Cape Finisterre is a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of Galicia, Spain. In Roman times it was believed to be the end of the known world; the name Finisterre, like that of Finistère in France, derives from the Latin finis terrae, meaning "end of the earth". It is sometimes said to be the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. However, Cabo da Roca in Portugal is about 16.5 kilometres further west and thus the westernmost point of continental Europe. In Spain Cabo Touriñán is farther west. Monte Facho is the name of the mountain on Cape Finisterre, which has a peak, 238 metres above sea level. A prominent lighthouse is at the top of Monte Facho; the seaside town of Fisterra is nearby. The Artabri were an ancient Gallaecian Celtic tribe. Cape Finisterre has several beaches, including O Rostro, Mar de Fora, Langosteira and Corbeiro. Many of the beaches are framed by steep cliffs leading down to the Mare Tenebrosum. There are several rocks in this area associated with religious legends, such as the "holy stones", the "stained wine stones", the "stone chair", the tomb of the Celtic crone-goddess Orcabella.
Cape Finisterre is the final destination for many pilgrims on the Way of St. James, the pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Cape Finisterre is about a 90 km walk from Santiago de Compostela, it is a recent tradition for pilgrims to burn their clothes or boots at the end of their journey at Cape Finisterre. The origin of the pilgrimage to Finisterre is not certain. However, it is believed to date from pre-Christian times and was associated with Finisterre's status as the "edge of the world"; the tradition continued in medieval times, when "hospitals" were established to cater to pilgrims along the route from Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre. Some pilgrims continue on to Muxía, a day's walk away. In the area there are many pre-Christian sacred locations. There was an "Altar Soli" on Cape Finisterre, where the Celts engaged in sun worship and assorted rituals. Greco-Roman historians called the local residents of Cape Finisterre the "Nerios".
Monte Facho was the place where the Celtic Nerios from Duio carried out their offerings and rites in honor of the sun. Monte Facho is the site of current archaeological investigations and there is evidence of habitation on Monte Facho circa 1000 BCE. There is a Roman Road to the top of Monte Facho and the remnants of ancient structures on the mountain. San Guillerme known as St. William of Penacorada, lived in a house located on Monte Facho. Near San Guillerme's house is a stone now known as "St William's Stone". Sterile couples used to copulate on St. William's Stone to try to conceive, following a Celtic rite of fertility; this was where the Phoenicians sailed from to trade with Bronze Age Britain to Mount Batten. Because it is a prominent landfall on the route from northern Europe to the Mediterranean, several nearby battles are named the "Battle of Cape Finisterre". There was the Battle of Cape Finisterre; the coast, known locally as the Costa da Morte, has been the site of numerous shipwrecks and founderings, including that of the British ironclad HMS Captain, leading to the loss of nearly 500 lives, in 1870.
Additionally, laws governing the colonies of the British Empire used the latitude of Cape Finisterre as the latitude past which certain goods could not be shipped north directly between British colonies. For instance, it was forbidden to ship sugar cane directly from Jamaica to Nova Scotia, as such a transaction crossed through this latitude. Instead, the laws required that the sugar cane be shipped first from Jamaica to England, where it would be re-exported to Nova Scotia, it applied to the export of cotton from British America, contributed to British support for the pro-slavery South during the American Civil War. The latitude of Cape Finisterre was used to signal that a change of flags flown by Norwegian and Swedish merchant ships was required. Following independence and the subsequent union with Sweden in 1814, Norwegian merchant ships were required to fly the Swedish flag and the Swedish flag with the Norwegian flag in the canton. From 1818 - 1821 Swedish ships flew this flag in place of the pure Swedish flag when sailing south of Cape Finisterre.
