Franco graduated from the military academy in Toledo. At age of 23 he became the youngest major in the Spanish army. He was made general in 1926 and from 1933 onwards he was commander of the Spanish army.
He took control of the government in a military uprising in 1936, which was the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, ending in his conquest of Madrid on March 28, 1939. After this he was the dictator of Spain until his death in 1975.
Although under constant pressure form Adolf Hitler Franco managed to keep Spain neutral during World War II. In 1947 he proclaimed Spain a monarchy and made himself regent. In 1969 he designated Prince Juan Carlos I as his successor. By 1973 Franco gave up the function of Prime Minister, remaining only as head of the country and as commander of the military forces.
Franco was a devoted fascist and during his rule trade unions and all other political opponents were suppressed.