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The Foreshadowing Of The Spanish Civil War: The Years Before The Spanish Civil War.

3419 words - 14 pages

There was great foreshadowing up to 5 years before the Spanish Civil War that it was coming. Ever since the country had been given public elections, there was constant battle between the Right wing and the Left. The Spanish government knew there was no other way to deal with the political and social turmoil in the country. Some of the warnings were the unrest in the individual parties, the military unrest, strikes and sit-ins by the wealthy land owners, and in particular the 1934 revolts in Catalan and in the Asturias. The assassination of Calvo Sotelo simply acted as a catalyst, a signal for what was needed to purge the country.While the Spanish civil war officially ran from 1936 to 1939, the real problems arose in 1931 when the abdicated King Alfonso XIII agreed to democratic elections. It was the first time in nearly sixty years that free elections had been allowed in Spain. The populace voted overwhelmingly for a republic, and April 14th 1931, following public ceremony and pomp, Alfonso went into exile. Immediately after the municipal elections on April 12th, loyal friends had advised Alfonso to recognize the strong republic trend of voting. The King, not wanting to leave his throne, asked the opinion of the military, who advised them that he could maintain his position only at the cost of, ironically enough, a civil war. Niceto Alcala-Zamora was named Prime Minister of the provisional government.In the new constitution of the Spanish Republic, it was clear that it was essential to limit the President's powers. The constitutional lawyers, many of who had studied in Germany borrowed from the Weimar Constitution the concept of a presidential moderating power, all the more important in Spain because of the country's lack of a senate ( Jackson, 1965, p.46). The president would be on a six-year term, and could dissolve the cabinet twice within his term. The power to name and remove the Prime Minister was his strongest positive function, and in a country with many small political parties it was a difficult task which would greatly affect the stability of the regime (ibid, p. 47). Yet despite all these major powers, he was also carefully watched: the President could be removed from office and re-elected by the new chamber (after his first dissolution) if they decided unfavourably on the President's action. Alcala-Zamora, Prime Minister of the provisional government, was named as first president of the Spanish Cortes. Manuel Azana, a well-known Spanish journalist and President of the Ateneo, Madrid's Literary Club, and former Minister of War in the provisional government, was elected Prime Minister.The provisional government of the second republic called a general election for June 1931, where the Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol (PSOE), Spain's socialist party that had been active since 1879, won a vast majority (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co. uk/2WWspain.htm). Anarchist groups also won a large percentage of the votes.The major reforms which...

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