Finisterre was the former name of the current FitzRoy sea area used in the UK Shipping Forecast. In 2002, it was renamed FitzRoy – in honour of the founder of the Met Office) – to avoid confusion with the smaller sea area of the same name featuring in the marine forecasts produced by the French and Spanish meteorological offices. In the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta Ruddigore, Richard Dauntless sings of shipping out in "a revenue sloop" and encountering a French merchantman "off Cape Finistere." In the film Night Train to Lisbon and Estafania spend the night and the morning in the car at Cape Finisterre. Amadeu is shown sitting on the cliff writing his memoirs on which the film centers. A 360 degree view from the Fisterra lighthouse Picture Gallery of Fisterra Faro de Finisterre video of Monte Facho Free Guide for Hikers on the Finisterre Way
A torpedo tube is a cylinder shaped device for launching torpedoes. There are two main types of torpedo tube: underwater tubes fitted to submarines and some surface ships, deck-mounted units installed aboard surface vessels. Deck-mounted torpedo launchers are designed for a specific type of torpedo, while submarine torpedo tubes are general-purpose launchers, are also capable of deploying mines and cruise missiles. Most modern launchers are standardised on a 12.75-inch diameter for light torpedoes or a 21-inch diameter for heavy torpedoes, although other sizes of torpedo tube have been used: see Torpedo classes and diameters. A submarine torpedo tube is a more complex mechanism than a torpedo tube on a surface ship, because the tube has to accomplish the function of moving the torpedo from the normal atmospheric pressure within the submarine into the sea at the ambient pressure of the water around the submarine, thus a submarine torpedo tube operates on the principle of an airlock. The diagram on the right illustrates the operation of a submarine torpedo tube.
The diagram does show the working of a submarine torpedo launch. A torpedo tube has a considerable number of interlocks for safety reasons. For example, an interlock prevents the breech muzzle door from opening at the same time; the submarine torpedo launch sequence is, in simplified form: Open the breech door in the torpedo room. Load the torpedo into the tube. Hook up the wire-guide connection and the torpedo power cable. Shut and lock the breech door. Turn on power to the torpedo. A minimum amount of time is required for torpedo warmup. Fire control programs are uploaded to the torpedo. Flood the torpedo tube; this may be done manually or automatically, from sea or from tanks, depending on the class of submarine. The tube must be vented during this process to allow for complete filling and eliminate air pockets which could escape to the surface or cause damage when firing. Open the equalizing valve to equalize pressure in the tube with ambient sea pressure. Open the muzzle door. If the tube is set up for Impulse Mode the slide valve will open with the muzzle door.
If Swim Out Mode is selected, the slide valve remains closed. The slide valve allows water from the ejection pump to enter the tube; when the launch command is given and all interlocks are satisfied, the water ram operates, thrusting a large volume of water into the tube at high pressure, which ejects the torpedo from the tube with considerable force. Modern torpedoes have a safety mechanism that prevents activation of the torpedo unless the torpedo senses the required amount of G-force; the power cable is severed at launch. However, if a guidance wire is used, it remains connected through a drum of wire in the tube. Torpedo propulsion systems vary but electric torpedoes swim out of the tube on their own and are of a smaller diameter. 21" weapons with fuel-burning engines start outside the tube. Once outside the tube the torpedo begins its run toward the target as programmed by the fire control system. Attack functions are programmed but with wire guided weapons, certain functions can be controlled from the ship.
For wire-guided torpedoes, the muzzle door must remain open because the guidance wire is still connected to the inside of the breech door to receive commands from the submarine's fire-control system. A wire cutter on the inside of the breech door is activated to release the wire and its protective cable; these are drawn clear of the ship prior to shutting the muzzle door. The drain cycle is a reverse of the flood cycle. Water can be moved as necessary; the tube must be vented to drain the tube since it is by gravity. Open the breech door and remove the remnants of the torpedo power cable and the guidance wire basket; the tube must be wiped dry to prevent a buildup of slime. This process is called "diving the tube" and tradition dictates that "ye who shoots, dives". Shut and lock the breech door. Spare torpedoes are stored behind the tube in racks. Speed is a desirable feature of a torpedo loading system. There are various manual and hydraulic handling systems for loading torpedoes into the tubes. Prior to the Ohio class, US SSBNs utilized manual block and tackle which took about 15 minutes to load a tube.
