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Franco and Hitler: the myths of Hendaye 1940

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The Hitler/Franco encounter at Hendaye in October 1940 was a central myth of Francoist propaganda. Allegedly, faced with threats and blandishments to force Spain into war on the Axis side, Franco coolly stood his ground and thereby secured Spanish neutrality. However, there is little evidence that Hitler did threaten Franco. His purpose in traveling to Hendaye, and to Montoire where he met Laval and Pétain, was to compare the relative cost of closer relationships with Spain and Vichy France. Far from cleverly holding off Hitler, Franco was disappointed that the meeting foundered. Germany's need to maintain good relations with Vichy ensured that Hitler could not meet Franco's price for belligerence, the dismemberment of the French North African empire.

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