GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
COOL AS A CUCUMBER:
A HISTORIOGRAPHICAL EXAMINATION OF THE HENDAYE MEETING
HI 501: HISTORY CORE COLL...
McBride, 1
The October 23, 1940 meeting between Franco and Hitler at the Hendaye train station
in occupied France is argua...
McBride, 2
the June 1946 United Nations Security Council Report of the Sub-Committee on the Spanish
Question.1
Early works...
McBride, 3
mentioned nothing of the affair. This notable omission puzzled historians, leading the popular
historian George...
McBride, 4
of the Third Reich.11
In contrast to Crozier, George Hills recognized the threat Franco's
sources posed to his ...
McBride, 5
These conflicts understandably troubled historians, but because Suñer was irrefutably present
at the meeting, h...
McBride, 6
means to present Franco “as the powerful statesman for whom even Adolf Hitler would
wait.”16
The historiography...
McBride, 7
In contrast to Schmidt, Serrano’s 1977 memoirs judged the delay to only have been
around eight minutes.19
Consi...
McBride, 8
the myth of hábil prudencia as well, largely based off Spanish sources. Franco biographer
George Hills purposel...
McBride, 9
War and the special requirements of Spain's exposed non-belligerency."25
As Crozier did not
cite any primary so...
McBride, 10
Suñer-based narratives portray Hitler as upset due to the delay. In light of the
untrustworthiness of the Schm...
McBride, 11
Britain. The propagandistic work Centinela de Occidente thus showed Franco openly
questioning Hitler’s ability...
McBride, 12
these popular historians instead duplicated the overarching narrative and argument of Spanish
propaganda at le...
McBride, 13
sought to misrepresent the source material in order to create an exciting account.36
Crozier
was similarly gui...
McBride, 14
against the British, and territorial compensation in Africa to make the war politically
acceptable to the war-...
McBride, 15
May’s Francisco Franco: The Jewish Connection is best understood as a psychohistory that
attempted to explain ...
McBride, 16
the agreement neither offered anything to Germany that Franco had not already promised,45
and the agreement “l...
McBride, 17
period after Hendaye indeed continued limited aid to Hitler, but these authors emphasize that
post-Hendaye, Fr...
McBride, 18
interest.55
This ideological shift has since been derisively referred to by Paul Preston and
David Pike as the...
McBride, 19
As Paul Preston’s quote clearly demonstrates, it is impossible to understand the
historiography of Hendaye out...
McBride, 20
The post-1975 distancing of Spanish society from Francoism allowed Western scholars to
criticize Franco withou...
McBride, 21
Bibliography
Adams, Mildred. “Twenty Years of Franco.” Foreign Affairs 37, no. 2 (1959): 257-268.
Arraras, Joa...
McBride, 22
Grugel, Jean and Tim Rees. Franco’s Spain. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
Hills, George. Franco: The Man ...
McBride, 23
Ramirez, Luis. Francisco Franco: Historia de un Mesianismo. Paris: Ruedo ibérico, 1964.
Rich, S. Grover. “Fran...
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Cool as a Cucumber: A Historiographical Examination of the Hendaye Meeting

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The October 23, 1940 meeting between Franco and Hitler at the Hendaye train station
in occupied France is arguably the most important event in the diplomatic history of Franquist
Spain and the Third Reich. This event was the sole occasion where the Caudillo and the
Führer ever encountered each other face-to-face. Considering the totalitarian nature of each
of their respective states, this meeting had deep implications for the ideological underpinning
of the Franco regime and the wider German-Spanish diplomatic relationship. Unfortunately,
primary sources for this event are scarce, contradictory, and biased or propagandistic to
extreme degrees. Further complicating the situation, the Franquist regime transformed this
event into the central element of the hagiographic myth of hábil prudencia, meaning that
Franco prudently kept Spain out of World War II. Many historians have prominently featured
this event in their larger narratives, but because of the deeply flawed sources, their analyses
and conclusions have contradicted each other to a substantial degree.
In order to capture this important historiographical battle over Hendaye, this paper will
analyze three important elements. First, it will explore the primary sources and how different
authors have classified them over time. Second, it will explore the evolution of the narrative
of the Hendaye meeting, focusing on Franco’s belated arrival and the interaction between
Hitler and Franco in Hitler’s personal train car Erika. Third, it will explore the evolution of
how authors have examined the outcomes and repercussions of Hendaye in relation to their
larger narratives.