SSNs prior to the Seawolf class used a hydraulic system, much faster and safer in conditions where the ship needed to maneuver. The German Type 212 submarine uses a new development of the water ram expulsion system, which ejects the torpedo with water pressure to avoid acoustic detection. List of torpedoes by diameter The Fleet Type Submarine Online 21-Inch Submerged Torpedo Tubes United States Navy Restricted Ordnance Pamphlet 1085, June 1944 Torpedo tubes of German U-Boats
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original German 20 mm Becker design that appeared early in World War I. It was produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others, with various models employed by both Allied and Axis forces during World War II, many versions still in use today. During World War I, the German industrialist Reinhold Becker developed a 20 mm caliber cannon, known now as the 20 mm Becker using the Advanced Primer Ignition blowback method of operation; this had a cyclic rate of fire of 300 rpm. It was used on a limited scale as an aircraft gun on Luftstreitkräfte warplanes, an anti-aircraft gun towards the end of that war; because the Treaty of Versailles banned further production of such weapons in Germany, the patents and design works were transferred in 1919 to the Swiss firm SEMAG based near Zürich. SEMAG continued development of the weapon, in 1924 had produced the SEMAG L, a heavier weapon that fired more powerful 20x100RB ammunition at a higher rate of fire, 350 rpm.
In 1924 SEMAG failed. The Oerlikon firm, named after the Zürich suburb of Oerlikon where it was based acquired all rights to the weapon, plus the manufacturing equipment and the employees of SEMAG. In 1927 the Oerlikon S was added to the existing product line; this fired a still larger cartridge to achieve a muzzle velocity of 830 m/s, at the cost of increased weight and a reduced rate of fire. The purpose of this development was to improve the performance of the gun as an anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapon, which required a higher muzzle velocity. An improved version known as the 1S followed in 1930. Three sizes of gun with their different ammunition and barrel length, but similar mechanisms, continued to be developed in parallel. In 1930 Oerlikon reconsidered the application of its gun in aircraft and introduced the AF and AL, designed to be used in flexible mounts, i.e. manually aimed by a gunner. The 15-round box magazine used by earlier versions of the gun was replaced by drum magazine holding 15 or 30 rounds.
In 1935 it made an important step by introducing a series of guns designed to be mounted in or on the wings of fighter aircraft. Designated with FF for Flügelfest meaning "wing-mounted", these weapons were again available in the three sizes, with designations FF, FFL and FFS; the FF fired a larger cartridge than the AF, 20x72RB, but the major improvement in these weapons was a significant increase in rate of fire. The FF weighed 24 kg and achieved a muzzle velocity of 550 to 600 m/s with a rate of fire of 520 rpm; the FFL of 30 kg fired a projectile at a muzzle velocity of 675 m/s with a rate of fire of 500 rpm. And the FFS, which weighed 39 kg, delivered a high muzzle velocity of 830 m/s at a rate of fire of 470 rpm. Apart from changes to the design of the guns for wing-mounting and remote control, larger drums were introduced as it would not be possible to exchange magazines in flight. For the FF series drum sizes of 45, 60, 75 and 100 rounds were available, but most users chose the 60-round drum.
The 1930s were a period of global re-armament, a number of foreign firms took licenses for the Oerlikon family of aircraft cannon. In France, Hispano-Suiza manufactured development of the FFS as the Hispano-Suiza HS.7 and Hispano-Suiza HS.9, for installation between the cylinder banks of its V-12 engines. In Germany, Ikaria further developed the FF gun as firing 20x80RB ammunition, and the Imperial Japanese Navy, after evaluating all three guns, ordered developments of the FF and FFL as the Type 99-1 and Type 99-2. The incorporation of the improvements of the FFS in a new anti-aircraft gun produced, in 1938, the Oerlikon SS. Oerlikon realized further improvements in rate of fire on the 1SS of 1942, the 2SS of 1945 which achieved 650 rpm. However, it was the original SS gun, adopted as anti-aircraft gun, being widely used by Allied navies during World War II; this gun used a 400-grain charge of IMR 4831 smokeless powder to propel a 2,000-grain projectile at 2,800 feet per second. The Oerlikon FF was installed as armament on some fighters of the 1930s, such as the Polish PZL P.24G.
