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The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly known as the Second Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, Segunda República Española), was the form of government in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic was proclaimed on 14 April 1931, after the deposition of
King Alfonso XIII Alfonso XIII (17 May 1886 – 28 February 1941), also known as El Africano or the African, was King of Spain , coatofarms = Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch.svg , coatofarms_article = Coat of arms of the King of Spain , image ...

King Alfonso XIII
and was dissolved on 1 April 1939 after surrendering in the
Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ( es, La Rebelión) or Uprising ( ...

Spanish Civil War
to the
Nationalists Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
led by General
Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly ...

Francisco Franco
. After the proclamation of the Republic, a provisional government was established until December 1931, at which time the 1931 Constitution was approved. Once the constituent assembly had fulfilled its mandate of approving a new constitution, it inherently, by nature of being a parliament, would have arranged for regular parliamentary elections and adjourned. However, fearing the increasingly popular opposition, the Radical and Socialist majority postponed the regular elections, prolonging their power for two more years. During this time,
Manuel Azaña Manuel Azaña Díaz (; 10 January 1880 – 3 November 1940) was a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of Spain, Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1933 and 1936), organizer of the Popular Front in 1935 and the las ...
's government initiated numerous reforms to what in their view would modernize the country. In 1932 the Jesuits, who were in charge of the best schools throughout the country, were banned and had all their property confiscated. Furthermore, the army was reduced. A moderate agrarian reform was carried out. Home rule was granted to
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
, with a local parliament and a president of its own. Soon, Azaña lost parliamentary support and President Alcalá-Zamora forced his resignation in September 1933. The subsequent 1933 election was won by the
Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right The Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas (Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Rights), more commonly CEDA, was a Spanish political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's el ...
(CEDA). However the President declined to invite its leader, Gil Robles, to form a government, fearing CEDA's monarchist sympathies. Instead, he invited the
Radical Republican Party The Radical Republican Party ( es, Partido Republicano Radical), sometimes shortened to the Radical Party, was a liberalism and radicalism in Spain, Spanish Radical party in existence between 1908 and 1936. Beginning as a splinter from earlier Rad ...
's
Alejandro Lerroux Alejandro Lerroux García ( La Rambla, Córdoba, 4 March 1864 – Madrid Madrid (, ) is the capital and most-populous city of Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.sv ...
to do so. CEDA was denied cabinet positions for nearly a year. In October 1934, CEDA was finally successful in forcing the acceptance of three ministries. The Socialists triggered an insurrection that they had been preparing for nine months. A general strike was called by the UGT and the PSOE in the name of the ''Alianza Obrera''.Payne, Stanley G. The collapse of the Spanish republic, 1933–1936: Origins of the civil war. Yale University Press, 2008, pp.84–85 The rebellion developed into a bloody
revolutionary uprising A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term ''revolutionary'' refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor. De ...
, aiming to overthrow the republican government. Armed revolutionaries managed to take the whole province of Asturias, committing numerous murders of policemen, clerics and civilians and destroying religious buildings and part of the
University of Oviedo The University of Oviedo ( es, Universidad de Oviedo, Asturian: ''Universidá d'Uviéu'') is a public university #REDIRECT Public university #REDIRECT Public university #REDIRECT Public university#REDIRECT Public university A public universit ...
. In the occupied areas, the rebels officially declared a proletarian revolution and abolished regular money. The rebellion was crushed by the
Spanish Navy The Spanish Navy ( es, link=no, Armada Española) is the maritime branch of the Spanish Armed Forces The Spanish Armed Forces are in charge of guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of the Kingdom of Spain, defending its territorial in ...
and the
Spanish Republican Army The Spanish Republican Army ( es, Ejército de la República Española) was the main branch of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces, Armed Forces of the Second Spanish Republic between 1931 and 1939. It became known as People's Army of the Republic ...
, the latter using mainly
Moorish colonial troops
Moorish colonial troops
from
Spanish Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in ...
. In 1935, after a series of crisis and corruption scandals, President Alcalá-Zamora, who had always been hostile to the government, called for new elections, instead of inviting CEDA, the party with most seats in the parliament, to form a new government. The
Popular Front A popular front is "any coalition of working-class and middle-class parties", including liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent ...
won the 1936 general election with a narrow victory. The revolutionary left wing masses took to the streets, released prisoners. Within hours, sixteen people were killed, and thirty-nine were seriously injured. Meanwhile, fifty churches and seventy conservative political centres were attacked.Alvarez Tardio, Manuel. "Mobilization and political violence following the Spanish general elections of 1936". REVISTA DE ESTUDIOS POLITICOS 177 (2017): 147-179.
Manuel Azaña Díaz
Manuel Azaña Díaz
was called upon to form a government before the electoral process had come to an end; he would shortly replace Zamora as president, taking advantage of a constitutional loophole. The Right abandoned the parliamentary option and began to conspire to overthrow the Republic, rather than taking control of it. The disenchantment with Azaña's ruling was voiced by
Miguel de Unamuno Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (29 September 1864 – 31 December 1936) was a Spanish essay An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth ...
, a republican and one of Spain's most respected intellectuals, who said that President
Manuel Azaña Manuel Azaña Díaz (; 10 January 1880 – 3 November 1940) was a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of Spain, Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1933 and 1936), organizer of the Popular Front in 1935 and the las ...
should commit suicide as a patriotic act. On 12 July 1936, a group of
Guardia de Asalto The Cuerpo de Seguridad y Asalto ( en, Security and Assault Corps) was the heavy reserve force of the blue-uniformed urban police force of Spain during the Spanish Second Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), c ...
and other leftist militiamen went to opposition leader 's house and mortally shot him. This assassination had an electrifying effect which provided a catalyst to transform what was a "limping conspiracy", led by General
Emilio Mola Emilio Mola y Vidal, 1st Duke of Mola, Grandee Grandee (; es, Grande de España, ) is an official aristocratic title conferred on some Spanish nobility Spanish nobles are persons who possess the legal status of hereditary nobility ...

