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The Spanish Civil WarRevolution and Counterrevolution$

Burnett Bolloten

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469624464

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469624464.001.0001

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The Revolution and the Rise of the Third Republic

The Revolution and the Rise of the Third Republic

(p.46) 4 The Revolution and the Rise of the Third Republic
The Spanish Civil War

Burnett Bolloten

University of North Carolina Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the period of unrest following the July 19 insurrection as it swept across the nation. All hopes of negotiation with the insurgent generals gone, a new Republic was formed under José Giral for the purposes of combating the rebel forces. But it was a government in name only—one that presided over its rapid dissolution under the double impact of military rebellion and social revolution. As the state collapsed, the Republic found itself without an army, a police force, and many of its administrative officials. Control of vital elements of state power—such as its economic, cultural, financial, religious, judicial, and transportation sectors—were seized by workmen's committees or by local bodies, further depriving the government of authority as it struggled to make its presence felt amidst the chaos.

Keywords:   José Giral, Third Republic, military rebellion, state power, workmen's committees, local governing bodies, state collapse

Rebuffed by the left and by the right, the cabinet of Martínez Barrio passed into oblivion even before the names of its members appeared in the official Gaceta de Madrid on that febrile day of 19 July. All thought of compromise with the insurgent generals had to be abandoned. A new government was formed that decided that to combat the rebellion, it must accede to the demands of the working-class organizations for the distribution of arms. “When I took charge of the government of the Republic,” testifies its premier, José Giral, “I had to consider that the only way to combat the military rising was to hand to the people the few arms we had at our disposal.”1 Salvador Quemades, leader of the Left Republican party, attests: “Lacking the means of throttling the insurrection, the government had to yield the way to the political and trade-union organizations—the people—so that they could grapple with the rebel movement.”2 But it was a government in name only, swept along helplessly by the tide, a government that presided not over the preservation of the Republican regime of 1931, but over its rapid dissolution under the double impact of military rebellion and social revolution. In all the ministries, according to its premier, Popular Front committees were immediately established to assist and supervise the ministers,3 expunging all semblance of real authority.

Such was the government of liberal Republicans formed by José Giral, confidant of Manuel Azaña, the president of the Republic. Its composition, as given in the official Gaceta de Madrid on 20 and 22 July, was as follows:

José Giral

Left Republican

Prime Minister

Augusto Barcia

Left Republican

Foreign Affairs

General Sebastián Pozas

Liberal Republican


General Luis Castelló

Liberal Republican


Plácido Alvarez Buylla

Republican Union

Industry and Commerce

Enrique Ramos y Ramos

Left Republican


Manual Blasco Garzón

Republican Union


Bernardo Giner de los Riós

Republican Union

Communications and Merchant Marine

Mariano Ruiz Funes

Left Republican


Francisco Barnés

Left Republican


Antonio Velao

Left Republican

Public Works

Juan Lluhí y Vallescá

Esquerra—Catalan Left Republican

Labor, Health, and Supplies


On 6 August, Lieutenant Colonel Juan Hernández Sarabia, an Azañista, succeeded Luis Castelló in the ministry of war.4 “What is admirable,” President Azaña told José Giral a year later, “is the calm courage with which you took command when no one wanted to obey and when everyone, from the most important to the most obscure, was preparing to flee.”5

In town after town and city after city the state shivered into fragments as rebellious garrisons joined the insurrectionary movement or met with defeat at the hands of armed workers and forces loyal to the government. Because the revolt collapsed in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, and Bilbao, as well as in some of the smaller towns and cities, the insurgents initially captured only a third of the national territory. Of the estimated 8,850 army chiefs and officers on active service—excluding Spanish Morocco, where practically the entire officer corps sided with the revolt—4,660 were located in the rebel camp on 20 July and the remainder in the left zone,6 many of whom eventually escaped, as others had before them, into rebel territory. Although the number of regular army officers who served in the wartime Popular Army created by the left is given as 2,000 by Enrique Líster, one of its Communist leaders,7 Julio Alvarez del Vayo, its commissar general, affirms that “barely five hundred officers remained in the service of the Republic” and that “practically nothing was left of the old army that could be put to any use.”8 Inasmuch as the officer corps in general was distrusted if not execrated by the left and that officers were often pushed aside, imprisoned, or executed if their loyalty were in question, the lower figure may be closer to the mark. In fact, it is corroborated by the highly reliable Republican army officer, Colonel Jesús Pérez Salas.9 It is noteworthy that, contrary to common belief, far fewer generals on active service supported the rebellion than remained with the government. Ricardo de la Cierva, historian and supporter of the military uprising, stated that of the eighteen divisional generals or their equivalent in Spain on (p.48) 17 July, only four joined the rebellion: Cabanellas, Queipo de Llano, Franco, and Manuel Goded.10 According to Vicente Palacio Atard, also a supporter of the military uprising, of the fifty-six brigadier generals on active service “fourteen rebelled and not less than twenty-nine remained on the side of the government.”11 Nevertheless, Madariaga, historian and independent Republican, is no doubt correct when he asserts: “Of the officers who sided with the government, only a minority did so out of personal conviction. The majority would have joined their comrades had they been in a position to do so; they often tried and at times succeeded in crossing the line.”12

The Civil Guard, the constabulary created by the Monarchy and preserved by the Republic as a rampart of the state, also crumbled.13 Although, out of a total of 34,320 officers and men, 20,120 are estimated to have been located in the left camp on 20 July,14 it is difficult to determine how many actually remained under the authority of the government, for while many discarded their uniforms and joined the proletarian militia, thousands of others deserted to the insurgents.15 True, in November 1936, according to a Communist source, the corps numbered 15,000 officers and men in the left zone,16 but this was after its reorganization as the National Republican Guard and the subsequent enlistment of thousands of new recruits.17

The secret police likewise dissolved, most of its agents siding with the insurrection.18 Even the Assault Guard, the police corps created by the Republic in 1931 as a buttress for the new regime, comprising some 25,000 officers and men,19 was shattered as a result of widespread defections to the rebel cause20 and of the assumption of police functions, in those places where the revolt had foundered, by vigilance committees and militia units improvised by the labor unions and the parties of the left.21

“The state collapsed and the Republic was left without an army, without a police force, and with its administrative machinery decimated by desertions and sabotage,” writes the left-wing Socialist Alvarez del Vayo, who became foreign minister a few weeks later.22 “From the army leaders and the magistrates on the Supreme Tribunal down to the customs officials, we were obliged to replace the majority of the personnel who, until 18 July 1936, had been in charge of the machinery of the republican state. In the foreign ministry alone ninety per cent of the former diplomatic corps had deserted.”23 In the words of the famed Communist leader, La Pasionaria (Dolores Ibárruri), “the whole state apparatus was destroyed and state power lay in the street.”24 The moderate Socialist, Zugazagoitia, later minister of the interior, wrote: “The power of state lay in the street, pulverized, and a fragment of it lay in the hands and at the disposal of every antifascist citizen, who used it in the manner that best suited his temperament.”25 Indeed, so complete was the collapse that, to quote a Republican jurist, only “the dust of the state, the ashes of the state” remained.26

The control of ports and frontiers, a vital element of state power, formerly exercised by the carabineros, was undertaken by workmen’s committees or by local bodies under the authority of the labor unions and left-wing parties. “The (p.49) government could do absolutely nothing,” recalled the moderate Socialist Dr. Juan Negrín, when premier in a later cabinet, “because neither our frontiers nor our ports were in its hands. They were in the hands of individuals, of local, district, or provincial bodies, and naturally the government could not make its authority felt.”27 “The control of the frontier [at Ripoll],” reported a Communist daily, “is strictly maintained by workers and customs officials, who take their orders only from the working-class organizations.”28 “In the customs room at Port-Bou,” wrote an eyewitness, “there is no sign of the revolution that agitated all of us in Paris. The customs officials are still in their old uniforms and they go about their tasks listlessly as though something has shorn them even of this power. A door opens into the passport room. Here is the explanation for everything. At various points in the room, members of the antifascist militia stand guard. They wear blue overalls over which an ammunition belt is thrown. They are armed to the teeth with pistols and rifles. Behind a long table sit three workers with pistols at their sides. They are examining passports and credentials.”29

