The Info List - Manuel Azaña

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Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña
Díaz (Spanish pronunciation: [maˈnwel aˈθaɲa]; 10 January 1880 – 3 November 1940) was the second Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic
Second Spanish Republic
(1931–1933), and later served again as Prime Minister (1936), and then as the second and last President of the Republic (1936–1939). The Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
broke out while he was President. With the defeat of the Republic in 1939, he fled to France, resigned his office, and died in exile shortly afterwards.


1 His early career 2 In the government 3 Presidency 4 Last days 5 Azaña's writings 6 See also 7 References 8 Select bibliography 9 External links

His early career[edit]

Familiar arms of Manuel Azaña.

Birthplace of Manuel Azaña, in Alcalá de Henares.

Born into a rich family, Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña
Díaz was orphaned at a very young age. He studied in the Universidad Complutense, the Cisneros Institute and the Agustinos of El Escorial. He was awarded a Lawyer's licence by the University of Zaragoza
University of Zaragoza
in 1897, and a doctorate by the Universidad Complutense in 1900. In 1909 he achieved a position at the Main Directorate of the Registries and practiced the profession of civil law notary, and traveled to Paris in 1911. He became involved in politics and in 1914 joined the Reformist Republican Party led by Melquíades Álvarez. He collaborated in the production of various newspapers, such as El Imparcial and El Sol. During World War I he covered operations on the Western Front for various newspapers. His treatment was very sympathetic to the French, and he may have been subsidized by French military intelligence. Afterwards he directed the magazines Pluma and España between 1920 and 1924, founding the former with his brother-in-law Cipriano Rivas Cherif. He was secretary of the Ateneo de Madrid (1913–1920), becoming its president in 1930. He was a candidate for the province of Toledo in 1918 and 1923, but lost on both occasions. In 1926 he founded the Acción Republicana ("Republican Action") party with José Giral. A strong critic of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, Azaña published an energetic manifesto against the dictator and King Alfonso XIII in 1924. In 1930, he was a signatory of the "Pact of San Sebastián", which united all the republican and regionalist parties in Spain
against Primo de Rivera and the King. On 12 April 1931, republican candidates swept the municipal elections. This was seen as repudiation of Primo de Rivera and the monarchy. Two days later, the Second Spanish Republic
Second Spanish Republic
was proclaimed. In the government[edit]

Azaña (right) with Alcalá Zamora.