Locally produced derivatives of the Oerlikon cannon were used much more extensively, on aircraft, on ships and on land. In the air, the Ikaria MG FF was used as armament on a number of German aircraft, of which the most famous is the Messerschmitt Bf 109; the Japanese Navy used their copy of the FF, designated the Type 99 Mark One cannon on a number of types including the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. In the war, they equipped fighters including the Zero with the Type 99 Mark Two, a version of the more powerful and faster-firing Oerlikon FFL; the French firm of Hispano-Suiza was a manufacturer of aircraft engines, it marketed the moteur-canon combination of its 12X and 12Y engines with a H. S.7 or H. S.9 cannon installed between the cylinder banks. The gun fired through the hollow propeller hub, this being elevated above the crankcase by the design of the gearing; such armament was installed on the Morane-Saulnier M. S.406 and some other types. Similar German installations of the MG FF were not successful.
The Oerlikon became best known in its naval applications. The Oerlikon was not looked upon favorably by the Royal Navy as a short-range anti-aircraft gun. All through 1937-1938 Lord Louis Mountbatten a Captain in the Royal Navy, waged a lone campaign within the Royal Navy to set up an unprejudiced trial for the Oerlikon 20 mm gun, but it was all in vain, it was not until the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet, Admiral Sir Roger Backhouse, was appointed First Sea Lord tha
Alexander Stephen and Sons
Alexander Stephen and Sons Limited referred to as Alex Stephens or just Stephens, was a Scottish shipbuilding company based in Linthouse, Glasgow, on the River Clyde. The company's roots can be found in Alexander Stephen who began shipbuilding at Burghead on the Moray Firth in 1750. In 1793 William Stephen, a descendant of his, established a firm of shipbuilders at Footdee in Aberdeen. In 1813 another member of the family, again called William, commenced shipbuilding at Arbroath. Alexander Stephen, a member of the third generation of the family, merged the Aberdeen and Arbroath businesses in 1828 and after closing the Aberdeen yard in 1829, moved production to the Panmure yard in Dundee in 1842. In 1850 Alexander Stephen arranged a lease of the Kelvinhaugh yard in Glasgow from Robert Black for twenty years from May, 1851; the site of the Kelvinhaugh yard is now Yorkhill Quay. The Arbroath yard closed in 1857. Due to the restrictions in size of the Kelvinhaugh yard, as well as the impending expiry of the lease, in 1870 the Glasgow business moved to a new site at Linthouse.
The Dundee shipyard was sold to the Dundee Shipbuilders' Company in 1893. In a tragic disaster in 1883, the Daphne, a steamer, capsized after its launch from the Linthouse yard, 124 workers lost their lives. In 1968, Stephens was incorporated into Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and was closed after the latter organisation collapsed in 1971; the engineering and ship repair elements of Alexander Stephen & Sons were not part of the UCS merger and continued until 1976, with the Company wound up in 1982, when the shareholders were repaid. The ship repair business was based at the Govan Graving Docks, purchased from the Clyde Port Authority in 1967. There is no knowledge of the earliest ships built, but the last 153 which were built on the East Coast are recorded. On the Clyde the firm built 697 ships, 147 at the Kelvinhaugh shipyard and the remainder at Linthouse, it was at Stephens shipyard. Part of the site is now occupied by a Thales Optronics facility, with the former main office building converted into lettable office space by Govan Workspace.
The A-listed former Engine Shop was salvaged by the Scottish Maritime Museum in 1991 and rebuilt at its site in Irvine. University of Glasgow Archives hold a number of separately catalogued records collections for various Clyde shipbuilding firms associated with the name Alexander Stephen. For ship's plans, two of the larger holdings are "Collection of miscellaneous ship plans built on the river Clyde, Scotland" and "Records of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd, Linthouse Division, shipbuilders Glasgow, Scotland"; however the cataloging does not list names of individual vessels. Cataloguing is accessed via a link from the GLA home page, directly from the GLA search page; the table below provides basic details of vessels from 1940, it will be expanded to include other vessels. Further lists of vessels built by the firm can be found at the "Maritime History Virtual Archives": Arbroath yard list 1830-1843, Dundee yard list 1844-1893, Linthouse yard-list 1870-1893. William Stephen, Arbroath. Clyde Built Ships, yard list Alexander Stephen & Sons, Dundee.