Emilio Mola
, into a powerful revolt. Three days later (17 July), the revolt began with an army uprising in
Spanish Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in ...
. The revolt then spread to several regions of the country. Military rebels intended to seize power immediately, but they were met with serious resistance as most of the main cities remained loyal to the Republic. An estimated total of half a million people would lose their lives in the war that followed. During the Spanish Civil War, there were three governments. The first was led by left-wing republican José Giral (from July to September 1936); however, a
revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...
inspired mostly on
libertarian socialist Libertarian socialism, also referred to as anarcho-socialism, anarchist socialism, free socialism, stateless socialism, socialist anarchism and socialist libertarianism,Carlson, Jennifer D. (2012). "Libertarianism". In Miller, Wilburn R., ed. '' ...
,
anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. Anarchism calls for the abolition of the State (polity), state, which it holds to ...

anarchist
and
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
principles broke within the Republic, which weakened the rule of the Republic. The second government was led by
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...
Francisco Largo Caballero Francisco Largo Caballero (15 October 1869 – 23 March 1946) was a Spanish politician and trade unionist. He was one of the historic leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and of the Workers' General Union (UGT). In 1936 and 1937 ...

Francisco Largo Caballero
of the trade union General Union of Workers (UGT). The UGT, along with the National Confederation of Workers (CNT), were the main forces behind the aforementioned social revolution. The third government was led by socialist
Juan Negrín Juan Negrín López (; 3 February 1892 – 12 November 1956) was a Spanish politician and physician. He was a leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Español ; ...

Juan Negrín
, who led the Republic until the military coup of
Segismundo Casado Segismundo Casado López (1893 – 18 December 1968) was a Spanish Army officer in the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War, commanding the Republican Spanish Army in 1939. Together with Julián Besteiro, Julíán Besteiro, a ...

Segismundo Casado
, which ended republican resistance and ultimately led to the victory of the nationalists. The Republican government survived in exile and retained an embassy in
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbreviated as CDMX; nah, Āltepētl Mēxihco) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Mexico, as well as the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Americ ...

Mexico City
until 1976. After the restoration of democracy in Spain, the government-in-exile formally dissolved the following year.


1931–1933 The Reformist Biennium

On 28 January 1930, the military dictatorship of General
Miguel Primo de Rivera Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja, 2nd Marquess of Estella (8 January 1870 – 16 March 1930), was a dictator, aristocrat, and military officer who served as Prime Minister of Spain The president of the Government of Spain ( es, link=no ...
(who had been in power since September 1923) was overthrown. This led various republican factions from a wide variety of backgrounds (including old conservatives, socialists and Catalan nationalists) to join forces. The Pact of San Sebastián was the key to the transition from monarchy to republic. Republicans of all tendencies were committed to the Pact of San Sebastian in overthrowing the monarchy and establishing a republic. The restoration of the royal Bourbons was rejected by large sectors of the populace who vehemently opposed the King. The pact, signed by representatives of the main Republican forces, allowed a joint anti-monarchy political campaign. The 12 April 1931 municipal elections led to a landslide victory for republicans. Two days later, the Second Republic was proclaimed, and King
Alfonso XIII Alfonso XIII (17 May 1886 – 28 February 1941), also known as El Africano or the African, was King of Spain , coatofarms = Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch.svg , coatofarms_article = Coat of arms of the King of Spain , image ...

Alfonso XIII
went into exile. The king's departure led to a
provisional government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally ...
of the young republic under
Niceto Alcalá-Zamora Niceto Alcalá-Zamora y Torres (6 July 1877 – 18 February 1949) was a Spanish lawyer and politician who served, briefly, as the first prime minister of the Second Spanish Republic, and then—from 1931 to 1936—as its president. Early life ...
. Catholic churches and establishments in cities like
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
and
Sevilla Seville (; es, Sevilla, Castilian Spanish , Andalusian Spanish (with yeísmo) ) is the capital and largest city of the Spain, Spanish autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situate ...