Niceto Alcalá-Zamora, prime minister of the provisional government of the Republic, named Azaña Minister of War on 14 April. Alcalá-Zamora resigned in October, and Azaña replaced him as prime minister. When the new constitution was adopted on 9 December, Azaña continued as prime minister, leading a coalition of left-wing parties, including his own Acción Republicana and the Socialists (PSOE), while Alcalá-Zamora became President of the Republic. Azaña pursued some of the major reforms anticipated by the republican program. He introduced work accident insurance,[1] reduced the size of the Spanish Army, and removed some monarchist officers. He also moved to reduce the power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church, abolishing Church-operated schools and charities, and greatly expanding state-operated secular schools. The Spanish legislature, the Cortes, also enacted an agrarian reform program, under which large private landholdings (latifundia) were to be confiscated and distributed among the rural poor. However, Azaña was a "middle-class republican", not a socialist. He and his followers were not enthusiastic for this program. The agrarian law did not include state-funded collective farms, as the Socialists wanted, and was not enacted until late 1932. It was also clumsily written, and threatened many relatively small landholders more than the latifundists. The Azaña government also did very little to carry it out: only 12,000 families received land in the first two years.[2] In addition, Azaña did little to reform the taxation system to shift the burden of government onto the wealthy. Also, the government continued to support the owners of industry against wildcat strikes or attempted takeovers by militant workers, especially the anarcho-syndicalists of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labor or CNT). Confrontation with the CNT erupted in bloody violence at Casas Viejas (now Benalup), Castilblanco, and Arnedo. Meanwhile, Azaña's extreme anti-clerical program alienated many moderates. In local elections held in early 1933, most of the seats went to conservative and centrist parties. Elections to the "Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees" (the Republic's "Supreme Court") followed this pattern. Thus Azaña came into conflict with both the right and far left. He called a vote of confidence, but two-thirds of the Cortes abstained, and Alcalá-Zamora ordered Azaña's resignation on 8 September 1933. New elections were held on 19 November 1933. These elections were won by the right-wing Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas (CEDA) and the centrist Radical Republican Party. Radical leader Alejandro Lerroux
Alejandro Lerroux
became prime minister. Azaña temporarily withdrew from politics and returned to literary activity.[3] Azaña's self-imposed political retreat lasted only a short while; in 1934 he founded the Republican Left party, the fusion of Acción Republicana with the Radical Socialist Republican Party, led by Marcelino Domingo, and the Organización Republicana Gallega Autónoma (ORGA) of Santiago Casares Quiroga. On 5 October 1934, the PSOE and Communists attempted a general left-wing rebellion. The rebellion had a temporary success in Asturias and Barcelona, but was over in two weeks. Azaña was in Barcelona
that day, and the Lerroux-CEDA government tried to implicate him. He was arrested and charged with complicity in the rebellion.[3] In fact Azaña had no connection with the rebellion, and the attempt to convict him on spurious charges soon collapsed, giving him the prestige of a martyr. He was released from prison in January 1935. Azaña then helped organize the Frente Popular ("Popular Front"), a coalition of all the major left-wing parties for the elections of 16 February 1936. The Front won the election, and Azaña became prime minister again on 19 February. His parliamentary coalition included the PSOE and Communists. This alarmed conservatives, who remembered their attempt to seize power only 17 months earlier. The Azaña government proclaimed an immediate amnesty for all prisoners from the rebellion, which increased conservative concerns. Socialists and Communists were appointed to important positions in the Assault Guard and Civil Guard.[2] Also, with the Popular Front victory, radicalized peasants led by the Socialists began seizing land on 25 March. Azaña chose to legitimize these actions rather than challenge them. Radical Socialists vied with Communists in calling for violent revolution and forcible suppression of the Right. Political assassinations by Communists, Socialists, and anarchosyndicalists were frequent, as were retaliations by increasingly radicalized conservatives.[2] Azaña insisted that the danger to the Republic was from the Right and on 11 March, the government suppressed the Falange. Azaña was a man of very strong convictions and has been called "the last great figure of traditional Castilian arrogance in the history of Spain."[4] As a "middle class republican", he was implacably hostile to the monarchy and the Church. The CEDA, which was pro-Catholic, he therefore regarded as illegitimate, and also any and all monarchists, even those who supported parliamentary democracy. Many historians consider the Popular Front's electoral victory as the first event in the immediate chain of events that led to the military rebellion against the Republic on 17–18 July 1936. Presidency[edit]

Presidential Standard of Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña

Military parade in Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares
(November 1937).

When the Cortes met in April, it removed President Alcalá-Zamora from office. On 10 May 1936, Azaña was elected President of the Republic; Quiroga succeeded him as prime minister. Azaña by this time was profoundly depressed by the increasing disorder, but could see no way to counter it.[2] Azaña repeatedly warned his fellow Republicans that the lack of unity within the government was a serious threat to the Republic's stability. Political violence continued: there were over 200 assassinations in February through early July. By July, the military conspiracy to overthrow the Republic was well underway, but nothing definite had been planned. Then on 13 July, José Calvo Sotelo, leader of a small monarchist grouping in the Cortes, was arrested and murdered by a mixed group of Socialist gunmen and Assault Guards. Azaña and Quiroga did not act effectively against the killers.[citation needed] On 17 July, right-wing, Falangist, and Monarchist elements in the Republican army proclaimed the overthrow of the Republic. The rebellion failed in Madrid, however. Azaña replaced Quiroga as Prime Minister with his ally Diego Martínez Barrio, and the government attempted a compromise with the rebels, which was rejected by General Mola.[2] On 13 September, Azaña authorized Minister of Finance Juan Negrín
Juan Negrín
to move the nation's gold reserve to wherever Negrin thought it would be secure. Negrin shipped it to the Soviet Union, which claimed it in payment for arms supplied to the Republic.[2] In 1938, Azaña moved to Barcelona
with the rest of the Republican government, and was cut off there when the Monarchist forces drove to the sea between Barcelona
and Valencia.[2] When Barcelona
fell to the rebels on 26 January 1939, Azaña fled to France. He passed through the Pyrenees
on foot on 5 February 1939.[5] On 3 March, he resigned as President of the Republic, rather than return to Madrid with the rest of the government. Both Nationalist and Republican commentators have condemned this decision as "desertion".[2] Last days[edit]

Manuel Azaña's grave in Montauban, France.

