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date: 17 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

What Spain, Greece, and Portugal have in common in the twentieth century is the manner in which their internal processes of change – rural to urban, agrarian to industrial – were intervened in and inflected at crucial moments and with enduring effect by the force of international political agendas. By the 1960s, in all three countries, the fearful imaginaries of traditionalists still saw a disguised form of communism in the ‘godlessness’ of Americanisation, social liberalisation, and anti-puritanism. This article adopts a tripartite structure (1945: survival; 1970s: transition; after 1989: memory) in order to explore why, how, and with what consequences Southern European political establishments with clear Nazi links or empathies not only survived the collapse of Adolf Hitler's new order, but were also able to persist as dictatorial and authoritarian regimes into the 1970s. It then interrogates the nature of the subsequent transitions to parliamentary democracy, paying particular attention to the continuities. It is remarkable, even today, how few Western European or North American commentators understand the brutality beneath the burlesque of dictatorship in Southern Europe.

Keywords: dictatorship, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Southern Europe, democracy, communism, survival, memory, transition

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