The Grand Camouflage: The Communist Conspiracy in the Spanish Civil War

By Burnett Bolloten | Go to book overview

2
The Brewing Upheaval

THE fissures that gave rise to the Spanish Civil War in July, 1936, were not of sudden growth. They had been steadily developing over the course of years, albeit at an increasing tempo since the fall of the Monarchy and the proclamation of the Republic in 1931, and more especially since the victory of the Popular Front in the February, 1936, elections.

In the months that lay between the February elections and the Civil War, the Republic had experienced, both in town and country, a series of labour disturbances without precedent in its history, disturbances that were largely a reaction to the policy of the right-wing governments that had ruled Spain from December, 1933. In that period, not only had the laws fixing wages and conditions of employment been revoked, modified, or allowed to lapse,1 but much of the other work of the Republic had been undone. "The Labour Courts," testifies Salvador de Madariaga, a conservative Republican, "assumed a different political complexion, and their awards were as injurious to the workers as they had previously been to the employers. Simultaneously, the Institute of Agrarian Reform was deprived of funds. Viewed from the standpoint of the countryside and in terms of practical experience, of the bread on the peasant's table, these changes were disastrous. There were many, too many, landowners who had learned nothing and forgotten nothing and who behaved themselves in such an inhuman and outrageous fashion towards their working folk -- perhaps out of revenge for the insults and injuries suffered during the period of left rule -- that the situation became worse not only in a material but also in a moral sense. The wages of the land workers again fell to a starvation level; the guarantee of employment vanished, and the hope of receiving land disappeared altogether."2

____________________
1
See Le contrat de travail dans la république espagnole, p. 18.
2
España, p. 513.

-18-

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