Spain (Spanish: España), officially the Spanish Republic (República Española), is a country located in Southwestern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. The Republic has seen much economic trouble over the years, and has seen its downfall many times, only to get back on its knees to survive intact.
Spain is also known as the Second Spanish Republic (Segunda República Española).
- (Note: The History of Spain is relatively the same up until the start of Spanish Civil War, 17 July 1936)
The Spanish Civil War began after a pronunciamiento against the Republican government in 17 July 1936 by a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces, originally under the leadership of José Sanjurjo. The government at the time was a moderate, liberal coalition of Republicans, supported in the Cortes by communist and socialist parties. The Nationalist group was supported by a number of conservative groups, including the Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Right-wing Groups (Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas, or CEDA, dissolved in 1936), monarchists, including both the opposing Alfonsists and the religious conservative Carlists, and the Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (FE y de las JONS), a fascist political party. Sanjurjo was killed in an aircraft accident (20 July) while attempting to return from exile in Portugal, whereupon General Francisco Franco emerged as the leader of the Nationalists.
Military units in the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, Pamplona, Burgos, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Cádiz, Córdoba, and Seville supported the Nationalist coup. However, rebelling units in some important cities—such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, and Málaga—did not gain control, and those cities remained under the control of the government until the end of the war. The Nationalist also besieged Madrid and the area to its south and west for much of the war.
The government under Jose Giral fell in September 1936 being replaced by one led by socialist Francisco Largo Caballero with the support and integration of all left and republican parties that were part of the Popular Front and Anarchists. The so called Spanish Revolution would also start by this time with the control of many factories and local governments by trade unions, the anarchist CNT-FAI and the trotskyists POUM along other groups first in Barcelona, later spreading to the rest of Catalonia and neighboring Valencia and Aragon. The Nationalist forces from the beginning of the war received munitions, soldiers, and air support from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, while the Republican side received support from the Soviet Union and Mexico. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, continued to recognize the Republican government, but followed an official policy of non-intervention. The League of Nations' non-intervention to the war was influenced by a fear of communism and was insufficient to contain the massive importation of arms and other war resources by the fighting factions. Although a Non-Intervention Committee was formed, its policies accomplished little and its directives were ineffective.
Notwithstanding this policy non intervention policy, tens of thousands of citizens from non-interventionist countries directly participated in the conflict. They fought mostly in the pro-Republican International Brigades, which also included several thousand exiles from pro-Nationalist regimes.
The first months were followed by arbitrarily and officially sanctioned atrocities on both sides. For example fascists and right wing politicians were killed on the areas controlled by the government and left wing and republican politicians on the nationalist controlled areas
However, the nationalist rebel’s side in the first years of the Civil War had the upper hand. The Nationalists advanced from their strongholds in the south and west, capturing most of Spain's northern coastline in 1937.
In April and May of 1937 saw the May Days of Barcelona, infighting among Republican groups in Catalonia. The dispute was between an ultimately victorious government and Communist led forces and the defeated anarchist CNT and the POUM. The national government and the Generalitat recovered their control of Barcelona and Catalonia. The Anarchist defeat of the Barcelona May Days meant their withdraw from the government and the fall of Largo Caballero. The new government was led the also socialist Juan Negrin. The May Day also marked the end of the Spanish Revolution, as the main effort was shifted to win the war and the control of government moving to the Communists and the left wing of the socialists. Both groups presented themselves as an alternative to leftist chaos of the Anarchist CNT-FAI, the troskists POUM and other more radical groups.
Aid from Mexico, in weapons, and later army units and fundamentally aircrafts, along the ones of the Soviet Unión, helped take the upper hand in many areas. Mexico officially stated its help on saving the republic and criticized the hypocrisy of the League of Nations, France and UK for enforcing the Non-Intervention Agreement while the nationalist openly received weapons from Germany and Italy, with army personal following shortly. The Mexican and Soviet aid shifted the war on the republicans side. The offensive of ...
In January 1937, an encounter between representatives of Republican Spain and UK in London began series of negotiations in order to lift the blockade and bring help to the Republic. The appointment of Negrin as prime minister in May 1937 closed the talks, as the UK was unwilling to negotiate with a pro-communist government. The open involvement of Mexico and the publication of several accounts of German and Italian help pushed British public opinion for the end of appeasement.
