Francoism and salazarism ideologies in corporates



This paper seeks to give a critical analysis concerning the Francoism and Salazarism regimes. The regimes existed during the early twentieth century and were known to be led by dictators. During the fascist era, there were many other dictatorships such as the German National-Socialism and the Italian Fascism. The leaders were interested in letting their subjects know about their rule, through their charismatic leadership. According to Salazar, people were meant to be governed by rulers who had absolute power. Furthermore, the ideologies by Franco and Salazar were in a way similar to those of corporatism. This paper will attempt to find give a comparison between the ideologies and how they are related to corporatism.


Keywords: Francoism, Salazarism, Corporatism, Dictatorships, Military

Critical analysis of the Francoism and Salazarism ideologies in relation to corporatism

Portugal and Spain are known to be ‘twin dictatorships’ that had different, divergent transitions. Both countries are perfect examples of where the Francoism and Salazarism ideologies can be known from a corporatism perspective. Corporatism refers to a system whereby, corporations of a political or industrial nature exist. They have their own jurisdiction in, which the activity of people is controlled by those in power. During a point in history, Oliveira Salazar declared that “A place for everyone, each one in its place”. This means that people are in need of effective leadership and the only way possible is through a regime that is authoritarian. It seems that Generalissimo Francisco seems to concur with Salazar’s ideology. They were interested in matters concerning transitional justice in what is known as democratic transition. Spain and Portugal under the Francoism and Salazar regime had political developments, which were striking in many ways. They wanted to ensure that they underwent democratization at similar times. By the time, the 1970’s had reached, they had achieved all that they had sort to do. They are known to be dictatorships, which were influential to the world in the twentieth century.

Oliveira Salazar is the one who led Portugal’s New State known as Estado Novo. In the year1928, he became the countries Finance Minister as he had ties with influential people in the catholic party. It is through a military dictatorship that Salazar took leadership over his country, and a single party existed during his regime[1]. Furthermore, Salazar’s rule is known to have been competent in all matters regarding administration. He ensured that a new constitution existed in Portugal, which is due to a compromise made for the benefit of the citizens. The latter involved the ideologies of liberalism and corporatism, which were popular especially in the year 1933. The National Union a single party was created by him through a popular plebiscite. The party mostly dealt with matters, which were political. This means that it did not have any role in the country’s administration nor the government.

It is during the years of interwar that the Franco regimes and the Salazar regimes were formed. The leaders of the regimes came to power only after they engaged in military coups. In turn, democracy ended after a long time of experiencing chaos. The Second Republic of Spain collapsed after the 1936 Coup by the Franco regime. Later on, it led to the Civil war, which took place in Spain. It is quite fascinating to note that it is up to the 1970’s that the regimes lasted up to. This is despite the fact that, in Western Europe, there was a firm establishment of democracy.  Despots were some of the most distinct features of the regimes, and this is the reputation the Iberian people had.

The Francoism and Salazarism regimes were known to be twin dictatorships, due to the methods of corporatism they followed. This means that they are viewed as being authoritarianism ideal types. The latter is according to Juan Linz[2] who studied the regimes of the two countries. He believes that they were not totalitarian as people were meant to believe. This is despite the fact that their origins were from the fascist regimes. He goes on to comment that the regimes have a similar mentality, which governs them. They do not have a party structure that is strong, and they also lack a regime ideology, which is elaborate. The latter can be described as being ‘limited pluralism ’. In order for them to gain the support of masses, they were low on matters concerning reliance as well as that of the state-society.

In the two regimes, pragmatism was felt as a way of being in line with the existing notions of classic authoritarianism. This is the principle reason why the regimes lasted for long periods of time. During the authoritarian rules, mostly during the years of twilight, they military tactics lessened. This does not mean that the regimes can be described as being authoritarian regimes that were civilianized. The latter refers to a situation whereby, civilian leaders replace the military ones. This often takes place in matters concerning government. The matters concerning transitional justice in the regimes were different as has been witnessed. For example, in Portugal, there were cases of purging and cleansing, which meant to be a sweeping policy. It meant to ensure that those coming from the authoritarian rule were not to remain in power. Those who were mostly targeted were military officers that were conservative.  In turn, it affected people from the authoritarian elite, civil service and military people with low ranks. Furthermore, the church, media and the education system were not left behind in this matter[3]. On the other hand, after the death of Franco, a lot was done to make sure that victims of the regime were repatriated. This took place through the enactment of laws in favor of those oppressed during the Franco regime.