Azaña lived in exile in France for more than a year after the war, trapped by the invasion of France by Germany and institution of the Nazi German occupation regime. He died on 3 November 1940, in Montauban.[6] According to testimonies, he received the last rites before his death. The Vichy French
Vichy French
authorities refused to allow his coffin to be covered with the Spanish Republican flag. The coffin was covered instead with the flag of Mexico, whose government sympathized with the Spanish republican cause. Azaña's writings[edit] In his diaries and memoirs, on which he worked meticulously, Azaña vividly describes the various personality and ideological conflicts between himself and various Republican leaders, such as Largo Caballero and Negrín. Azaña's writings during the Civil War have been resources for study by scholars of the workings of the Republican government during the conflict. Along with his extensive memoirs and diaries, Azaña also wrote a number of well-known speeches. His speech on 18 July 1938 is one of the best known of these, in which he implores his fellow Spaniards to seek reconciliation after the fighting ends, emphasizing the need for "Peace, Pity, and Pardon." Azaña wrote a play during the Civil War, La velada en Benicarló ("Vigil in Benicarló"). Having worked on the play during the previous weeks, Azaña dictated the final version while trapped in Barcelona during the May Days violence. In the play, Azaña uses various characters to espouse the various ideological, political, and social perspectives present within the Republic during the war. He portrayed and explored the rivalries and conflicts that were damaging the political cohesion of the Republic. Azaña was aware of General Franco
General Franco
and Sanjurjo's firm determination to completely annihilate the Spanish Republic, an aim which culminated in the Law of Political Responsibilities (Ley de Responsabilidades Políticas) at the end of the war. Saddened, he reflected:[7]

A policy should never be based on the extermination of the adversary; not only because —and that is a lot to say— it is morally an abomination, but because it is materially unfeasible. And the blood unjustly spilled by the hatred that seeks to exterminate will be reborn, sprouting and giving accursed fruits; a curse that will not be restricted, unfortunately, to those who spilled the blood, but which will be over the very country which —to compound its misfortune— absorbed it.

During the many years of his political activity, Azaña kept diaries. His work Diarios completos: monarquía, república, Guerra Civil was published posthumously in Spanish in 2003.[8] See also[edit]

History of Spain Second Spanish Republic Spanish Civil War


^ Social Democracy and Welfare Capitalism: A Century of Income Security Policies by Alexander Hicks ^ a b c d e f g h Payne, Stanley (1970). The Spanish Revolution. New York: W. W. Norton. pp. 97–99, 181–184, 191–196.  ^ a b Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain: the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. New York: Penguin Books. pp. 27–30. ISBN 0-14-303765-X.  ^ Payne (2006), p. 356 ^ “Police Job”, TIME magazine, February 13, 1939 ^ Beevor, p. 412 ^ Ninguna política se ha de fundar en la decisión de exterminar al adversario; no sólo —y ya es mucho—porque moralmente es una abominación, sino porque, además, es materialmente irrealizable; y la sangre injustamente vertida por el odio, con propósito de exterminio, renace y retoña y fructifica en frutos de maldición; maldición no sobre los que la derramaron, desgraciadamente, sino sobre el propio país que la ha absorbido para colmo de la desventura.Diario Córdoba - 2 March de 2015; Mas Madera? ^ Azaña, Manuel (2003). Diarios completos: monarquía, república, Guerra Civil. Barcelona: Crítica. ISBN 84-8432-142-8. 

Select bibliography[edit]

Lagarrigue, Max. " Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña
en Montauban. La ultima morada del presidente de la República española, Manuel Azaña", in Azkárraga, José Ma (2001). República 70 anys després: 1931-2001. Valencia: Amics del Dia de la Foto. pp. 64–65. . Amalric, Jean-Pierre (2007). " Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña
and France" (in French). Arkheia Revue. 