In the navy, according to Bruno Alonso, its commissar general during the Civil War, and a moderate Socialist, 70 percent of the officers were killed by their men, and authority was exercised by sailors’ committees. “The age-old oppression,” he wrote, “to which the crews had been subjected and the traditional injustices and humiliations they had suffered had left sediments of rancor deep within them, which exploded when the uprising occurred and contributed in large measure to the overflowing of passions.”30 “The group of officers that survived the acts of violence,” wrote Zugazagoitia, “was dependent on committees elected by the sailors, who did exactly as they pleased.”31

The functions of municipalities and other local governing bodies in the left camp were also assumed by committees in which the Socialist and Anarchist-oriented labor unions were the ruling force.32 “These organs of the Revolution,” declared an Anarchosyndicalist leader a few weeks after the outbreak of the Civil War, “have resulted in the disappearance of government delegates in all the provinces we control, because they had no option but to obey the decisions of the committees. … The local organs of administration of the old bourgeois regime have become mere skeletons, because their life force has been replaced by the revolutionary vitality of the workers’ unions.”33 “The committees, “ran an article in a left Socialist review, “were the germ of proletarian power. All revolutionary segments were represented in them. … In the villages they assumed control of political and economic life. In the towns … they took into their hands the direction of all activities.”34 “In the atmosphere charged with electricity and powder … that followed immediately on 19 July,” wrote Rafael Tasis i Marca, director general of prisons in the region of Catalonia, “the municipalities [in the Catalan Provinces] became lifeless, colorless. … The rubber stamps of the committees replaced … the signatures of the mayors.”35 “There is not a single place,” said an Anarchosyndicalist paper, with reference to the province of Tarragona, “where a local antifascist militia committee has not been set up. These committees control the entire life of the community.”36 “The center of gravity (p.50) of the war and of politics,” writes Antonio Ramos Oliveira, a Socialist historian, “was the street. Power was in the hands of the people, the parties, the committees.”37

The courts of law were supplanted by revolutionary tribunals, which dispensed justice in their own way. “Everybody created his own justice and administered it himself,” declared Juan García Oliver, a leading Anarchist who became minister of justice in November 1936. “Some used to call this ‘taking a person for a ride’ [paseo] but I maintain that it was justice administered directly by the people in the complete absence of the regular judicial bodies.”38 In Madrid, according to Arturo Barea, a Socialist, each of the branches and groups of the trade unions and political parties set up “its own police, its own prison, its own executioners, and a special place for its executions.”39 Judges, magistrates, and district attorneys were relieved of office, some imprisoned and others executed,40 while in many places judicial records were burned.41

In an attempt to curb the revolutionary terror, the government of José Giral set up “popular tribunals.” These courts gave a semblance of constitutionality to the executions,42 but did little to bring the terror under control. In fact, Indalecio Prieto, the moderate Socialist, recounts that when in September 1936 the Popular Tribunal of Madrid—comprising three professional judges and fourteen jurors belonging to the principal parties and labor organizations of the left43—notified the government of its verdict to condemn to death the former Radical minister Rafael Salazar Alonso, the cabinet’s decision to commute the sentence to life imprisonment could not be implemented. Prieto, a minister at the time, had cast the deciding vote in favor of commutation on the ground that Salazar Alonso’s participation in the military rebellion had not been proved, but shortly afterward Mariano Gómez, the president of the tribunal, a former magistrate in Valencia and later president of the Supreme Court, told him that he was sure that the government’s decision would cause a “terrible mutiny” within the Popular Tribunal and that the prisoner would be shot anyway. “The government,” he added, “lacking adequate means to enforce its decisions, will not be able to save his life and … its authority will crumble. But this will not be the worst: The Popular Tribunal, I am very sure, will refuse to continue functioning and, after Salazar Alonso, all the political prisoners—perhaps this very evening—will be riddled with bullets.” On being told that more than one hundred prisoners might be shot, Prieto reversed his decision and cast his vote in favor of the death penalty.44

The banks were raided and their safe deposit boxes emptied.45 Penitentiaries and jails were invaded, their records destroyed, their inmates liberated. “The jails were opened to release friendly political prisoners,” writes a supporter of the Republic, “and the common-law criminals who came out with them acted on their own account.”46 There were, of course, singular episodes. “The judge of the Criminal Court,” writes Madariaga, “suddenly found in his private apartment the thief and criminal whom he had recently sentenced to thirty years’ hard labor transmogrified into a militiaman who, after demanding all the silver and gold (p.51) objects of the household and tying them into a linen sheet, shot him dead in the presence of his wife and daughter.”47

Hundreds of churches and convents were burned or put to secular uses.48 “Catholic dens no longer exist,” declared the Anarchosyndicalist organ, Solidaridad Obrera . “The torches of the people have reduced them to ashes.”49 “The oppressed people,” said an article in an Anarchist youth journal, “put to the torch whatever dens of obscurantism and deception they found in their path. Churches, convents, centers of reaction, whatever smacked of incense and darkness, have been set ablaze.”50 “For the Revolution to be a fact,” ran an Anarchist youth manifesto, “we must demolish the three pillars of reaction: the church, the army, and capitalism. The church has already been brought to account. The temples have been destroyed by fire and the ecclesiastical crows who were unable to escape have been taken care of by the people.”51 In the province of Tarragona, reported Solidaridad Obrera, “the churches in all the villages have been set ablaze. Only those buildings that could be used for the benefit of the people have been kept, but not those that were a serious danger after burning. Many churches have been converted into communal warehouses as well as into garages for the antifascist militia.”52 And so it was in countless towns and villages. Nevertheless, the Reverend Hewlett Johnson, known as the “Red” dean of Canterbury, asserted, when interviewed by me in the spring of 1937 in Valencia, that “not a single church” had been destroyed or desecrated. This is not surprising. As David Caute says, “this saintly looking cleric was one of the most perseverant fellow-travellers of his time.”53 In contrast to his assertion that not a single church had been desecrated or destroyed, the “Collective Letter of the Spanish Bishops,” dated 1 July 1937, claimed that the number of churches and chapels “destroyed or completely sacked” was as high as twenty thousand.54

Paul Blanshard explains the phenomenon of the burning of church buildings in the following way: “During [the last one hundred years] the Church has again and again been humbled by its political opponents, its buildings burned by anticlerical mobs, and its leading religious orders expelled from the country. The nation which claims to be the most Catholic nation in the world has probably murdered more priests and nuns and burned more convents and schools than any other nation in the world. … The Church has been victimized because the Church has been regarded as part of the ruling structure of political power. For almost two hundred years the advocates of political democracy in Spain have been automatically anti-clerical, and the defenders of dictatorship have tended to be pro-Catholic.”55

Thousands of members of the clergy and religious orders as well as of the propertied classes were killed,56 but others, fearing arrest or execution, fled abroad, including many prominent liberal and moderate Republicans.57 In a conversation in June 1937 with the Republican jurist Angel Ossorio y Gallardo regarding the large number of “outstanding and even eminent republicans” who had left Spain, President Azaña complained: “All of them left without my consent (p.52) and without my advice. And some (I gave him their names) deceived me. Those who wanted to stay, here they are, and nothing has happened to them! Of the ministers who formed my government in February [1936] do you know how many remained in Spain? Two: Casares and Giral. If anyone at all was in danger, it was Casares. He is in Madrid. Of the “political” ambassadors I appointed, only one, on leaving his post, came to Valencia to greet [me] and to offer his services to the government: Díez-Cañedo. The others remained in France. … I raised many of them from nothing. I saved all of them from the wreck of 1933 and made them deputies, ministers, ambassadors, undersecretaries, etcetera, etcetera. They all had a duty to serve the Republic to the very end and to remain with me as long as I was in office. Two or three of them understood this, belatedly, and have returned.”58

