Book Review: Truman, Franco's Spain, and the Cold War


by Wayne H. Bowen

Columbia: University of Missouri, 2017. Pp. viii, 200. Notes, biblio., index. $50.00. ISBN: 0826221173

America’s Outreach to Reactionary Spain

Prof. Bowen (SE Missouri State), the author of Spain and the American Civil War and other works, examines the complex evolution of Spanish-American relations during the Truman years.

The principal thread running through Bowen’s account is Truman’s personal unease about Spain, derived in part from the Spanish-American War which unfolded in Truman’s youth. But the outreach was also complicated by German and Italian support for the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, Spain’s support for the Axis in World War II, and – although oddly Bowen overlooks the subject – America’s historic Anglo-Saxon derived anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic attitudes.

Bowen traces Truman’s shifting views about ties to Spain from the icy hostility the U.S. maintained during the Second World War and in the immediate postwar hostility, through the onset of the Cold War, and the final, if reluctant, decision to establish a degree of cooperation. This cooperation had political implications, as the tie resonated with the nation’s largely Democratic Roman Catholic voters, though troubling to the party’s more liberal supporters, hostility from the American left, and arguably damaging America’s image among many Europeans.

This is a useful read for anyone with an interest in American foreign policy, Spanish-American relations, or the Cold War.

Note: Truman, Franco’s Spain, and the Cold War is also available in several e-editions.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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