Carrero Blanco: the pro-Nazi and anti-Semite sailor who could lead the Franco regime without Franco

On June 9, 1973, Franco ceased to be President of the Government and handed over to the man who had been his right-hand man for several decades. Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco became the dictator's political successor. The new president had a mandate for which he felt fully qualified: to guarantee the continuity of that totalitarian regime after the death of the tyrant. As soon as he was sworn in before the still but already decrepit Head of State, Carrero met for 45 minutes with then-prince Juan Carlos de Borbón, the man who was called to play the role of puppet in the Franco regime without Franco. The veteran sailor was 69 years old and was convinced that the future of Spain passed through an authoritarian monarchy that he would protect as he had always done, with an iron hand. That plan was frustrated seven months later, when ETA ended his life in Madrid.

What would that post-Franco regime directed by Carrero have been like? It is impossible to know the answer, but reviewing his career, his ideology and his speeches we can better understand why the figure of the admiral was a serious concern for the social and political sectors that wanted the return of democracy to our country. A concern that was also felt in the White House itself and that raised doubts about the direct or indirect participation of the CIA in the attack that eliminated him from the equation.

The uprising of part of the Army against the Republic surprised Luis Carrero Blanco in Madrid. The then lieutenant captain and professor at the Naval War College had coincided with Franco in one of the episodes of the war in Morocco: the landing at Alcazarseguer, in April 1925. Later, at the beginning of the 1930s, he returned to treat with the future dictator while he occupied the General Command of the Balearic Islands. Despite this and not having communion with the republican regime, there is no evidence that he participated directly in the uprising. Even so, after the quick failure of the coup in the capital, Carrero successively took refuge in the embassies of Mexico and France. In the summer of 1937 he managed to escape to the area controlled by the coup plotters and joined his army, fighting in command of ships such as the General Sanjurjo submarine or the Canarias cruiser.

After Franco's victory, at the hands of an outstanding Falangist leader, Carrero became part of the National Council of the FET and the JONS. On June 12, 1940, Spain expressed its implicit support for Hitler and Mussolini in World War II, ceasing to consider itself "neutral" and declaring itself a "non-belligerent" state.

In November of that year, Carrero Blanco wrote the first of a series of reports on international politics for Franco. In it, contrary to what some historians and researchers have maintained, Carrero did not make a staunch defense of Spain's neutrality in the conflict. As other academics such as Antonio Téllez Molina point out, what he did is advise the dictator to delay his entry into the war until Berlin and Rome controlled the Mediterranean in order to guarantee the supply of food, raw materials and weapons: "In short — wrote Carrero—everything seems to indicate that, before the fall of the Suez Canal, Spain will not enter the war, but that as soon as said Canal passes into the hands of the Axis powers, the aspects of the matter will fundamentally change and it is conceivable in which Your Excellency decides our intervention in the conflict".

Impressed by his reports, Franco named Carrero Chief of the General Staff and included him in his circle of trust by granting him the position of Undersecretary of the Presidency. Already occupying both posts, the increasingly influential military man continued to spell out his preferences in the reports he delivered to the dictator. In them he explained why the German Nazis and Italian fascists deserved all the support of our country: "Because the Axis is fighting today against everything that is anti-Spain." And that "anti-Spain", for Carrero, was represented by the western democracies and the USSR: "It has come to be constituted by a personal action of Roosevelt, at the service of the lodges and the Jews, it is really the front of the Jewish power, where the entire complex of democracies, Freemasonry, liberalism, plutocracy and communism raise their flags, which have been the classic weapons that Judaism has used to provoke a catastrophic situation that could crystallize in the collapse of the Christian Civilization".

The future admiral's visceral hatred of the Jews was not only reflected in reports such as the one cited above. In 1941 he published the book Spain and the sea in which he performed an authentic anti-Semitic ode: "Spain, champion of the Faith of Christ, is once again on its feet against the true enemy: Judaism. This is one more phase in the struggle that secularly shakes the World. Because the World, although it may not seem so, although in appearance its disputes have their origin in very different causes, lives a constant war of an essentially religious type. It is the fight of Christianity against Judaism. War to the death, as it has to be the fight of Good against Evil, of truth against lies, of light against darkness".

