Valle de los Caidos, Spain

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Valle de Los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) is a monument in Spain north of Madrid, intended by Francisco Franco to be a memorial to both sides in the Spanish Civil War. Since about 600,000 people died in the war, maybe half by war crimes, plus perhaps 100,000 or so killed after the war, the idea really didn't capture people's hearts and minds, especially those who opposed Franco.
The stark architecture and huge empty plaza reminded me of the sort of stuff Albert Speer envisioned for Berlin. I said to my wife "This is exactly the sort of thing a fascist would build."

Views from the Plaza


Left and below: A 100-meter cross crowns the mountain top.


Classic Fascist architecture. Albert Speer, after being released from Spandau, looked at some of his grandiose plans for Berlin and described them as "the epitome of cruelty." It's all about power, but not uplifting and ennobling power like in a great cathedral. This is power that oppresses and intimidates.

Return to Virtual FieldTrips Index
Return to Historic Sites Index Return to Professor Dutch's Home Page

Created 22 June 2007, Last Update 03 June 2020