Battle of Teruel December 1937 and February 1938, won by Republican Army
Talks between the Spanish government and the United Kingdom were secretly reopen after the fall of Asturias to the nationalist in December 1938. It was agreed under the condition of not allowing further Communist participation that the UK would loosen and eventually end the blockade, humanitarian aid and weapons allowed to pass and all Spanish ships interned if they stopped in French or British ports. France would also come to help after the embargo over Spain is lifted. United America would give limited help but in order to help the POUM militias and prevent further Stalinist control of the left. A National Defence coalition government under Julian Besteiros replaced Negrin’s Popular Front cabinet, with the Presidential mandate to win the Civil War and quell down the revolutionary fervor that was sweeping across the republican zone. The most radical measures such as land reform, nationalization of industries were controlled or slowed down. The anarchist and international militias are incorporated the Army.
The PCE, being more moderate and not in favor of the revolution, along the left wing of the PSOE started their joint actions that would later lead to their unification in the PSU. The right-wing of the PSOE already suspicious of the PCE and its Stalinist hegemony of the left was against the suppression of the POUM and allied with it only for convenience. The republican parties allied in what would later become the Republican Block. The republican camp was also helped by the merger of the many existing and competing groups of right-wing and centrists republicans into the CDR.
World War II
Post War Reconstruction
Constitution and Government
The Constitution of 1931 introduced female suffrage, civil marriage and divorce. It also established free, obligatory, secular education for all and trial by jury. The Constitution also made the right to property subject to the public good, such that it could be nationalized as long as the owner was compensated. Full citizenship was given to all inhabitants of the Spanish territories of Africa in 1946.
The constitution grants freedom of religion to all, including non-Catholic worship in Spain. However, laws nationalized Roman Catholic Church properties and required the Church to pay rent for the use of properties, which it had previously owned.
Until 1945, articles 26 and 27, of the Constitution, and laws, forbade public manifestations of Catholicism such as processions on religious feast days, dissolved the Jesuits and banned Catholic education by prohibiting the religious communities of nuns, priests and brothers from teaching even in private schools. After the Constitutional Reform of 1945, some these regulations were loosen or abrogated.
Spain is a semi-parliamentary republic. The head of state and personification of the Nation is the President of the Republic elected every six years. Until 1972, the president was elected by an electoral college composed of members of legislative branch and elector citizens called compromisaries (compromisarios) elected by popular vote. The constitutional reform of 1972 established the direct election of the president by a two-round system of voting. The president with approval of the Cortes names the judges and other higher authorities.
The head of government is the President of the Council of Ministers. The President appoints the President of the Council of Ministers and its Ministers. The minister must have also the approval and confidence of the Cortes.
The legislative power resides in the Cortes, a unicameral body integrated by deputies directly every four years. The President can dissolve earlier the Cortes, with an election occurring within 60 days. The President of the Council and the Ministers must have the confidence of the Cortes. Popular initiative of laws can be made at request of 15 percent of the citizens, with restrictions on the subjects to be presented.
Constitutional reform is an initiative, either of the government or the Cortes. If the Cortes approves the proposal of reform by an absolute majority, they are automatically dissolved and elections must follow within two months. The elected Cortes as constituent assembly discuss and vote the reforms and continue its mandate as normal legislative body.
The judicial power resides in the Supreme Court and Court of Constitutional Guarantees (Tribunal de Garantías Constitucionales). The Cortes on proposal of the President nominates both. The role of the Court of Constitutional Guarantees is to guard the constitutionality of laws and settle disputes between state powers and the autonomous regions.
The Constitution establishes the territorial division in provinces, and the possibility that those that had common cultural characteristics could be united to obtain the territorial autonomy as unified region (Autonomous Regions, AR) through an Autonomy Statute (Estatuto de Autonomía).
The following historical AR were constituted: Catalonia (1932), Basque Country (1936), Galicia (1941), Andalusia (1942), Aragon (1943), Valencia Community (1943), Navarre, Asturias, Canary Islands and Balearic Islands. In the 1960s the Cortes established from the former African colonies into the AR Sahara, Equatorial Guinea and Rif, The Castilian crisis led to the creation of the remaining AR of Extremadura, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla y Léon.
