Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Navarre and the Civil War

This information comes to us thanks to Txabi:

The Spanish Military Uprising of 1936

Under the Spanish Second Republic, the Catalans achieved home rule in 1932, but a Basque autonomy statute for Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa (Navarre excluded) was delayed until 1936.

The military uprising of 18 July 1936 "underlined the multifarious social base and, at points, contradictory nature of the ideology upon which the (Basque Nationalist) party rested," writes Marianne Heiberg.

According to Heiberg, some months previously secret meetings were allegedly held between certain Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) leaders and the right requesting arms "to form Basque militias which would function as soon as a communist revolution, which we assume approaching, explodes." A few days before the uprising two PNV deputies, Irujo and Lasarte, declared that the PNV would support the Republic in case of a military intervention. On the night before the military rebellion, the PNV executive retracted these assurances of automatic PNV loyalty.

On the day of the uprising, Heiberg writes, the first section of the PNV to react was the PNV executive in Navarre, which declared its opposition to the government of the Republic "responsible for religious persecutions. " Volunteers, 42,000 in number and called the Requetes, financed by the Carlists, were recruited mainly from the peasantry and organized into militias in defence of "God and his Church, King and Fueros!

The worst period in the orgy of Franco's violence in Navarre, had countless Navarrese sentenced to exile, prison, or the grave. Navarre was a fundamental bulwark for the insurrect Spanish army led by General Franco.

The number of Navarrese executed - more than 3,000 - by the fascists and their sympathisers in rearguard was higher than in any Spanish province with a war front. Forced recruitment, massive executions, rape, killings reported as suicides, prison, exile, and the Catholic church as oppressive agent, are denounced by the cultural organization Altaffaylla Kultur Taldea in an important research published by the group in 1986 about Navarre during the military uprising in 1936. The results of this research contradict the fascist propaganda which claims Navarre was in favor of Franco.

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