Thousands of persons fearing detention or summary execution took refuge in embassies and legations in Madrid. The number of such refugees has been variously estimated. Norman J. Padelford says that it was calculated to be in excess of 5,000.59 Aurelio Núñez Morgada, Chilean ambassador and dean of the diplomatic corps in Madrid, affirms that it exceeded 15,000,60 while Alvarez del Vayo, who as foreign minister conducted the negotiations for the evacuation of the refugees, gives it as 20,000.61 On the other hand, Javier Rubio, after exhaustive investigation of diplomatic correspondence and other sources, arrives at the lower figure of 7,500, which he nonetheless describes as “unprecedented in the history of international relations.”62 The Norwegian legation, which was one of the smallest missions, housed 900 refugees, according to Felix Schlayer, its chargé d’affaires,63 while the Mexican embassy gave asylum to over 800, according to Ambassador General Manuel Pérez Treviño.64

Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives were spared because of this sanctuary extended by foreign missions, for as the left Socialist Luis Araquistáin wrote privately to his wife on the fifth day of the Revolution, “The clean-up is going to be fearful. It is already. Not a single fascist will remain alive, especially the most important. No one can restrain the people.”65

“We have confirmed something we only knew in theory,” wrote Federica Montseny, a leading Anarchist, in the welter of these events, “namely, that the Revolution, in which uncontrolled and uncontrollable forces operate imperiously, is blind and destructive, grandiose, and cruel; that once the first step has been taken and the first dike broken, the people pour like a torrent through the breach, and that it is impossible to dam the flood. How much is wrecked in the heat of the struggle and in the blind fury of the storm! Men are as we have always known them, neither better nor worse. … They reveal their vices and their virtues, and while from the hearts of rogues there springs a latent honesty, from the depths of honest men there emerges a brutish appetite—a thirst for extermination, a desire for blood—that seemed inconceivable before.”66

“We do not wish to deny,” avowed Diego Abad de Santillán, a prominent Anarchist in the region of Catalonia, “that the nineteenth of July brought with it an overflowing of passions and abuses, a natural phenomenon of the transfer of (p.53) power from the hands of the privileged to the hands of the people. It is possible that our victory resulted in the death by violence of four or five thousand inhabitants of Catalonia who were listed as rightists and were linked to political or ecclesiastical reaction. But this shedding of blood is the inevitable consequence of a revolution, which, in spite of all barriers, sweeps on like a flood and devastates everything in its path, until it gradually loses its momentum.”67

And a Basque Nationalist, a Republican and Catholic, writes:

Blood, a great deal of innocent blood was shed on both sides. … But the most radical difference as far as the Republican zone was concerned—which does not justify, but at least explains, the excesses—lies in the very fact of the [military] insurrection. The army, almost the entire secret police, the administration of justice, whatever police forces there were, whose duty it was to maintain order, revolted, leaving the legal government defenseless. The latter was compelled to arm the people, the jails were opened to release friendly political prisoners, and the common-law criminals who came out with them acted on their own account. Furthermore, with the stirring up of the lower depths of society, the malefactors that exist in every city, in every nation, came to the surface, and found an easy field for their work. In normal times, the police would have kept them under control, but the very insurrection deprived the government of coercive forces and helped the criminals to secure arms. Is it surprising that during the first few days of the revolt these uncontrolled elements did as they pleased? At the same time the extreme left-wing organizations dispensed justice in a rude and elementary fashion, the justice of men who had suffered and had been molded in an atmosphere of hatred. All this does not justify the crimes committed in the Republican zone, but it readily explains them.

What cannot be explained, and even less justified, are the crimes, much greater in number and in sadism, that were committed precisely by that army, by that police force, by those educated young gentlemen who lacked for nothing and who boasted of their Catholicism.68

“The Revolution,” wrote President Azaña sometime later, “commenced under a republican government that neither wished to support it nor could support it. The excesses began to unfold themselves before the astonished eyes of the ministers. Faced by the Revolution, the government had the choice either of upholding it or suppressing it. But even less than uphold it could the government suppress it. It is doubtful whether it had forces enough for this. I am sure it did not. Even so, their use would have kindled another civil war.”69

Shorn of the repressive organs of the state, the liberal government of José Giral possessed nominal power, but not power itself,70 for this was split into countless fragments and scattered in a thousand towns and villages among the revolutionary committees that had instituted control over post and telegraph offices,71 radio stations,72 and telephone exchanges,73 organized police squads and tribunals, highway and frontier patrols, transport and supply services, and created militia units for the battlefronts. In short, nowhere in Spain did the cabinet (p.54) of José Giral exercise any real authority, as prominent adherents of the anti-Franco camp have amply testified.74

The economic changes that followed the military insurrection were no less dramatic than the political.

In those provinces where the revolt had failed, the workers of the two tradeunion federations, the Socialist UGT and the Anarchosyndicalist CNT,75 took into their hands a vast portion of the economy.76

In spite of the massive and irrefragable evidence that a far-reaching social revolution shattered the Republican regime in July 1936, Herbert M. Matthews, New York Times correspondent in the left camp during the Civil War and recognized authority on Spain for four decades, whose books and articles had an appreciable impact on American opinion, made light of the revolutionary changes in his last book on the Civil War published in 1973. After quoting the liberal historian Gabriel Jackson as saying that the “most profound social revolution since the fifteenth century took place in much of the territory remaining in the hands of the Popular Front,” he comments: “In more or less strong terms, nearly every historian of the Spanish Civil War makes the same point. I would say that there was a revolution of sorts, but it should not be exaggerated. In one basic sense, there was no revolution at all, since the republican government functioned much as it did before the war.”77

This quotation exemplifies how some journalists friendly to the government later perpetuated through their writings the half-truths and distortions they had disseminated at the time of the Civil War.

Proof of the extent and depth of the Revolution is not lacking, even from Communist sources, despite the fact that the Communist International, following the directives of the Kremlin, tried for diplomatic reasons, as will be seen in a subsequent chapter, to screen from the outside world the far-reaching social revolution that had swept the country. “Are the big industrialists who rose against the people still owners of the plants?” asked José Díaz, general secretary of the Communist party. “No, they have disappeared and the plants … are in the hands of the workers, controlled by the unions.”78 “Today,” declared Antonio Sesé, secretary of the Communist-controlled Catalan section of the UGT, “the workers have the plants, the workers have the banks, the workers have the land, and the workers have the arms.”79 Mikhail Koltzov, leading Soviet journalist and Stalin’s personal agent in Spain, stated quite early in the war that, according to a rough estimate, approximately eighteen thousand industrial and commercial enterprises were taken over by the workers’ unions and by the state, twenty-five hundred of them located in Madrid and three thousand in Barcelona.80

Landed properties were seized, some were collectivized, others divided among the peasants, and notarial archives as well as registers of property were burned in countless towns and villages, although the destruction of property records was not acknowledged in the official journal until more than a year later.81 “In none of the provinces” of the anti-Franco camp, affirmed José Díaz, the Communist leader, “do big landowners exist.”82

(p.55) Hundreds of seizures made by the agricultural workers’ unions affiliated with the UGT and CNT were subsequently registered with the Institute of Agrarian Reform, an agency of the ministry of agriculture, which issued frequent reports listing confiscated properties. The wording of these reports might indicate that the estates had been sequestered by the institute and then turned over to the agricultural workers’ unions, but the fact is that, with very few exceptions, the institute merely recorded the expropriations. “I can affirm,” writes Rafael Morayta Núñez, secretary general of the institute during the first months of the Revolution, “and this everyone knows, that it was not the government that handed the land to the peasants. The latter did not wait for a government decision, but appropriated the estates and cultivable lands themselves.”83 In the province of Ciudad Real, for example, according to an acute observer, “an overwhelming majority of all the larger estates have been expropriated and collectivized by their hands, and the business of the [Institute of Agrarian Reform] in the whole matter has only been to give a legal placet.”84 The unions saw an advantage in registering their confiscations with the institute, for this tended to legalize their action and rendered the sequestered estates eligible for technical and economic assistance from that agency.85