Heads of State and Government
Spain has a multi-party system at national and regional level. The main ideological groups are the Left (Socialist, anarchist and communist parties), Center (republican parties) and Right (christian democracy, conservatives and monarchies). There are also important nationalist and regionalist parties.
Undoubtedly the main political group are the Republican parties, the later Republican Block (Bloque Republicano, BR). They all share in varying degrees the program and values of democratic liberalism, anticlericalism and secularism, social liberalism and pacifism. They differ in the details of decentralization and autonomism of Spain, agrarian reform and military reform. These parties have been the backbone of all governments. The main parties are the Republican Left (Izquierda Republicana, IR), the Republican Union (Unión Republicana, UR until its dissolution in 1952 and its members left to the IR And CDR) and the Republican Democratic Center (Centro Democrático Republicano, CDR).
The left mainly represented and with electoral force are the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE, Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), the Partido Socialista Unificado (PSU, Marxist-Leninist), POUM (Partido Obrero Unificado Marxista, Marxist-Trotskyist) and the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI, Iberian Anarchist Federation). The latter has an important following in Andalusia and Asturias. The PSU was formed as a merger of the Partido Comunista de España (PCE 1921-1939) and the left wing of the PSOE.
Another important group is formed by the Christian Democrats of the former Acción Popular and CEDA. Their successor being the Democratic Popular Union (Union Popular Democrática, UPD). It become the main right wing party of the Spanish Republic. The UPD was committed to the Republic and the Constitution. However it worked to dismiss the most stringent anticlerical laws but accepting the separation of Church and State.
The other main right wing party is the Spanish Agrarian Party (Partido Agrario Español, PAE) a conservative republican having its base amongst small and medium farmers, and historically opposed to agrarian reform. The UPD, along the Agrarians, represent the middle classes.
As stated before, there are important regional parties in Catalonia, Basque Country and Galicia that are commonly aligned to the national parties but have regional policies, sometimes divergence from their national counterpart.
In Catalonia, nationalist parties are the main political groups. These are Lliga regionalista (center-right nationalist), Democratic Union of Catalonia (Unió Democràtica de Catalunya, UDC), - nationalist and Christian Democracy), Republican Left of Catalania (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC), center-left and nationalist), Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (Partido Socialista Unificado de Cataluña, PUSC) affiliate of the PCE/PSU).
In the Basque Country, the main parties are Basque National Party (Partido Nacionalista Vasco PNV-EAJ, nationalist and Christian Democracy), Basque Nationalist Action (Acción Nacionalista Vasca EAE-ANV, nationalist and left republican) and Euskadiko Ezkerra (EE, Basque Country Left).
In Galicia the main parties are the Partido Republicano Gallego (PRG, affiliate of IR) , the centrists Partido Galeguista (Partido Galleguista) and the right-wing Dereita Galeguista, Partido Socialista Galego (PSG), Unión Socialista Gallega, Unión do Povo Galego (UPG). Other important nationalist and regionalists are Partido Galeguista (Galicianist Party), Autonomous Galician Republican Organization Organización Republicana Galega Autónoma, ORGA) and Unión Navarra.
Administratively Spain, according to the Constitution, is divided in provinces, and the possibility that those that had common cultural characteristics could be united to obtain the territorial autonomy as unified region (Autonomous Regions) through an Autonomy Statute (Estatuto de Autonomía), and municipalities. The African possessions were administered as territories until becoming autonomous regions.
The Constitution recognizes the rights of "regions and nationalities" to self-government and declares that "The Republic is an integral state, compatible with the autonomy of the Municipalities and Regions".
So far the following AR have been constituted: Catalonia (1932), Basque Country (1936), Galicia (1941), Andalusia (1942), Aragon (1943), Valencia Community (1943), Sahara, Equatorial Guinea, Rif, and Navarre.
The Castilian Political Crisis was triggered by the protest of the Castillian communities and provinces for their lack of the same self government as in Catalonia and Basque Country. A temporally solution was to give more attributions and powers to the Provincial Diputation Boards, but these remained unrepresentative and lacked powers in budgetary control. The lack of interest or hostility from the UDP or PSOE for a statue of autonomy led to a political standstill to resolve the situation. The Castilian Political Crisis led to the approval and enacting of the long over due statutes of autonomy for Murcia and Extremadura and perhaps one of the major change in the territorial organization: the creation of the autonomies of Castilla y Leon and Castilla-La Mancha.