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Cool as a Cucumber: A Historiographical Examination of the Hendaye Meeting

  1. 1. GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY COOL AS A CUCUMBER: A HISTORIOGRAPHICAL EXAMINATION OF THE HENDAYE MEETING HI 501: HISTORY CORE COLLOQUIUM DR. ALISON GAMES BY SEAN P. MCBRIDE WASHINGTON, DC 10 DECEMBER 2009 AD MAIOREM DEI GLORIAM
  2. 2. McBride, 1 The October 23, 1940 meeting between Franco and Hitler at the Hendaye train station in occupied France is arguably the most important event in the diplomatic history of Franquist Spain and the Third Reich. This event was the sole occasion where the Caudillo and the Führer ever encountered each other face-to-face. Considering the totalitarian nature of each of their respective states, this meeting had deep implications for the ideological underpinning of the Franco regime and the wider German-Spanish diplomatic relationship. Unfortunately, primary sources for this event are scarce, contradictory, and biased or propagandistic to extreme degrees. Further complicating the situation, the Franquist regime transformed this event into the central element of the hagiographic myth of hábil prudencia, meaning that Franco prudently kept Spain out of World War II. Many historians have prominently featured this event in their larger narratives, but because of the deeply flawed sources, their analyses and conclusions have contradicted each other to a substantial degree. In order to capture this important historiographical battle over Hendaye, this paper will analyze three important elements. First, it will explore the primary sources and how different authors have classified them over time. Second, it will explore the evolution of the narrative of the Hendaye meeting, focusing on Franco’s belated arrival and the interaction between Hitler and Franco in Hitler’s personal train car Erika. Third, it will explore the evolution of how authors have examined the outcomes and repercussions of Hendaye in relation to their larger narratives. Historians face numerous technical problems researching the Hendaye meeting due to an extreme scarcity of documentary evidence. The first primary sources available to the public were selections from captured German and Italian World War II documents published in the March 1946 American White Book entitled The Spanish Government and the Axis and
  3. 3. McBride, 2 the June 1946 United Nations Security Council Report of the Sub-Committee on the Spanish Question.1 Early works, such as Herbert Feis’ 1948 publication of The Spanish Story, drew extensively from these works,2 but gradually these government publications fell out of favor as “fragmentary,”3 “a deliberately misleading selection,”4 and “hostile documentation.”5 Because these documents were collected and published as part of the drive to label Franquist Spain as the authoritarian pariah of the postwar world, these historians were correct to criticize these documents. Unfortunately, the scarcity of primary sources became much clearer as the larger corpus of captured archives turned out to contain only a single fragmentary document relating to Hendaye, leading the popular historian Brian Crozier to voice the universal complaint that “there is unfortunately no full or otherwise satisfactory account of the meeting.”6 Unable to rely on government documents, historians turned to the postwar publication of memoirs to piece together a better narrative of the meeting at Hendaye. Most promising was the 1951 publication of the memoirs of Hitler’s translator, Dr. Paul Schmidt, which offered the sole eyewitness account of the Hendaye meeting available prior to 1977. Of additional use were the memoirs of Count Ciano of Italy, who happened to encounter Hitler and his delegation immediately after the Hendaye affair, and whose memoirs included Hitler’s oft-cited quote that he would rather “have three or four teeth out than go through the ordeal [of the Hendaye meeting] again.” A particular disappointment was the autobiography of Serrano Suñer, the Spanish Foreign Minister at the time of the Hendaye meeting, which 1 Herbert Matthews, The Yoke and the Arrows: A Report on Spain (New York: George Braziller, 1961), 68. 2 Herbert Feis, The Spanish Story: Franco and the Nations at War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948), 94. 3 William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: MJF Books, 1959), 1171. 4 Brian Crozier, Franco (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1967), 535. 5 Matthews, The Yoke and the Arrows, 68. 6 Crozier, Franco, 328.
  4. 4. McBride, 3 mentioned nothing of the affair. This notable omission puzzled historians, leading the popular historian George Hills to suggest that perhaps “Serrano… confused the dates.” 7 This explanation is unlikely, as Hendaye was Serrano Suñer’s first and most important meeting during his term as Foreign Minister. Instead, this omission suggested that Suñer purposely excluded certain sensitive information from his memoirs. Due to these limited options, Dr. Paul Schmidt's memoirs formed the basis of all historical narratives prior to 1975. Research inside of Franquist Spain was highly restricted for foreign historians. Outside of propagandistic authors, such as the Franquist Joaquin Arraras, Spanish Archives conformed to what was called the 1900 rule, which meant that anything in the twentieth century was “out of bounds."8 This however began to change around Franco’s 75th birthday, when a small group of foreign journalists turned popular historians gained limited and highly- directed access to Spanish archives and citizens. The sorts of sources historians mentioned receiving access to include: “the dispatches of Franco's envoy to London,” the opportunity to interview “General Franco's Civil and Military households,” “direct exchanges with Franco,"9 and conversations with Franco’s Chief of Staff and close relatives.10 These sources appear limited to favorable documents and Franco’s close supporters, suggesting that Franco used these sources to influence foreign scholarship. The two popular historians that were especially targeted in this way were George Hills and Brian Crozier, who formed the vanguard of foreigners allowed to conduct research in Franquist Spain. For example, Franco provided Crozier with “important evidence on the German Führer's plans to invade Spain” in order to encourage Crozier to challenge the assertion that Spain was an ally 7 George Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation (London, Robert Hale Limited, 1967), 363. 8 Crozier, Franco, 527. 9 Crozier, Franco, 572. 10 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 11.