Railways, streetcars and buses, taxicabs and shipping, electric light and power companies, gasworks and waterworks, engineering and automobile assembly plants, mines and cement works, textile mills and paper factories, electrical and chemical concerns, glass bottle factories and perfumeries, food-processing plants and breweries, as well as a host of other enterprises, were confiscated or controlled by workmen’s committees, either term possessing for the owners almost equal significance in practice. For example, in the region of Catalonia the telephone system belonging to the Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España, a subsidiary of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, was placed under the control of a joint CNT-UGT committee, with the consequence—according to the testimony of the Anarchosyndicalists, who were the dominant influence on that body—that the management was left with practically no other function but to keep an account of income and expenses and was powerless to withdraw funds without the committee’s consent.86 Another example is that of the hydroelectric enterprise, Riegos y Fuerzas del Ebro, a subsidiary of the Barcelona Traction, Light, and Power Company, which was also controlled by a joint CNT-UGT committee. This committee took charge of the company’s installations, bank accounts, and other assets with the result that the management, according to an official report, was unable to “exercise effective control over its business and its finances”87

Motion-picture theaters and legitimate theaters, newspapers and printing shops, department stores and hotels, deluxe restaurants and bars were likewise sequestered or controlled, as were the headquarters of business and professional associations and thousands of dwellings owned by the upper classes.88

But the economic changes in town and country, as will be seen in the ensuing chapters, were not confined to the property of the wealthy strata of society. With (p.56) the collapse of the state, all barriers had fallen away, and it was too enticing a moment for the revolutionary masses not to attempt to remold the entire economy to their heart’s desire.

“In the early days of radiant optimism,” wrote Manuel Azaña after the conflict had ended, “the minds of nearly all Spaniards were fired by a messianic goal. If, in the Nationalist camp, it was Christian civilization in the West they were saving, in the Republican camp the prophets proclaimed the birth of a new civilization. Terrible hyperboles that easily inflame what is visionary in the Spanish soul!”89


(1.) José Giral in La Vanguardia, 19 July 1938. See also his speech reported in La Voz Valenciana, 10 Mar. 1937.

(3.) José Giral, when interviewed by me in Mexico in 1940.

(4.) Gaceta de Madrid, 7 Aug. 1936.

(5.) Azaña, Obras, IV, 862.

(6.) According to a meticulous study, based on primary sources, by Ricardo de la Cierva, Historia de la guerra civil española, 756–57, 760. See also Vicente Palacio Atard, essay in Palacio Atard, Aproximación histórica a la guerra española, 1936–1939, 41–42. Although Cierva cited these figures as representing the ideological division within the army (essay in Raymond Carr, The Republic and the Civil War in Spain, 188), they were of necessity determined to a large degree by the territorial split, which Cierva himself does not entirely discount in his major work, Historia de la guerra civil española, 760–61.

(7.) Nuestra guerra, 275. Palacio Atard, a right-wing historian, puts the figure as high as thirty-five hundred. Palacio Atard, Cuadernos bibliográficos de la guerra de España, 1936–1939: Memorias y reportajes de testigos, 142.

(9.) Guerra en España, 1936–1939, 259. See also Colonel Segismundo Casado, National Review, July 1939.

(13.) An account of the attitude of the Civil Guard in the various provinces can be found in Arrarás, Historia de la cruzada española. See also José Manuel Liébana and G. Orizana, El movimiento nacional.

(14.) According to a careful study by RicardoCierva, Historia de la guerra civil español, 760. On the other hand, the Spanish historian, Ramón Salas Larrazábal, states that 51.36 percent of the corps remained in the Republican camp after the outbreak of the Civil War. On the basis of Cierva’s total figure of 34,320 officers and men, this would mean that approximately 17,500 remained in the Republican zone (Los datos exactos de la guerra civil, 60, 270–71). However, numbers alone do not tell the entire story, for they do not take into account the breakdown of authority within the corps and the demoralization that set in as a result of the revolution and the assumption of police powers by the left-wing organizations.

(15.) See, for example, the account of Captain Reparaz of his escape together with a large body of civil guards from Jaén in Capitán Reparaz y Tresgallo de Souza, Desde el cuartel general de Miaja, al santuario de la Virgen de la Cabeza; report in Solidaridad Obrera, 18 Feb. 1937, of the attempt by forty civil guards to join General Franco’s forces; and Julián Zugazagoitia, Historia de la guerra en España, 103.

(16.) According to Mundo Obrero, 3 Nov. 1936.

(17.) Gaceta de Madrid, 21 Aug. 1936.

(18.) This corps, according to information given to me in Mexico in 1950 by José Muñoz López, top-ranking official in the SIM (Military Investigation Service) in the later part of the war, ceased to function entirely at the outbreak of the rebellion and had to be re-created, only three hundred of its three thousand members remaining loyal to the government.

(19.) This is an approximate figure given by Cierva, Historia de la guerra civil española, 757. Ramón Salas Larrazábal, on the other hand, gives a figure of nearly eighteen thousand men (Historia del ejército popular de la república, I, 74).

(20.) Some of the provincial capitals where the assault guards supported the rising were Burgos, Huesca, Saragossa, Valladolid, Cáceres, Granada, León, Logroño, Pamplona, Salamanca (Liébana and Orizana, 209–10, 154, 201–2, 192, 216, 193 respectively), Oviedo (Oscar Pérez Solís, Sitio y defensa de Oviedo, 24; Germiniano Carrascal, Asturias, 52), and Teruel (Arrarás, Historia de la cruzada española, IV, 238). According to Ramón Salas Larrazábal, 70 percent of the guards remained (p.758) at the disposal of the government (Los datos exactos, 61). However, it should be borne in mind that a large number of the assault guards joined the revolutionary militia as did many of the members of the Civil Guard.

(21.) For frank accounts of the absolute impotence of the remnants of the government police corps in the first days of the war, see speech by the Socialist politician Angel Galarza (La Correspondencia de Valencia, 5 Aug. 1937), who became minister of the interior in September 1936; speech by Juan García Oliver, the Anarchist leader, who was made minister of justice in November 1936 (Fragua Social, 1 June 1937). See also Jesús de Galíndez (a friend of the Republic), Los vascos en el Madrid sitiado, 15–19, and the preamble to the minister of the interior’s decree of 26 Dec. 1936 in Gaceta de la República, 27 Dec. 1936.

(23.) Ibid., 224.

(24.) Dolores Ibárruri, Speeches and Articles, 1936–38, 214. “The republican state,” writes Fernando Claudín, a Communist at the time, “collapsed like a house of cards… . The means of production and political power in effect passed into the hands of the working-class organizations” (La crisis del movimiento comunista, 179–80). No less explicit is Vicente Uribe, a member of the Spanish politburo, who affirms in his unpublished memoir that “the old republican State ceased to exist and only the external symbols remained” (“Memorias”), 12.

(26.) Angel Ossorio y Gallardo, Vida y sacrificio de Companys, 179, also 169. Should further corroborative testimony from the Republican camp on the collapse of the state still be needed, see Manuel Azaña, Madrid (speech of 13 Nov. 1937), 7–8; Política, 16 July 1938 (editorial); La Correspondencia de Valencia, 5 Aug. 1937 (speech by Angel Galarza); El Poble Català, 2 Feb. 1940 (article by Major Josep Guarner).

(27.) Speech reported by El Día Gráfico, 2 Dec. 1937.

(28.) Treball, 22 July 1936. See La Humanitat, 6 Aug. 1936, for the control of the entire Catalan French border from Bausén to Port-Bou by the working-class militia.

(29.) M. Sterling (Mark Sharron) in Modern Monthly, Dec. 1936. See also Walter Duranty in the New York Times, 17 Sept. 1936; R. Louzon in La Révolution Prolétarienne, 10 Aug. 1936; Alvarez del Vayo, Freedom’s Battle, 164; H. E. Kaminski, Ceux de Barcelone, 11; John Langdon-Davies, Behind the Spanish Barricades, 90–91; Pérez Salas, 122.

