Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


L’Espagne Républicaine

French Policy and Spanish Republicanism in Liberated France

In the Series
Studies in Spanish History

David Messenger is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wyoming, USA. He received his doctorate from the University of Toronto. He has held fellowships and grants from the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s Program on Cooperation with United States Universities, and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Holocaust Educational Foundation

This work examines the Spanish question in the context of post-war French politics and foreign policy, in particular during the period 1943–1946. The war had been fought against authoritarian fascism, yet Francisco Franco and his regime remained in power. Spanish Republican refugees in France were heralded as model democrats awaiting liberation, a liberation that France could best provide through pursuit of an antagonistic policy toward Franco. But in reality, members of Charles de Gaulle’s government-in-exile had developed ties to Spain during the war in conjunction with the United States and Great Britain.

France was in the midst of renewal and redefinition, a process with both national and international aspects. The importance of the Spanish case in that process has been neglected by historians. With significant differences, there was an important parallel to the debates that engaged France during the Spanish Civil War. Different visions of France and its role in Europe competed with one another as Spanish policy was debated.

Based on research from unpublished sources from state and private archives in Paris, Madrid, Toulouse, London and Washington, this book is essential reading for Spanish and French History scholars.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-259-4
Hardback Price: £55.00 / $75.00
Release Date: June 2008
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Series Editor’s Preface

: France and Spain in the Aftermath of the Second World War

1 The French Refugee Crisis and Economic Warfare in Spain, 1942–1944

2 The Resistance and Spanish Republicanism in Liberated France, 1944–1945

3 French Politics and the Cause of Spanish Republicanism, 1944–1947

4 French Initiatives on Spain, 1945–1946

5 France, the West and the Spanish Question, 1946

6 French Acceptance of Franco’s Spain, 1946–1948

France, Spain and Post-War Foreign Policy in Europe Notes


Several cities surrounding Paris, working class municipalities of the ‘red belt’, sport streets named after Cristino García, a Spanish loyalist and officer in the French Resistance. He was not killed in combat for the liberation of France, however, but rather was executed by the Franco regime in 1946. The fact that the García case made such an impact on French public opinion is an indication of the close postwar connection between Spanish Republicans, their movement, and early postwar French society.
... David A. Messenger has published a stimulating work which describes this complex relationship between French policy and Spanish Republicanism between 1944 and 1948. This period was a turning point for both countries, a time when France moved from reconstruction to renewal, all the while striving to make its political mark in liberated Europe and balancing the concepts of ‘justice’ and ‘realpolitik’ in foreign affairs.
... This relatively short, but precise, work is structured in six chapters and narrates France’s changing relationship towards authoritarian Spain and the multiple domestic and international factors that influenced its positions. The author has convincingly chosen a chronological structure; the first three chapters discuss the fluid situation and the major factors which influenced French policy from 1942 to 1947 while the remaining three chapters continue to study specific initiatives on Spain undertaken by France both on an individual basis and within the framework of the United Nations up to 1948. The author includes an impressive bibliography and supports his claims with exhaustive research in American, British, Spanish and French archives.
The Journal of Military History

They had fought Hitler and won, they had fought Mussolini and won; but they could not defeat Franco, and refugees from Spain abounded in France. In public de Gaulle praised them as model democrats, but in private coped with US and UK foreign policy and the reality of wartime ties between de Gaulle’s government in exile and Spain. Messenger (history, U. of Wyoming) explains the complications, especially the lingering aftereffects of the war on both identity and policy. He explains the debates about what France should be and do with regard to Franco’s Spain, and he tracks chronologically from the refugee crisis and economic warfare in Spain from 1942 to 1944, the effects of Spanish republicanism in liberated France, and French politics from 1946 to 1948 that lead to France’s acceptance of Franco’s Spain.
Reference & Research Book News

That there were competing visions of France’s recent wartime past and its future post-war reconstruction in the heady days of liberation at the end of the Second World War is beyond question. Just as conflicting ‘resistance myths’ emerged from the newly triumphant left and the Gaullist republican right, so, too, the role and significance of Spanish republican refuges as supporters of anti-Fascist resistance within France attracted intense public interest. Underlying this French preoccupation with the fate of Francisco Franco’s enduring opponents were other, deeper concerns. The pre-war failure of the French Popular Front, and of the French left more generally, to lend much support to their Spanish cousins was a lasting source of guilt. So, too, were recollections of the shoddy treatment, including mass internment, of Spain’s republican refugees both on the eve of the Second World War and in the dark days of Vichy that followed. Yet, as David A. Messenger makes abundantly clear in this excellent study, more significant still was the widespread presumption that Allied victory in Europe would necessarily herald the overthrow of General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. A repressive western European regime with fascistic leanings that had flirted with the Axis surely had no place in a post-war order built to Allied design.
... The book deserves a wider audience than historians of French–Spanish relations. Anyone interested in French post-war reconstruction, or the operating assumptions and political culture of the early Fourth Republic, will find rich pickings here.
The International History Review

Books can be ordered by phone or online

Ordering in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America and Rest of the World

Gazelle Book Services
Direct sales tel.: +44 (0)1524 528500; email:
Web ordering:

Ordering in the United States and Canada
Independent Publishers Group (IPG)
Direct sales tel.: (800) 888-4741
Web ordering:

Bookseller Ordering
Information is provided under the Resources tab.

eBook Ordering
e-Book type availability can be sourced via by book title. Kindle availability is via Amazon .com and sites.