People who had different political ideals from that from Franco were the ones most vulnerable to being fired. In order to control the political excesses that existed in the country, the right and left wingers came to an agreement. It was unwritten and meant to bring about collective amnesia among the Spanish people. In the year 1977, the pact became law after amnesty was sort. This means that transitional justice would no longer exist in Spain due to the law. Moreover, there would be no military trials, bureaucratic purges or even reconciliation and truth commissions. On the other hand, in Portugal, vigor is the word used to describe transitional justice, which existed. In Spain, this matter was extremely short changed as compared to Portugal. This means that “that the higher the higher the level of repression of the old regime, the more likely the probability of some kind of traditional justice under the new regime[4]”. Portugal has little or no hopes of engaging in matters concerning transitional justice. In turn, Portugal’s dictatorship became extremely repressive beyond anyone’s control. Widespread and profound is the word used to describe hoe civil society was controlled in Portugal. As much as three million people had their names on the country’s police files. This figure leads one to sympathize with the people who lived in Portugal during this time. The population of the entire country was at eight million, yet almost half had their names in the police files.

According to Bermeo[5], in Spain, the repression was bloodier as compared to that in Portugal. During the regime by Franco, many horrendous things took place. Portugal did not have violent affairs as the ones, which took place in Spain. Mart Vincent comments that “The Francoist Regime was born in violence and depended on violence. Killing was essential to its initial display of power[6]”. During the Spanish Civil war, the violence is due to the actions of the Nationalist Army of Franco. The number of people who were affected by the violence is estimated to be at one million people. The war is one the world’s most deadly conflicts of a civil nature ever to be experienced in Europe. The republicans were the ones who faced the wrath of the Franco regime after the war, which ended in 1939. In an attempt, to get rid of left wingers in Spain, a law known as the Law of Political Responsibilities was enacted in the year 1939. The result is that at least 400000 Spaniards were arrested and imprisoned. Those who were active in supporting the Republicans were the targets of this cleansing.

After the year, 1939, many concentration camps existed, and they were the source of disease, hunger and execution. The people who fell victim to the camps were 200000 according to statistics. The numbers of those who died while fighting was double the number as those who were in the concentration camps. Children were not spared from this disaster as the ones hailing from families that were republican were affected. Social Aid officers snatched the children from their parents and ensured that they lived in orphanages run by the state. Furthermore, they were mistreated and torched mentally and physically. This was meant to ensure that the ‘red gene’ did not exist in their lives. Other people affected by the Franco regime migrated to Latin America and Western Europe as they went to exile. It is estimated by that many of them never went back to Spain[7].

On the other hand, Spain had many issues concerning economic and political failure for most parts of the twentieth century. In the year 1939, Spain’s Nationalist Army won control over the government of a republican nature. An authoritarian regime by Generalissimo Francisco Franco existed in Spain until it ended in the year 1975. The civil sector brought disaster upon the economy of Spain in many ways. It is only in the year 1950 that it reached a per capita level of 1918. During the previous years, the level was at 1900, and thus the reason for taking drastic measures. This is quite different from the regime that existed under Salazar in Portugal. Moreover, in the year 1940, industry employees who were active declined in their numbers. It had reached a point of 22 percent, which did not reflect well on the economy. Luckily, the agriculture sector improved as it has reached at least 50 percent. During the 1940’s, every year the growth rate increased by 1.2 percent. It seems that issues were being handled in the right manner, as the economy was benefiting in many ways.

Franco’s regime is the one responsible for hampering the development and recovery of the Spanish economy. The policies enacted by the Franco Regime were statist as well as autarkic. The regime borrowed some of its ideologies from those of the German Nazism and the Italian Fascism. Franco’s regime made use of rationing and price control systems as ways of recovering the economy. Quantitative control methods were used in foreign trade regulation. The housing and labor markets were included in this strategy of an interventionist nature. Salazar and Franco were similar to the methods, which they chose to rule their subjects. In this case, they chose to use military dictatorship in order to have authority over their subjects. Many of the subjects under Franco were against his form of leadership. He did everything to ensure that the opposing forces would not have any power over his regime.

Franco, made sure that there would be no labor unions, which were independent in Spain. Instead, all workers in Spain were to be members of the National Trade Union Organization. In order to compensate the repressive stance by Francoism, labor strict legislation was adopted. Employees were controlled and could not make decisions, which dimmed unfair to their employees[8]. Matters concerning hiring and dismissal were controlled by the Spanish labor union. Employees were meant to work on a permanent basis and not on contracts, which were temporary. Moreover, people viewed the policies by Franco as being a way of evading standard policies. It was a trick by this regime to have legitimacy over the opposition by not having social policies that were direct. These tactics are known to be used by dictators whereby, they always made sure that they found ways people would have to abide by their rules.

