Spain in the 20th and 21st Centuries Part II

Spain in the 20th and 21st Centuries 2

The Second Republic and the Civil War (1931-39)

On April 14, 1931, N. Alcalá Zamora y Torres formed a provisional government made up of socialists and bourgeois republicans. The basic problems of the second republic were the position of the Catholic Church in the state, the agrarian reform, the relationship between central power and the regions, as well as that of the military and the state. Just a few weeks after the proclamation of the republic, strong anti-clerical currents erupted in the destruction of monasteries and churches. With a republic protection law (October 29, 1931), the government sought, since October 14, 1931 under Prime Minister M. Azaña y Díaz to counteract left and right radical tendencies. On December 9, 1931, the Cortes elected on June 28 (with a large socialist-republican majority) passed a constitution (including guarantee of basic rights and private property, separation of state and church); Alcalá Zamora y Torres became president. In 1932 the Cortes passed a statute of autonomy for Catalonia and an agrarian law (expropriation of large estates and ecclesiastical properties); the church schools were abolished. The attempt of Azaña y Díaz to reform the military system sparked anti-republican tendencies in the generals and officers’ corps. In the parliamentary elections of 1933, the more right-wing parties won. The governments they formed reversed many reforms. Against this background, there was a revolt of the miners in Asturias in 1934 and the proclamation of independence in Catalonia (President L. Companys); both uprisings were initiated by the government under Prime Minister Alejandro Lerroux y García; with interruptions in office: 1933–35) depressed; the Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia was temporarily suspended (December 1934 to February 1936). After the victory of the Popular Front made up of republicans, socialists and communists in the elections of February 1936, it set up the government in the following years, initially under Prime Minister republican party affiliation. The contrast between conservative and nationalist forces on the one hand, and republican, socialist and anarchist currents on the other, steadily intensified. The assassination of the conservative member of Cortes, J. Calvo Sotelo, sparked the Spanish Civil War (1936–39).

The civil war began on July 17, 1936 in Spanish Morocco with a military revolt that soon spread to Spain, a country that is a member of European Union defined by Estatelearning. After the resignation of the government under J. Giral y Pereira, the socialist F. Largo Caballero formed the government; on October 8, 1936, this recognized the autonomy of the Basque Country. Shortly before the insurgent attack on Madrid began, the anarchists joined the government; this moved its headquarters to Valencia in November 1936. In May 1937, the socialist J. Negríntook over the leadership of the government. Politically divided by various currents, the republican governments did not succeed in preventing the expansion of the Spanish national territory, especially since friendly powers, especially the USA, Great Britain and France, adhered to the policy of “non-intervention”. Only the USSR provided military technical assistance. At the end of July 1936, the military leaders of the uprising in Burgos had formed a junta government, headed by General F. Franco Bahamonde on October 1, 1936.

Politically, he relied on the Falange. On November 18, 1936, National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy, which had supported the insurgents politically and militarily from the beginning of the civil war, recognized the insurgent government. On February 1, 1938, Franco transformed the junta into a cabinet government. With the conquest of Barcelona (January 26, 1939), the republican system of government dissolved. Even before the victorious entry of the Spanish national troops into Madrid (March 28), the British and French governments recognized the Franco government on February 27, the USA followed on April 1, 1939.

The Franco regime and the Second World War (1939-45)

Spain had already joined the Anti-Comintern Pact on March 27, 1939, and left the League of Nations on May 8, 1939. Despite the pressure exerted on both sides, it remained neutral in World War II. Various German-Spanish meetings (especially the one between Hitler and Franco on October 23, 1940 in Hendaye) were unsuccessful.

However, Spain supported Germany since June 1941 by sending the Blue Division, which it had to withdraw in October 1943 under pressure from the Allies. From November 1943 the “Spanish Legion”, consisting of around 2,000 volunteers, fought on the Eastern Front on the German side. In 1940 the Spanish government occupied the international zone of Tangier. The more the war developed in favor of the anti-Hitler coalition, the more Franco turned to the western allies, but continued to officially pursue a course of neutrality.

Domestically, the Franco government laid the foundations for a dictatorship organized on the basis of estates on December 6, 1940 through the Syndicate Act. The question of whether Spain should be governed under a republic or a monarchy remained pending for a long time. In 1942 elections to the Cortes took place on a corporate basis.

The Franco regime 1945-75

After the victory of the anti-Hitler coalition, Spain was politically (condemned by the UN in 1946) and economically isolated. It was not involved in the Marshall Plan aid and therefore did not take part in the founding of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) (1948). In terms of colonial policy, Spain had to come to terms with the restoration of the international zone of Tangier (October 11, 1945). It also complied with the victorious powers’ demand for the expropriation of German property in Spain. In order to soften the ostracism of his dictatorial system of government, Franco secured1945 granted the Spaniards basic civil rights with the »Fuero de los Españoles« (right of the Spaniards). He gradually came to meet the monarchists, who had demanded the re-establishment of the monarchy after the end of the war: on July 20, 1945, he promised the re-establishment of the monarchy. The reign was regulated in a “law on the succession in the Supreme Government” in 1947: Juan Carlos, son of the pretender to the throne Juan von Bourbon and Battenberg (* 1913, † 1993), who lived in exile in Portugal, has since been prepared for the succession of Franco.

On November 4, 1950, the UN withdrew its 1946 declaration. This step was particularly encouraged by the USA, as they tried to incorporate the Iberian Peninsula into their European defense concept in the course of the East-West conflict. On the basis of the Madrid Treaty of September 26, 1953, Spain leased military bases to the USA. Spain’s Africa policy was particularly determined by the desire to promote traditionally friendly relations with Islamic countries. Between 1956 and 1975 it renounced its remaining colonial holdings in North and West Africa. Since the late 1950s, it has been strengthening its claims on Gibraltar. In Europe, in addition to the traditionally good relations with Portugal (1942 Iberian Pact), it activated its contacts with France (including cooperation on military issues). In 1960 Spain joined the OECD.

In its economic development, Spain was affected by major strike movements v. a. temporarily suspended in Catalonia (1951 and 1962), the Basque Country (1951) and Asturias (1962 and 1963). Tensions also caused the drive for autonomy, especially in Catalonia and the Basque Country. However, the government was unwilling to make any major concessions. In the Catholic Church, since January 1, 1965, Catalan and Basque have been recognized for ecclesiastical use alongside Spanish.

At the beginning of the 1960s, Franco endeavored to allow liberalization tendencies through reform laws within the previous state system (including a press law in 1966, a state organ law with a constitutional character in 1967, a Protestant statute in 1967) and at the same time to dismantle the strong political reservations abroad towards his government.

On July 22, 1969, the Cortes approved a law in which Franco installed Prince Juan Carlos as his successor.

On July 16, 1971 Franco appointed him his deputy. He also appointed a prime minister since 1973: 1973 Luis Carrero Blanco (* 1903, † 1973) and 1973–76 Carlos Arias Navarro (* 1940, † 1989).

Spain in the 20th and 21st Centuries 2