Francisco Franco Bahamonde (/ˈfræŋkoʊ/; Spanish: ; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who ruled over Spain as a military dictator from 1939 until his death in 1975.
As a conservative and a monarchist, Franco opposed the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a socialist secular republic in 1931. With the 1936 elections, the conservative Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Right-wing Groups lost by a narrow margin, and the leftist Popular Front came to power. Intending to overthrow the republic, Franco followed other generals in attempting a failed coup that precipitated the Spanish Civil War. With the death of the other generals, Franco quickly became his faction's only leader. Franco gained military support from various regimes and groups, especially Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, while the Republican side was supported by Spanish communists and anarchists as well as the Soviet Union, Mexico, and the International Brigades. In 1939, Franco won the war, which claimed half a million lives. He established a military dictatorship, which he defined as a totalitarian state. Franco proclaimed himself Head of State and Government under the title El caudillo, a term similar to Il duce (Italian) for Benito Mussolini and Der Führer (German) for Adolf Hitler. In April 1937, Franco merged the Falange Española and traditionalist political parties in the rebel zone, as well as other conservative and monarchist elements, into FET y de las JONS, outlawing the rest of political parties and thus Spain became a nominally one-party state.