Generalissimo Francisco Franco - in the grande scheme of things, it was either Washington or Moscow.
Generalissimo Francisco Franco – in the grand Popularity Contest, it was either Washington or Moscow.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Today With Mrs. Roosevelt – Feb. 26, 1950 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

In 1950, just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War and during the steady boil of the Cold War, the horserace for Hearts and Minds took us to some questionable places. Most everyone knows we softened our hard stance on post-War Germany; seeing the Germans as allies in what could become World War 3 with the Soviet Union, and looking quietly the other way where the fates former Scientists, closely associated with Nazi-era aerospace and electronic technology were concerned. We assumed they could be of more use to the West than the East, especially where development of nuclear weapons  and the Space Program was concerned.

And so we had Spain. Prior to World War 2 Spain was the scene of one of the bloodiest civil wars in history – but also a proving ground for what was to be cutting-edge technology in armaments supplied by Nazi Germany. Spain became aligned in principle with the Axis powers – although not outright in support. The government headed by military dictator Francisco Franco proclaimed a state of pronounced neutrality during World War 2, yet became a hotbed for spies on both sides. Spain, in their implied neutrality achieved the ability to play both sides, while quietly siding with Germany.

But as they say “that was then, this is now” and the atmosphere in the five years since the end of World War 2 had changed considerably. So it was considered to be of vital importance that Spain become an ally. And so steps were taken to resume full diplomatic ties with Madrid.

So in 1950 the debate began over establishing diplomatic and economic ties with Spain, and eventually allow Spain to join the United Nations.

In this episode of Today With Mrs. Roosevelt, a representative of Secretary of State Dean Acheson argues the State Department position on re-opening the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and the pros and cons of bringing Spain into the NATO fold.

Lively, would be a good description of this debate and arguments for and against resuming diplomatic ties with Spain and the Franco regime. But then, the world was changing in ways no one had anticipated when World War 2 ended.

Here is that episode of Today With Mrs. Roosevelt from February 26, 1950.

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