Aragonés on Fascist Spain


How to cite the project: Montse Feu. "Aragonés on Fascist Spain." Fighting Fascist Spain --The Exhibits. Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections. Accessed [DATE].

The proletarian, educational, and humorous sensibility of editorial cartoons and graphic art in the New York’s periodical España Libre invited readers to decode Fascist Spain’s news, often ignored in mainstream media. 

Aragonés’s cartoons documented the pillars of Fascist Spain: the unique leader, autarky, censorship, Falange, imperial rhetoric, National Catholicism, oligarchy, and the militarized violence and repression of civilians. The ever-present Francoist slogan, España: Una, Grande y Libre (Spain: One, Great and Free), summarized the myth of military, Catholic, and totalitarian españolidad, free of subversives. Spanish fascists believed in the Spanish state's unity, uniqueness, and perfection (Payne 1999). The myth of regenerative death as redemption for the nation and the veneration of a charismatic leader were common patterns in European and transnational fascist movements. 

The Spanish regime’s propaganda portrayed Franco as a charismatic, bold leader who saved Spain from leftist radicalism. In The Great Manipulator, Paul Preston shows how Franco consistently rewrote his life story and naturally improved on it, either directly in his speeches and articles or indirectly via interviews with journalists or conversations with his official biographers. Franco created an exaggerated image of his achievements, which grew ever more disproportionate once he had a propaganda apparatus at his disposal. His delight in being compared to the mythical warrior heroes and the natural empire builders in Spanish history – above all, El Cid, Carlos V, or Felipe II – was derived, in part. from reading his propaganda (Preston 2013). Accordingly, Franco’s image as a military commander, El Generalissimo or Caudillo, permeated Spanish public spaces with grandiose monuments and portraits. The regime’s control of the press and its ubiquitous propaganda, termed NODO (Noticiario y Documentales/ News and Documentaries), infused cinemas and television praise for Franco and his Movimiento. On such public occasions, people were expected to do the Spanish fascist salute, an imitation of the Nazi salute, even when simply watching a film in a cinema.

Colindres read the exhibit "Aragonés on Fascist Spain."



A man whose head resembles the globe is sitting at a desk. The globe shows the map of Spain as a painful part of his head. A speech bubble says, "I hope my 1936 head tumor heals in 1963."

Jungwirth on Aragonés


Dorian Gray

Francisco Franco, drawn as an old man and self-proclaimed King of Spain, looks at his reflection in his portrait. He sees a young lieutenant who is burning in hell.

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Fraga Iribarne

Manuel Fraga Iribarne is sitting on the lap of Franco as if he were the puppet of a Franco ventriloquist. The show is called "Secretary for Information."


25 años

The focal point of the cartoon is the number twenty-five. Franco is sitting on the number that signifies the longevity of his rule. His body posture is one of satisfaction and triumph. Nevertheless, Aragonés covers the number with banners and drawings that refer to political persecution, intolerance, calumny, lies, the rise of the black market, torture, corruption, hate, misery, bribery, hunger, murder, prison, skulls, swastikas, Civil Guards executing common people, and body parts scattered in mass graves, money bags, the devil, the military police, snakes, flies, spiders, and excrements.

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Entre bastidores

Two Civil Guards pose for tourists while they are propping up a theatrical backdrop that includes flamenco dances, a bullfighter, and picturesque white stucco houses. The backdrop hides other Civil Guards hitting demonstrators who are asking for freedom for political prisoners, trade union freedom, and civil rights.

Libertad sindical

Workers are demonstrating in Spain for their rights which gets them in prison. In the rest of the world, workers, the government, and employers work together to protect workers' rights.



Francisco Franco moves "Justice" as if it were a puppet.

National Catholicism

Spanish fascists believed in the uniqueness of Catholic Spain, otherwise known as “National Catholicism.” According to this ideology, Franco was Caudillo by the grace of God. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Catholicism played a crucial role in the popular mobilization of Franco supporters (Del Arco Blanco 2018). Once in power, Franco ordained Catholicism the only tolerated religion of the nation, causing it to become intertwined with Spanish fascism. In contrast to what occurred in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the Francoist regime turned Catholic symbols and liturgy into essential means of shaping the political culture. The Vatican did not address the violence against dissenters and this lack of intervention only prolonged the state terror in Franco’s Spain.

Aragonés Domenech, Sergio
Aragonés on Fascist Spain