academy in 1910 he rose rapidly in the army earning the reputation for efficiency honesty and complete professional dedication He was named commander of the Spanish foreign legion in 1923 Franco became a national hero for his role in suppressing revolts in Morocco and at the age of 33 he was made brigadier general Having quelled a leftists revolt in Austria in 1934 he became army chief of staff in 1935 In February of 1936 the leftist government of the Spanish republic exiled Franco to an obscure command in the Canary Islands The following July he joined other right-wing officers in a revolt against the republic In October they made him commander in chief and head of state of their new Nationalist regime During the three years of the ensuing civil war against the republic Franco proved an unimaginative but careful and competent leader whose forces advanced slowly but steadily to complete victory on April 1 1939 The war was bloody with numerous atrocities on both sides
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