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However, the economic and territorial aftermath of the Spanish-American War led to a reduction in the navy, and after completing his primary education at a Catholic school, Franco was forced to enlist at the Infantry Academy at Toledo instead.
He graduated three years later with below-average marks.
Franco thus returned to a position of power, which he wielded the following year in a ruthless suppression of a leftist revolt in northwestern Spain.
But like the Second Republic before it, the new government could do little to quell the growing divide between left- and right-leaning factions.
Though Franco accepted what amounted to banishment with the professionalism for which he was known, other high-ranking members of the military began to discuss a coup.
Though he initially kept his distance from the plot, on July 18, 1936, Franco announced the Nationalist manifesto in a broadcast from the Canary Islands as the uprising began in the northwest of Spain.
Sources vary, but many estimate the number of casualties resulting from the war as high as 500,000, with perhaps as many as 200,000 the result of executions perpetrated by Franco and his forces.Francisco Franco was born on December 4, 1892, in El Ferrol, Spain, a northwestern port city with a long history of shipbuilding.The men in his family had served in the navy for generations, and the young Franco expected to follow in their footsteps.Anticipating a swift victory, on October 1, 1936, the Nationalist forces declared Franco head of the government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.However, when their initial assault on Madrid was repelled, the military coup evolved into the protracted conflict known as the Spanish Civil War.
By the end of 1937, Franco had conquered the Basque lands and the Asturias and had also combined the fascist and monarchist political parties to form his Falange Española Tradicionalista while dissolving all others.