  5. 5. McBride, 4 of the Third Reich.11 In contrast to Crozier, George Hills recognized the threat Franco's sources posed to his impartiality, which let him to decide to quote “from published documentary evidence of non-Spanish origin… in preference to Spanish archival material.”12 These intentions of impartiality on the part of the popular historians failed, as all of these authors, who conducted research in Franquist Spain, ultimately produced works favorable to Franco. Following Franco’s death in 1975, new primary sources revealed riveting revelations about the Hendaye meeting. Franco’s death in 1975 and Spain’s subsequent transitions to democracy under King Juan Carlos allowed for the opening of the Spanish archives and allowed Spaniards to express negative opinions as never before. This freedom to criticize Franco’s regime led to the publication of numerous memoirs. Most relevant to this paper was Serrano Suñer’s decision in 1977 to publish a highly expanded version of his memoirs which included an account of the Hendaye meeting. Suñer explained his previous omission as the desire to prevent knowledge of the secret Hendaye protocol, in which Franco tentatively promised to join the war on the side of the Axis.13 This was likely true, but Suñer decision to delay publication of his tell-all memoirs until the death of Franco suggests that the protection of the regime (or of his family from the regime) mattered as well. Though it is impossible to know exactly to what degree Suñer's revised account may continue to distort the truth, these new memoirs played a significant part in shifting the historiography of the Hendaye meeting. Serrano Suñer's updated memoirs interestingly conflicted with Paul Schmidt’s memoirs. Most notably, Suñer did not mention Schmidt as present during the meeting.14 11 Crozier, Franco, 527. 12 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 12. 13 David Wingeate Pike, Franco and the Axis Stigma (New York: Palgrave Maxmillan, 2008), 42. 14 Preston, “Franco and Hitler: The Myth of Hendaye”, 10.
  6. 6. McBride, 5 These conflicts understandably troubled historians, but because Suñer was irrefutably present at the meeting, his account quickly replaced Schmidt's memoirs as the primary foundation of the Hendaye narrative. Despite this shift towards Suñer, historians did not know what to make of the discrepancy between the two sources. The historian David Wingate Pike recently studied this problem at length, eventually concluding in 2008 that Paul Schmidt’s account of the meeting is fake. His evidence for this assertion was newly-discovered German footage of the Hendaye meeting that recorded the initial interaction between Franco and Hitler. Interestingly, the footage showed a German officer other than Paul Schmidt translating for the meeting. After researching this puzzle further, Pike discovered several new Spanish Foreign Ministry documents that suggested that Paul Schmidt did not actually speak Spanish. Because Serrano Suñer’s post-Franco memoirs reported that only one German translator was at the meeting, Pike concluded that Schmidt was not at the meeting at all, making his narrative of Hendaye a collection of hearsay rather than an actual eyewitness account. His explanation for Schmidt’s falsification revolved around Schmidt’s “professional pride… or vanity,” which led Schmidt to hide his inability to speak Spanish from his peers and later in his memoirs.15 Though post-1977 works had already abandoned Schmidt as their foundational source following the release of the Suñer memoirs, Pike’s discovery conclusively invalidated the primary source upon which all pre-1977 Hendaye narratives had been based. One of the most unusual historiographical disagreements regarding the Hendaye meeting addressed Franco’s alleged tardiness. While the reader may wonder what relevance a simple transportation delay could have for the larger theme of diplomatic relations, this delay actually played a significant role in the myth of hábil prudencia. The historian Sheelagh Ellwood accurately classified this propaganda campaign as an attempt to use this delay as 15 Pike, Franco and the Axis Stigma, 42.
  7. 7. McBride, 6 means to present Franco “as the powerful statesman for whom even Adolf Hitler would wait.”16 The historiography of this train delay has dealt with the larger issue of stripping the myth from the Hendaye narrative, first reexamining the length, reason, and eventually even the relevance of Franco’s delay. The first claims of a deliberate delay came from the 1949 propagandistic Franquist work España tiene razón by José María Doussinague.17 Though this work cannot be classified as historical by any stretch of the imagination, it importantly established many of the central elements of the mythical delay that later appeared in other works. This work is difficult to analyze historiographically because it offers the reader little in the way of footnotes or citations. It also significantly predated the original 1950 German publication of Paul Schmidt’s memoirs, which generally substantiated the idea of an hour delay, and served as the foundational source of the Hendaye narrative until Serrano Suñer’s 1977 publication of his updated memoirs entitled Memorias. During the years when Paul Schmidt’s memoirs formed the sole eyewitness account of Hendaye, every popular and academic historian uniformly accepted Schmidt’s estimate that Franco arrived to Hendaye one hour late. Other primary sources prior to 1975 indeed corroborated that a delay took place, but they were especially ambiguous about the length. Franco’s only comment on the matter was his vague assertion that “my train was late and the Führer was ill-at-ease with waiting.”18 Because Schmidt’s account was the authority cited for Franco’s alleged arrival one hour late, the discrediting of Schmidt’s memoirs as a credible eyewitness account similarly discredited the idea of a one hour delay. 16 Sheelagh Ellwood, Franco (London and New York: Longman, 1994), 124. 17 Jóse Maria Doussinague, España tenía razón (Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 1949) 18 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 363.