Clyde Built Ships, yard list Alexander Stephen & Sons, Kelvinhaugh. Clyde Built Ships, yard list Alexander Stephen & Sons, Govan. Clyde Built Ships, yard list
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists and Catholics, led by General Francisco Franco. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and communism; the Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975. The war began after a pronunciamiento against the Republican government by a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces under the leadership of José Sanjurjo; the government at the time was a moderate, liberal coalition of Republicans, supported in the Cortes by communist and socialist parties, under the leadership of centre-left President Manuel Azaña.
The Nationalist group was supported by a number of conservative groups, including the Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Right-wing Groups, including both the opposing sides of Alfonsists and the religious conservative Carlists, the Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista, a fascist political party. Sanjurjo was killed in an aircraft accident while attempting to return from exile in Portugal, whereupon Franco emerged as the leader of the Nationalists; the coup was supported by military units in the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, Burgos, Valladolid, Cádiz, Córdoba, Seville. However, rebelling units in some important cities—such as Madrid, Valencia, Málaga—did not gain control, those cities remained under the control of the government. Spain was thus left militarily and politically divided; the Nationalists and the Republican government fought for control of the country. The Nationalist forces received munitions and air support from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, while the Republican side received support from the Soviet Union and Mexico.
Other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, continued to recognise the Republican government, but followed an official policy of non-intervention. Notwithstanding this policy, tens of thousands of citizens from non-interventionist countries directly participated in the conflict, they fought in the pro-Republican International Brigades, which included several thousand exiles from pro-Nationalist regimes. The Nationalists advanced from their strongholds in the south and west, capturing most of Spain's northern coastline in 1937, they besieged Madrid and the area to its south and west for much of the war. After much of Catalonia was captured in 1938 and 1939, Madrid cut off from Barcelona, the Republican military position became hopeless. Madrid and Barcelona were occupied without resistance, Franco declared victory and his regime received diplomatic recognition from all non-interventionist governments. Thousands of leftist Spaniards fled to refugee camps in southern France.
Those associated with the losing Republicans were persecuted by the victorious Nationalists. With the establishment of a dictatorship led by General Franco in the aftermath of the war, all right-wing parties were fused into the structure of the Franco regime; the war became notable for the passion and political division it inspired and for the many atrocities that occurred, on both sides. Organised purges occurred in territory captured by Franco's forces so they could consolidate their future regime. A significant number of killings took place in areas controlled by the Republicans; the extent to which Republican authorities took part in killings in Republican territory varied. The 19th century was a turbulent time for Spain; those in favour of reforming Spain's government vied for political power with conservatives, who tried to prevent reforms from taking place. Some liberals, in a tradition that had started with the Spanish Constitution of 1812, sought to limit the power of the monarchy of Spain and to establish a liberal state.
The reforms of 1812 did not last after King Ferdinand VII dissolved the Constitution and ended the Trienio Liberal government. Twelve successful coups were carried out between 1814 and 1874; until the 1850s, the economy of Spain was based on agriculture. There was little development of a bourgeois commercial class; the land-based oligarchy remained powerful. In 1868 popular uprisings led to the overthrow of Queen Isabella II of the House of Bourbon. Two distinct factors led to the uprisings: a series of urban riots and a liberal movement within the middle classes and the military concerned with the ultra-conservatism of the monarchy. In 1873 Isabella's replacement, King Amadeo I of the House of Savoy, abdicated owing to increasing political pressure, the short-lived First Spanish Republic was proclaimed. After the restoration of the Bourbons in December 1874, Carlists and Anarchists emerged in opposition to the monarchy. Alejandro Lerroux, Spanish politician and leader of the Radical Republican Party, helped bring republicanism to the fore in Catalonia, where poverty was acute.