(31.) Zugazagoitia, 157. For the lack of discipline in the Republican fleet, see article by N. Kuznetsov, Soviet naval attaché and adviser to Antonio Ruiz, chief of the Cartagena Naval Base, in Pod znamenem ispanskoi respubliki, 1936–1939, 198. See also Admiral Francisco Moreno, chief of General Franco’s fleet during the Civil War, for reference to the assassination of officers, the failure of the sailors at the naval base of El Ferrol to defeat the military uprising, the ineffectualness of the Republican fleet and the principal naval operations during the war, La guerra en el mar, 69–70, 78–279. For additional information on the events in the principal naval bases and units of the fleet, see Manuel D. Benavides, La escuadra la mandan los cabos; Luis Carrero Blanco, España y el mar, I, 562–66; José Cervera Pery, Alzamiento y revolución en la marina, 41–127, 129–237, 260–64, 269–77; and Daniel Sueiro, La flota es roja, 121–247. An invaluable contribution, the best in English, is the dissertation of Willard C. Frank, Jr., “Sea Power, Politics, and the Onset of the Spanish Civil War, 1936,” University of Pittsburgh (546 pp.), which is the first part of a larger work in progress that examines the role of sea power and politics in the entire Civil War.

(32.) An exception must be made of the Basque provinces, where the population reacted with greater moderation than elsewhere due, in large measure, to the influence of the Catholic Basque Nationalist party. See Manuel de Irujo, “La guerra civil en Euzkadi antes del estatuto,” 23–25, 45–46, 50–52, 64–65, and report to the central government by José Antonio Aguirre, premier of the autonomous Basque government, 2–4, 7–8, 10–11, 13–15, 17–18, 22. See also Aguirre, Veinte años de gestión del gobierno vasco, 1936–56, 28–29, 49; José María Arenillas, Euzkadi, la cuestión nacional y la revolución socialista; A. de Lizarra, Los vascos y la república española, 58–59 and passim; Payne, Basque Nationalism, 178–81.

(33.) Juan López, speech published in CNT (Madrid), 21 Sept. 1936. See also his article in Cultura Proletaria, 8 Jan. 1938, and speech reported in Fragua Social, 29 May 1937. In Valencia, for example, the real organ of government during the first months of the revolution was the Popular (p.759) Executive Committee, in which the trade-union organizations were the principal ruling force (Alfons Cucó, El valencianismo político, 1874–1939, 205–6). “The immediate result of the military uprising,” writes a Communist author, “was the collapse of the institutions of the state in the areas where it failed. This was the case in Valencia. A total power vacuum occurred in the former governmental bodies: neither the army, nor the police, nor the Civil Guard, nor the municipal council, nor the Deputation, nor the law court retained a minimum of power that would permit them to exercise the simplest function of public order… . [The] Popular Executive Committee … assumed the functions of a state body” (Carlos Llorens, La guerra en Valencia y el frente de Teruel, 40).

(34.) Spartacus, Sept.–Oct. 1938.

(36.) Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, as given in El Día Gráfico, 16 Aug. 1936.

(37.) Politics, Economics and Men of Modern Spain, 1808–1946, 595. See also speeches by the Socialist politician, Angel Galarza, La Correspondencia de Valencia, 2 Feb. 1937, 5 Aug. 1937, and R. Louzon in La Révolution Prolétarienne, 10 Aug. 1936; César M. Lorenzo, Les anarchistes espagnols et le pouvoir, 1868–1969, 182–204; Carlos M. Rama, La crisis española del siglo XX, 294.

(38.) Speech reported in Fragua Social, 1 June 1937.

(39.) The Forging of a Rebel, 536, see also, 545–47. For an account of the collapse of the administration of justice in the region of Catalonia by a Cortes deputy, a member of the Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña, see Mariano Rubió i Tudurí, La justicia en Cataluña, 13.

(41.) For the destruction in November 1936 of the principal judicial records in Madrid by the Anarchist leader, Juan García Oliver, see deposition by Luis Palud Clausó, as given in Causa general, 363–65. For the burning of judicial records in Barcelona and Castellón respectively, see Rubió i Tudurí, 13, and Datos complementarios para la historia de España, 237.

(42.) See decrees of 23 and 25 Aug. 1936, Gaceta de Madrid, 24, 25 Aug. 1936; see also decree of 6 Oct. 1936, ibid., 7 Oct. 1936.

(43.) Ibid., 7 Oct. 1936.

(44.) Convulsiones, II, 314–16.

(45.) For information on the opening of deposit boxes in Madrid and of various decrees providing for the surrender to the Bank of Spain of certain valuables, see Angel Viñas, El oro español en la guerra civil, 160–67; also Amaro del Rosal, Historia de la UGT de España, 1901–1939, 510.

(46.) Galíndez, 10. See also Julián Gorkin, Caníbales políticos, 120, for the release of prisoners from the Model Prison, Madrid.

(48.) See, for example, the memorandum presented to the Largo Caballero government by Manuel de Irujo, Basque Nationalist minister, as reproduced in Lizarra, 200–204.

(49.) 15 Aug. 1936.

(50.) Ruta, 14 Nov. 1936.

(51.) Tierra y Libertad, 13 Aug. 1936.

(52.) 29 July 1936. For confirmatory testimony by non-Anarchist, but pro-Republican sources, on the destruction of ecclesiastical property, see Ramos Oliveira, 571; essay by Lawrence Fernsworth in Frank Hanighen, Nothing but Danger, 13–47.

(53.) The Fellow-Travellers, 1. In a necrology from London, the New York Times reported on 23 Oct. 1966: “He was variously described as a Communist, a crank and a saint—sometimes all three… . He once declared in a sermon that if Jesus were alive today, he would have been a Communist. Such remarks were especially embarrassing because outside England he was often confused with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of all England.”

(54.) Cardenal Isidro Gomá y Tomás, Pastorales de la guerra de España, 169.

(56.) For confirmation by a pro-Republican source of the imprisonment and killing of thousands of members of the priesthood and religious orders, see memorandum presented to the Largo Caballero government by Manuel de Irujo, Basque Nationalist minister, as reproduced in Lizarra, 200–204. Irujo also stated that in the Basque provinces nobody attacked the church or interfered with religious worship because, in contrast with the rest of the left camp, the clergy in those provinces sympathized with democratic and Republican institutions. The most reliable study of the assassination of members (p.760) of the priesthood and religious orders, the result of many years of diligent research, can be found in Antonio Montero’s Historia de la persecución religiosa en España, 1936–1939, 762–883, which lists the names, places, and dates of assassination of 6,832 religious personnel. See also Angel García, La iglesia española y el 18 de julio, 309–12; Albert Manent i Segimon and Josep Raventós i Giralt, L’Església clandestina a Catalunya durant la guerra civil, 1936–1939; and José M. Sánchez, The Spanish Civil War as a Religious Tragedy.

(57.) For criticism of these Republicans by Fernando Valera, a Cortes deputy and prominent member of Unión Republicana, see speech, reported in El Pueblo, 27 Jan. 1937. See also article by Juan J. Domenichina, a leading intellectual of the Republican Left party, in Hoy, 28 Dec. 1940.

(58.) Obras, IV, 624. Among the outstanding Republicans who had left Spain and to whom Azaña was undoubtedly alluding were: Plácido Alvarez Buylla, Augusto Barcia, Manuel Blasco Garzón, Marcelino Domingo, Salvador de Madariaga, Gregorio Marañón, José Ortega y Gasset, Ramón Pérez de Ayala, Mariano Ruiz Funes, and Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz. Sánchez-Albornoz, the famous Republican intellectual and a member of the conservative wing of Izquierda Republicana, Azaña’s own party, writes: “Azaña envied us from the depths of his soul. But this envy turned into resentment. The closer our political relationship, the greater was his resentment” (Anecdotario político, 227).

(59.) International Law and Diplomacy in the Spanish Civil Strife, 157.

(60.) Los sucesos de España vistos por un diplomático, 338.

(62.) Asilos y canjes durante la guerra civil española, 19–20.

(63.) Diplomat in Roten Madrid, 59.

(65.) As quoted by Javier Tusell in his Preliminary Study of Araquistáin in Luis Araquistáin, Sobre la guerra civil y en la emigración, 22. The original letter is in the Archivo Histórico Nacional, Madrid.

(66.) Federica Montseny in La Revista Blanca, 30 July 1936.

