Did Francisco Franco, who established Catholicism as the State religion of Spain, consider Hitler a "son of the Catholic Church" who "died while defending Christianity"? If so, why?

Hitler acted contrary to what Pope Pius XI wrote in his March 14, 1937, encyclical on Nazism, Mit brennender Sorge, e.g. where it says:

  1. Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.

Despite this, Francisco Franco, Head of Spain, allegedly said on 3 May 1945:*

Adolf Hitler son of the Catholic Church died while defending Christianity. It is therefore understandable that words cannot be found to lament over his death, when so many were found to exalt his life. Over his mortal remains stands his victorious figure. with the palm of the martyr, God gives Hitler the laurels of Victory.

*This is quoted on p. 25 of this book (hardly a credible source), which says it was published in the Spanish press the day after Hitler died (which isn't 3 May 1945, is it?), and in the last scene of this documentary, but I have never seen the original newspaper article.

Is this a spurious quote, or does this reflect Franco's views of what Hitler's religion is?

  • @fdb: No, I don't take any Chick publications seriously. I first saw the quote in the documentary cited above and when I tried to verify it, that's all I found.
    – Geremia
    Nov 23, 2014 at 1:59
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    Whatever Franco was, he was a very shrewd politician. To praise Hitler so fulsomely on May 3, 1945 would have been quite idiotic and very unhelpful to his own political position vis-a-vis the victorious Allied powers. Just this simple analysis almost fully convinces me that this is a fake. Nov 23, 2014 at 20:44
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    @user6591 Idolatry is to worship something that is not God as though it were God. The State is certainly a great good, but to think it is the ultimate good, as tyrants do, is idolatry.
    – Geremia
    Jul 14, 2016 at 14:30
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    Googling for the quotation, I only find prostestant sources and anti-Catholic conspiracy theory sites, most of which moreover attribute the quote to the "Spanish press" (without attributing it to any single newspaper, which is suspicious). Jul 14, 2016 at 20:37
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    There were many tendencies within the Spanish far-right, most of which supported Franco; some were tied to the Catholic Church, others mimicked nazi-fascist militias; so I wouldn't doubt that some Spanish media outlets would praise Hitler even after his death. But Franco was no idiot and knew quite well how to recognise who had just won a war. So, at the very best, I think that some (not very mainstream) newspaper might have that in print, and that Franco allowed it, but I doubt that he spoke this or that "the Spanish press" monolythically featured it at the command of the dictator. Jul 14, 2016 at 20:38

4 Answers 4


I found many citations (e.g., here) for this quote to Réforme, which is a French, Protestant weekly, not a Spanish newspaper. Being Protestant, it's hardly a credible source for the extraordinary claim that Hitler is a "son of the Catholic Church" who "died while defending Christianity."

The quote is obviously spurious.

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    No, this does not work. Just because they were Protestants that does not mean they were lying.
    – Ne Mo
    Nov 23, 2014 at 12:04
  • This says it was in the Spanish press, so maybe you need to keep looking.
    – Razie Mah
    Nov 23, 2014 at 12:14
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    @NeMo: The fact that the anti-Catholic, Protestant Chick Publications quotes it makes me wonder if it is a fabrication. Plus, this source claims the Franco's eulogy of Hitler sounds as if it were a communiqué from the Vatican under the guise of Franco's press!
    – Geremia
    Nov 24, 2014 at 2:07
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    @RazieMah: Yet, there is no Spanish journal or newspaper entitled Reforme.
    – Geremia
    Nov 24, 2014 at 2:15
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    To claim that something is spurious because it was in a Protestant magazine is in fact an example of the sort of prejudice (on your part) that you are attributing to them. The quote may be false but I do not see how the source of the magazine being Protestant makes that obviously so.
    – coderworks
    Jun 25, 2017 at 16:38

The following quote from Historia de la literatura fascista española by Julio Rodríguez-Puértolas (Vol II, p974) implies that the origin of the "son of the Catholic Church" quote was an article in the Spanish daily Informaciones, written by the Francoist writer Víctor de la Serna, rather than Franco himself:

El dos de mayo de 1945, conocido ya el suicidio de Adolf Hitler en su búnker de Berlín, Víctor de la Serna publicaba en Informaciones y bajo el pseudónimo de Unus un espectacular artículo en recuerdo del Führer alemán, al que pertenecen estos fragmentos: "Un enorme ¡Presente! se extiende por el ámbito de Europa, porque Adolfo Hitler, hijo de la Iglesia Católica ha muerto defendiendo la Cristiandad....

The full text of the Informaciones article is reproduced in Historias curiosas del franquismo by Daniel Arasa (p137): see Google Books.