Growing resentment of conscription and of the military culminated in the Tragic Week in Barcelona in 1909. Spain was neutral in World War I. Following the war, the working class, industrial class, military united in hopes of removing the corrupt central government, but were unsuc
Francoist Spain, known in Spain as the Francoist dictatorship known as the Spanish State from 1936 to 1947 and the Kingdom of Spain from 1947 to 1975, is the period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain as dictator with the title Caudillo. The nature of the regime changed during its existence. Months after the start of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, Franco emerged as the single rebel military leader and was proclaimed Head of State on 1 October 1936, ruling a dictatorship over the territory controlled by the Nationalist faction; the 1937 Unification Decree merging all parties supporting the rebel side led to Nationalist Spain becoming a single-party regime. The end of the war in 1939 brought the extension of the Franco rule to the whole country and the exile of Republican institutions; the Francoist dictatorship took a form described as "fascistized dictatorship", or "semi-fascist regime", bringing a clear influence from German and Italian totalitarianisms in fields such as labor relations, the autarkic economic policy, the particular use of symbols, or the single-party, the FET y de las JONS.
In its years the regime opened up and became closer to developmental dictatorships, although it always preserved residual fascist trappings. During the Second World War, Spain's entry in to the Axis alongside its supporters from the civil war and Italy, never came to be after Franco's demands for the war-torn country to join proved too much for the other members to accept. Spain helped Germany and Italy in various ways while maintaining its neutrality. However, Spain was isolated by many other countries for nearly a decade after World War II and its autocratic economy, still trying to recover from the civil war, suffered from chronic depression. Reforms were implemented in the 1950s and Spain abandoned autarky, delegating authority to liberal ministers; this led to massive economic growth that lasted until the mid-1970s, second only to Japan, known as the "Spanish miracle". During the 1950s the regime changed from being totalitarian and using severe repression to an authoritarian system with limited pluralism.
Spain joined the United Nations in 1955 and during the Cold War, Franco was one of the world's foremost anti-Communist figures: his regime was assisted by the West, it was asked to join NATO. Franco died in 1975 at the age of 82, he restored the monarchy before his death, which made his successor King Juan Carlos I, who led the Spanish transition to democracy. On 1 October 1936, Franco was formally recognised as Caudillo of Spain—the Spanish equivalent of the Italian Duce and the German Führer—by the Junta de Defensa Nacional, which governed the territories occupied by the Nationalists. In April 1937, Franco assumed control of the Falange Española de las JONS led by Manuel Hedilla, who had succeeded José Antonio Primo de Rivera, executed in November 1936 by the Republican government, he merged it with the Carlist Comunión Tradicionalista to form the Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las JONS, the sole legal party of Francoist Spain, it was the main component of the Movimiento Nacional. The Falangists were concentrated at local government and grassroot level, entrusted with harnessing the Civil War's momentum of mass mobilisation through their auxiliaries and trade unions by collecting denunciations of enemy residents and recruiting workers into the trade unions.
While there were prominent Falangists at a senior government level before the late 1940s, there were higher concentrations of monarchists, military officials and other traditional conservative factions at those levels. However, the Falange remained the sole party; the Francoists took control of Spain through a comprehensive and methodical war of attrition which involved the imprisonment and executions of Spaniards found guilty of supporting the values promoted by the Republic: regional autonomy, liberal or social democracy, free elections and women's rights, including the vote. The right-wing considered these "enemy elements" to comprise an "anti-Spain", the product of Bolsheviks and a "Judeo-Masonic conspiracy", which had evolved after the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula from the Islamic Moors, a Reconquista, declared formally over with the Alhambra Decree of 1492 expelling the Jews from Spain. At the end of the Spanish Civil War, according to the regime's own figures there were more than 270,000 men and women held in prisons and some 500,000 had fled into exile.
Large numbers of those captured were returned to Spain or interned in Nazi concentration camps as stateless enemies. Between six and seven thousand exiles from Spain died in Mauthausen, it has been estimated that more than 200,000 Spaniards died in the first years of the dictatorship from 1940–1942 as a result of political persecution and disease related to the conflict. Spain's strong ties with the Axis resulted in its international ostracism in the early years following World War II as Spain was not a founding member of the United Nations and did not become a member until 1955; this changed with the Cold War that soon followed the end of hostilities in 1945, in the face of which Franco's strong anti-communism tilted its regime to ally with the United States. Independent political parties and trade unions were banned throughout the duration of the dictatorship. Once decrees for economic stabilisation were put forth by the late 1950s, the way was opened for massive foreign investment – "a watershed in post-war economic and ideological normalisation leading to extraordinarily rapid e