Sebastian Balfour, 6 June 1996
The history of Spain in the 20th century is marked by a succession of collective amnesias. At the end of the last century, forgetting that Spain was no longer a world power, Spaniards went to war with the United States and lost the remnants of their overseas empire. After the Civil War of 1936-9, the millions of Spaniards who had supported the Second Republic were compelled to bury the memory of their former allegiance in order to survive Franco’s vengeful regime. When the dictator died 36 years later, the price of a peaceful transition to democracy was to forget the barbarities of his regime. And now, in the aftermath of a less solemn occasion, the Spanish people are being invited to forget the political divisions of the last three years as the new centre-right Popular Party begins its period of office after striking a deal with the regionalist parties of Catalonia and the Basque Country, its erstwhile political opponents.