There are 17 autonomous regions, 61 provinces and more then 7,000 municipalities.
- Former Territories
- Spanish protectorate in Morocco (Tetuán), later AR of Rif.
- Protectorate of Sidi Ifni, later part of AR of Sahara.
- Saguia el Hamra (El Aaiún), later part of AR of Sahara.
- Río de Oro (Villa Cisneros), later part of AR of Sahara.
- Protectorate of Cape Juby, later part of AR of Sahara.
- Colony of Spanish Guinea (Santa Isabel), later AR of Equatorial Guinea.
Spain emerged from the Civil War and World War II with formidable economic problems. Gold and foreign exchange reserves had been virtually wiped out, the massive devastation of Wars had reduced the productive capacity of both industry and agriculture. To compound the difficulties, even if it had existed the possibility to purchase imports, the outbreak of World War II rendered many needed supplies unavailable. The end of the war did not improve Spain's plight because of subsequent global shortages of raw materials, and peacetime industrial products. Spain's European neighbours faced formidable post-war reconstruction problems of their own.
Society and Culture
The stillborn Spanish Revolution of 1936-1939 did not install socialism or a dominant state and public owned economy. It did however, shock established cultural and social mores. For example, the participation of women as part of the armed militias, draft in factories, and political empowerment by necessity in local and state institutions gave tremendous steps in liberation of women from traditional roles. This was indicative in the elections for the Cortes of 1945 that had 25% of women elected as deputies, and later approximately 40% in the 1949 and following elections.
Divorce, birth control, free and compulsory primary education, anticlerical legislation and republican propaganda against the Church produced a less traditional society within a generation. Persons identified with freethought, irreligious and atheist came to about a 40% of the adult population in the 1960s. Church attendance is still strong in rural areas and some traditional strongholds of the Church but were diminishing. Public religious processions became more a form of local identity and tourist attraction than real religious worship.
The legalization of civil unions approved by the Cortes in 1965, was later used by same sex couples after the Court of Constitutional Guarantees declared its nondiscriminatory nature in 1971. Topless sunbathing at first restricted to beaches popular with foreign tourists became widespread along the Mediterranean coast.
The social upheld of the Spanish Revolution that took hold in Spain also shaped the pro-European and Iberoamericanism outlook of politicians and Spaniards in general. The Presidencies of 1940s and the long time Foreign Affairs minister and later President of the Republic Salvador de Madariaga marked the predominant shift to European affairs in the postwar recovery. However, Europeanism clashed with the awareness of the existence of modern Latin America by many Spaniards during the Civil War and Post War Reconstruction. The wealth of resources and economic and cultural output from Latin America for the first time was widely felt and had an impact in many seeing Latin America as a model of future for the Republic. The cliché of underdeveloped, poor and lazy Latin Americans was swept aside by the solidarity and help given by Mexico, and later Argentina, Uruguay and Chile to the republican cause. The change of Día de la Hispanidad (Hispanicity Day) to Día de la Unión Iberoamericana (Day of the Iberoamarican Union) was one signals of changing actitudes. Iberoamericanism and Europeanism more than once divided Spanish society and politics on where to focus their attention in world affairs.
- Public Holidays and National Days
- 1 January - New Year's Day
- 11 February - Epiphany (Día de Reyes) / Children's Day (Día de los Niños)
- 8 March - International Women’s Day
- moveable to late March or early April - Holy Week (Semana Santa) / Week of Tourism (Semana del Turismo)
- 14 April - Day of the Republic (Day of the Republic, 1931)
- 1 May - International Labor Day
- 2 May - Second of May Uprising (Levantamiento del 2 mayo de 1808)
- 12 October - Day of the Iberoamarican Union (Día de la Unión Iberoamericana), former Hispanicity Day (Día de la Hispanidad)
- 1 November - All Saints Day
- 2 November - Deceased ones day (Día de los Difuntos)
- 25 December - Christmas Day
|Type||Public broadcaster. Radio network (1936 to date) and television network|
|Founded||1934, reformed 1936|
|Key people||Ricardo Urgoiti (First Director General)|
|Radio||Union Radio network 1936|
|Television||Television SRN 1 and SRN 2 / Television Cultura|
|International radio service||Radio Exterior de España (REE)|
|Language||Sṕanish (national, regional and local networks), Galego, Basque, Catalan/Balearic/Valencian, Arabic and Berber (All in regional and local networks).|
Spain as a diverse range of public and private broadcasters. The most prominent being the publicly owned public service broadcaster, SRN. The Servicio de Radiodifusión Nacional (SRN, National Broadcasting Service) is the national public broadcaster that operates the national radio and TV networks. The SRN's largest competitors are the national private networks and the public autonomous broadcasters.