(67.) Diego Abad de Santillán, La revolución y la guerra en España, 176.

(68.) Galíndez, 9–10. In 1977, Ramón Salas Larrazábal published his painstaking monograph Pérdidas de la guerra, in which he gives estimates of the deaths from all causes province by province. He computes the executions and homicides at 58,000 in the Nationalist zone and at 73,000 in the Republican zone. Until the publication of this work, there appeared to be little likelihood that figures even remotely approaching accuracy would ever be available in view of the palpable exaggerations and contradictions by both sides. As Hugh Thomas points out (The Spanish Civil War [1965 ed.], 789), Nationalist estimates of the number of assassinations in the Popular Front zone ran initially as high as 3–400,000. A figure of more than 300,000 laymen assassinated is given by the Spanish bishops in their collective letter, dated 1 July 1937 (Gomá y Tomás, 169). But these estimates were subsequently revised downward to about 60,000. On the other hand, Causa general, 390, which was first published by General Franco’s ministry of justice in 1943 and contains a mass of evidence concerning executions in the left camp, gave the number of those “duly investigated” as 85,940. In contrast, Gabriel Jackson, The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931–1939, 533, arrives at a “most tentative estimate” of 20,000 deaths by assassination in the Popular Front zone, an extremely low figure if one takes into account the 6,832 religious personnel assassinated.

Reasonably accurate estimates were likewise unavailable for the number of wartime killings in Nationalist Spain. The figure of 750,000 executions named by the Spanish Republican writer, Ramón Sender, for the whole of Nationalist Spain to mid-1938 (Thomas [1965 ed.], 223) and that of 150,000 for the military territory of the Second Organic Division given by Antonio Bahamonde, former propaganda chief to General Queipo de Llano, commander of the division, comprising the provinces of Badajoz, Cadiz, Cordova, Granada, Huelva, Malaga, and Seville (Memoirs of a Spanish Nationalist, 90) appear definitely exaggerated to Thomas (1965 ed.), 223, who considers that Nationalist assassinations “are unlikely to have numbered more than 50,000” (789). On the other hand, Jackson, 535, citing estimates given to him by a notary and former member of the Catholic CEDA, names figures of 47,000 for the province of Seville alone and 32,000 and 26,000 respectively for the provinces of Cordova and Granada. More sober estimates for the number of killings in some of the provinces controlled by the Nationalist and Popular Front forces are given by a Basque priest, Juan José Usabiaga, using the pseudonym of Juan de Iturralde, in El catolicismo y la cruzada de Franco, 96–155. For the repression in Burgos, the seat of the Nationalist government, and in the province of Granada, see Antonio Ruiz Vilaplana (dean and president of the College of Judicial Commissioners (p.761) until he fled abroad in 1938), Burgos Justice, 72–77, 84–85, 92–95, and Ian Gibson, La represión nacionalista de Granada en 1936 y la muerte de Federico García Lorca, 58–59, 137–39.

In the light of Salas Larrazábal’s study mentioned at the beginning of this note, most of the earlier figures appear grossly exaggerated, although it should be pointed out that his methodology and the accuracy of his estimates have been questioned. For example, Antonio Hernández García, author of La represión en la Rioja durante la guerra civil, claims in this three-volume work devoted to the Nationalist repression in the communities located in La Rioja in Logroño province (Aragon), based on oral and documentary evidence, that Salas’s reliance on the data in the civil registers led him to underestimate the total number of assassinations on both sides by as much as 110 percent. Many entries in the registers, he asserts, falsified the cause of death: a shot in the head was described as “cerebral hemorrhage” and shots in the chest as “cardiac arrest.” “Furthermore,” he adds, “it is public knowledge that not all the assassinations were faithfully recorded in the public register” (I, 16–17).

A chapter on the gruesome nature and extent of the repression in the Nationalist camp can be found in Stanley G. Payne, Politics and the Military in Modern Spain, 409–20, which originally supported Jackson’s contention that during the wartime period Nationalist executions exceeded those carried out by the left. However, in a later work (The Spanish Revolution, 225) Payne states: “Though the Red Terror may have taken more lives than the Nationalist repression while the war lasted, the victors were subsequently able to complete the task at their leisure.” These postwar executions were confirmed by Bernard Malley of the British Embassy in Madrid, who was in Spain during the Second World War, and who affirmed that there were daily trials and executions throughout 1939, 1940, and 1941 (Brian Crozier, Franco, 296), and by Count Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini’s foreign minister, who recorded in a memorandum on 19 July 1939 after a week’s stay in Spain: “The number of executions is still very large: In Madrid alone, 200 to 250 a day, in Barcelona, 150; in Seville, which was never in the hands of the Reds, 80… . [More] than 10,000 men already condemned to death wait in their cells for the inevitable moment of execution” (Les archives secrètes du Comte Ciano, 1936–1942, 294). For additional information on the “White Terror,” see Guillermo Cabanellas, La guerra de los mil días, II, 838–67. The most serious research into the executions carried out by the Nationalists in Catalonia from the time of their first entry into the region in 1938 is that of Josep M. Solé i Sabaté, La represió franquista a Catalunya, 1938–1953. In this 600-page work, Solé lists the name, birthdate, political affiliation, occupation, and the date and place of execution of each individual, the total number, according to my count, exceeding ten thousand.

In the paroxysm of barbarity that convulsed the country, one man, in particular, distinguished himself by his humanity. This was the Anarchist Melchor Rodríguez, who became director of prisons in December 1936, and who saved the lives of hundreds of supporters of the right in the Cárcel Modelo, Madrid, where some of the worst atrocities in the left camp had occurred. Arsenio de Izaga, one of the inmates, testifies: “He was appointed on 4 December… . He amazed those of us who were not aware of the integrity of his conscience and the nobility of his heart. That date, which all inmates should engrave on their minds, marks the fortunate and definite end of the horrendous mass executions” (Los presos de Madrid, 280). See also Rafael Abella, who states: “As the war advanced … the safety of the prisoners in the central zone increased thanks to the arduous work of the admirable Melchor Rodríguez from Seville. A former bullfighter and pure anarchist, he showed exceptional courage in his post of director of prisons …, protecting the penal population at a time when the increase in Nationalist bombings incited such horrifying events as the ‘train of death,’ a grievous episode in which hundreds of persons lost their lives when being transferred from Jaén to Alcalá” (La vida cotidiana durante la guerra civil, 105). And the Basque priest, Juan de Iturralde, writes: “[When] Alcalá de Henares was bombed and the people wanted to take the prison by assault to lynch the inmates, Melchor appeared at the gates of the jail, harangued the mob and managed to save the lives of the prisoners, among whom was the secretary of the Falange, Raimundo Fernández Cuesta” (El catolicismo, 129). The humanitarian conduct and courage of Melchor Rodríguez are also attested to by the Republican sympathizer and Basque Nationalist, Jesús de Galíndez, Los vascos en el Madrid sitiado, 66, n. 10. Galíndez summarizes the gruesome state of affairs prevailing in the Madrid prisons before the appointment of Rodríguez: “During the night of 6 November, the records of some six hundred prisoners in the Cárcel Modelo were summarily reviewed. Having established that they were fascists, they were executed in the small village of Paracuellos del Jarama, near Alcalá de Henares; two nights later four hundred prisoners were executed, making a total of 1,020. On succeeding days, until 4 December, the clean-up continued in the temporary jails, although in smaller numbers. The (p.762) clean-up in the prison on General Porlier street lasted several days, the most bloody of which was on 24 November; in the prison of San Antón the clean-up was carried out on 27 and 30 November; and in Ventas, 30 November and the first days of December. The only jails spared were the Duque de Sesto and the Mujeres del Asilo San Rafael” (ibid., 66). For further information on Melchor Rodríguez, see Ian Gibson, Paracuellos: Como fue, 150, 164, 174, 175–84, 191, 236–37; Indice (Madrid), 1 Mar. 1972; and his interview given to Ya, 21 Apr. 1939, three weeks after Franco entered Madrid. For information on the Paracuellos del Jarama massacre, see Carlos Fernández, Paracuellos del Jarama: ¿Carrillo culpable?; Gibson, Paracuellos: Como fue; Datos complementarios para la historia de España, 240–41 and Anexo VII; also article in Cambio 16, 21 Feb. 1983 (“¿Qué pasó en Paracuellos?”).

