Courtesy Reuters

Oil for Spain

A Critical Episode of the War

THE summer of 1939 Franco was master in Spain. The remnants of the broken Republican forces took refuge in wretched camps across the Pyrenees, while their leaders scattered the world over. The small elements of opposition remaining in Spain were repressed without mercy.

Germany and Italy had given Franco vital aid in the battle; Germany had flown Franco's troops into Spain and then provided tanks, planes, instructors and technicians. Italy had smuggled a large army into the field. These forces from abroad had enabled Franco finally to break the resistance of the ill-equipped Republican forces, exhausted by their struggle against the Moors. Their contribution created a lien to Hitler and Mussolini, which the Fascist leaders mistook for fiery determination to aid them. Thus Serrano Suñer, the leader of the Executive Committee of the Falange (and Franco's brother-in-law) waved off the Italian legions on the quay at Cadiz on May 31 with the words:

Every time the war -- or battle-cry -- resounds on the Italian shores of the Mediterranean, the Spanish people from the Iberian shores of that sea will answer with the shout of "Rome, Rome, Rome." In this immortal word is our common destiny both Latin and Mediterranean. If Italy were threatened a forest of Italo-Spanish bayonets would defend our common spiritual inheritance. . . .

Still, all in all, Franco had no real reason to resent the way that Great Britain and the United States had behaved during the years of his war. Neither had interfered with him or the forces behind him. The British Government had evaded all claims for sympathy or support in a deceptive program of "nonintervention." The United States, in a hasty and extraordinary action, had prevented the government under assault from buying arms in the United States. Despite some distress of spirit, the British and American Governments had allowed the Republic to be destroyed. At the time, it had seemed to them part of the price of peace; and to the Conservative British Government the prelude to

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