Sevilla
were set ablaze on 11 May.


1931 Constitution

In June 1931 a
Constituent Cortes The Constituent Cortes ( es, Las Cortes Constituyentes) is the description of Spain's parliament, the Cortes, when convened as a constituent assembly. In the 20th century, only one Constituent Cortes was officially opened (Cortes are "opened" in ...
was elected to draft a new constitution, which came into force in December. The new constitution established
freedom of speech Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philoso ...

freedom of speech
and
freedom of association Freedom of association encompasses both an individual's right to join or leave groups voluntarily, the right of the group to take collective action Collective action refers to action taken together by a group of people whose goal A goal is ...
, extended
suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called a ...

suffrage
to women in 1933, allowed divorce, and stripped the Spanish nobility of any special legal status. It also effectively disestablished the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
, but the disestablishment was somewhat reversed by the Cortes that same year. Its controversial articles 26 and 27 imposed stringent controls on Church property and barred religious orders from the ranks of educators. Scholars have described the constitution as hostile to religion, with one scholar characterising it as one of the most hostile of the 20th century.Stepan, Alfred
Arguing Comparative Politics
, p. 221, Oxford University Press
José Ortega y Gasset José Ortega y Gasset (; 9 May 1883 – 18 October 1955) was a Spanish philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about ...

José Ortega y Gasset
stated, "the article in which the Constitution legislates the actions of the Church seems highly improper to me."
Pope Pius XI Pope Pius XI ( it, Pio XI), born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti (; 31 May 1857 – 10 February 1939), was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian c ...
condemned the Spanish government's deprivation of the
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgat ...
of Catholics in the
encyclical An encyclical was originally a circular Circular may refer to: * The shape of a circle * Circular (album), ''Circular'' (album), a 2006 album by Spanish singer Vega * Circular letter (disambiguation) ** Flyer (pamphlet), a form of advertisement ...
''
Dilectissima Nobis ''Dilectissima Nobis'' ("On Oppression of the Church of Spain") is an encyclical An encyclical was originally a circular Circular may refer to: * The shape of a circle * Circular (album), ''Circular'' (album), a 2006 album by Spanish singer Vega ...
''. The legislative branch was changed to a single chamber called the
Congress of Deputies The Congress of Deputies ( es, link=no, Congreso de los Diputados) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chamb ...
. The constitution established legal procedures for the
nationalisation Nationalization (or nationalisation) is the process of transforming privately-owned assets into public assets by bringing them under the State ownership, public ownership of a Government, national government or State (polity) , state. Nationa ...
of public services and land, banks, and railways. The constitution provided generally accorded civil liberties and representation. The Republican Constitution also changed the country's national symbols. The ''
Himno de Riego The "Himno de Riego" ("Anthem of Riego") is a song dating from the ''Trienio Liberal'' (1820–1823) of Spain and named in honour of Colonel Rafael del Riego, a figure in the respective uprising, which restored the liberal Spanish Constitution o ...
'' was established as the national anthem, and the , with three horizontal red-yellow-purple fields, became the new flag of Spain. Under the new Constitution, all of Spain's regions had the right to
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...

autonomy
.
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
(1932), the
Basque Country Image:Euskal Herriaren terminologia.png, Map showing the geographical and political divisions of the Basque Country Basque Country may refer to: *Basque Country (autonomous community) (''Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa'' in Basque; ''Comunidad Autónoma ...
(1936) and
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
(although the Galician Statute of Autonomy couldn't come into effect due to the war) exercised this right, with
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...

Aragon
, Andalusia and
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Valencian Community, Valencia and the Municipalities of Spain, third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, surpassing 800,000 ...

Valencia
, engaged in negotiations with the government before the outbreak of the Civil War. The Constitution guaranteed a wide range of civil liberties, but it opposed key beliefs of the conservative right, which was very rooted in rural areas, and desires of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, which was stripped of schools and public subsidies. The 1931 Constitution was formally effective from 1931 until 1939. In the summer of 1936, after the outbreak of the
Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ( es, La Rebelión) or Uprising ( ...

Spanish Civil War
, it became largely irrelevant after the authority of the Republic was superseded in many places by revolutionary socialists and anarchists on one side, and Nationalists on the other.


The Azaña government

With the new constitution approved in December 1931, once the constituent assembly had fulfilled its mandate of approving a new constitution, it should have arranged for regular parliamentary elections and adjourned. However fearing the increasing popular opposition the Radicals and Socialist majority postponed the regular elections, therefore prolonging their way in power for two more years. This way the republican government of
Manuel Azaña Manuel Azaña Díaz (; 10 January 1880 – 3 November 1940) was a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of Spain, Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1933 and 1936), organizer of the Popular Front in 1935 and the las ...
initiated numerous reforms to what in their view would "modernize" the country. In 1932 the Jesuits who were in charge of the best schools throughout the country were banned and had all their property confiscated. The army was reduced. Landowners were expropriated. Home rule was granted to Catalonia, with a local parliament and a president of its own. Catholic churches in major cities were again subject to arson in 1932, and a revolutionary strike action was seen in
Málaga Málaga (, ) is a municipality of Spain, capital of the Province of Málaga , population_note = , blank_name_sec2 = Parliament , blank_info_sec2 = Cortes Generales The Cortes Generales (; en, Spanish Parliament, li ...

