Spain during World War I, 1914-1918 Spain 1923-1931

Spain between 1918 and 1923

While the wartime boom of the Spanish economy ended, food shortage and inflation continued. The cabinet which had assumed government in 1917 with the intention to implement thorough reforms failed to achieve any of these.
The labour movement was split in a socialist camp (PSOE, UGT) and in an anarcho-syndicalist camp; the latter's trade union, the CNT expanded rapidly in the postwar situation. A communist party was only founded in 1921, without attracting a large number of members.
The industrial proletariat demanded improvements to the living conditions of urban workers. Reports of land reform in Russia provided the lansless masses in Andalucia and Extremadura with hope. Landowners, having lost control of the situation, fled to the cities.
Fearing the power of the anarcho-syndicalist trade union, the CNT, employers organized a conservative trade union (SYNDICATOS LIBRES) which in part was a cover for a rightist militia. They fought the CNT on the streets; many arrested CNT leaders were "shot while trying to escape". The situation in Spain was not unlike that of Italy of Germany. The succession of short-lived cabinets, they long had given up reform policy, clearly had lost control of the situation; if anyone was in control, it was local army officers such as Gen. SEVERIANO MARTINEZ ANIDO, military commander of Barcelona since Oct. 1920, or the Syndicatos Libres.
The victimized anarcho-syndicalist movement, deprived of many of their experienced leaders, radicalized. They in turn assassinated prominent leaders of the right, most notably Prime Minister EDUARDO DATO (March 1921).

In addition, Spanish attempts to establish control over the RIF (nominally Spanish since 1906/11) resulted in a disastrous defeat at ANNUAL (a force of 20,000 Spaniards was routed, among the estimated 12,000 dead commander Gen. FERNANDEZ SILVESTRE) at the hands of ABD EL KRIM in 1921. King ALFONSO XIII. was blamed, as it had been him who most vigorously had supported the campaign.

In 1923, elections (with another low voter turnout) led to the formation of a new government under GARCIA PRIETO, willing to grant political autonomy to the RIF, thus recognizing Abd-el-Krim's rule. In September 1923, the Captain General of Catalonia, MIGUEL PRIMO DE RIVERA proclaimed his intention to form a government without politicians. The cabinet resigned; de Rivera was asked to form a government and even given quasi-dictatorial powers, after the Italian precedent.

Biography of Severiano Martinez Anido, from Base documental d'Historia Contemporania de Catalunya, in Spanish
Biography of Eduardo Dato Iradier, from Base documental d'Historia Contemporania de Catalunya, in Spanish
El desastre d'Annual (The disaster of Annual), from Base documental d'Historia Contemporania de Catalunya, in Spanish
Pistolarisme a Barcelona: "A los federados de la Patronal de Cataluna". (1920), (Shooting in Barcelona : from Federates to the Patronate of Catalonia) from Base documental d'Historia Contemporania de Catalunya, in Spanish
" La Llei de fugues " (1921), (the law concerning fugitives) from Base documental d'Historia Contemporania de Catalunya, in Spanish
The Rif War, 1893-1926, from ACED
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Spain by Ben Cahoon
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : King Alfonso XIII.
REFERENCE Peter Pierson, A Troubled New Century, 1898-1931, in : P. Pierson, The History of Spain, London : Greenwood 1999 KMLA Lib. Call Sign 946 P624t
Francisco J. Romero Salvado, Twentieth Century Spain, Politics and Society in Spain 1898-1998, NY : St. Martin's, 1999, 219 pp.; KMLA Lib. Call Sign 946.08 S182t
Article : Spain, in : New International Year Book 1919 pp.639-645, 1920 pp.645-649, 1921 pp.671-674, 1923 pp.711-714 [G]
Article : Spain, in : Statesman's Year Book 1919 pp.1252-1268 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 12th 2002, last revised on August 16th 2007

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