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

By Burnett Bolloten | Go to book overview

26
Largo Caballero Hits Back

ALTHOUGH the Communists later denounced Largo Caballero's manifesto as a mean and coarse attack upon themselves,1 they gave it a discreet reception at the time it was made 2 and, indeed, for fear of provoking a crisis for which they were not quite ready, joined with other organizations at a meeting called by the Premier in assuring him of their support.3 Nevertheless, they continued to press their efforts to strip the military summits of all officers who were an impediment to their plans for hegemony. In this they were greatly aided by an offensive launched on March 8 by General Franco's Italian allies on the Guadalajara sector of the Madrid front.

On the fifth day of the enemy's advance, when it seemed that nothing could arrest his triumphant progress, the Communist ministers, supported by the majority of the Cabinet, forced Largo Caballero to request the Chief of the War Ministry General Staff, General Martíez Cabrera, to resign, and demanded that the Higher War Council, which on Caballero's proposal had approved the General's appointment in December, be immediately convened to decide on his successor.4 Although Mundo Obrero had urged some days earlier, with Martínez Cabrera and other officers in mind, that the Council should meet

____________________
1
Speech by Jesús Hernández in Valencia, May 28, 1937, as given in Hernández, El partido comunista antes, durante y después de la crisis del gobierno Largo Caballero, p. 11.
2
See, for example, Mundo Obrero, March 1, 1937.
3
Reported, El Día Gráfico, February 28, 1937.
4
For these and subsequent details about the Martínez Cabrera incident not credited to any precise source, I am indebted to the staff of the Febus news agency, which was in daily contact with persons having close relations with members of the government and the Higher War Council. After the fall of Caballero, Jesús Hernández, Communist Minister of Education, publicly declared that his party had been instrumental in removing Cabrera. -- See his speech of May 28, 1937, reproduced in Hernández, El partido comunista antes, durante y después de la crisis del gobierno Largo Caballero, p. 24.

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