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

By Burnett Bolloten | Go to book overview

3
The Revolution

R EBUFFED by the Left and by the Right, Martínez Barrio's government of conciliation passed into oblivion even before the names of its members appeared in that morning's official gazette. All thought of compromise with the insurgent generals had to be abandoned and a new government was formed, which, in order to combat the rebellion, decided that it must accede to the demands of the working-class organizations for the distribution of arms. "When I took charge of the Government of the Republichellip;," testifies its Premier, "I had to consider that the only way of combating the military rising was to hand to the people the few arms we had at our disposal."1 But it was a government in name only, swept along helplessly by the tide, a government that presided not over the preservation of the Republican régime but over its rapid dissolution under the double impact of military rebellion and social revolution.

Such was the government of liberal Republicans formed by José Giral, confidant of Manuel Azaña, the President of the Republic.2

In town after town and province after province the state shivered

____________________
1
José Giral in La Vanguardia, July 19, 1938. See also his speech reported in La Voz Valenciana, March 10, 1937. "Lacking the means of throttling the insurrection," declared Salvador Quemades, leader of the Left Republican Party (speech reported in Politica, November 2, 1938), "the government had to yield the way to the political and trade union organizations -- the people -- so that they could grapple with the rebel movement."
2
Its composition, as given in the Gaceta de Madrid, July 20, 1936, was as follows: José Giral (Premiership), Augusto Barcia (Foreign Affairs), Manuel Blasco Garzón (Justice), Luis Castelló (War), Enrique Ramos Ramos (Finance), Sebastián Pozas (Interior), Francisco Barnés (Education), Juan Lluhí (Labour, Health, and Supplies), Mariano Ruiz Funes (Agriculture), Plácido Alvarez Buylla (Industry and Commerce), and Bernardo Giner de los Rios ( Communications and Merchant Marine). On July 21, 1936, Antonio Velao was made Minister of Public Works, ibid., July 22, 1936, and on August 6, Juan Hernández Sarabia succeeded Luis Castelló in the Ministry of War, ibid., August 7, 1936.

-35-

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