(69.) La velada en Benicarló, 96. This book is in the form of a dialogue. Garcés, a former minister, who makes the above statement, expresses ideas commonly attributed to Manuel Azaña.

(70.) The same, of course, is true of the Government of the Generalitat in the semiautonomous region of Catalonia, which, in the words of Angel Ossorio y Gallardo, Vida y sacrificio de Companys, 172, had become a “purely nominal organ,” the real power in the region having been assumed by the Central Antifascist Militia Committee.

(71.) Confirmation of this was given to the author by several trade-union leaders.

(72.) Barea, 660.

(73.) See, for example, Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, 25 Aug. 1936; Solidaridad Obrera, 31 July 1938.

(74.) See, for example, Indalecio Prieto, Palabras al viento, 281, and his article in Correo de Asturias, 15 Aug. 1942; Alvarez del Vayo, Freedom’s Battle, 262; César Falcón, Madrid, 122; Major Josep Guarner in El Poble Català, 2 Feb. 1940; Pérez Salas, 113; Zugazagoitia, 47.

(75.) Unión General de Trabajadores and Confederación Nacional del Trabajo respectively.

(76.) An exception must be made of the province of Vizcaya in the Basque Country. “Vizcaya,” writes Stanley G. Payne, “was practically the only sector of the Republican zone where there were virtually no revolutionary changes in the basic structure of the economic system. State control (intervención) was established over industrial and commercial assets of those known to support Franco’s Spanish Nationalists, and all aspects of military production were placed under state supervision… . Wartime regulations were imposed on the general economy by the end of October, including strict rationing and price controls, but in general there was no change in the legal basis of property. The relative social conservatism of Basque nationalism combined with the diplomatic cautiousness of the Communists and Socialists (who were eager not to offend British interests and foreign opinion) to prevent genuine revolutionary changes in Vizcaya” (Basque Nationalism, 181). And summarizing the contrast between the Basque Country and the rest of Republican Spain, Rafael Abella writes: “As compared with the tumultuous outburst that took place in republican Spain in response to the military coup, the Basque Country represented a rare oasis in the midst of the antireligious obsession and the frenzy of seizures of property. The administrative councils held their meetings, the banks were respected, the industrial plants continued to function without collectivist experiments; religion was practised freely and the excesses that occurred were the work of outside elements such as the dreadful attack on the jails after a bombardment” (La vida cotidiana durante la guerra civil, 114). See also aximiano García Venero, Historia del nacionalismo vasco, 611–12. This is not to say that there was no revolutionary activity on the part of the workers’ organizations (see, for example, Arenillas, 7–13; Manuel Chiapuso, El gobierno vasco y los anarquistas: Bilbao en guerra, and Chiapuso, Los anarquistas y la guerra en Euzkadi: La comuna de San Sebastián), but, on the whole, the basic structure of the economic system, as Payne affirms, remained unchanged.

(79.) Treball, 9 Apr. 1937. See also Antonio Mije (member of the politburo), Por una potente industria de guerra, 3; Federico Melchor (member of the executive committee of the JSU, the Communist-run Unified Socialist Youth Federation), Organicemos la producción, 4.

(80.) Pravda, 26 Sept. 1936.

(81.) See the preamble of a decree published in the official Gaceta de la República (formerly Gaceta de Madrid), 22 Oct. 1937. For earlier references to the destruction of property records, see speech by the undersecretary of finance, Jerónimo Bugeda, as reported in El Día Gráfico, 9 Feb. 1937; article by (p.763) Federica Montseny in Tierra y Libertad, 29 Oct. 1936; report of the Committee of War of the Iron Column, Nosotros, 16 Feb. 1937; Solidaridad Obrera, 13 Aug. 1936 (article on Pina).

(82.) Report to the central committee of the Communist party, 5–8 Mar. 1937, in Díaz, Tres años, 351.

(83.) Tribuna, Oct. 1948.

(85.) For some of the institute’s reports listing confiscated properties, see Claridad, 12, 14 Oct. 1936; CNT, 15, 18, 19 Aug. 1936; Mundo Obrero, 8 Aug. 1936; Política, 11, 14, 23, 27, 28, 30 Aug.; 1, 16, 17, 23–25, 27 Sept.; 10, 15, 28 Oct. 1936; El Socialista, 29 Aug., 29 Sept. 1936.

(86.) Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, 25 Aug. 1936.

(87.) Statement issued by the Barcelona Traction, Light, and Power Company, Limited, on 3 Sept. 1936; see also statement issued on 16 Nov. 1936.

(88.) On the question of the confiscation and control of property by the unions and also by the left-wing parties a great deal could be written based on left sources alone. But considerations of space do not permit more than a brief reference to some of these sources under each of the following heads:

Railroads. “The boards of directors disappeared,” said one trade-union report, “and works councils were formed in which the working-class organizations were directly represented” (CNT [Madrid], 2 Oct. 1936). This control of the railroads by the working-class organizations is confirmed in the preamble of a government decree published in the Gaceta de Madrid, 16 Aug. 1936. See also Avant, 26 July 1936; La Batalla, 18 Aug. 1936; Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, 26 Aug. 1936; CNT (Madrid), 5 Oct. 1936; Cultura Proletaria, 15 June 1940 (article by Gaston Leval); El Día Gráfico, 24 Sept. 1936; Fragua Social, 7 Apr. 1937; Solidaridad Obrera (Barcelona), 11, 19 Aug. 1936; La Vanguardia, 14 Oct. 1936; De julio a julio (article by Juan de Arroyo), 165–68; Gaston Leval, Espagne libertaire, 1936–1939, 277–78; Leval, Né Franco né Stalin, 97–111; Agustín Souchy and Paul Folgare, Colectivizaciones: La obra constructiva de la revolución española, 55–61; Matilde Vázquez and Javier Valero, La guerra civil en Madrid, 78.

Other sections of the transport industry. According to Victor Zaragoza, secretary of the national committee of the CNT National Transport Federation, when interviewed by me, every important transport enterprise was appropriated by the labor unions. This excludes the Basque provinces, where there were fewer changes in the economic field (see, for example, G. L. Steer, The Tree of Gernika, 73). For the confiscation of some of the most important transport enterprises in Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia, see Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, 7, 26 Aug. 1936, also article reproduced from this paper in El Día Gráfico, 18 Aug. 1936; CNT, 7, 10 Aug. 1936; La Noche, 6 Aug. 1936; Nosotros, 8, 19 July 1937; Política, 8 Aug. 1936; Solidaridad Obrera, 1, 4 Aug., 13 Oct., 19 Nov., 17 Dec. 1936; Tierra y Libertad, 1 May 1937; La Vanguardia, 8 Oct. 1936; Leval, Né Franco né Stalin, 111–22; Vicente Ramos, La guerra civil, 1936–1939, en la provincia de Alicante, I, 153; Souchy and Folgare, 61–71. For the control of the shipping companies by the unions, see Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War (1977 ed.), 530.

Public utilities. According to Mariano Cardona Rosell, a member of the national committee of the CNT, every public utility enterprise in the left camp was taken over by the CNT and UGT (letter to me). Some of the most important were: Compañía Catalana de Gas y Electricidad, Compañía Hidroeléctrica Española, Compañía Madrileña de Gas, Cooperativa Electra, Electra Valenciana, Eléctrica Santillana, Empresa Concesionaria de las Aguas Subterráneas del Río Llobregat, Gas Lebon, Riegos y Fuerzas del Ebro, Saltos del Duero, Sociedad Anónima de Fuerzas Eléctricas, Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona, Unión Eléctrica Madrileña. For details on some of these enterprises, see La Batalla, 2, 23 Aug. 1936; Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, 27 July 1937; CNT, 31 Aug. 1936; Luz y Fuerza, Jan. 1938; Nosotros, 3 July 1937; Solidaridad Obrera, 13, 15 Aug. 1936, 10 Jan. 1937; Leval, Espagne libertaire, 1936–1939, 261–66; Leval, Né Franco né Stalin, 127–31; Vicente Ramos, I, 153–54; Souchy and Folgare, 125–36; Vázquez and Valero, 77–78.

