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    Spain Spanish Foreign Policy in the Post-Franco Period
    Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies

    Spain's political system underwent dramatic transformations after the death of Franco, but there was nevertheless some degree of continuity in Spanish foreign policy. The return of Gibraltar to Spanish sovereignty continued to be a foreign policy goal, as did greater integration of Spain into Western Europe. In spite of frequent ongoing negotiations, neither of these goals had been accomplished by the time Gonzalez came to power in 1982. Foreign policy makers also endeavored to maintain an influential role for Spain in its relations with Latin American nations.

    Spanish opinion was more ambivalent with regard to membership in NATO and relations with the United States, although defense agreements, allowing the United States to continue using its naval and air bases in Spain, were signed periodically. When Spain joined NATO in May 1982, under Calvo Sotelo's government, the PSOE leadership strongly opposed such a commitment and called for withdrawal from the Alliance. One of Gonzalez's campaign promises was a national referendum on Spain's NATO membership. In 1982 the role the new Socialist government envisioned for Spain in the West's economic, political, and security arrangements remained to be seen.

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    Stanley G. Payne presents a comprehensive general introduction to the history of the Iberian peninsula in his twovolume study, A History of Spain and Portugal. Henry Kamen's clearly written and amply illustrated Concise History of Spain provides a briefer treatment. The late Spanish historian Jaime Vicens Vives dealt with the dominant questions of Spanish historiography and analyzed the major interpretations in Approaches to the History of Spain. Whereas Vicens Vives emphasized the pre-1500 period in his work, Richard Herr's Historical Essay on Modern Spain gives more attention to the country's evolution in recent centuries.

    An excellent introduction to the Spanish Middle Ages can be found in Gabriel Jackson's The Making of Medieval Spain. Angus MacKay's Spain in the Middle Ages emphasizes the continuity between medieval and early modern Spain. J. H. Elliott's Imperial Spain, 1469-1716 is an insightful account of Spain at the apogee of its empire as well as of the transition into the modern period. For a balanced study of eighteenth-century Spanish reformism and the impact of the French Revolution on Spain, see Richard Herr's The Eighteenth-Century Revolution in Spain. Raymond Carr's Spain, 1808-1975 contains a definitive treatment of nineteenth-century Spain.

    There is an extensive, if not always balanced, literature on the Spanish Civil War. An excellent introduction to the subject is Gerald Brenan's The Spanish Labyrinth, which offers a lucid account of the social and political conflicts that divided the country. Hugh Thomas's comprehensive and thoroughly researched study, The Spanish Civil War, is considered the standard work on the subject. The evolution of the Nationalist side receives thorough treatment in Stanley G. Payne's Falange: A History of Spanish Fascism.

    J. W. D. Trythall's biography of Franco, El Caudillo, provides an illuminating description of the regime's politics, while Brian Crozier's Franco deals more extensively with its wartime diplomacy. A more recent biography by Juan Pablo Fusi, Franco, presents the most balanced portrayal of Francoism to date. Another recent publication, Stanley G. Payne's authoritative and detailed analysis entitled The Franco Regime: 1936-1975, is likely to remain the major treatise on the political history of Francoist Spain.

    A concise, clearly written account of the transformation of Francoist structures into a democratic regime, with an emphasis on social and economic developments, appears in Spain: Dictatorship to Democracy, by Raymond Carr and Juan Pablo Fusi. Paul Preston's The Triumph of Democracy in Spain and E. Ramon Arango's Spain: From Repression to Renewal also provide penetrating accounts of the transition period. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

    Data as of December 1988

    NOTE: The information regarding Spain on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Spain Spanish Foreign Policy in the Post-Franco Period information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Spain Spanish Foreign Policy in the Post-Franco Period should be addressed to the Library of Congress.

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    Revised 04-Jul-02
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