In Spain, the Republican defenders of Madrid raise the white flag over the city, bringing to an end the bloody three-year Spanish Civil War. In 1931, Spanish King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. Alfonso subsequently went into exile, and the Second Republic, initially dominated by middle-class liberals and moderate socialists, was proclaimed. During the first five years of the Republic, organized labor and leftist radicals forced widespread liberal reforms, and the independence-minded Spanish regions of Catalonia and the Basque provinces achieved virtual autonomy.
The landed aristocracy, the church, and a large military clique increasingly employed violence in their opposition to the Second Republic, and in July 1936 General Francisco Franco led a right-wing army revolt in Morocco, which prompted the division of Spain into two key camps: the Nationalists and the Republicans. Franco’s Nationalist forces rapidly overran much of the Republican-controlled areas in central and northern Spain, and Catalonia became a key Republican stronghold. During 1937, Franco unified the Nationalist forces under the command of the Falange, Spain’s fascist party, while the Republicans fell under the sway of the communists. Germany and Italy aided Franco with an abundance of planes, tanks, and arms, while the Soviet Union aided the Republican side.
In addition, small numbers of communists and other radicals from France, the USSR, America, and elsewhere formed the International Brigades to aid the Republican cause. The most significant contribution of these foreign units was the successful defense of Madrid until the end of the war. A cadre of rebel army officers began plotting to overthrow the government as soon as a leftist coalition won Spanish elections in February 1936. Gaining the support of General Franco at the final hour, they called for a July 18 uprising in Spanish Morocco, followed by a general uprising a day later, that they envisioned as a rapid coup d’état. But although they captured Spanish Morocco and the conservative heartland with barely a struggle, the Republican government retained about two-thirds of Spain, including most major cities. As civil war subsequently erupted, Franco ferried his battle-hardened troops from Morocco to the mainland using planes and boats provided by Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler and began marching northward toward Madrid. Though a key contributor to the coup, Franco didn’t originate the plot and was never supposed to lead the country. However, the rebels’ purported first choice for head of state, General José Sanjurjo, died in a plane crash just days after the uprising began while returning from exile in Portugal.
Around the same time, Republican forces took out several of Franco’s other potential rivals, including monarchist politician José Calvo Sotelo, fascist politician José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and generals Joaquín Fanjul and Manuel Goded. By October 1936, Franco had been named commander in chief of the armed forces and head of the rebel Nationalist government. His final near-equal, General Emilio Mola, the technical mastermind of the coup plot, then died in a June 1937 plane crash, leaving him firmly and solely in charge. While the Nationalists largely united behind Franco, the various Republican factions were constantly at each other’s throats. Tensions came to a boiling point in May 1937, when a police raid on the anarchist-controlled central telephone exchange in Barcelona sparked days of street fighting that left hundreds dead. This so-called civil war within the civil war, which pitted anarchists and anti-Stalin Marxists against Soviet-backed communists and the regional government, resulted in the communists and hence Moscow increasing their control over the war effort.
Anarchist and anti-Stalin Marxist organizations were suppressed, and the revolutionary egalitarian fervor that had once gripped Barcelona died out. Although the U.S. government stayed neutral in the Spanish Civil War, about 2,800 Americans—many of whom had never before fired a gun—volunteered for the Republican cause. A diverse bunch, their unit, the so-called Abraham Lincoln Battalion, included a vaudeville acrobat, a rabbi and the first African-American ever to lead white troops into battle. Morale quickly deteriorated, however, after they were forced into several ill-advised charges against entrenched opposition No more than a handful of Americans fought with the Nationalists. But Franco did gain the vital support of Texaco chief executive Torkild Rieber, a Norwegian-born American who admired Hitler and allegedly preferred doing business with autocrats. From his office high atop New York City’s Chrysler Building, Rieber illegally sold the Nationalists discounted oil on credit and illegally transported the fuel in his company’s own tankers. His worldwide network of employees passed along the whereabouts of Republican-bound oil shipments, thereby leaving them open to attack. For these blatant violations of U.S. neutrality acts, Texaco (now part of Chevron Corp.) received only a small fine.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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