Franco was born in Ferrol, Spain as the son of upper-class parents with strong connections to the Spanish Navy. Franco however joined the Spanish Army as a cadet in the Toledo Infantry Academy in 1907, graduating in 1910. He served in the Rif War and was in 1926 promoted General at age 33, the youngest in Europe. As a conservative and a monarchist, Franco opposed the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the democratic secular republic in 1931. He nevertheless continued his position in the Republican Army and in 1934 led the brutal suppression of the miners' strike in Asturias, which sharpened the antagonism between Left and Right in the country. When the leftist Popular Front won the 1936 elections, Franco joined other Generals who launched a coup the same year, intending to overthrow the republic. The coup failed to take control of most of the country and precipitated the Spanish Civil War.
After the war had started, Franco took control of the Army of Africa, which were air-lifted to Spain. With the death of the other leading generals, Franco became his faction's only leader and was appointed Generalissimo and Head of State in the fall of 1936. In 1939 Franco won the war, which had claimed almost half a million lives. The victory extended his dictatorship to the whole country and was followed by a period of repression of political opponents and dissenters, with the result that between 100,000 to 200,000 died. Franco continued to rule Spain alone, with more power than any Spanish leader before or since, ruling almost exclusively by decree. He nurtured a cult of personality and the Movimiento Nacional became the only channel of participation in Spanish public life. During World War II, he espoused neutrality as Spain's official wartime policy, but supported the Axis — whose members Italy and Germany had supported him during the Civil War — in various ways. After the war, Spain became isolated by many other countries for nearly a decade. By the 1950s, the nature of his regime changed from being openly totalitarian and using severe repression to an authoritarian system with limited pluralism, and consequently, Spain was allowed to join the United Nations in 1955. During the Cold War Franco became one of the world's foremost anti-Communist figures.
In 1973, beset with old age and sickness and wishing to partially relinquish the burden of governing Spain, Franco resigned as Prime Minister, and was succeeded by Carrero Blanco. However, Franco remained as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief. Franco died in 1975 at the age of 82 and was buried in the Valle de los Caídos.
In parody universe
Franco is played by the spanish actors Juan Diego (young) and Manuel Aleixandre (old).
- Franco won the Spanish Civil War thanks to Hitler and Mussolini.
- Franco born and died at the same years as Mao Zedong, 1892 and 1975 respectively.