Lead: For nearly four decades Francisco Bahamonde Franco was a significant if not dominant figure in the life of Spain, but by the early 1970s his resistance to the modern world just as his health was failing. 

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

Content: A wag once expressed little surprise at the explosive and swift transformation of Spain to democracy and a liberated society after 1975. He said, “Well, if you shake a bottle of champagne for forty years, you should not be shocked at the eruption when you finally pop the cork.” In the thirty-six years following 1939, the end of the Spanish Civil War, the cork in the Spanish champagne bottle was clearly Francisco Franco. He and his political and religious allies clung to the hope that through repression and control they might prevent Spain from adopting the moral and economic freedom that was proving inevitable course in the modern non-communist world. As long as Franco was alive they might succeed, but increasingly after 1970, as the health of Spain’s last caudillo began to fail, it was clear that their hopes were built on shifting sand.