Málaga
the same year. A Catholic church in
Zaragoza Zaragoza, also known in English as Saragossa, is the capital city of the Province of Zaragoza, Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It lies by the Ebro river and its tributaries, the ...

Zaragoza
was burnt down in 1933. In November 1932,
Miguel de Unamuno Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (29 September 1864 – 31 December 1936) was a Spanish essay An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth ...
, one of the most respected Spanish intellectuals, rector of the University of Salamanca, and himself a Republican, publicly raised his voice to protest. In a speech delivered on 27 November 1932, at the Madrid Ateneo, he protested: "Even the Inquisition was limited by certain legal guarantees. But now we have something worse: a police force which is grounded only on a general sense of panic and on the invention of non-existent dangers to cover up this over-stepping of the law." In 1933, all remaining religious congregations were obliged to pay taxes and banned from industry, trade and educational activities. This ban was forced with strict police severity and widespread mob violence.


1933–1935 period and miners' uprising

The majority vote in the 1933 elections was won by the
Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right The Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas (Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Rights), more commonly CEDA, was a Spanish political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's el ...
(CEDA). In face of CEDA's electoral victory, president Alcalá-Zamora declined to invite its leader, Gil Robles, to form a government. Instead he invited the
Radical Republican Party The Radical Republican Party ( es, Partido Republicano Radical), sometimes shortened to the Radical Party, was a liberalism and radicalism in Spain, Spanish Radical party in existence between 1908 and 1936. Beginning as a splinter from earlier Rad ...
's
Alejandro Lerroux Alejandro Lerroux García ( La Rambla, Córdoba, 4 March 1864 – Madrid Madrid (, ) is the capital and most-populous city of Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.sv ...
to do so. Despite receiving the most votes, CEDA was denied cabinet positions for nearly a year. After a year of intense pressure, CEDA, the largest party in the congress, was finally successful in forcing the acceptance of three ministries. However the entrance of CEDA in the government, although being normal in a parliamentary democracy, was not well accepted by the left. The Socialists triggered an insurrection that they had been preparing for nine months. A general strike was called by the UGT and the PSOE in the name of the ''Alianza Obrera''. The issue was that the Left Republicans identified the Republic not with democracy or constitutional law but with a specific set of left-wing policies and politicians. Any deviation, even if democratic, was seen as treasonous. The inclusion of three CEDA ministers in the government that took office on 1 October 1934 led to a country wide revolt. A "
Catalan State Catalan Republic or Catalan State refers to Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, des ...
" was proclaimed by Catalan nationalist leader
Lluis Companys Luis is a given name. It is the Spanish language, Spanish form of the originally Germanic language, Germanic name or . Other Iberian Romance languages have comparable forms: (with an accent mark on the i) in Portuguese language, Portuguese and ...
, but it lasted just ten hours. Despite an attempt at a general stoppage in
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
, other strikes did not endure. This left strikers to fight alone. Miners in Asturias occupied the capital,
Oviedo Oviedo (, , ; ast, Uviéu ) is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias Asturias (, ; ast, Asturies ), officially the Principality of Asturias ( es, Principado de Asturias; ast, Principáu d'Asturies; : ''Principao d'Asturi ...

Oviedo
, killing officials and clergymen. Fifty eight religious buildings including churches, convents and part of the university at Oviedo were burned and destroyed. The miners proceeded to occupy several other towns, most notably the large industrial centre of
La Felguera La Felguera is a parish of Langreo, and the most important district in the municipality of Langreo (Principality of Asturias) in northern Spain, with 21.000 inhabitants. It is located 18 minutes by car to Oviedo, the capital of Asturias. La Felgue ...

