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Pacto del Olvido: The Elephant in the Room

Citizenship
Conflict
Conflict Resolution
Democracy
Democratisation
Human Rights
Transitional States
Rodrigo Vaz
School of Oriental and African Studies
Rodrigo Vaz
School of Oriental and African Studies

Abstract

This article deals with the politics of memory in Spain. I first engage with the literature on different approaches to remembering (or forgetting) harm in a post-conflict society. The article then moves to its case-study, the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist Republic. Historical events such as the regime’s repression of local autonomies, state-built narratives regarding the atrocities of the civil war, and especially how the democratic regime chose to deal with the crimes of the Franco regime are highlighted. It must be said that the heavy emphasis in history is intended: Spanish history is full of intricacies that must be addressed in order to understand how Spain deals with its memory of the conflict. The ‘pacto del olvido’, the commitment imposed by the Spanish political elites after the fall of Franco’s regime (and even after 1981) deserve particular attention.