The early 1970s saw a dramatic economic downturn. 30 year era of economic growth brought to
the end by the oil crisis in 197374.
Oil crisis: October 1973, Egypt and Syria, with other nations in Arab world, attacked Israel on Yom
Kippur. Arab states did this in hopes of reclaiming Palestinian territories that Israel had occupied
since Six Day War in 1967. 1973, Israel responded to this attack by preparing for war, went on full
nuclear alert, planes stocked with nuclear weapons. US declared readiness to supply Israel with
arms. In retaliation against US, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries declared embargo,
refuse to ship oil to US, lasted 5 months. Effect was dramatic – world oil prices across the globe
doubled. Oil prices across the globe doubled, stock market crashed, annual inflation rate in US
increased drastically. European countries saw inflation rate soar, too – French went up to over
10%/year, Italy 16%/year, Spain 18%/year, UK 15.6% and then 24%.
Housing prices across Europe shot up. Housing had been relatively cheap during Trente
Glorieuses and Wunderjahre. But then, suddenly, upsurge.
Misery Index in the UK – unemployment and consumer prices. Unemployment up, consumer prices
up = misery.
Rise of punk rock, such as Sex Pistols in UK. “Anarchy in the UK”
1970s also brought relaxation of tension between NATO and Soviet Bloc. Return to negotiation,
attempt to warm up the Cold War.
But 70s also brought collapse in Southern dictatorships.
Specifically three countries: Greece, Portugal, and Spain
Massive population, 38 million.
General Francisco Franco – authoritarian, right wing. Franco came to power in struggle against
Communism in 1930s and retained hold over Spain from 1939 to mid 1970s. Represented a
typically Spanish alliance of reactionary forces in Catholic Church, army, and remnants of fascist
phalange movement. Both modernist and authoritarian.
Franco died in November 1975 and Spain made relatively smooth transition to democracy. Juan
Carlos had been named successor head of state in 1969. He became king – first king since 1930s.
Soon after in power, he reformed Spanish state, dismantled institutions that had upheld Franco,
and began transition to democracy.
1977 (not 76) Adolfo Suarez became PM as head of Democratic Center, first elected head of Spain
since 1930s. As if Spain had been in a state of authoritarian slumber.
General Salazar – 194252 as head of New State, rightwing authoritarian govt with Salazar a
virtual dictator like Franco or Mussolini. Anticommunist, proCatholic. Partner of US and NATO
because opposition to communism, Portugal was founding member of NATO.
This is a common pattern for rightwing, authoritarian, antiCommunist states – great support from
US. Cared less about internal democratic functioning and more about how those states proved
themselves reliable allies during Cold War. Portugal had low standard of living, average per