  8. 8. McBride, 7 In contrast to Schmidt, Serrano’s 1977 memoirs judged the delay to only have been around eight minutes.19 Considering that the train had only had to travel a few kilometers from San Sebastián, this lesser estimate seemed much more plausible, and thereby became the new consensus among post-1977 accounts. In 1988 Serrano Suñer wrote the following about Schmidt’s account: “That is a ridiculous story. At the time, when Hitler was master of Europe, such discourtesy would have been more than enough to irritate him. Imagine Hitler waiting an hour! He wouldn’t have waited an instant. He’d have ordered the division he had with him to advance and enter Spain via Hendaye or Vitoria, just like Napoleon did.”20 Reflecting the fact that the account of the delay in Schmidt’s 1950 memoirs closely mirrored the account in the 1949 propagandistic España tiene razón, Suñer further told the historian Paul Preston that Schmidt “distorted his account in favor of Franco in order to improve his own chances of survival after 1945 by ensuring asylum for himself in Spain.”21 Suñer thus suggested that Schmidt purposely altered his account to conform the propagandistic account presented in España tiene razón. Considering Paul Schmidt’s close contact with Adolf Hitler and the fact that Schmidt wrote his memoirs with the Allied denazification efforts in recent memory, such a distortion seems particularly plausible. The debate about the cause of the delay proceeded along relatively similar lines. The earlier propagandistic works argued that Franco deliberately decided to show up late in order to throw Hitler off balance. This narrative first appeared in Doussinague’s España tiene razón, and then later in a more academic form in Luis de Galinsoga’s 1956 Centinela de Occidente.22 However, most of the Schmidt-based pre-1975 accounts accepted this portion of 19 Pike, Franco and the Axis Stigma, 43. 20 Ellwood, Franco, 124. 21 Preston, “Franco and Hitler: The Myth of Hendaye”, 10. 22 Luis de Galinsoga, Centinela de Occidente (Semblanza biográfico de Francisco Franco) (Barcelona: Editorial AHR, 1956), 354.
  9. 9. McBride, 8 the myth of hábil prudencia as well, largely based off Spanish sources. Franco biographer George Hills purposely sought to avoid what he considered Franquist propaganda, but he too argued in favor of this deliberate delay based off an interview he conducted with an anonymous Army officer who allegedly was present at the meeting: "He had deliberately delayed the train: 'This is the most important meeting of my life,' [Franco] said to one of the senior army officers with him, 'I'll have to use every trick I can - and this is one of them. If I make Hitler wait, he will be at a psychological disadvantage from the start."23 This example demonstrates how uncritically many foreign authors during the Franquist era quoted Spanish sources. Despite his hope to produce an impartial work, George Hills accepted unreservedly the oral count he obtained from a Spanish Army officer during a Franco-approved interview. Even more troubling was the academic historian JWD Trythall’s willingness to cite the propagandistic España tenía razón as evidence that “Franco hoped by this ploy to throw his opposite number out of his stride.”24 Such willingness to accept the claims of Franquist propaganda was especially uncharacteristic of academic historians, such as Donald Detwiler, who typically were unwilling to cite Spanish authors living in Franquist Spain. This understandable academic distrust of Spanish sources persisted throughout all of Franco’s life, explaining why most of the historical accounts composed during Franco’s lifetime were written by journalists turned popular historians, who were generally more comfortable with speculation, and why most of the historical accounts following Franco’s death and the opening of the Spanish archives were written by academic historians. The first author who dissented from the idea of a deliberate delay was Brian Crozier, who argued that the delay was instead the result of railway disruptions caused "by the Civil 23 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 343. 24 J.W.D. Trythall, Franco: A Biography (London: Rupert Hart- Davis, 1970), 171.