La Felguera
, and set up town assemblies, or "revolutionary committees", to govern the towns that they controlled. Thirty thousand workers were mobilized for battle within ten days. In the occupied areas the rebels officially declared the proletarian revolution and abolished regular money. The revolutionary soviets set up by the miners attempted to impose order on the areas under their control, and the moderate socialist leadership of Ramón González Peña and Belarmino Tomás took measures to restrain violence. However, a number of captured priests, businessmen and civil guards were summarily executed by the revolutionaries in
Mieres Mieres is a municipality of Asturias, northern Spain, with approximately 38,000 inhabitants. The municipality of Mieres is made up of the capital, Mieres del Camino and the villages of Baiña, Figaredo, Cenera, Loredo, La Peña, La Rebollada, Sa ...
and
Sama Sama or SAMA may refer to: Places * Sama (Harstad), a part of Harstad city in northern Norway * Sama, Asturias, a parish in the municipality of Langreo in northern Spain * Sama, Burkina Faso, a town in the Kouka Department, Banwa Province, Burkin ...
. This rebellion lasted for two weeks until it was crushed by the army, led by General Eduardo López Ochoa. This operation earned López Ochoa the nickname "Butcher of Asturias". Another rebellion by the autonomous government of Catalonia, led by its president Lluís Companys, was also suppressed and was followed by mass arrests and trials. With this rebellion against an established political legitimate authority, the Socialists showed identical repudiation of representative institutional system that anarchists had practiced. The Spanish historian
Salvador de Madariaga Salvador de Madariaga y Rojo (23 July 1886 – 14 December 1978) was a Spanish diplomat, writer, historian, and pacifism, pacifist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Charlemagne Priz ...

Salvador de Madariaga
, an Azaña's supporter, and an exiled vocal opponent of Francisco Franco is the author of a sharp critical reflection against the participation of the left in the revolt: "The uprising of 1934 is unforgivable. The argument that Mr Gil Robles tried to destroy the Constitution to establish fascism was, at once, hypocritical and false. With the rebellion of 1934, the Spanish left lost even the shadow of moral authority to condemn the rebellion of 1936" The suspension of the land reforms that had been attempted by the previous government, and the failure of the Asturias miners' uprising, led to a more radical turn by the parties of the left, especially in the PSOE (Socialist Party), where the moderate
Indalecio Prieto Indalecio Prieto Tuero (30 April 1883 – 11 February 1962) was a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Sp ...

Indalecio Prieto
lost ground to
Francisco Largo Caballero Francisco Largo Caballero (15 October 1869 – 23 March 1946) was a Spanish politician and trade unionist. He was one of the historic leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and of the Workers' General Union (UGT). In 1936 and 1937 ...

Francisco Largo Caballero
, who advocated a socialist revolution. At the same time, the involvement of the Centrist government party in the
Straperlo Straperlo was a scheme which originated in the Netherlands in the 1930s and was then introduced in Spain. In essence it was a fraudulent roulette which could be controlled electrically with the push of a button. The ensuing scandal was one of the s ...
scandal deeply weakened it, further polarising political differences between right and left. These differences became evident in the 1936 elections.


1936 elections

On 7 January 1936, new elections were called. Despite significant rivalries and disagreements, the socialists, Communists, and the Catalan-and-Madrid-based left-wing Republicans decided to work together under the name
Popular Front A popular front is "any coalition of working-class and middle-class parties", including liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent ...
. The Popular Front won the election on 16 February with 263 MPs against 156 right-wing MPs, grouped within a coalition of the ''National Front'' with CEDA,
Carlists Carlism ( eu, Karlismo; ca, Carlisme; ; ) is a Traditionalist Traditionalism is the adherence to traditional beliefs or practices. It may also refer to: Religion and spirituality * Traditionalist conservatism, a school concerned about tradi ...
, and Monarchists. The moderate centre parties virtually disappeared; between the elections, Lerroux's group fell from the 104 representatives it had in 1934 to just 9. American historian
Stanley G. Payne Stanley George Payne (born September 9, 1934 in Denton, Texas Denton is a city in and the county seat of Denton County, Texas, United States. With an estimated population of 141,541 as of 2019, it is the 24th-most populous city in Texas, the 188 ...
thinks that there was major electoral fraud in the process, with widespread violation of the laws and the constitution. In line with Payne's point of view, in 2017 two Spanish Scholars, Manuel Álvarez Tardío and Roberto Villa García published the result of a research where they concluded that the 1936 elections were rigged. This view has been criticised by Eduardo Calleja and Francisco Pérez, who question the charges of electoral irregularity and argue that the Popular Front would still have won a slight electoral majority even if all of the charges were true. In the thirty-six hours following the election, sixteen people were killed (mostly by police officers attempting to maintain order or intervene in violent clashes) and thirty-nine were seriously injured, while fifty churches and seventy conservative political centres were attacked or set ablaze. The right had firmly believed, at all levels, that they would win. Almost immediately after the results were known, a group of monarchists asked Robles to lead a coup but he refused. He did, however, ask prime minister
Manuel Portela Valladares Manuel Portela y Valladares (Pontevedra Pontevedra (, ) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the ''Pontevedra (comarca), Comarca'' (County) and Province of Pontevedra, and of the Rias Baixa ...
to declare a state of war before the revolutionary masses rushed into the streets. Franco also approached Valladares to propose the declaration of martial law and calling out of the army. This was not a coup attempt but more of a "police action" akin to
Asturias Asturias (, ; ast, Asturies ), officially the Principality of Asturias ( es, Principado de Asturias; ast, Principáu d'Asturies; Galician-Asturian Galician–Asturian or Eonavian (autonym Autonym may refer to: * Autonym, the name used by ...
, as Franco believed the post-election environment could become violent and was trying to quell the perceived leftist threat.Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Hachette UK, 2012. Valladares resigned, even before a new government could be formed. However, the Popular Front, which had proved an effective election tool, did not translate into a Popular Front government.
Largo Caballero Francisco Largo Caballero (15 October 1869 – 23 March 1946) was a Spanish politician and trade unionist. He was one of the historic leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and of the Workers' General Union (UGT). In 1936 and 19 ...