  • Can you add some analysis to this? To help place the quote, the daily, and the author in some sort of context?
    – axsvl77
    Jul 15, 2016 at 0:40
  • All I know is that Informaciones and de la Serna were among the strongest pro-German voices in Spain during WWII: de la Serna was a Falangist but seems to have been significantly more pro-Nazi than most.
    – Uri Granta
    Jul 25, 2016 at 8:12
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    @axsvl77 The newspaper Informaciones was a stronghold of the most pro-Nazi wing of the official and unique "La Falange" party. As the war became more favorable to the Allies, the official position of the Francoist government was carefully distancing itself from the Axis. (go to next comment)
    – Ginasius
    Jun 25, 2017 at 17:26
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    @axsvl77 Of course, there was no freedom of the press in Spain in the 1940s, but the different newspapers were allowed a small degree of variation in their views towards the World war. Some began neutral, became pro-Germany when France fell and ended up being neutral, like the monarchist ABC, others were always slyly probritish, like the then monarchist La Vanguardia. (go to next comment)
    – Ginasius
    Jun 25, 2017 at 17:27
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    @axsvl77 In 1945 the pro-Nazi Informaciones was barely tolerated and in the following years some of its members were purged. But the purges within the winning side of the Spanish Civil War used to be very mild unless you had clearly committed a crime like murderous sedition. No jail, no firing squads. Destinations to small stalls in small towns, things like that. (end)
    – Ginasius
    Jun 25, 2017 at 17:27

In 1936, In military equipment, The Republicans were at advantage (the majority of the factories were in Republican-held lands) but they did not have numerical superiority in men power.

The Republicans enjoyed a lot of support in the Navy, possessed 91% of the Spanish made tanks, not to mention the support of nearly all of the Spanish aircrafts.

The Nationalist advantage was in the soldiers of the army because they had the best unit and ones with more combat experience but they were located in North Africa. The Arrival of German and Italian air forces was the key to achieve air superiority along with military aid in aircrafts and tanks. That's why Franco was in debt to them.

However, after Spanish Civil war ended, The Nationalist movement was also divided. Franco was surrounded by military and politicians. Each group further divided between Pro-British (monarchists that wanted the return of the king) and Pro-German (fascists that wanted to join fascist countries) factions. Mussolini even told Franco "don't even think of giving back the power to the King". At the end, with no rivals, he practically decided himself everything.

As for the matter of Hitler being Catholic and being at good terms with Franco, I don't think so. Even Franco himself said that he had better relation with Mussolini than Hitler. Even in his meeting he was disappointed. One of his famous phrase was: "This guy, who does he think he is?".

In the interview, Hitler told him that he had infantry divisions, tanks and aircrafts, all with tremendous arrogance. In other words, He was flaunting his power to make Franco join him.

Hitler, a common soldier of Germany (Who had risen to the office of the Chancellor), was treating Franco, who was a General, inferiorly. It was really incredible.

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    This answer would benefit from sources.
    – MCW
    May 13, 2016 at 12:27

Franco did not think that you couldn't be a Catholic and a bloodthirsty Fascist dictator at the same time, because he was.

Franco wouldn't have been able to win the war against the Spanish Republic without Hitler's help. In turn, Franco supplied Hitler with materiel before and during world war two, and was only prevented from joining the war on Hitler's side by Churchill's bribes to Spanish generals. This didn't stop him from sending a group of volunteers to fight on the Germans' side against Russia. He and Hitler shared an antipathy towards democracy, modernity and 'judeo-bolshevism'. Anti-communism was Franco's number one preoccupation, and Hitler had just fought a major war against the USSR.

In other words, Franco 'liked' Hitler. There is no evidence that he cared about Hitler's ambiguous relationship with Catholicism in Germany. Hitler hated communism and was born a Catholic, and that was enough for Franco.

I do not have access to the source, but prima facie, this quote is not unbelievable.

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    I think this needs more evidence for the claim that Franco "didn't care in the least about Hitler's ambiguous relationship with Catholicism in Germany." Where does the quote come from? Who is speaking to? ect.
    – Razie Mah
    Nov 23, 2014 at 11:52
  • Fair enough. I changed it to say that there is no evidence that he cared about Hitler's relationship to Catholicism. If such evidence exists, I will find it interesting too.
    – Ne Mo
    Nov 23, 2014 at 12:02
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    Franco did not join the war on Hitler's side not just because of bribes. He did not want to commit completely to the Axis, finding it much more worthwhile to sit on the fence. Nov 23, 2014 at 20:28
  • I disagree. Franco was a Catholic fanatic that forced people to go to mass at gun point. Hitler considered Catholics potential enemies of the state. Franco surely an opinion about it.
    – Razie Mah
    Nov 24, 2014 at 20:34
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    He was helping Jews escape to Portugal and he had already signed a treaty with the Allies before the surrender of Germany. Franco was playing both sides. That's why this answer is insufficient.
    – Razie Mah
    Nov 26, 2014 at 0:59

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