Sir Francis Drake I

Lead: Part scoundrel, part tyrant, part patriot, Francis Drake, for generations of his countrymen, was the symbol of England’s greatness.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Drake was born in Devonshire, southwestern England in the early 1540s, the last years of the reign of King Henry VIII. His father was a tenant farmer, but also an ardent Protestant lay preacher. In 1549 the family had to flee to southeast England during one of the Catholic uprisings common to the West Country. In those the years the nation was struggling over whether to stay with Protestantism or return to the Roman Catholic Church. Drake’s lifelong and enthusiastic commitment to the Protestant faith and apparent delight in tweaking the tail of Catholic Spain may be traced to the experiences of his troubled youth.

Guernica II

Lead: In April 1937 the town of Guernica in the Basque region of Spain was virtually leveled by German bombers in a brutal act of terror bombing.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Spanish Civil War pitted the Nationalist rebels under General Franco against the Republican Army, but it revealed many of the divisions in Spanish society. The fighting was brutal and atrocities were committed by both sides. Thousands died during the three-year conflict and many more were executed in its aftermath. What made the war especially harsh was outside participation.

Guernica I

Lead: It was not the first terror bombing in the twentieth century, nor the last, nor the worst, but that day in Guernica in 1937 remains a lasting symbol of brutality.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Civil wars are not very civil. Somehow the struggle of neighbor against neighbor, brother against sister, friend against friend, ratchets up the intensity of a conflict. The presence of common ancestry, religion, language, and ethnicity aggravate the normal emotions present when people make war on one another.

The Valley of the Fallen

Lead: At his death in 1975, the remains of Francisco Franco were interred in a elaborate basilica carved from a mountain and topped with a 500 foot stone cross in El Valle de los Caidos, the Valley of the Fallen. It is an exquisite obscenity.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1940s Francisco Franco, Spain’s Head of State and leader of the victorious Nationalist insurgents in the bloody Spanish Civil War, like many tyrants before him, entered his Egyptian phase. He began to build his tomb. 

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The Long Death of Francisco Franco – II

Lead: In the early 1970s the hopes of conservative Spaniards to resist social and political change were dependent upon the continued survival of Francisco Franco. Their hopes and his prospects were increasingly bleak.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sensing his own mortality and the increasing liberalism of large segments of Spanish society, Francisco Franco, in the 1960s began to cast about for a way to perpetuate his rule. He chose to restore the Bourbon monarchy. This institution had been supplanted in the 1930s with the coming of the Spanish Republic. With the republic’s 1939 defeat in the Civil War Franco ruled Spain himself. His choice as successor was Juan Carlos, the son of Franco’s bitter enemy, Don Juan, the rightful heir to the throne, living in Italian exile. Yet, despite a military education in Spain, supervised by Franco himself, young Juan Carlos, early on began exhibiting a careful, but serious flirtation with liberal ideas and policies.

 

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The Long Death of Francisco Franco – I

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.

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Mujeres Libres II

Lead: During the Spanish Civil War, a women’s liberation movement, Mujeres Libres, free women of Spain, pushed for a far more radical social revolution for women than even their male allies on the left were willing to tolerate.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Even by contemporary standards, the condition of Spanish women in the 1930s was pitiful. Clearly oppressed, women’s wages were half that of men, daughters were handed over to husbands as property, divorce was illegal. Women could not be out at night without a chaperone. Until the War, women’s rights groups focused on minor adjustments such as legalizing divorce, but during the liberating early days of the civil conflict, women’s organizations, allied with anarchist political groups, began to press for serious social change.

Mujeres Libres I

Lead: The Spanish Civil War provided a window of opportunity for the reformation of society. Among the most aggressive groups seeking fundamental change was a feminist organization emerging from Spanish anarchism, Mujeres Libres, free women of Spain.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Political parties in the United States traditionally have been big tent consensus parties. While extremism left and right has certainly been a part of the American political spectrum, the nature of politics here pushes this sentiment to the margin. Extremists have influence, but must become a part of one of the major parties to exercise power. In Europe the development of democracy allowed a much more brilliant display of political variety, particularly up to the middle of the twentieth century. Political parties proliferated and often reflected narrow, extreme opinion.