Learning more about Spanish history in the 1970s and King Juan Carlos I
July 13, 2010 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Resources-- books, articles, lectures, whatever-- for learning more about King Juan Carlos of Spain and his decision to liberalize politics in Spain?

I'm interested in the motivation and implementation of Spain's political reforms after the death of Francisco Franco in the mid-1970s.

Franco passed over the apparent heir to the throne, Juan Carlos's father, thinking that Juan Carlos would continue Franco's policies. However, "After dictator Franco's death, King Juan Carlos I quickly instituted reforms, to the great displeasure of Falangist and conservative (monarchist) elements, especially in the military, who had expected him to maintain the authoritarian state."

For all the European history I learned in schools in the US, I don't know anything more than the Wiki version of Juan Carlos's decisions. I think that Franco's influence might be better known here, thanks to Guillermo Del Toro, Chevy Chase, and Joe Strummer. From the outside, Juan Carlos appears to performed a relatively underappreciated act of selfless statesmanship. Where to turn to learn more? (Here's a fine post on the failed coup of 1981, with some background).
posted by ibmcginty to Education (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I lived just outside of Madrid when King Carlos took over after King Franco died. Unfortunately, I was 8 at the time so I don't remember too much. I do remember the extraordinary military presence in the streets. There were guys with automatic weapons everywhere, and I lived in an off-base enclave of Americans that were stationed at Torrejon AFB. I remember my parents being concerned about our safety as Americans, and we probably did not venture into Madrid for a while. Whether that fear was related to the expectation of violence due to King Carlos' expected change of direction, or just general fear with the turnover in a state as unstable as Spain was back then, I'm not sure. Probably the latter.
posted by COD at 10:47 AM on July 13, 2010

Best answer: The New Spaniards - by John Hooper
Also Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past - by Giles Tremlett
Finally: The Triumph of Democracy in Spain - by Paul Preston
who I see has just published Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy
Preston is a historian and the other two are respected Journalists
posted by adamvasco at 2:17 PM on July 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, folks! That is useful stuff. Looks like there are a few books worth checking out-- thanks, adamvasco.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:02 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

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