The Making and Unmaking of an Autarkic Physics in Franco’s Spain

2177 Words 9 Pages
The end of the Spanish Civil War brought a completely new kind of nation-state into existence. Never before (or after) Fascist Spain did such a conservative, militaristic, and anti-communist state exist in modern Europe. General Francisco Franco’s iconoclastic Spain demanded a complementary scientific structure. The resulting autarkic science was ideologically aligned with Franco, and wholly functional to state power. This autarkic science was not conjured up out of nowhere: it was created out of the ashes of Spain’s previous scientific structure, which was largely obliterated by the Civil War. A year after the end of the war, almost half of all former Spanish science university professors had been forced out of their position due to …show more content…
Scientific funding structures, too, in agreement with the state’s autarkic economic policy, greatly favored applied research as well. Spanish scientists were expected to stay within the nation-state and aid Spain’s struggle to gain prestige via self-sufficiency. Why, then, did the autarkic science of the mid -1940s turn into the more typical Spanish science of the late 1950s and 1960s?

According to the dominant historical narrative, Fascist Spain came to be integrated into the Western European system “as a result of the failure of the semi-autarky of the 1950s.” General Franco’s preferred trailblazing independent fascism had negative economic consequences, so he chose to make his nation more open and liberal. This explanation of Spain’s development is excessively simplistic. It cannot explain why certain sectors, specifically, Spanish physics, became connected with their Western counterparts faster than others. This explanation is particularly poor because it does not explain why Franco chose, on his own terms, to abandon his dream of a completely nationally self-sufficient physics. In order to understand why Spain’s autarkic science, specifically, its autarkic nuclear physics came to be so unremarkable and normal, the incentives offered to Franco by the Western bloc must be understood. Evaluating Franco’s decisions in a vacuum elides the very

Related Documents