The Spanish position during the Second World War has traditionally been defined as a position of neutrality. Spain did not enter the war and, consequently, Spain maintained neutrality. This traditional thesis is not correct, or, at least, must be remarkably clarified. Once World War II broke out, Spain, like Italy, declared neutrality. As soon as Italy declared war on June 10, 1940, Spain declared nonbelligerency, which meant, in practice, supporting the Axis countries. From June 1940, Spain bargained its entry in the war. In September-October 1940, the relations among Spain, Germany and Italy suffered a remarkable adjustment. After the meeting in Hendaya between Hitler and Franco, on October 23, 1940, Spain signed the Protocol of Hendaya. In the third point of the Protocol, Spain joined the Steel Pact-the political-military pact that Germany and Italy signed in March 1939. The adhesion to the Steel Pact produced the following benefits:
1) strong collaboration among Gestapo, OVRA, and the Spanish police;
2) a wider collaboration among information services, including the High Staff, the Falange, and the Spanish diplomatic service;
3) a wider collaboration between the High Staffs; and
4) huge economic servitudes through advantageous economic agreements to the Axis countries.
Spain's entry in the war, however, remained unsettled. The issue of Spanish territorial compensation remained unsettled as well. The signing of the Tripartite Pact meant a qualitative change, as Spain legally and publicly lost its status as a neutral country. Spain's support of the Tripartite Pact depended on the course of the war. With the conquest of Greece and Crete, and the Axis advance in North Africa, in the spring of 1941 during the war in the Mediterranean, the Spanish government almost promoted the signing of the Tripartite Pact. Most observers believed that the Mediterranean would be closed with the Axis conquest of both the Suez and Gibraltar entry points. Fortunately for Spain, Hitler ordered the beginning of Operation Barbarrossa in June 1941. With this, the strategic scenario changed: the central military interest passed from the Mediterranean to Eastern Europe. Spain avoided pressures to sign the Tripartite Pact until the beginning of Operation Torch in North Africa, but at this time the position of the internal forces against Spain's entry into the war were strengthened. The Falangist minister Serrano Sufier was replaced by General Jordana, who clearly fought to keep Spain out of the war. General Jordana's nomination placed strong pressures against the political power of the Falange. With the support of Italy and Germany, Jordana's nomination further diminished Falange's power...
Nation in war: