chapter  8
28 Pages

The Twilight of the God (1960–75)

On balance, and in purely economic terms, the effects of the 1959 Stabilization Plan were positive and a crisis was avoided. Certainly, this was achieved at the expense of a massive rise in unemployment (34.7 per cent between 1959 and I960)1 and a fall in production and domestic demand; but, in seeking a response to the ensuing social and labour unrest, Franco was not constrained by any constitutional limitations to his powers, and the combined forces of the police, the official trade union system and the Francoist press were fully deployed to hound, punish and discredit those who dared to protest. The Plan itself was sufficient only to provide a stop-gap solution to the problems of the Spanish economy, but its application coincided with a p eriod o f econom ic grow th in the rest o f E urope, in the wake of post-war, ‘Marshall P lan’ reconstruction. Consequently, recession in Spain was offset, at the start of the 1960s, by an influx of capital from foreign investors looking for new areas into which to expand, and of revenues from North European tourists seeking the h itherto unaffordable pleasures of M editerranean beach holidays. To take advantage of this situation, the Stabilization Plan was followed by a five-year Development Plan, announced at the end of 1960. Economic growth became the leitmotiv of the 1960s, as foreign investment capital flowed in, industrial exports rose, and earnings from foreign visitors became one of the mainstays of the Spanish economy. Franco was unhappy that this was taking place under the auspices of the World Bank, since he was convinced that the leader of the Bank’s delegation in

Spain, Sir Hugh Ellis Rees, was a Freemason and, therefore, part of ‘anti-Spain’.2 He was sufficiently pragmatic to realize, however, that without such external assistance, the Spanish economy would collapse and, foreseeably, his regime with it.