Amalric, Jean-Pierre (2008). "Intellectuals in the political arena (1898-1940)" (in French). Arkheia Revue. 

Azana, Manuel (1981). "Vigil in Benicarlo (Josephine and Paul Stewart, English trans.)". Associated University Press.  Missing or empty url= (help)

Cherif, Cipriano De Rivas (1995). "Portrait of an Unknown Man: Manuel Azana and Modern Spain
(Paul Stewart, edit. and English trans.)". Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press.  Missing or empty url= (help)

External links[edit]

Works by or about Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña
at Internet Archive Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña
at Find a Grave (in French) Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña

Political offices

Preceded by Juan Bautista Aznar Cabañas President of the Government 1931–1933 Succeeded by Alejandro Lerroux

Preceded by Manuel Portela Valladares President of the Government 1936 Succeeded by Santiago Casares Quiroga

Preceded by Niceto Alcalá-Zamora

President of the Republic 1936–1939 Succeeded by Álvaro de Albornoz Liminiana (in exile)

Preceded by Niceto Alcalá-Zamora Spanish Head of State 1936–1939 Succeeded by Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Bahamonde as Caudillo

v t e

Prime Ministers of Spain

Acting prime ministers shown in italics.

Queen Isabella II (1833–1868)

Martínez de la Rosa Toreno Álava Álvarez Mendizábal Istúriz Calatrava Espartero Bardají Heredia-Spínola Frías Alaix Pérez de Castro A. González Ferraz Cortázar Sancho Espartero Ferrer A. González Rodil J. M. López Gómez Becerra Olózaga González-Bravo Narváez Miraflores Narváez Sotomayor Pacheco Salamanca García Goyena Narváez Clonard Bravo Murillo Roncali Lersundi Sartorius Mendigorría Rivas Espartero O'Donnell Narváez Armero Istúriz O'Donnell Arrazola Mon Narváez O'Donnell Narváez González-Bravo Havana

Democratic Sexennium (1868–1874)

Madoz Serrano Prim Topete Serrano Ruiz Zorrilla Malcampo Sagasta Topete Serrano Mendigorría Ruiz Zorrilla Figueras Pi Salmerón Castelar Serrano Sierra Bullones Sagasta

The Restoration (1874–1931)

Cánovas Jovellar Martínez Campos Sagasta Posada Azcárraga Silvela Fernández-Villaverde Maura Montero Moret López Domínguez Vega de Armijo Canalejas García Prieto Romanones Dato Maura Sánchez de Toca Bugallal Sánchez-Guerra Primo de Rivera Berenguer Aznar-Cabañas

Second Republic (1931–1939)

Alcalá-Zamora Azaña Lerroux Martínez Barrio Samper Chapaprieta Portela Barcía Casares Martínez Barrio Giral Largo Negrín

under Franco (1936–1975)

Franco Carrero Fernández-Miranda Arias

Since 1975

Arias Santiago Suárez Calvo-Sotelo F. González Aznar Zapatero Rajoy

v t e

Presidents of Spain

Spanish Republic (1873–1874)

Estanislao Figueras^ Francesc Pi i Margall^ Nicolás Salmerón y Alonso^ Emilio Castelar y Ripoll^ Francisco Serrano^

Spanish Republic (1931–1939)

Niceto Alcalá-Zamora^^ Manuel Azaña^^ Niceto Alcalá-Zamora Diego Martínez Barrio^^ Manuel Azaña Diego Martínez Barrio^^ Segismundo Casado^^^ José Miaja^^^

Spanish Republic in exile (1939–1977)

Álvaro de Albornoz^^ Diego Martínez Barrio Luis Jiménez de Asúa José Maldonado González

^President of the Executive Power ^^Acting head of state ^^^Interim head of state

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 22156967 LCCN: n79093003 ISNI: 0000 0001 0855 8146 GND: 118505319 SUDOC: 028466535 BNF: cb12029685w (data) NLA: 36058445 NKC: jn20000600538 ICCU: ITICCUMILV45997 BNE: XX823