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General Franco

Backwaters of History No. 10 - Barcelona 1937

Just before three o'clock on the afternoon of May 3rd, 1937, three lorries were threading their way through the streets of Barcelona, heading for the huge Plaza Cataluña in the centre of the city. They emerged into the Plaza, pulled up outside the Telephone Building and a body of police guards climbed out. Their leader, Rodriguez Salas, Commissioner of Public Order, went into the building, accompanied by a few guards. As he climbed to the first floor of the ten-storey building shots were fired from the windows of the upper storeys. Reinforcements of police were rushed up and a cordon was thrown round the building; thousands of people gathered in the Plaza whilst excitement ran through the streets to all corners of the city. The tension that had gripped Barcelona during the past few weeks now broke out into street fighting.

'The Working Class Was in the Saddle': Social Revolution in the Spanish Civil War

Summer School 2014 - 'War'
Fircroft College, Birmingham

Recorded: 
Saturday, 21 June 2014

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The Civil War in Spain

The civil war, which began with the revolt of July 18th, is, at the time of writing, still dragging on without either side having gained decisive victory. What the outcome will be it is still impossible to say, for the issue depends to a great extent on the assistance given to the rebels by foreign governments. Before examining the struggle from the Socialist standpoint, we may pay tribute to the conduct of the Spanish workers. Believing that a vital principle was at stake, they rallied to the Government against a powerful revolt backed by the greater part of the armed forces. Workers, with little or no military training, stood up to trained and experienced soldiers. On the one side was all the advantage of organisation and equipment, and on the other the enthusiasm and voluntary discipline of a popular movement. It is true that large sections of the military forces remained loyal to the Government, but even these were hampered by treason and sabotage among the officers.

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