  10. 10. McBride, 9 War and the special requirements of Spain's exposed non-belligerency."25 As Crozier did not cite any primary sources, it is likely that this judgment was based on his skepticism about Spanish claims of hábil prudencia, and perhaps his own experience with the Spanish train system when he worked as a journalist in Franquist Spain. Interestingly, Crozier’s instincts appear to have been correct, as Suñer’s 1977 memoirs corroborated that the delay was involuntary and due to the bad conditions of the Spanish railroads.26 Following the corroboration of Suñer, Crozier’s explanation became the new consensus, as post-1977 authors also attributed the delay to technical problems. Paul Preston, the author of the 1,000 page grade biography of Franco, completely sided with Suñer’s memoirs, but by combining Suñer with new sources from Spanish anarchists, Preston additionally noted that Franco was worried that these technical difficulties would be attributed to “rumors that the train had in fact been attacked.”27 Crozier and his analytical successors thus reclassified Franco from a man who planned a deliberate delay to a man who failed even to be punctual to his most important meeting as Caudillo. Equally telling is the fact that numerous post-1975 narratives of Hendaye no longer considered it worthwhile to mention the delay. For example, Stanley Payne and his former PhD student as Oxford, Juan Pablo Fusi, excluded this episode from their narratives entirely.28 Such an omission would have been unthinkable when the narratives were based off Schmidt’s assessment of a delay of an hour or more, but Serrano Suñer’s estimation of an eight minute delay made the issue seem more of a moot point, as reflected by the fact that none of the 25 Crozier, Franco, 328. 26 Willard L. Beaulac, Franco: Silent Ally in World War II (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986), 10. 27 Paul Preston, Franco: A Biography (New York: Harper Collins, 1994), 394. 28 Stanley G. Payne, The Franco Regime 1936-1975 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), 275. Juan Pablo Fusi Aizpurua, Franco: A Biography (London: Unwin Hyman, 1985), 51.
  11. 11. McBride, 10 Suñer-based narratives portray Hitler as upset due to the delay. In light of the untrustworthiness of the Schmidt account, numerous authors have since dismissed the Franquist myth of a deliberate delay as an opportunistic attempt to turn historical misinformation into propaganda. This historiographical shift reflects recent attempts to strip away the hagiographic slants of Franquist sources in order to discover the true history of Hendaye. Franco and Hitler’s meeting in Hitler’s personal train car Erika has been reinterpreted in several conflicting ways. Each of these interpretations paints the meeting as a clash of wills, but they have differed in their definition of the conflict. In contrast to the narrative of the train delay, the Schmidt and Suñer memoirs did not substantially differ in their treatments of the meeting, which prevented the discrediting of the Schmidt account from substantially altering the way that authors wrote about this portion of the Hendaye narrative. The primary sources for this meeting were not particularly precise. For example, Hitler’s quote from Count Ciano’s Diary that he would rather “have three or four teeth out than go through the ordeal again” simply demonstrated that the meeting went poorly, not why. Because both sets of memoirs offered only a loose skeleton of events, many narratives relied heavily on conjecture and speculation to paint a full picture. The result is that though all accounts ultimately share the characterization of conflict, they substantially diverge in how they define and treat that conflict. Franco’s hagiographic myth of hábil prudencia explained the conflict of the Hendaye meeting as the result of Franco’s absolute refusal to enter the war. According to the myth, the underlying reason for this refusal was Franco’s ideological commitment to the Christian West and his expert foreknowledge that Germany would not ultimately win its war against Great
  12. 12. McBride, 11 Britain. The propagandistic work Centinela de Occidente thus showed Franco openly questioning Hitler’s ability to conquer Britain and presenting purposely inflated materiel demands in order to remain neutral.29 As the title suggests, the myth characterized Franco as the sentinel of the West, confident that England would prevail, and thus aiming to stay neutral to protect Spanish sovereignty and British use of Gibraltar. The issue of whether or not Franco was absolutely dead set against joining the war interestingly broke down along the division between popular and academic historians. Popular historians largely argued that Franco absolutely refused to enter the war due to foreknowledge that Germany would not win against England. Citing the Franquist Centinela de Occidente, Brian Crozier and George Hills (both English journalists by profession) included in their narrative the propagandistic assertion that Franco told Hitler that the British would fight to the last man, and then continue the fight from Canada alongside the United States.30 According to this view, Franco feared that entering the war and attacking Gibraltar would lead to the British capture of the Canary Islands in the short term, and to complete dependence on Germany and defeat in the long term. Herbert Feis most artistically captured this fear in his assertion that: “There was fear that the British might be able to seize the Atlantic islands or even land on the Peninsula. Hitler might tell him they could not, but how often they had before! The bones of British sailors buried in Spain rattled.”31 Because all of these popular authors were journalists from Britain and the United States, their Anglo-centric bias likely predisposed them to accept the portions of Franquist propaganda most deferential to Britain and the United States. Unable to criticize these Franquist sources, 29 Galinsoga, Centinela de Occidente, 359. 30 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 342. Crozier, Franco, 330. 31 Feis, The Spanish Story, 97.
