A People Betrayed: A History of Corruption, Political Incompetence and Social Division in Modern Spain
Date: October 2020
Duration: 29 hours 15 minutes
Whereas so many twentieth-century Spanish histories begin with Franco and the devastating Civil War, Paul Preston's magisterial work begins in the late nineteenth century with Spain's collapse as a global power, especially reflected in its humiliating defeat in 1898 at the hands of the United States and its loss of colonial territory.
With astonishing detail, Preston later describes the ravages that rent Spain in half between 1936 and 1939. Tracing the frightening rise of Francisco Franco, Preston recounts how Franco grew into Spain's most powerful military leader during the Civil War and how, after the war, he became a fascistic dictator who not only terrorized the Spanish population through systematic oppression and murder but also enriched corrupt officials who profited from severe economic plunder of Spain's working class.
The dictatorship lasted through World War II-during which Spain sided with Mussolini and Hitler-and only ended decades later, in 1975, when Franco's death was followed by a painful yet bloodless transition to republican democracy. Yet, as Preston reveals, corruption and political incompetence continued to have a corrosive effect on social cohesion into the twenty-first century, as economic crises, Catalan independence struggles, and financial scandals persist in dividing the country.