You are thinking of Francisco Franco y Bahamonde, who is best known just as just Franco. Born in 1892, Franco entered the military as soon as he was of age. In 1926, at just 34 years old, he became the youngest general in all of Europe. In 1936, Franco participated in a military coup against Spain's left-wing Popular Front government — a conflict that morphed into the Spanish Civil War. The rebellion established the Nationalist party with Franco as its leader, and Italy and Germany helped the Nationalists achieve victory in the war.

Franco dissolved the Spanish Parliament and established a right-wing authoritarian regime with himself as the only leader. He became a ruthless dictator, keeping his power by censoring the media and imprisoning those who disagreed with his leadership. Franco established concentration camps and forced labor prisons throughout Spain for the placement of his ideological enemies and any political dissidents.

Franco's dictatorship was closely tied to the Catholic Church. He outlawed anything that didn't mesh with Catholicism, including contraceptive use, homosexuality, divorce, and even the practice of any other religion.

Franco maintained Spain's neutrality during World War II, mostly because Spain couldn't afford to enter the war as its economy was still recovering from the Spanish Civil War. However, in theory, Franco supported the Axis Powers (Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan). Despite this, and despite the lack of freedom most Spaniards suffered under Franco's rule, after World War II, Spain and the United States became allies. Franco loathed Communism, and during the Cold War this was enough to secure a good relationship with the United States. U.S. President Richard Nixon especially exalted Franco, calling him a "loyal friend and ally of the United States."

Franco ruled Spain until his death in 1975, after which, Spain gradually transitioned a democracy.