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Minas Tirith Forums » Reference Material » Did Tolkien ever support dictator Francisco Franco?
Author Topic: Did Tolkien ever support dictator Francisco Franco?
Angathas
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Yesterday (Dec. 16) I watched the CBS morning show and saw John Leonard review the new film. He said he liked the movie, but then added that Tolkien was a monarchist, a Luddite, and a supporter of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.
Is this possible? This sounds absurd. I have found nothing in the "Letters of JRRT" or in H. Carpenter's books to support this accusation, which tries to connect Tolkien with fascism. I have heard these allegations before that Tolkien had fascist tendencies. Anyone who believes this has not read the books. In the War of the Ring Tolkien works so hard to show how beings of different races can unite against the fascistic policies of Sauron. There's also the chapter of "The Scouring of the Shire", which shows what happened when force was used to subdue the Shire province.
As for Tolkien being a monarchist...I don't really care. So what. Look at all the people who cried for Princess Diana when she died.
As for Tolkien being a Luddite...well, even he loved nature and despised the drawbacks of the industrial revolution, he still lived in the real world, rode around in cars, used stoves and telephones, and probably knew that living in an 18th Century type of world was most likely impractical. Please respond if have any info.

From: Staten Island, New York 10306 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Star
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I've been reading a book, Defending Middle Earth: Myth and Modernity by Patrick Curry. In it Curry disproves much of the criticism of Tolkien and his work. Tolkien was emphatically not a fascist. Tolkien obviously had some affection for monarchy, but this is not uncommon among the English. I would call him suspicious of technology and he would certainly disapprove of the rampant industrialization of the modern world, with little attention to the impact on the environment and our future survival. There is a big difference between an environmentalist and a person who smashes machines and terrorizes factory owners. I've never heard anything about Tolkien that was supported by fact, that made me like his works any less.
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White Gold Wielder
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Moving to Reference Materials...
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Hidalgo
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This is absurd. If Tolkien had been a monarchist, he wouldn't have supported Franco, who had ussurped the power (the throne) in Spain; and if he supported Franco then he wasn't a monarchist.[Translation for Americans: You can't be both a Republican and a Democrat].
Anyway, I've never heard that he was ever interested in Spanish politics.

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Earendilyon
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The good Professor was appalled by the nazi-regime in Germany and its behaviour towards Jews. Why would he support Franco, who was just a little less racist?
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Roll of Honor Thorondor
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Franco appears only once in Tolkien's published letters. In letter #83 he tells his son of an encounter with Roy Campbell, a "poet and soldier" who had led a rather remarkable life, according to Tolkien's account. Campbell, a converted catholic (like Tolkien), risked his life defending a Carmelite monastery and their archives, from the communist army in Barcelona, and had subsequently fought on the side of Franco. He had then returned to England to fight with the British army. Tolkien seems to admire the man, primarily for his defense of catholisism, and makes no other comment on Franco.

Tolkien certainly seems to have disliked, and disagreed with leftists, as a committed catholic how he could have done otherwise, and he may have felt sympathy for Franco's cause in that regard. He seems to have expected war between the Soviets and the US at the end of the conflict with Germany (as did many).

It is much more clear, however, that he loathed the Nazi's and their anti-semitism. In letters to his sons, he comments on the "current fight against Sauron" (or words to that effect), meaning the current fight against the embodiment of evil.

He is also quite clear in his dislike, even hatred, for "the machine", especially mechanized warfare. He expresses his ambivilence over the RAF; he admires them and recognizes their contribution, but feels that warplanes and the wholesale destruction of cities, even german cities, is an evil invention. He is shocked and distressed by news of the atomic bomb. I have met men who flew in the US 8th airforce and dropped those bombs on Germany, and I doubt that they would disagree much with Tolkien's view.

Luddites were really a labor movement, not an agrarian movement, and Tolkien is really not one of them. His vision is more of a "Jeffersonian" dream (as it might be called in the US).

There is no doubt that Tolkien was a firmly commited catholic and a strongly principled man. This put him at odds with the left-leaning intelligencia and literary crowd then and still does now. We can expect some reviewers and commentators in today's media to be suspicious of anything produced by a man of such strong religious beliefs.


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melian the maia
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just a little correction, watcher (pero de buen rollito...)

quote:
"This is absurd. If Tolkien had been a monarchist, he wouldn't have supported Franco, who had ussurped the power (the throne) in Spain;"

franco did not ussurpe the throne, there was already a republic (from 1931 i think), so tolkien could both support monarchy and franco(after all he designed juan carlos I as his successor) .

but honestly, i really don't think he supported f.f.!! i think his works tell how different races or beings always join against an enemy who usually has a fascist-ish ideology.

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I am melian and melian means me


From: doriath | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Angathas
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Thorondor, you got it right on. I have learned that Franco was a staunch defender of the Catholic faith, and this would have impressed JRRT. As Tolkien says, all the criticism of Franco came from the leftists who actually embraced, and still do in Cuba, the doctrine of a controlling society. It's too bad, though, that we have to put up with reviewers who have a political axe to grind at the expense of our favorite author. I respect JRRT more for his religious views (even though I'm a big Ayn Rand reader) as well as his poetry (none of which are in the film) which is akin to great poets like Sassoon, R. Graves, J. Masefield, and R. Brooke, and none of that modernist nonsense.
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Hidalgo
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Melian, I admit that Franco took the power from a republic, but only after that republic had taken it from the king Alfonso XIII.
In fact Franco got to the power only when general Sanjurjo (leader of the nacionales) died. When that happened Franco was elected leader of the nacionales. As Sanjurjo was a true monarchist we can guess he would have offered the throne back to the king.
Instead Franco became dictator of Spain; and he offered the throne to Juan Carlos I only AFTER his own death, in order to satisfy all the true monarchists who wanted Franco out of the power and the return of Alfonso XIII. That way he could have the support of a big part of the Spanish population.
Franco wasn't a monarchist, in fact before 1936 he isn't known to have a political attitude at all; and after 1936 his attitude is keeping the power at all costs.

Paz y buen rollito.


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melian the maia
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oooooops! i guess i deserve your lecture watcher, thanks for your information!! i won't contradict you again...

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I am melian and melian means me

From: doriath | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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