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Date of Graduation

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


This study focuses on the political career of Ramón Serrano Suñer, a Spanish politician whose career lasted from 1933 until 1942. Particularly, it addresses several pertinent questions about Serrano’s career and the larger Franco government, including the extent to which it was truly authoritarian and the real strength of authentic fascism in post-Civil War Spain. From 1937-1941, Serrano was the second only to his brother-in-law, the dictator Francisco Franco, in terms of political prominence. Serrano used his personal connections with Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the fascist Falange party, to vault himself from wartime refugee to the heights of Spanish politics in 1938. By 1940, his power base included direct control of two influential government ministries, leadership within the sole party of Spain, the Falange Española Tradicionalista, and an unofficial position as Franco’s chief political advisor. Serrano grew to love the glamour of his position, though, and constantly clamored for more power and influence. As a result, during the Spanish Civil War, he abandoned his sense of political neutrality between the various Nationalist factions under Franco’s rule and gained a loyal personal following, later dubbed by historians as the serranistas. In so doing, he hoped to make his political career more well-balanced; however, his personal ambition convinced Franco that he was a danger to the dictator’s power. Within a month, Franco either removed or reduced his power in three of his previous four sources of government influence, and would exclude him from government altogether in a year’s time. In conclusion, this essay asserts that Serrano’s dismissal from government was due to his own political maneuvers and an overestimation of the strength of fascism within the conservative Franco government.

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