  13. 13. McBride, 12 these popular historians instead duplicated the overarching narrative and argument of Spanish propaganda at length. These works by popular historians that portrayed Franco as set against entering the war had the most sensationalized accounts of the meeting between Franco and Hitler. Remaining neutral was a difficult task during World War II. George Hills noted that an absolute refusal could lead to Spain being invaded like France, necessitating that Franco “appear to go all the way with Hitler, yet always find some difficulty, some point that needed clarification.”32 Those authors that understood Hendaye as a sort of complex diplomatic maneuvering told very entertaining narratives. As a result of Franco’s single objective to “avoid[] all precise commitments of any kind,” Brian Crozier judged the Hendaye meeting to be “comical… in the frustration of an outmaneuvered dictator, who, but for the stubbornness of a little Galician, held half a continent in his grasp.”33 Assuming that Franco did refuse Hitler’s wishes so clearly, it is understandable that Hendaye has been described as the “most infuriating hours of Hitler’s life.”34 The danger of the pre-1975 popular historians’ rhetorical flourish was that it could portray the meeting in a manner unsupported by the sources. The most blatant example of this danger was when Herbert Matthew cited Schmidt’s account that Hitler “got up saying that there was no point in continuing the discussion”35 as proof for his characterization that Hitler was “so furious and frustrated that he jumped up and down in one of his noted screaming fits.” Considering that this author followed up this misrepresentation with the alliterative trope describing Franco as “cool as a cucumber,” it is clear that his interpretation purposely 32 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 343. 33 Crozier, Franco, 328. 34 Crozier, Franco, 328. 35 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 347.
  14. 14. McBride, 13 sought to misrepresent the source material in order to create an exciting account.36 Crozier was similarly guilty, although to a lesser degree, when he portrayed the meeting as a card game, using phrases such as "the wily Caudillo could not see all the cards in the game, but he could see enough of them to know that the Axis Powers were not quite in sight of the victory they kept on trumpeting."37 In light of the professional norms of journalism, it is ironic that these journalists turned popular historians so clearly transgressed against the norms of sound scholarship. Following the lead of the German historian Donald Detwiler, academic historians characterized and analyzed the interaction between Franco and Hitler very differently from the popular historians. This split between academic and popular historians likely developed because of the academic historians’ highly critical attitude towards primary sources from Franquist Spain. Discounting works like Centinela de Occidente as propaganda, these authors strictly adhered to evidence presented in either Schmidt or Suñer’s memoirs. Analytically, this led these academics to discount the idea that Franco was determined to keep Spain out of the war out of foreknowledge that German would lose. To these authors, Franco was certainly willing to join on the Axis side at the right price. Detwiler and these other academic historians portrayed Hendaye as cold rational negotiation that failed because Hitler and Franco failed to agree on the level of territorial and materiel compensation that Spain would need for becoming a belligerent.38 Specifically, they argued that Franco would have entered the war had Hitler met Franco’s demands for grain deliveries to help with the ongoing famine, artillery and anti-aircraft batteries to defend 36 Matthews, The Yoke and the Arrows, 68. 37 Crozier, Franco, 327. 38 Donald S. Detwiler, Hitler, Franco und Gibralar: Die Frage des spanischen Eintritts in den zweiten Weltkrieg (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH, 1962), 58.
  15. 15. McBride, 14 against the British, and territorial compensation in Africa to make the war politically acceptable to the war-weary Spanish public.39 Following the 1977 Suñer memoirs, Detwiler’s classification became the historiographical consensus due to Suñer’s assertion that Franco wholeheartedly believed in the victory of the Axis. The numerous academic historians who joined the debate following the death of Franco generally accepted Detwiler’s characterization of the Hendaye meeting. Despite their historiographical flaws, the works of popular historians did address an important analytical element hitherto ignored by the academic historians: race. Brian Crozier and George Hills were the first authors to emphasize race as a central element of the Hendaye meeting. Hills thus emphasized Schmidt’s assessment that Franco made Hitler “feel like a Jew” when discussing Hitler’s attempt to convince Franco to repay his debt of German assistance in the Spanish Civil War.40 Crozier similarly emphasized Schmidt’s characterization of Franco as an Arab, describing him with “short and stout, dark skinned, with lively black eyes” and a "high, quiet voice [like] a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer."41 Crozier again used race to show the irony of the Hendaye meeting, asserting that Hitler "expected Franco to be 'Latin' and excitable, but that it was Hitler who acted like a hot- blooded ‘Latin’ and “got excited… while Franco sat undisturbed, occasionally directing a carefully timed jet of cold water on Hitler's flights of strategic fancy."42 Although Hills and Crozier’s analysis relied on quotes made by Schmidt, racial analysis of Hendaye did not cease when Schmidt’s memoirs were discredited. In fact, the most thorough racial analysis of Hendaye was published after Suñer’s 1977 memoirs. Harry 39 J.W.D. Trythall, Franco: A Biography (London: Rupert Hart- Davis, 1970), 172. 40 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 343. 41 Crozier, Franco, 329. 42 Crozier, Franco, 329.