The interventionist system during the Francoism regime broke as the 1950’s came to an end. There were many strikes in the country, and this means that a political crisis existed. Other crisis, which existed, was about the balance of payment as well as the economic recession. In the year 1959, a stabilization plan was adopted by the government to address the problems that it faced. The plan dealt with matters concerning monetary and fiscal restraints. Furthermore, it sort to ensure that the Spanish economy became liberalized. The latter are methods known to recover any economy and indeed, Franco knew what he was doing. The plan he chose to follow succeeded more than expected. The oil crisis, which took place in the year 1960, brought about increased volatility on a yearly basis. This means that, on a yearly basis, the economy grew at 7 percent. Furthermore, the income per capita reached $ 3000 triple than what it was before. The productivity level was at a growth rate of 6 percent[9]. The Spanish society structure changed due to the economies transformation. Internal migration, industrial expansion, and economic growth were experienced during the time, in turn, interregional levels declined substantially.

Lastly, as the Francoism regime came to an end, it did not affect the entire country. The only place that did not suffer from Franco’s wrath is the Basque Country. The region was known to be extremely rebellious and thus not affected by the francoism ideologies. On the other hand, Franco viewed the region as a territory with foreign ties. He wanted to get rid of the separatist sentiments that existed in that region. The year 1970 will forever be remembered as the year when the Burgos Trial, which is infamous, took place. Euskadi Ta Askatasuna an organization for Basque separatists had sixteen of their members murdered by Franco’s men. They were court-martialed before being given their death sentence. Priests and even women belonging to ETA were not left behind, as they were included in the death sentence. It is only as a result of the international intervention that the latter were spared from being killed. Unfortunately, all did not go as well as some unlucky members of the ETA were executed in the year 1975. This is when the country was about to experience a transition of a democratic nature. The world protested at this heinous act by ensuring that they would no longer have their ambassadors in Spain. This action is indeed a step towards discouraging dictators from carrying out such activities.

Corporatism has played a significant and vital role in shaping how the two dictators made sure that they had absolute power. As it has been witnessed in the region of the Iberian Peninsula, authoritarianism began to fade. Such forms of leadership whereby people have no say are no longer common in modern society. It seems that each of the two regimes had different approaches in the way they handled matters of corporatism[10]. The leaders all had political power, but they used it to their advantage without caring much about the opinion of others. Society will always find a way of opposing leaders that do not offer them room for expressing themselves. It is only when Franco died that the Portuguese people started being on their way to achieving democracy. Later on, the authoritarian regime collapsed totally. People who belonged to the old regime were punished by the members of the new party. The latter was known as the Portuguese Communist Party responsible for improving the country’s economy. In Spain, negotiations took place between the democrats and the authoritarian leaders. In turn, the outcome of both regimes is that they all did not end in eminent disaster.


In conclusion, the fascist era is one, which will forever, remembered for the things which took place. It seems that corporatism is indeed related to the ideologies of francoism and salazarism. Leaders in authority will at times make their authorities known by assuming a lot of power. This is what took place in the regimes, which were led by Salazar in Portugal, and Franco who hailed from Spain. They are leaders who assumed the authoritarian rule in order to control every person in their country. Their regimes were marked with certain events not acceptable by human rights activists. As fate would have had it, the regimes finally ended after the death of the leaders. This means matters concerning corporatism are no longer allowed in most governments in the world.



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Transition to Democracy .New York: Berghahn Books, 2002.

Bermeo, Nancy. “War and Democratization: Lessons from the Portuguese

Experience,” Democratization 14, (2007).13.

John, Borneman. Settling Accounts with the Past: Violence, Justice and

Accountability in Post-socialist Europe .Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Mary Vincent. Spain 1833-2002: People and State .New York: Oxford

University Press, 2007.

Moellendorf, Darrel. “Reconciliation as a Political Value,” Journal of Social

Philosophy 38, (2007).2.

Neil, Kritz Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon

with Former Regimes .Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2005.

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Paxton, Robert. “The five stages of Fascism”. The Journal of Modern History 70, (1998).18.

[1] Aguilar Paloma, Memory and Amnesia: The Role of the Spanish Civil War in the

Transition to Democracy (New York: Berghahn Books, 2002).34.


[2] Juan Linz , Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes (Boulder, CO: Lynne

Rienner, 2000) 98.


[3] Robert Paxton, “The five stages of Fascism”. The Journal of Modern History 70, (1998).18.


[4] Neil, Kritz Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon

with Former Regimes .Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2005.


[5] Nancy Bermeo, “War and Democratization: Lessons from the Portuguese

Experience,” Democratization 14, (2007).13.


[6] Vincent Mary, Spain 1833-2002: People and State (New York: Oxford

University Press, 2007) 45-48.


[7] Vincent Mary, Spain 1833-2002: People and State (New York: Oxford

University Press, 2007) 45-48.


[8]Borneman John, Settling Accounts with the Past: Violence, Justice and

Accountability in Post-socialist Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 245.


[9] Kritz Neil. Transitional Justice: How Emerging Democracies Reckon

with Former Regimes (Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2005) 12-16.



[10] Darrel Moellendorf, “Reconciliation as a Political Value,” Journal of Social

Philosophy 38, (2007).2



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