Famine in Spain During Franco’s Dictatorship (1939–52)
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Journal of Contemporary History
Del Arco Blanco, Miguel Ángel. Famine in Spain During Franco’s Dictatorship (1939–52). Journal of Contemporary History, 56, 1, 2021. [DOI: 10.1177/0022009419876004]
SponsorshipThis article is part of the research project ‘‘MEMOHAMBRE: Historia y memoria del hambre: sociedad, vida cotidiana, actitudes sociales y polı´ticas de la dictadura franquista (1939–1959)’’ funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.
In the aftermath of civil war, Spain witnessed a period known as the ‘Years of Hunger’, which would extend throughout the postwar years (1939–52). The dictatorship would lay the blame on external factors, although the causes for the collapse of living conditions and food supply over that time lay in its autarkic policies. This article attempts to show that Spain was victim of a famine as a consequence of the economic policies of the Franco dictatorship. To analyse the Spanish case, we rely on the conceptual framework of famine studies throughout history. We will demonstrate that Spain suffered an extreme socio-economic crisis during the 1940s, but that it was not until late 1939 and 1942, as well as 1946, that a true famine took place. In order to characterise and explain it, we will analyse three different aspects: the rise in the cost of living, the spread of infectious diseases and death by starvation.