Salazar And Franco ruling life history

            Salazar and Franco were great world leaders who ruled Portugal and Spain at similar periods respective. Their leadership styles were to some extent similar but there were little differences recorded. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar was a dictator who ruled Portugal in the position of Prime Minister and as president briefly. He was born in Vimieiro from a modest family. He studied law at the University of Coimbra, specialized in economics, and finance law. Franco was born in Spain but was not educated to the level of Salazar. This paper discusses differences as well as similarities between the two leaders more so with their corporatism ideologies.

These leaders helped one another in times of need. For instance, Salazar gave support to Francisco Franco and the Nationalist in their struggle to eliminate the left wing groups from the Spanish Republic. In 1933, he established a new constitution that gave him immense powers while creating an anti-parliamentarian and dictatorial government that lasted for forty years. He stayed in power since the political organization was heavily rigged in support of regime candidates.

He became public due to his Catholic views as he championed for the rights and interests of the Catholic Church. He was elected in various positions and builds his image since he was an honest and effective finance minister. His loyal supports were the conservative Catholics while his main rivals were the conservative republicans. The rivals attempted several unsuccessful coups but were not successful since they were not united. These groups were easily thrashed and repressed by the Salazar loyalist.


He created and led a new state called Estado Novo. This authoritarian and right wing government governed Portugal between 1932- 1974. He repressed civil groups and political freedoms so that he could remain the leader of Portugal. For instance, the opposition leader called Humberto Delgado who was declared the winner. Contrast/ differences with Francoist Spain – fewer deaths were recorded. His regime established the United Nations and NATO together with other international organizations. Franco maintained the monarchy government while Salazar ensured he became the prime minster and thence president through gaining publicity in the Catholic Church and attracting huge followers.


Both were neutral during the World War II but sent some troops to assist their friendly countries. For instance, Franco sent his troops to Russia to help Germans during the war. Salazar also helped Franco and the Nationalists defeat the left wing groups in the Spanish Republic.   Consequently, Salazar also provided aid to Britain and the US who were its allies. Salazar provided the allies with naval bases for military camping.   Both Franco and Salazar were opposed to communism. They repressed those who sympathetic to communism and even forced them into exile.

Both had unlimited and absolute powers in their respective territories of rule. This enabled them commit crimes that were not questionable by any citizen. They also repressed the civil groups and militants that opposed their regime. For instance, Franco repressed the Republican militants and their sympathizers   who tried to oppose their governments. Their tenure was also characterized by widespread extra judicial killings. Others were also imprisoned   while some subjected to forced labour. The main reason for their persecution was because of their association with the Republican cause. It is because of such persecutions and sufferings that forced thousands of the citizens into exile in the neighboring countries.  Forced exile of the doctors, professors, lawyers and other intellectuals contributed to misery as the countries lacked skilled personnel to offer quality services. Even those who remained were jobless as the governments opted to employ the unskilled people who were not sympathetic to the rivals.

Both the leaders opposed democracy. Dictatorship and authoritarian characterized their leadership and those who opposed them were killed while others forced into exile. However, after their deaths, both Portugal and Spain become democratic countries that respected the will of the people and protected life and property of the citizens. During his era, both the economy, colonial policy and control of the people was more relaxed. This continued until the period of Carnation Revolution took over in 1974 and restored democracy.

To ensure continuity of their regimes, Salazar and Franco supported any measures that could ensure their economies prospered. They ensured that their countries experienced financial stability. This made the able to pay their debts and maintain their armies and loyalist. For instance, the Desarrollo   was a name given to the era Spain recorded economic boom.  Consequently, Salazar was instrumental in ensuring that Portugal recorded an average annual growth of over 5% during his regime. Franco  led Spain become one of the largest economies in the world as poverty and underdevelopment levels were significantly reduced. This was in contrast to the days Spain was considered poor countries during the Spanish empire during the 19th century.


The two leaders closed borders with nations it perceived to be its enemies. For instance, Franco closed the boundary between his country with the Gibraltar and even banned it from using its airspace. Salazar and Franco advocated for authoritarianism, rejected freemasonry while encouraging nationalism. These principles made them be considered dictators as those who advocated for them were harshly treated. They also opposed socialism, communism, and anarchism as they considered them baseless principles that were harmful to their people.

Impacts of his ruling

His dictatorial leadership led to widespread migration of citizens, enhanced border control as well as isolation of Portugal from the international community. several prisons were formed by the right wing authoritarian regime after the Spanish civil War commenced in 1933. His opponents, guerilla fighters, anarchists and other movements were locked up for long periods in the prisons. His ruling ensured stability within Portugal both in the financial sector thus, ensuring economic stability. His government did not grant education top government priority and never spent many resources on it. His regime was so authoritarian since his political philosophy was based on the understanding of catholic social principles.

During his tenure, Portugal recorded an immense economic growth with an annual average per capita of 5.66%. this was achieved due to his maintenance of financial stability within the country. This enabled him to cope with the external debts. His final decade was referred to as `Proudly alone’. He dissolved free masonry within Portugal 1935 because his mission was to establish a catholic social decree. He allowed catholic religion to be a subject in all the schools. Parents who did not require their children taught the religion had their children removed from the classrooms.


Consequently, he established a marriage legislation in accordance to the canonical laws.  The law read` The Portuguese state recognizes the civil effects of marriages celebrated in accordance to canonical laws’. The law-discouraged divorce at whatever circumstances and this increased the number of catholic marriages. Despite such a rise in the marriages and catholic education in schools,, these laws were  dictatorial thus, causing misery to citizens who were not comfortable with them. He also survived assassination while on his way to church in Lisbon.


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Meneses, F.R. (2009). Salazar : a political biography (1st ed. ed.). New York: Enigma Books.

Payne, S. G. (1983). Fascism: Comparison and definition. Madison, Wisc: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

Pinto, A. C. (1995). Salazar’s dictatorship and European fascism: Problems of interpretation. Boulder,

Colo: Social Science Monographs.

Wiarda, H. J., & Skelley, E. M. (2006). Comparative politics: Approaches and issues. Lanham [Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Pub.

Wiarda, H. J., Herspring, D. R., & Skelley, E. M. (2006). Development on the periphery: : democratic transitions in Southern and Eastern Europe. Lanham (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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