Largo Caballero
and other elements of the political left were not prepared to work with the republicans, although they did agree to support much of the proposed reforms. was called upon to form a government before the electoral process had come to an end, and he would shortly replace Zamora as president, taking advantage of a constitutional loophole: the Constitution allowed the Cortes to remove the President from office after two early dissolutions, and while the first (1933) dissolution had been partially justified because of the fulfillment of the Constitutional mission of the first legislature, the second one had been a simple bid to trigger early elections. The right reacted as if radical communists had taken control, despite the new cabinet's moderate composition; they were shocked by the revolutionary masses taking to the streets and the release of prisoners. Convinced that the left was no longer willing to follow the rule of law and that its vision of Spain was under threat, the right abandoned the parliamentary option and began to conspire as to how to best overthrow the republic, rather than taking control of it. This helped the development of the fascist-inspired
Falange The Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (FET y de las JONS; ), frequently shortened to just "FET", was the sole legal party of the Francoist regime Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista), ...
Española, a National party led by , the son of the former dictator,
Miguel Primo de Rivera Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja, 2nd Marquess of Estella (8 January 1870 – 16 March 1930), was a dictator, aristocrat, and military officer who served as Prime Minister of Spain The president of the Government of Spain ( es, link=no ...
. Although it only received 0.7 percent of the votes in the election, by July 1936 the Falange had 40,000 members. The country rapidly descended into anarchy. Even the socialist
Indalecio Prieto Indalecio Prieto Tuero (30 April 1883 – 11 February 1962) was a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Sp ...

Indalecio Prieto
at a party rally in Cuenca, in May 1936, complained: "we have never seen so tragic a panorama or so great a collapse as in Spain at this moment. Abroad Spain is classified as insolvent. This is not the road to socialism or communism but to desperate anarchism without even the advantage of liberty." In June 1936
Miguel de Unamuno Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (29 September 1864 – 31 December 1936) was a Spanish essay An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth ...
, disenchanted with the unfolding of the events told a reporter who published his statement in ''El Adelanto'' that President
Manuel Azaña Manuel Azaña Díaz (; 10 January 1880 – 3 November 1940) was a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of Spain, Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1933 and 1936), organizer of the Popular Front in 1935 and the las ...
should commit suicide as a patriotic act.


Assassinations of political leaders and beginning of the war

On 12 July 1936, Lieutenant José Castillo, an important member of the anti-fascist military organisation Unión Militar Republicana Antifascista (UMRA), was shot by
Falangist Falangism ( es, falangismo) was the political ideology of two political parties in Spain that were known as the Falange, namely first the Falange Española de las JONS, Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (FE de la ...
gunmen. In response a group of
Guardia de Asalto The Cuerpo de Seguridad y Asalto ( en, Security and Assault Corps) was the heavy reserve force of the blue-uniformed urban police force of Spain during the Spanish Second Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), c ...
and other leftist militiamen led by Civil Guard Fernando Condés, after getting the approval of the minister of interior to illegally arrest a list of members of parliament, went to right-wing opposition leader 's house in the early hours of 13 July on a revenge mission. Sotelo was arrested and later shot dead in a police truck. His body was dropped at the entrance of one of the city's cemeteries. According to all later investigations, the perpetrator of the murder was a socialist gunman, Luis Cuenca, who was known as the bodyguard of
PSOE The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party ( es, Partido Socialista Obrero Español ; PSOE ) is a Social democracy, social-democraticThe PSOE is described as a social-democratic party by numerous sources: * * * * List of political parties in Spain ...
leader
Indalecio Prieto Indalecio Prieto Tuero (30 April 1883 – 11 February 1962) was a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Sp ...

Indalecio Prieto
. Calvo Sotelo was one of the most prominent Spanish monarchists who, describing the government's actions as
Bolshevist The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...
and anarchist, had been exhorting the army to intervene, declaring that Spanish soldiers would save the country from communism if "there are no politicians capable of doing so". Prominent rightists blamed the government for Calvo Sotelo's assassination. They claimed that the authorities did not properly investigate it and promoted those involved in the murder whilst censoring those who cried out about it and shutting down the headquarters of right-wing parties and arresting right-wing party members, often on "flimsy charges". The event is often considered the catalyst for the further political polarisation that ensued, the Falange and other right-wing individuals, including
Juan de la Cierva Juan de la Cierva y Codorníu, 1st Count of la Cierva (; 21 September 1895 in Murcia, Spain, Murcia, Spain – 9 December 1936 in Croydon, United Kingdom) was a Spanish civil engineer, pilot and aeronautical engineer. His most famous accomplis ...

