Date of Thesis



This thesis is an analysis of Spain’s development from dictatorship to democracy in light of the trauma that it endured during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 – 1939 and the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which lasted until 1975. Drawing from the work of Maurice Halbwachs and Pierre Nora, this thesis seeks to use the concepts of collective memory and lieux de mémoire to analyze what role memory has played in Spanish society from 1939 to the present day. Theanalysis begins with an overview of the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s ensuing dictatorship in order to establish an understanding of the trauma endured by Spain and its people. Of importance will be the manner in which the presentation of history became manipulated anddistorted under Franco as the dictator sought to control the country’s collective memory. With this background in mind, the thesis then turns to analyze how the memory of Spain’s past has affected the country’s development in two eras: during its transition to democracy in the 1970s and in the present day. Of central importance is the pact of silence that was established during the transition to democracy, which was a tacit agreement among the Spanish people to notdiscuss the past. This pact of silence still clouds Spain’s memory today and affects modern discourse concerning the past. Yet it is clear that Spain has not been reconciled to its past, as the provocation of history inevitably results in tension and controversy. The central contention of this thesis is that the pact of silence that surrounds Spain’s past has not eliminated the trauma of the Civil War and dictatorship, as demonstrated by the controversy stirred up by people, groups and places in the present day. This contention has repercussions for the study of history as a whole, as it indicates that the past cannot be muted in order to achievereconciliation; rather, it suggests that we must engage the past in order to be reconciled to it.


Spain, memory, Franco, Spanish Civil War

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)



First Advisor

David Del Testa