Spain emerged from the Civil War (1936-1939) with formidable economic problems. They were caused by military destruction, by foreign condemnation, and especially by the establishment of an autarkic system, in which the victorious Francoist side followed the political and economic path of other European fascist regimes. Despite legal restrictions, many foreign companies continued to seek out and exploit both new and old relationships in Spain, usually in association with the state-owned holding Instituto Nacional de Industria (INI). This foreign support was a major factor in ending Spain’s international isolation, increasing confidence in the Spanish economy, and removing obstacles for later growth. The purpose of this article is to analyze the collaboration between French firms and INI in the early Franco era (1940s and 1950s), identifying the main enterprises, agreements, and results. We assert that foreign assistance to Spain was present during the autarky period and highlight the continuity of the collaboration between Spain and France in those difficult years. Therefore, we defend multinationals' flexibility in adapting themselves to a hostile environment, particularly across political and economic networks with local partners.
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