  16. 16. McBride, 15 May’s Francisco Franco: The Jewish Connection is best understood as a psychohistory that attempted to explain Franco’s actions as the result of his desire to conceal his alleged Jewish heritage. After quoting Hitler as referring to Franco as a “little haggling Jew,” May interestingly turned Hitler’s comment on its head by arguing that Franco’s Jewish qualities in fact were responsible for his refusal to join Hitler’s war.43 Although this argument seems extremely far-fetched, it is disappointing that other historians have refused to either examine May’s evidence or integrate racial analysis into their narratives. Considering the centrality of race in National Socialism and existing arguments that Franco developed a racially-centric view of the world during his time in the Spanish Foreign Legion,44 race stands as a potentially useful tool to better understand the Hendaye meeting. Due to the scarcity of primary sources and the resulting variety of narratives, historians have tended to view the outcome and significance of Hendaye in two highly divergent manners. The first school of thought argued that Hendaye represented Franco’s success at remaining out of the war. This school of thought included the Franquist hagiographers and the authors that had substantial contact with the Franquist regime, either through archival research or previous works or through service there in the Foreign Service. The second school of thought viewed Hendaye as Franco’s failure to obtain Hitler’s support for a reallocation of territorial possessions in Africa. Those that supported this school of thought included the academic historians to the present. Both of these schools of thought identically concluded that the secret Hendaye Protocol, which legally committed Spain to enter the war against England when Franco judged that Spain was materially ready, was nothing more than window dressing. Notably, 43 Harry S. May, Francisco Franco: The Jewish Connection (Washington: University Press of America, 1978), 4. 44 Preston, Franco, 394.
  17. 17. McBride, 16 the agreement neither offered anything to Germany that Franco had not already promised,45 and the agreement “lacked teeth”46 to compel Franco to enter the war. Thus, the Hendaye meeting was universally regarded as a failure of some sort, as German-Spanish relations changed in no meaningful legal way. The two schools of thought developed substantially different conceptions of who failed at this meeting and why. The hagiographers emphasized Hendaye as the victory of Franco’s hábil prudencia against Hitler’s attempts to bring Spain into the war. In Centinela de Occidente, Franco was portrayed as having seen through Hitler’s friendliness and cordiality, realizing that these niceties were merely a cloaked attempt to bait Spain into the war. According to this view, Franco wisely ignored Hitler’s promises and stood along the sidelines of the war as a “referee.”47 Numerous foreign popular historians accepted this idea of Franco’s victory and Hitler’s failure, including Herbert Feis, Herbert Matthews, Brian Crozier, George Hills, and Willard Beaulac. Each of these authors emphasized the effects of Franco’s victory in slightly different ways. The British popular historians Brian Crozier and George Hills emphasized the economic advantages of continued neutrality, mainly focusing on Franco’s success in extracting aid from both Germany and Britain.48 Based on documents he received from Franco, Brian Crozier also emphasized that Hendaye led to Hitler’s decision to attempt to invade Spain and install the fascist Falange party as a more loyal collaborationist.49 This school of thought thus viewed Hendaye as the climax of Franco’s balancing act between de facto collaboration with the Third Reich and ideological collaboration with the Allies. The 45 Beaulac, Franco: Silent Ally in World War II, 12. 46 Payne, The Franco Regime 1936-1975, 273. 47 Galinsoga, Centinela de Occidente, 365. 48 Hills, Franco: The Man and His Nation, 344. 49 Crozier, Franco, 333.
  18. 18. McBride, 17 period after Hendaye indeed continued limited aid to Hitler, but these authors emphasize that post-Hendaye, Franco helped the Allies in similar ways.50 In contrast to the propagandists and popular historians, academic historians beginning with Donald Detwiler began to view Hendaye in opposite terms. According to this view, Hitler never really sought to bring Spain into the war as a combatant, but rather Hendaye was Hitler’s failed attempt to make compatible the conflicting national interests of Germany, France, and Spain over the North Africa issue.51 Similarly, Franco was not opposed to joining the war on the Axis side; he just wanted territorial guarantees that his Africanista agenda of annexing the western half of Northern Africa.52 Hendaye was thus Franco’s failure to convince Hitler that Spain would be a better Axis partner than Petain’s Vichy regime. In light of both of these failures, these academic historians (including Detwiler, Fusi, Payne, Preston, Ellwood, and Pike) classified neutrality as a mere “consolation prize.”53 Over time these academic historians have increasingly characterized Franco as ideologically committed to the Axis. In 1962, Donald Detwiler placed the greatest emphasis on Franco’s colonial ambitions, portraying Franco as pragmatically dedicated to recapturing Franco’s idealized imperial history.54 However, following the 1977 primary source succession of Schmidt to Suñer, academic historians started to characterize Franco as increasingly pro-Axis. In 1987, Stanley Payne integrated Suñer’s testament of Franco’s pro- Axis sentiment in the Hendaye narrative by concluding that Franco had been pro-Axis until Hendaye, when he discovered National Socialism was incompatible with Spanish national 50 Matthews, The Yoke and the Arrows, 69. 51 Detwiler, Hitler, Franco und Gibraltar, 65. 52 Paul Preston, “Franco and Hitler: The Myth of Hendaye 1940” in Contemporary European History 1, no. 1 (1992), 14. 53 Paul Preston, “Franco and Hitler: The Myth of Hendaye 1940,”14. 54 Detwiler, Hitler, Franco und Gibraltar, 48.
