Spain Recent History

Spain Recent History

Second republic

The municipal elections of December of April of 1931 suppose a great triumph of Conjunction Republican-Socialist in Madrid, obtaining 69.2% of the vote (90,630 votes for conjunction and 31,616 for the monarchists, which resulted in 15 Socialist councilors and 15 republicans against 20 monarchical councilors). Pedro Rico, from the Federal Democratic Republican Party, was elected mayor by the municipal corporation.

The republican triumph in Madrid and most of the provincial capitals meant the decomposition of the monarchy and the advent of the Second Spanish Republic, just two days later. The republican committee assumed power on the afternoon of the 14th, proclaiming the Republic in the Royal Post Office of Puerta del Sol, headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior, before an excited crowd. The Constitution of the Republic promulgated in 1931 was the first that legislated on the capital of the State, establishing it explicitly in Madrid.

According to, the implementation of the reforms encountered serious obstacles from the conservative forces and the army, including a failed coup led by General José Sanjurjo. The right-wing groups decided to organize against government measures and in March 1933 they formed the Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Rights (CEDA), under the leadership of José María Gil Robles, while the fascist parties gained strength, such as the Juntas de Offensive Nacional-Sindicalista (JONS) and the Spanish Falange (FE), created by José Antonio Primo de Rivera, son of the dictator of the same name. The members of these organizations formed uniformed paramilitary groups that, wearing blue shirts, acted in the streets in imitation of the Nazi assault groups (brown shirts) or the Italian fascists (black shirts).

In the same way that Mussolini found in the ancient Roman Empire a model for his strong state, the Spanish fascism represented by the JONS and the Falange, possessed exacerbated nationalism based on a reductionist vision of history that had its roots in the formative age. of the Hispanic Empire, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs.

Civil war

The conflict began on 17 of July of 1936, with the rise of a fraction of the headed army by Mola and General Francisco Franco, who moved from Morocco Spanish to get to the front of military operations, in order to end the constitutional republican government, led at that time by the Popular Front coalition.

The rebellious side represented the forces of the right and the extreme right, that is, the traditional Catholic rural Spain of the large agrarian landowners, as well as the large capital connected with numerous foreign interests. While the small peasant proprietors recruited in the Falange and the Carlist groups (the so-called “requetés”) constituted the support of the rebels. Members of the middle classes favored one side or the other based on their geographic location.

Despite the fact that the rebels called themselves “nationals”, in reference to their purpose of unifying the country under a central government that would exalt the “Castilian homeland”, they received —from the first moments and throughout the conflict— the help of Italian troops. and German, in addition to supplies of weapons and ammunition. For its part, Soviet aid and the wave of sympathy that the cause of the Republic aroused in Europe and America (in Mexico and Cubaparticularly) gave way to the formation of units of foreign volunteers of various nationalities, called international brigades, made up of veteran soldiers of the First World War, workers, students or intellectuals who moved to Spain to fight against fascism.

But while the Nazi-fascist intervention in support of the rebels was immediate, the republican forces that defended the democratic government of Spain could not count on the help of the western powers (the United States, France and Great Britain), who did not seem willing to To support the Republic for fear of the establishment of socialism in Spain, they decided to adopt a policy of “non-intervention” and asked that it be supported by the other nations, an attitude that resulted in the benefit of the fascists.

The 28 as March as 1939, Franco ‘s troops entered Madrid and three days later dropped the last places loyal to the Republican government. The war ended on April 1, 1939 ; the Republic collapsed and its representatives fled abroad, establishing a republican government in exile. But the end of the civil war did not mean that Spain regained peace. When the Franco government was established throughout the country, a period of atrocious reprisals against the vanquished began; Only those who went into exile remained safe from repression, and from these particularly those who went to America preceded by the children who had been sent to Mexico during the war; the exiles who went to France were saved only momentarily until this country was occupied by the Nazis.

The main consequence of the Spanish Civil War was the large number of human losses (almost a million), not all attributable to the actual warlike actions and many of them related to the bombardments on civilian populations.

In the political aspect, the result was the abrupt change of a government emanated from the electoral ballot boxes to another that emerged from the arms; In other words, the end of democracy to give way to a fierce dictatorship that would last until the death of Francisco Franco in 1975. The main consequences in the economic sphere were: loss of material and financial reserves, decrease in the workforce, destruction of infrastructure, decrease in production and reduction in the level of income.

Franco dictatorship

After the war, the city continues its unstoppable spatial growth, while it heals the wounds that the war had left in the city, especially on its west facade. Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards emigrate from the countryside to the city. Madrid (along with Barcelona or Bilbao) is one of the cities that most benefit from these population movements. As of June 5, 1948, begins the process of annexation to Madrid of up to thirteen neighboring municipalities, which ends on July 31, 1954 (Aravaca, Barajas, Canillas, Canillejas, Chamartín de la Rosa, Fuencarral, Hortaleza, El Pardo, Vallecas, Vicálvaro, Villaverde, Carabanchel Alto and Carabanchel Bajo), passing its extension from 66 km² to the current 607 km² and gaining about 300,000 new residents.

After Franco’s death

After the death of General Franco, Madrid was one of the main settings during the Transition period. The first months of 1977 were notable for political and social unrest, with strikes, demonstrations and violent counter-demonstrations with fatalities. Other serious events were the two kidnappings by GRAPO and the episode of the Atocha Massacre of 1977 that resulted in the murder by members of the extreme right of labor lawyers in an office located on this street. With the consolidation of the party regime, the 1978 constitution confirms Madrid as the capital of Spain in whose support the mass demonstrations would take place after the thwarted coup d’état of the As February 23 as 1981.

In the 21st century, the city continues to face new challenges: maintaining the population within the urban nucleus (Madrid is the municipality in Spain in which the increase in housing prices has been the highest); expansion of the city (with the creation of new neighborhoods with an Urban Action Plan: Ensanche de Vallecas, Pau de Carabanchel, Montecarmelo, Arroyo del Fresno, Las Tablas, Sanchinarro, Valdebebas…); remodeling of the historic center; absorption and integration of the immigration that comes to the city.

Spain Recent History