Spain, 1914-1918: Between War and Revolution

By Francisco J. Romero Salvadó | Go to book overview

6

TWO PARLIAMENTS IN ONE COUNTRY

The revolution from above

The military rebellion of 1 June 1917 had marked a decisive moment in the history of the constitutional monarchy. The latent tensions in Restoration society could no longer be contained and all the forces of revolution and reaction in the country exploded. 1 The First World War, by bringing about socio-economic changes, political mobilization and ideological awareness, had thus accelerated the disintegration of the outdated Canovite settlement.

On the one side there were the king and the governing classes, the former fighting to preserve both authority and throne, while the latter struggled to maintain their monopoly of power. On the other, there was the challenge from all those left out of the Turno Pacífico who sought to change the political alignment. The most important were the following: the Mauristas as the main group on the right of the political spectrum, representing the Catholic and Conservative middle classes; the Lliga Regionalista, the party of the Catalan industrial bourgeoisie; Republican groups who stood for the commercial and progressive middle classes and the petty bourgeoisie; and the working classes forming part of either the Socialist UGT-PSOE or the Anarcho-Syndicalist CNT. Finally, there was the army organized into Juntas de Defensa. It was evident to everybody that the stance taken by the military would be crucial. A coalition of political forces assured of the neutrality, if not the active support, of the officers would certainly produce the collapse of the ruling order. Therefore the energies of both government and opposition were from the very beginning largely devoted to wooing the officers to their cause.

The success of the military disobedience effectively initiated the subordination of the political life of the nation to the requirements of the officers. 2 Yet their antioligarchical language, lack of political connections and insistence that they had no ambitions to govern raised the hopes of all those opposed to the ruling system. They saw it as the signal to step up their activities.

Anarchy and indiscipline appeared to be the order of the day. The regime seemed on the point of collapse. The number of strikes rose dramatically: building workers in Bilbao and Saragossa, dockers and miners in Carthagena,

-100-

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Spain, 1914-1918: Between War and Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Outbreak of War 5
  • 3 - The Romanones Administration 27
  • 4 - The Romanones Administration 60
  • 5 - The Gathering Storm 85
  • 6 - Two Parliaments in One Country 100
  • 7 - The Hot August of 1917 120
  • 8 - The End of an Era 135
  • 9 - The Year 1918 150
  • 10 - Epilogue 179
  • Notes 193
  • Bibliography 221
  • Index 230
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