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The next day, he flew to Morocco to take control of the troops, and shortly thereafter gained the support of both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, whose planes were used to shuttle Franco and his forces to Spain.
Establishing his base of operations in Seville the following month, Franco began his military campaign, advancing north toward the seat of the Republican government in Madrid.
However, the economic and territorial aftermath of the Spanish-American War led to a reduction in the navy, and after completing his primary education at a Catholic school, Franco was forced to enlist at the Infantry Academy at Toledo instead.
He graduated three years later with below-average marks.
By 1920 he had been named second in command of the Spanish Foreign Legion, and three years later took full command.
During this period he also wed Carmen Polo y Martínez Valdéz. In 1926, Franco’s role in suppressing the Moroccan rebellion earned him an appointment as general, which, at age 33, made him the youngest man in Europe to hold that post.
The moderate government of the Second Republic that replaced it led to a reduction in the power of the military, which resulted in the closing of Franco’s military academy.
However, the country was also wracked by a deepening, often violent social and political unrest, and when new elections were held in 1933, the Second Republic was replaced by a more right-leaning government.
Though he initially kept his distance from the plot, on July 18, 1936, Franco announced the Nationalist manifesto in a broadcast from the Canary Islands as the uprising began in the northwest of Spain.Anticipating a swift victory, on October 1, 1936, the Nationalist forces declared Franco head of the government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.