When Spain celebrated Pearl Harbor
At the end of the operation the Japanese had a congratulation: that of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco
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On Dec. 7 of 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor by surprise. The empire wanted to keep the United States Pacific Fleet from operating in the colonies of the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and the United States itself in South East Asia.
Three-hundred and fifty-three Japanese aircraft, bombers and torpedo bombers took off to destroy three cruisers, three destroyers, one training vessel and one minelayer. At the end of the operation, they were congratulated by Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco.
The attack shook the American people and marked the entry point of the United States into the Second World War. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy also declared war on the United States. Spain did not go that far but joined forces with the Japanese empire.
The Japanese turned to Spain for war materials because the latter declared itself non-belligerent, even though it was under a fascist regime. The Spanish colony in the Philippines mediated so the Japanese could occupy the archipelago.
SPAIN SUPPORTED THE JAPANESE IN THE UNITED STATES
The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, Ramón Serrano Suner, also dedicated himself to representing and defending the rights of the Japanese living in the United States. They were suffering from xenophobia similar to the one Russians suffer today, with their farms being assaulted and losing jobs in droves.
In the 80s, many of those Japanese were entitled to reparations, because the country had discriminated against them for their identity and not their ideology. During the Second World War, many had their bank accounts blocked, which forced them to abandon the East Coast.
But that pat on the back and eventual collaboration with the Spanish did not last for long. When the Philippines was occupied by Japan, the latter destroyed buildings and even killed Spaniards who resided there and had helped them take over. Reality then hit the Francoist dictatorship, which stopped defending and protecting the Japanese in the United States.
FRANCO AGAINST JAPAN
In April of 1943, Franco decided to partly abandon his neutrality in the conflict and appear close to the Allied Forces of WWII, insisting that Japan needed to beat because they were “barbarians.” When the Philippines managed to free itself from the Japanese empire, Franco congratulated the president of the Philippines this time, Jose Paciano Laurel.
To avoid an attack from the United States, Franco’s Spain released an official note against Japan and even delivered military material, namely ships to go on the offensive against the Japanese empire. The Axis Powers, Germany and Italy, also began their downward spiral, and Francoism was in a fight to survive.
Its strategy was to openly show itself as an enemy to Japan. Franco’s hand was a good one. Once the war ended, the Allies put aside attacking the Spanish dictatorship and instead promoted democracy. Spanish fascism stayed in power until Franco’s death in November of 1975.