Tuesday, May 18

The mountains of Azaña – Information


The philosopher Julian Marias He said in his memoirs that the Republic had, from the first moment, the implacable criticism of its enemies: “they criticized everything out of temper.” He didn’t have a hint of credit. And who were those enemies? In the first place, a Catholic Church that did not want to renounce the privileges it had enjoyed since the Middle Ages; the richest businessmen who wanted to continue having a country at their service and workers without rights; the corrupt army that thought it could continue removing governments when it pleased; the pious and ultra-conservative bourgeoisie who dreamed of being part of the aristocracy and lastly the monarchists and aristocrats who wanted to keep manageable and corrupt kings in power. But also, from that first moment, the preparations began for the coup of a coup trio formed by Falange, a Spanish fascist party created in the image and likeness of Italian fascism and the German Nazi party, the military and a CEDA led by Jose Maria Gil-Robles who did everything possible to create a civil war political atmosphere.

So many years later, what can we remember about the Republic? The predominant idea is that of what could be and was not. The shock that those years meant for education, art, literature, architecture and science will hardly ever happen again. The Student Residence, the Board for the Expansion of Studies, the Free Institution of Education, the School Institute, pedagogical renewal. And above all the range of freedoms approved by the Republican Courts that achieved that for the first time in the history of Spain women stopped being second-class people. Women like Victoria Kent, Clara Campoamor, María Zambrano or Carmen de Zulueta.

How was it possible, we wonder ninety years later, that the Government of the Republic did not realize what was coming, that is, that the military coup plotters devised a violent plan contrary to the law without raising the alarms in the military secret services or in the council of ministers. Perhaps it was due to an excess of confidence in order, in legality and in an army that had declared its loyalty to the democratic government. Santiago Casares Quiroga, president of the Council of Ministers at the time of the coup d’état on July 18, met the days before with some of the leaders. The Lieutenant Colonel Yagüe He gave him his word that he would not participate in any military coup. After meeting with him General MolaCasares said that he was a loyal military man to the Republic. Franco He wrote him a letter assuring that the army was loyal to the Azana government. All three lied and betrayed the Spanish people and their oath of allegiance to the Republic. Typical of the Spanish military coup plotters.

The new book by the professor and historian deals with this great error of the Republic Angel Viñas. To the betrayal of the military must be added the naivety of politicians who, like Azaña, came from the cultural and academic world, who did not know how to foresee or counteract that the arrival of democracy in Spain would mobilize the most reactionary forces that flatly rejected a freethinking society away from caciquismo and religious trickery.

A few years ago I visited the La Pobleta farm, located in a mountainous area of ​​the Sierra de la Caderona, the residence where he lived Manuel Azana the year 1937. Among a sea of ​​pines that stretch as far as the eye can see, Azaña met with his ministers and especially with Juan Negrin. He wrote in it his well-known Cuaderno de la Pobleta where he wrote his will for reconciliation and concord among the Spanish. That place hidden from the bombings of fascist and Nazi aviation is today a memory that overwhelms by the majesty of its meaning and its solemn silence. Azaña is part, with the Second Republic, of those green mountains that form a monument to freedom and justice.

Recommended reading

The great mistake of the Republic. Angel Viñas (2021)

A present Life. Julián Marías (1988)

The international brigades. Giles Tremlett (2020)

The Spain that could be. Carmen de Zulueta (2000)


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