Juan de la Cierva
, had already been conspiring to launch a military coup d'état against the government, to be led by senior army officers. When the antifascist Castillo and the anti-socialist Calvo Sotelo were buried on the same day in the same Madrid cemetery, fighting between the Police Assault Guard and fascist militias broke out in the surrounding streets, resulting in four more deaths. The killing of Calvo Sotelo with police involvement aroused suspicions and strong reactions among the government's opponents on the right. Although the nationalist generals were already planning an uprising, the event was a catalyst and a public justification for a coup.
Stanley Payne Stanley George Payne (born September 9, 1934 in Denton, Texas) is an American historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who st ...
claims that before these events, the idea of rebellion by army officers against the government had weakened; Mola had estimated that only 12% of officers reliably supported the coup and at one point considered fleeing the country for fear he was already compromised, and had to be convinced to remain by his co-conspirators. However, the kidnapping and murder of Sotelo transformed the "limping conspiracy" into a revolt that could trigger a civil war. The involvement of forces of public order and a lack of action against the attackers hurt public opinion of the government. No effective action was taken; Payne points to a possible veto by socialists within the government who shielded the killers who had been drawn from their ranks. The murder of a parliamentary leader by state police was unprecedented, and the belief that the state had ceased to be neutral and effective in its duties encouraged important sectors of the right to join the rebellion. Within hours of learning of the murder and the reaction,
Franco Franco may refer to: Name * Franco (name) Franco is a common surname in Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, deriving from the word "Frank", in reference to the Germanic tribe of the Franks, who invaded Gaul during the Migration Period.
Franco
, who until then had not been involved in the conspiracies, changed his mind on rebellion and dispatched a message to to display his firm commitment. Three days later (17 July), the
coup d'état A coup d'état (; French for "blow of state"), often shortened to coup in English, (also known as an overthrow) is a seizure and removal of a government and its powers. Typically, it is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a politic ...
began more or less as it had been planned, with an army uprising in
Spanish Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in ...
, which then spread to several regions of the country. The revolt was remarkably devoid of any particular ideology. The major goal was to put an end to anarchical disorder. Mola's plan for the new regime was envisioned as a "republican dictatorship", modelled after Salazar's Portugal and as a semi-pluralist authoritarian regime rather than a totalitarian fascist dictatorship. The initial government would be an all-military "Directory", which would create a "strong and disciplined state." General Sanjurjo would be the head of this new regime, due to being widely liked and respected within the military, though his position would be a largely symbolic due to his lack of political talent. The 1931 Constitution would be suspended, replaced by a new "constituent parliament" which would be chosen by a new politically purged electorate, who would vote on the issue of republic versus monarchy. Certain liberal elements would remain, such as separation of church and state as well as freedom of religion. Agrarian issues would be solved by regional commissioners on the basis of smallholdings but collective cultivation would be permitted in some circumstances. Legislation prior to February 1936 would be respected. Violence would be required to destroy opposition to the coup, though it seems Mola did not envision the mass atrocities and repression that would ultimately manifest during the civil war. Of particular importance to Mola was ensuring the revolt was at its core an Army affair, one that would not be subject to special interests and that the coup would make the armed forces the basis for the new state. However, the separation of church and state was forgotten once the conflict assumed the dimension of a war of religion, and military authorities increasingly deferred to the Church and to the expression of Catholic sentiment. However, Mola's program was vague and only a rough sketch, and there were disagreements among coupists about their vision for Spain. Franco's move was intended to seize power immediately, but his army uprising met with serious resistance, and great swathes of Spain, including most of the main cities, remained loyal to the Republic of Spain. The leaders of the coup (Franco was not commander-in-chief yet) did not lose heart with the stalemate and apparent failure of the coup. Instead, they initiated a slow and determined war of attrition against the Republican government in Madrid. As a result, an estimated total of half a million people would lose their lives in the war that followed; the number of casualties is actually disputed as some have suggested as many as a million people died. Over the years, historians kept lowering the death figures and modern research concluded that 500,000 deaths were the correct figure.


Civil war

On 17 July 1936, General Franco led the
Spanish Army of Africa The Army of Africa ( es, Ejército de África, ar, الجيش الإسباني في أفريقيا, ''Al-Jaysh al-Isbānī fī Afriqā'') or "Moroccan Army Corps" (') was a field army of the Spanish Army that garrisoned the Spanish protectorate ...
from Morocco to attack the mainland, while another force from the north under General
Emilio Mola Emilio Mola y Vidal, 1st Duke of Mola, Grandee Grandee (; es, Grande de España, ) is an official aristocratic title conferred on some Spanish nobility Spanish nobles are persons who possess the legal status of hereditary nobility ...