  19. 19. McBride, 18 interest.55 This ideological shift has since been derisively referred to by Paul Preston and David Pike as the chaqueteo, or changing of coats, who instead argue that Franco fully believed in an Axis victory even up until the end of the war, and that Franco actively sought to pull Spain into the war throughout that period.56 Paul Preston described a Franco who, in 1945, “still nurtured secret hopes of Hitler’s wonder weapons turning the tide in favor of the Third Reich, believing that Nazi scientists had harnessed the power of cosmic rays.”57 This particular historiographic battle remains ongoing, and due to the lack of definitive primary sources and Franco’s numerous contradictory statements, it is doubtful that historians will ever concretely establish Franco’s ideological views. Hendaye remains the most opaque episode in the life of Franco, himself one of the least understood European leaders of the twentieth century. A messiah for some and a devil for others, Franco has given rise to historical treatments that have largely evolved out of his attempts to shape history in order to overcome the divides of the Spanish Civil War and justify the continued existence of his regime. Hagiographic works like Centinela de Occident were directly attempts by Franco to transform the history of Hendaye into a myth that Franco opposed Hitler through his hábil prudencia, thereby preserving Spanish neutrality and winning “Franco’s peace.” This myth sought to accomplish the dual purpose of strengthening domestic support and providing a “flimsy justification for the Western Powers, anxious to incorporate Franco into the anti-Communist front of the Cold War, to forget about his innumerable hostile acts… in the source of the Second World War.”58 55 Payne, The Franco Regime 1936-1975, 273. 56 Pike, Franco and the Axis Stigma, 45. 57 Paul Preston, “Franco and Hitler: The Myth of Hendaye 1940,”1. 58 Paul Preston, “Franco and Hitler: The Myth of Hendaye 1940,”1.
  20. 20. McBride, 19 As Paul Preston’s quote clearly demonstrates, it is impossible to understand the historiography of Hendaye outside of context of the Cold War. Though this connection is not readily apparent due to historians’ commitment to impartiality, anti-Communist thought significantly affected Western scholars of the period. Indeed, only the journalist-turned- biographer Brian Crozier directly addressed how his Cold War leanings affected his portrayal of Franco. Because both Crozier and Franco “both hate communism,” Crozier’s feelings towards Franco “changed from antipathy to grudging admiration” which resulted in analytical treatment “on the whole very favorable to Franco.”59 By 1953, Franco was a Cold War ally of the United States, and the emphasis of Franco’s conflict with Hitler served to distance Franquist Spain from its Axis stigma. Franco understood that the works of foreign scholars would significantly determine his anti-Communist credentials outside of Spain, and he therefore used his regime's totalitarian control over Spaniards and Spanish documents as means to influence their scholarship. Aptly conveyed in military terms, Franco actively marshaled the academic resources of Nationalist Spain in a campaign to capture the hearts and minds of Spain and the West. This factor explains the stark divergence between popular and academic historians in dealing with the Hendaye narrative, as academic narratives largely refused to risk their impartiality by suspending their criticism and accepting at face value the primary sources provided by the Franquist regime. The dramatic historiographical shift brought about by the 1977 Suñer memoirs was just one of the many historiographical changes that resulted from the 1975 death of Franco and democratization of Spain under King Juan Carlos. Franco's death prompted a veritable boom of historical activity by academic historians due to the opening of the Spanish archives. Many of the factors that had previously limited foreign scholarship suddenly disappeared. 59 Crozier, Franco, xix.
  21. 21. McBride, 20 The post-1975 distancing of Spanish society from Francoism allowed Western scholars to criticize Franco without damaging their counties’ alliances with Spain. In the context of Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika and the winding down of the Cold War, anti- communistic fervor receded throughout the West. These factors led to the increasingly critical evaluation of Franco associated with the academic historians Paul Preston, Sheelagh Ellwood, Stanley Payne, and David Pike. Unfortunately, most of the historiographical debate on Franco and the Hendaye meeting has stalled following Paul Preston’s 1994 biography of Franco. Quite troubling is the fact that over fourteen years passed before David Pike published the next substantial treatment of Hendaye. Further troubling is that fact that no doctoral dissertation has ever incorporated the Hendaye meeting. This likely relates to the scant primary sources available, but the author perceives that a new phase of historiographical development is due. Preston has written his honorable grand narrative, but even that thousand page tome did not capture every possible theoretical construct. Hendaye remains mired in the analytical limitations of diplomatic history. For a time, popular historians were beginning to explore the interplay of race on the meeting, but that effort has abruptly stopped with Harry May’s Francisco Franco: The Jewish Connection. The author considers racial- and psychoanalysis fertile ground for further explorations of Hendaye. Considering the numerous sources available and the theoretical frameworks left to be fully explored, the historiographical study of Hendaye should be by no means a closed case. Franco often referred to himself as accountable to only God and history. Though God has already had his say, we historians much remain vigilant in stripping away the Franquist hagiography and holding the Caudillo accountable through continued theoretical analysis of Hendaye.
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