Gil Robles, José María

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Gil Robles, José María

José María Gil Robles (hōsā´ märē´ä hēl rō´blās), 1898–1980, Spanish politician. In 1931, after the proclamation of the Second Republic, he became leader of the newly organized right-wing Catholic party, known as Acción Popular. Within two years several right-wing parties had joined under his direction to form the CEDA (Confederación Española de Derechos Autónomos). Although the group became the most powerful in the republic after the Nov., 1933, elections, Gil Robles was denied a role in the government until late 1934 because of pressure by left-wing parties that feared his monarchist leanings and desire to establish a Catholic corporative state. The issue of his participation in the government precipitated the Socialist and Catalan rebellion in Oct., 1934, but in 1935 Gil Robles served briefly as minister of war in the Alejandro Lerroux cabinet. By 1936 his nonviolent methods of obtaining power had alienated his radical supporters who joined the Falange. He was an intended victim of the conspiracy responsible for the murder of José Calvo Sotelo, an event that helped precipitate the Spanish civil war. After the outbreak of the war Gil Robles lived in Portugal as head of the Catholic émigrés and as a member of the privy council of Don Juan, pretender to the Spanish throne. He returned to Spain in 1950, and intermittently tried to create a Spanish Christian Democratic movement that would be more liberal than the old CEDA. In these efforts he failed.

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