Teaching Students About El General: An Exploration of Historical Figures and Leadership


El General, or Generalísimo Francisco Franco, was a Spanish military leader who ruled as the dictator of Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975. He played a significant role in the Spanish Civil War and had a profound influence on the nation’s history. Teaching students about El General provides an important insight into Spain’s past, its turbulent political landscape, and the complexities of its historical figures.

In this article, we will explore how to effectively teach students about El General, including addressing relevant background information, examining his role in history, and discussing the legacy of his rule.

1. Background Information

Before diving into El General’s role, it’s essential to provide students with proper context. Educate them about the state of Spain in the 20th century—its political climate, economic situation, and the social divisions that existed within society. Focus on aspects like:

– The rise of political ideologies such as communism, anarchism, and fascism during this time.

– The unstable political scene characterized by frequent changes in government.

– The cultural divides between different regions of Spain which led to regionalist movements.

2. El General’s Rise to Power

Next, discuss how El General rose to power and explain his participation in the Spanish Civil War. Key points may include:

– His early career in the Spanish Army and his time spent in Morocco.

– Participation in anti-communist actions which ultimately led to his rise through military ranks.

– Involvement in a coup attempt against the Spanish Republic alongside other military figures.

– The role El General played during the Civil War between nationalist (fascists) and republican (communists and anarchists) factions.

 3. The Dictatorship under El General

Once students understand how El General came to power, delve into what Spain was like under his dictatorship. Include information about:

– The establishment of a one-party state, incorporation of fascist organizations into the government and implementation of authoritarian policies.

– Repression and surveillance mechanisms to control the population.

– Policies aimed at unifying Spain, including linguistic and cultural suppression of regional identities.

– Economic policy measures and their effectiveness in rebuilding and modernizing Spain.

5. The Controversial Legacy

Finally, discuss the controversial legacy El General left behind after his death. This should include both positive and negative aspects to provide a balanced view. Consider discussing:

– The end of the Spanish Civil War and the subsequent decades of stability and economic growth.

– The brutal repression, political purges, and execution of thousands during his regime.

– The modern-day fascination with El General’s rule among a segment of Spanish society, as well as continued debates surrounding his role in history.


Teaching students about El General helps them comprehend crucial aspects of Spain’s history. An effective lesson plan should provide contextual background information, outline El General’s rise to power through the Spanish Civil War, discuss life under his dictatorship, and explore his divisive legacy. By providing a comprehensive view, educators will equip students with the historical understanding necessary to analyze this complex figure from various angles.

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