The autonomous regions have their own public entities that broadcasters in their regional language. Corporación Catalana de Radio y Televisión (CCRTV, Catalonia), Euskal Irrati Telebista (EITB), Corporación Radio y Televisión de Galicia (CRTVG), Radiotelevisió Valenciana, Radio y Televisión de Andalucía (RTVA)
Armed Forces and Police
The Spanish Republican Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas de la República Española) are in charge of guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of Spanish Republic, defend of its territorial integrity and the constitutional order.
After the Civil War, Spain officially enforced an armed neutrality after the Battle of France while the Republican Army was purged of its fascist elements and reorganized. However, it was hearsay that sympathies rallied with the Allies. Spain declared war on the Axis Powers on the same day of the Normandy landings, has part of a joint allied operation to liberate southern France and push Italy from the western Mediterranean Sea.
In 1946, the Portuguese Democratic Revolution started and Spain helped anti-Salazar forces with a naval blockade and supply of arms to the rebel elements of the Army. The only activate engagement was the naval battle of Lisbon against Salazarist navy units that planned to bombshell the city. The Spanish Navy and Naval Infantry also helped its Portuguese counterpart in securing the loyalty of its colonies.
Military service for men and women, is voluntary in time of peace and mandatory in state of war. Conscientious objectors must serve the Civilian Public Service for 12 months. Women have actively served in the military since the Civil War, first in the Army and latter in the Air-force, Navy and finally in the police services. All women and men serve in mixed-gender combat and rearguard units of the Armed Forces and in police services.
The branches of the Armed Forces are the following:
- Spanish Republican Army (Ejército de la República Española)
- Spanish Republican Navy (Marina de Guerra de la República Española)
- Air Forces of the Spanish Republic, Fuerzas Aéreas de la República Española (FARE)
- Naval Infantry (Infantería de Marina) and
- The Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) is a military force charged with police duties under the authority of both the Ministry of Domestic Affairs (Ministerio de Gobernación) and the Ministry of Defence. Between 1936-1939 the Civil Guard in the Republican zone was reorganized in the National Republican Guard (Guardia Nacional Republicana, GNR). Ending the Civil War the GNR reestablished as the Civic Guard.
In Spain public order and the polices forces are under the authority of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs (Ministerio de Gobernación). There are several bodies of Law enforcement being differentiated only in their spheres of action. The two main ones are:
- The Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) - National Republican Guard (Guardia Nacional Republicana, GNR) from 1936-1939 - serves as a rural police (like the French Gendarmerie) to protect property and order, investigate crimes and to reinforce the authority of the central government. It also patrols highways. The Territorial Police Corps of Sahara, Rif and Equatorial Guinea are under the supervision of the Civil Guard and their AR's Domestic Affairs ministries.
- The National Police Corps (Cuerpo Nacional de Policía, CNP) is the national civilian police force mainly responsible for policing urban areas. The CNP operates under the authority of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and mostly handles general law enforcement and criminal investigation, traffic control, criminal investigation, issues the national identity documents, judicial police, terrorism and immigration matters.
Police forces with specific task are:
- Carabineros Corps (Cuerpo de Carabineros) is a paramilitary gendarmerie that functions as frontier and port guards and customs officials. They are also the police force of the National Treasury, Ministry of Finances and the national and AR tax authorities.
- Security and Assault Corps (Cuerpo de Seguridad y Asalto), a gendarmerie style national armed police used to suppress disorders in urban areas and riot control.