Emilio Mola
moved south from Navarre. Military units were also mobilised elsewhere to take over government institutions. Before long the professional Army of Africa had much of the south and west under the control of the rebels. Bloody purges followed in each piece of captured "Nationalist" territory in order to consolidate Franco's future regime. Although both sides received foreign military aid, the help that Fascist Italy,
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
(as part of
German involvement in the Spanish Civil War German involvement in the Spanish Civil War commenced with the outbreak of war in July 1936, with Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Ger ...
), and neighbouring Portugal gave the rebels was much greater and more effective than the assistance that the Republicans received from the USSR, Mexico, and volunteers of the
International Brigades The International Brigades ( es, Brigadas Internacionales) were military units set up by the Communist International to assist the Popular Front (Spain), Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. The ...
. While the Axis powers wholeheartedly assisted General Franco's military campaign, the governments of France, Britain, and other European powers looked the other way and let the Republican forces die, as the actions of the
Non-Intervention Committee During the Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ...
would show. Imposed in the name of neutrality, the
international isolation International isolation is a penalty applied by the international community or a sizeable or powerful group of countries, like the United Nations, towards one nation, government or people group. The same term may also refer to the state a country ...
of the Spanish Republic ended up favouring the interests of the future Axis Powers. The Siege of the Alcázar at Toledo early in the war was a turning point, with the rebels winning after a long siege. The Republicans managed to hold out in Madrid, despite a Nationalist assault in November 1936, and frustrated subsequent offensives against the capital at
Jarama Jarama () is a river in central Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , ...

Jarama
and Guadalajara in 1937. Soon, though, the rebels began to erode their territory, starving Madrid and making inroads into the east. The north, including the Basque country, fell in late 1937, and the Aragon front collapsed shortly afterward. The
bombing of Guernica The bombing of Guernica (26 April 1937) was an aerial bombing An airstrike, air strike or air raid is an offensive operation carried out by aircraft. Air strikes are delivered from aircraft such as blimps, balloons, Fighter aircraft, fighte ...
was probably the most infamous event of the war and inspired Picasso's painting. It was used as a testing ground for the German Luftwaffe's
Condor Legion The Condor Legion (german: Legion Condor) was a unit composed of military personnel from the air force and army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighti ...
. The
Battle of the Ebro The Battle of the Ebro ( es, Batalla del Ebro, ca, Batalla de l'Ebre) was the longest and largest battle of the Spanish Civil War. It took place between July and November 1938, with fighting mainly concentrated in two areas on the lower course of ...
in July–November 1938 was the final desperate attempt by the Republicans to turn the tide. When this failed and Barcelona fell to the rebels in early 1939, it was clear the war was over. The remaining Republican fronts collapsed, and Madrid fell in March 1939.


Economy

The Second Spanish Republic's economy was mostly agrarian, and many historians call Spain during this time a "backward nation". Major industries of the Second Spanish Republic were located in the Basque region (due to it having Europe's best high-grade non-phosphoric ore) and Catalonia. This greatly contributed to Spain's economic hardships, as their center of industry was located on the opposite side of the country from their resource reserves, resulting in immense transportation costs due to the mountainous Spanish terrain. Compounding economic woes was Spain's low export rate and heavily domestic manufacturing industry. High levels of poverty left many Spaniards open to extremist political parties in search of a solution. James Simpson, https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/29428326.pdf


See also

*
Spanish Republican Armed Forces The Spanish Republican Armed Forces ( es, Fuerzas Armadas de la República Española) were initially formed by the following two branches of the military of the Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Español ...
*
Spanish Republican government in exile The Government of the Spanish Republic in exile ( es, Gobierno de la República Española en el exilio) was a continuation in Government in exile, exile of the government of the Second Spanish Republic following the victory of Francisco Franco ...
*
Flag of the Second Spanish Republic The flag of the Second Spanish Republic, known in Spanish as ', was the official flag of Spain between 1931 and 1939 and the flag of the Spanish Republican government in exile until 1977. Its present-day use in Spain is associated with the Republi ...

Flag of the Second Spanish Republic
* Coat of Arms of the Second Spanish Republic * Order of the Spanish Republic * LAPE (Líneas Aéreas Postales Españolas), the Spanish Republican Airline * Catholicism in the Second Spanish Republic * Sanjurjada * Electoral Carlism (Second Republic)


Notes


References

* *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Raymond Carr, ed. ''The Republic and the Civil War in Spain'' (1971) * Raymond Carr, ''Spain 1808–1975'' (2nd ed. 1982) *


External links


Constitución de la República Española (1931)

English Translation of the Constitution of the Spanish Republic (1931)
* *
Video La II República Española
{{Authority control Second Spanish Republic, States and territories established in 1931 States and territories disestablished in 1939 Modern history of Spain Former republics, Spanish Republic, Second Political history of Spain Republicanism in Spain 1931 establishments in Spain 1939 disestablishments in Spain Former polities of the interwar period