Franco's adviser began to be aware at the end of 1942 that the war was not going as "his Spain" hoped and wished. He continued to defend the Francoist regime's commitment to Hitler: "It is evident that Spain has a determined will to intervene on the Axis side, since it fights our natural enemies that are that complex of democracies, Freemasonry, liberalism, plutocracy and communism, weapons with which the Jewish power tries to annihilate the Christian Civilization...", but now he especially insisted that "the current situation" of the country prevented a "normal intervention" in the conflict. For what could happen in the contest, he advised Franco to be prepared to further toughen internal repression: "cutting off any attempt at disturbance and dissidence to which the possible ups and downs of the progress of the war could give rise".

The successive defeats of his German comrades led Carrero to gradually change the tone and substance of his reports. In 1944 he no longer blamed the Jews or the democracies for the war, but rather "Soviet cunning" and the "Lenin plan". Even so, he continued to openly despise the democratic system: "Utopia is, and enormous, to suppose that all the men (and even the women) of a nation are capable of expressing their opinion, in universal suffrage, on how their country should be governed" . Seeing Hitler's triumph impossible, Carrero suggested Franco seek an agreement with the United States and Great Britain to which Nazi Germany could join. An agreement based on what he called "Plan of hegemony of the white race". His bet was a "European community" to confront communism and share areas of influence with the US. The objective, according to him, should be that "the whites civilize the peoples in their area of ​​influence in a Christian way" and appeal to the "mutual help of the whites to fight the USSR and Japan".

The German defeat pushed the undersecretary to seek the survival of his dictatorship ingratiating himself with the United States and Great Britain: "At the moment and urgently, it is Catholicism and anti-communism that should be used and that must be used to the fullest extent possible," he advised. to his "Caudillo". Carrero knew that Catholicism distanced them from Nazism and anticommunism aligned them with the Allies: "England and the US need us to fight against Russian imperialism." Between 1945 and 1947 his motto was "order, unity and endure".

That change of strategy was pure makeup. Carrero, like the rest of the regime's leaders, tried to protect the Nazis who had taken refuge in our country. Of the more than 700 Germans whose repatriation was demanded by the Allies, Franco's Spain handed over just over 200. "Most were second and third category," clarified the journalist José María Irujo, who thoroughly investigated the subject: " The most important, on the other hand, that is, the first-class ones, received the support of the Spanish police, the Church and the high officials of the Franco government.

Carrero Blanco prevented the extradition of at least three of these men: Alfred Menzell, Joaquim von Knobloch and Kurt Meyer. Franco's counselor justified the need to save one of them to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in this way: "His inclusion on the list must be an error by officials and I think it is fair to rectify it, especially when it comes to a person who fought for us in our war. Carrero maintained good relations for decades with these and other Nazis based in Spain, such as the famous Waffen-SS colonel Otto Skorzeny.

Having to keep up with the victorious Western democracies, Carrero resorted to numerous pseudonyms to express his most radical opinions in the newspaper Arriba or on Radio Nacional de España: Hispanus, Ginés de Buitrago, Juan Español and, the most famous of all, Juan of the Thing Under those false identities he attacked democratic nations, the Jews and even questioned the sentences imposed on the Nazi leaders in Nuremberg, calling them "crime" and "revenge".

In 1947 the Cold War was already a reality and had ended up proving the insightful sailor right. The United States and Great Britain already saw the dictator as a possible ally against the Soviet enemy and relegated the situation of oppression and repression suffered by the Spanish to a secondary aspect. That same year, Carrero convinced Franco to approve the Law of Succession to the Head of State, which was to guarantee the continuity of the regime beyond the death of its creator. The future passed through a monarchy that perpetuated each and every one of the principles of the "Movement".

His political weight and his responsibility for the crimes perpetrated by the regime did not stop growing. The dictator named him Vice President of the Government in 1967. From that moment and until the day of his death, passing through his brief period as president, he maintained his determination to keep the dictatorial regime unchanged.

This is how he summed it up in a public speech in 1968: "Let no one, neither from the outside nor from within, harbor the slightest hope of being able to alter the institutional system in any aspect because, although the people would never tolerate it, the last remaining armed forces". The theory was put into practice with the harsh repression exerted on the student, worker and nationalist movements that had not stopped growing since the end of the 1960s. A repression that resulted in dozens of deaths and in torture and prison sentences for hundreds of men and women.

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