Manufacturing, mining, and banking enterprises. See Acracia, 24 Oct. 1936; La Batalla, 22 Sept. 1936; Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, 7 Aug., 30 Sept. 1936, also articles reproduced from this paper in El Día Gráfico, 5, 6, 14, 25 Aug. 1936; Claridad, 1 Mar. 1937 (speech by Vicente Uribe); CNT, 23 Sept., 5–7 Oct. 1936; CNT (Paris), 26 Dec. 1947, 3 Dec. 1948, 20 Nov. 1949; CNT-FAI-AIT Informationsdienst, 15 Aug. 1936; La Correspondencia de Valencia, 2 Mar., 14 Aug. 1937; Cultura Proletaria, 25 Nov. 1939; El Día Gráfico, 6 Dec. 1936; Diario Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya, (p.764) 28 Oct. 1936 (see preamble of the collectivization decree); Documentos Históricos de España, July 1938; L’Espagne Antifasciste, no. 8 (no date) and 21 Nov. 1936 (article by Christian Couderc); España Libre (Toulouse), 18 Sept. 1949; Fragua Social, as given in Tierra y Libertad, 13 Feb. 1937; El Mercantil Valenciano, 30 Aug. 1936, 11 May 1937 (statement by Belarmino Tomás); Mundo Obrero, 20 Aug. 1936; Nosotros, 6, 14 July 1937, also article reproduced from this paper in Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, 16 June 1937; La Révolution Prolétarienne, 25 Sept. 1936 (article by Jean Leunois); El Socialista, 27 Aug. 1937; Solidaridad Obrera, 7, 18, 22 Aug., 4, 16, 19, 25, 29, 30 Sept., 21, 23 Oct., 18–21 Nov., 2, 5, 11, 15, 17, 19 Dec. 1936, 21, 28 Jan., 1, 24 Apr., 30 June, 15 Aug. (article by Cardona Rosell), 23 Oct. 1937; Solidaridad Obrera (Paris), 16 July 1949; Spanish Revolution, 5 Sept. 1936, 6 Aug. 1937; Tierra y Libertad, 30 Jan., 27 Mar., 24 July, 9, 16, 30 Oct., 13 Nov. 1937; Treball, 6 (speech by Angel Estivill), 13 Dec. 1936; La Vanguardia, 21 Apr. 1938 (interview with Vidal Rosell). See also John Brademas, Anarchosindicalismo y revolución en España, 1930–1937, 189–96; José Díaz, Tres años de lucha, 350–66; Kaminski, Ceux de Barcelone, 223–27; Leval, Espagne libertaire, 1936–1939, 241–61; Leval, Social Reconstruction in Spain, 6–7, 10, 22–23, 32; Peter Merin, Spain between Death and Birth, 233–35; Vicente Ramos, I, 122, 154; Souchy and Folgare, 73–124; Vázquez and Valero, 77. According to reliable information given to me by Antonio Villanueva, secretary at one time of the CNT metal workers’ union of Valencia, the following firms were taken over by his union: Brunet, Davis, Mateu, Sanz, Torras, and Unión Naval de Levante.

Urban real estate and buildings of right-wing organizations. See, for example, La Batalla, 23 Sept. 1936; Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, 26 Aug., 26 Sept., 7 Nov. 1936; Claridad, 22 July 1936; CNT, 10 Aug. 1936; El Día Gráfico, 24 July, 29 Aug. 1936; Mundo Obrero, 19–20 Nov., 2, 5, 17, 19 Dec. 1936, 20 Jan. 1937, 5 June 1938; Tierra y Libertad, 23 Jan. 1937 (article by Gaston Leval); decree of the minister of finance, published in the Gaceta de Madrid, 29 Sept. 1936, which confirms the appropriation of urban real estate by trade-union and political organizations; also statement to the press by the minister of finance, El Pueblo, 24 Dec. 1936; J. Oltra Picó, Socialización de las fincas urbanas y municipalización de los servicios; Vicente Ramos, I, 155; Vicente Sáenz, España en sus gloriosas jornadas de julio y agosto de 1936, 18; Lazarillo de Tormes (Benigno Bejarano), España, cuña de la libertad, 67; Vázquez and Valero, 78–79.

Motion-picture theaters and legitimate theaters. See La Batalla, 9, 29 Aug. 1936; Claridad, 17 Aug. 1936; CNT-AIT-FAI Informationsdienst, 15 Aug. 1936; La Humanitat, 12 Sept. 1936; Solidaridad Obrera, 15 Aug., 19 Nov. 1936, 10 Feb. 1937; Tiempos Nuevos, 1 Dec. 1936 (article by A. Souchy); Ultima Hora, 6 Aug. 1936; La Veu de Catalunya, 29 Oct. 1936; R. Louzon, La contra revolución en España, 34; Vicente Ramos, I, 152; Vázquez and Valero, 112.

Hotels, restaurants, bars, and department stores. See Acracia, 24 Oct. 1936; La Batalla, 27 Feb. 1937; Boletín de Información, CNT-FAI, as given in El Día Gráfico, 21 Aug., 25 Nov. 1936; CNT, 7 Oct. 1936; El Día Gráfico, 24 July 1936; Pravda, 26 Sept. 1936 (article by Mikhail Koltzov); Mundo Obrero, 2 Oct. 1936; Política, 15 Aug. 1936; Solidaridad Obrera, 1 Nov. 1936; Spanish Revolution, 6 Aug. 1937; Tierra y Libertad, 30 Oct. 1937; Umbral, no. 14, as given in Documentos Históricas de España, Mar. 1938; La Vanguardia, 24 Nov. 1937; Diego Abad de Santillán, Por qué perdimos la guerra, 80; Leval, Social Reconstruction, 32; Louzon, 34; Collectivisations, 27.

Newspapers and printing shops. See Claridad, 24, 26 July 1936; CNT, 24 July, 1 Sept., 7 Oct. 1936; El Día Gráfico, 28 July 1936; Mundo Obrero, 21, 23 July, 27 Aug. 1936; Tiempo de Historia, June 1979 (Eduardo de Gúzman, “Periódicos y periodistas de Madrid en guerra”); Treball, 25 July 1936; Vázquez and Valero, 80–81.

For additional information on the control by the labor unions of various branches of industry and trade, see Walther L. Bernecker, Anarchismus und Bürgerkrieg, 137–211; Josep María Bricall, Política económica de la Generalitat, 1936–1939; Sam Dolgoff, The Anarchist Collectives; Ronald Fraser, Blood of Spain, 209–36; Leval, Espagne libertaire, 241–352; Frank Mintz, L’autogestion dans l’Espagne révolutionnaire, 210–36; Albert Pérez-Baró, 30 mesos de col-lectivisme a Catalunya, 1936–1939; Vicente Ramos, I, 336–47 (for the names of 333 small manufacturing and commercial establishments sequestered in the province of Alicante by the UGT and CNT); Vázquez and Valero, 126–30; Economies et Sociétés (Paris: ISEA), Tome VI, Sept.–Oct. 1972 (article by Bricall, “L’Expérience Catalane d’Autogestion Ouvrière durant la Guerre Civile, 1936–1939”). Also, an unpublished manuscript by Michael Seidman, “Workers’ Control in Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1938,” which uncovers new sources (a copy of the manuscript is in the Hoover Institution, Bolloten Collection).

(p.765) For the intervention by the ministry of industry and commerce in certain concerns in Madrid, see the Gaceta de Madrid, 27 July 1936; also CNT, 3 Aug. 1936; Mundo Obrero, 1 Aug. 1936; Política, 18 Aug. 1936; and Guerra y revolución en España, 1936–1939, I, 269–71. It should be observed that the immense majority of these firms had previously been taken over by the labor unions. See, for example, Mikhail Koltzov in Pravda, 26 Sept. 1936.