Two factors allowed the Nationalists to win the Spanish Civil War. The first was massive foreign intervention in their favour; the second was their unity of command and of purpose. Unity of purpose was not just the initial collegial solidarity of the officer corps that rebelled in 1936. It was achieved by fusing together, through a variety of means, the political parties and factions that had been willing to engage in the fight against the Republic, destroying the independence and initiative of their respective leaderships without alienating the mass of supporters. This difficult task was achieved by Franco and his closest associates by concentrating minds on the task at hand - winning the war-while remaining enigmatic on the subject of what political path postwar Spain would take. Falangists, Carlists, Alfonsist monarchists: all could hope during the conflict that after victory their political ambitions would triumph. The truth was, however, that bereft of an independent leadership, and as a result of policies dictated by the wartime need for secrecy and security, no views could be made public by politicians of these tendencies save through organs controlled by the army and, of course, by Franco, who sat atop all hierarchies as head of state, commander of the armed forces and leader of the sole unified party permitted in the country. The Nationalist victory in 1939 would have been impossible if the political dissension which plagued the Republic’s defence had also manifested itself in Francoist Spain. At times it seemed that this might indeed happen, and the Republic’s leaders were often encouraged by the power struggles which took place in Nationalist Spain, releasing imprisoned political figures-especially Falangists-whom they thought might complicate matters further. However, both the hatred
of the Republic’s leadership common to all members of the Nationalist coalition and their shared complicity in the massive repression that accompanied Nationalist territorial expansion were strong enough to allow Franco to keep fighting without serious distractions in his rearguard.