The French Popular Front government was six weeks old when, on 17th July 1936, General Franco rose against the Spanish republic. From that moment onwards the Spanish question accompanied the French Popular Front throughout its existence, overshadowing all its actions and contributing to its disruption. It is therefore necessary to relate the story of communist policies during the Spanish civil war before tracing the history of the French Popular Front governments.
Spanish events also take precedence over French events in our account of Comintern history for another reason. Not, to be sure, owing to their more dramatic character, but because the situation now developing in Spain and the Comintern's response to it brought out much more practically than any French events a new and decisive turn in Comintern affairs. If the emergence of the Popular Front policy had been connected with the 'liberal spell' in Russia, the policy of the Comintern in Spain during the civil war was also determined by developments inside Russia, but by developments of an opposite character--the end of the liberal spell, the extermination of the bolshevik old guard, the murder of millions under the pretext of their alleged Trotskyism, the horror which will go down in Russian history under the name of the Yezhovshtshina--Yezhov being the OGPU boss who carried through the massacres.
Confronted with two mutually hostile labour organizations-- the socialist party with the UGT (its trade union centre), and the anarcho-syndicalist CNT, with the underground FAI as an anarchist directing brain within its ranks--the Spanish Communist Party had drawn its modest original strength from dissidents of both these sections. But the anarcho-syndicalist contribution to nascent communism had been the larger one, owing to the sympathy of anarcho-syndicalists for the Soviet system. When the