Artigo na imprensa espanhola sobre a participação dos “Viriatos” na Guerra Civil de Espanha; ©News Museum Lisboa Sintra.

Iberian Pact

17 March 2021

#Inthisday March 17, 1939, Salazar and Franco signed the Iberian Pact, a few days away from the taking of Madrid by the Francoists. The victory of the Popular Front, made up of left-wing Republicans, socialists, communists, Trotskyists and trade unionists, had been contested, from the first hour, by General Franco.

Without ever being publicly recognized, the “Viriatos”, a Portuguese militia corps organized by Major Jorge Botelho Moniz (one of the military men of May 28, 1926), participated in the Spanish Civil War by supporting Francoist forces. Unofficial figures are estimated to have been around 20,000 men. In addition to this support, other collaborative actions were developed between Salazar and Franco, the permission to enter arms through Portuguese ports, the collaboration of the police and PIDE in the persecution and surrender of refugees and republicans; the use of the “Rádio Clube Português” broadcast, founded by Botelho Moniz, to encourage Francoist forces.

The Iberian Pact consummated these close relationships of support and collaboration between the two dictatorships, months before the outbreak of World War II.

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