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The Reconquest of Madrid

On this day in 1939, Madrid was reconquered by the Christians, the final victory in the Spanish Civil War. The price of victory, however, was high:

• 12% of all Spanish priests were martyred. (In one diocese, Barbastro, this was as high as 85%).
• 72,344 officially executed by the Socialist/Communist/Anarchist government, with many more informally killed or massacres.
• Around 20,000 churches and chapels damaged or destroyed

As Warren Carroll points out in his history of the war, after giving thanks at a Te Deum service at the Church of Saint Barbara in Madrid, Franco prayed:

Lord, benevolently accept the effort of this people, which was always Thine, which, with me and in Thy name, has vanquished with heroism the enemy of truth in this century.

And then Franco laid his sword upon the high altar, vowing to God never to take it up again unless Spain itself was faced with invasion. (A vow he kept).

This post was published on Monday, March 28th, 2005 5:07 pm. It has been categorised under Church Franco History.
  1. Nathan J. Latta
    29 January 2008
    2:55 am

    There were very good reasons Spanish Catholic clergy were targets of such violence & hatred. As one priest who escaped to France said, more or less, they brought it on themselves by their selfish and calloused behavior toward the poor. Most clergy ignored the social injustice in Spanish society & the huge gap between rich and poor and aligned themselves with the powerful status quo–not a truly Christian attitude at all. This doesn’t excuse the murder of clergy, of course, it merely explains the motivation. There were terrible atrocities on both sides in the Spanish Civil War. Lets not forget the 50,000 executed by Franco’s regime in the post war repression as well as the 300,000 + imprisoned for years by weak “trials” or none at all. You should read “The Spanish Civil War” by Hugh Thomas, still the best history of that event yet in my opinion (you might check out my review on Not all factions on the Republican side hated their clergy. The Basques revered their clergy for the most part (because Basque clergy stuck up for their people) and refused calls from the central government to persecute the Church in Basque country.

  2. viva españa
    27 November 2008
    5:34 pm

    Dear Nathan L Latta
    No prist on Earth would say anything like that…”selfish and calloused behavior…” etc., etc…Religious people just serve God, and the poor, which are God´s beloved. If they do not, they nither are priests nor disciples of God.
    Those persecuted during the civil war, were inocent victims of those who hated God and wanted to kill him, they hated what the priests, nuns and monks represented: Virtue, Truth, Feith, triumph of Good over Evil, to make it short: THE CHRISTIANDOM.
    Instead the book you mention, you better read “la causa general” a relation of the bolcheviks work in Spain before and during the Civil War…
    By the way the ideology of the separatists in the Basque Country is marxist leninist…¿Do you know of any priest who would have anything to do with marxist-leninists???

  3. viva españa
    28 November 2008
    10:45 am

    Federico García Lorca

    García Lorca´s assasination was a total monstruosity (as any assasination ) and has no posible justification. But, from the Start it was shown as a Falangist State Crime, which was not true. Firstly, becouse when it happened, there was no State yet, not even goverment in the “nacional zone”.
    Histórically it´s not even worth discusión that such crime could be the work of a handful of uncontrollable men, tolerated by the incompetence of a Civil Governor in Granada, in circumstances ot total isolation form the Franquist command.
    There have been too many never ending statements, (for example) to leave Santiago Carrillo out of the massacre of Paracuellos del Jarama, where 10.000 Spaniards were executed under his strict orders. Carrillo was the top authority in the matter of Public Order at the time, in the seized Madrid, which depended on a Defense Commitee, on immidiate contact with the government, which had been transported to Valencia. Neither was a single execution. And , however those who put the blame of it on a handful of uncontrollable men, put the blame of the crime of Víznar on Franco´s regime. (which, did not exist yet, back then.)
    But there is something else in this luctuous fact. But there is still something worse: the capitalization by the Marxism of the figure of García Lorca. When those who met him and enjoyed his friendship and frecuent relation, knew very well that Federico wasnt involved in politics; he even said more than once that, he was irritated by being used with publicitaria ideas. (therefor, when the Republican Left decided to pay him tribute); which, feeling totaly identified with the people who, in Andalucía, used to suffer all kinds of abandonment, he never showed to be taking part on any polítical party in the least. He belonged to the midle class and his habits were burgeois burgueses (in the best sense of the word). And his independence ideological is shown in his relation with José Antonio Primo de Rivera, to whom he made a donation for The Falange´s Party. (This is a Liliana Ferlosio, viuda de Rafael Sánchez Mazas, personal testimony.)

    This relation of the great poet from Granada, with the founder of Falange, is been already told by several people, among them: Felipe Ximénez de Sandoval, in his Biografía apasionada, and Gabriel Celaya (Poesía y verdad-Papeles para un proceso, Editorial Planeta, Barcelona, 1979), and also Ian Gibson in his book: En busca de José Antonio (Editorial Planeta, Barcelona, 1980, pp. 215-221).

    None of this has been told, as hasn´t been made the serious, deep, study, that the poetical work of Lorca deserves. Those who pretend to be his grief-stricken friends, and tireless, devout followers, have never done anything but utilize him as a mere propagande icon, instead doing their best to presento the younger generationsa deep analisys ofrecer of the admirable work of Federico, poet, creator of a singular beautiful lyric populism. Millions of pages have been griten about him, in all languages; but still has to be done the recounting of his exhaustive gloss of his literary merits. Interestingly, the only humanistic chair «García Lorca» in the world, was created by the Universidad de San Marcos, de Lima, and by Julio Rodríguez, when he was the Franquist Secretary of Education. Which goes to show you the way Lorca´s figure has been used by very specific, motives outside his value as a writter. (I relieve that, fortunatelly, is still alive the person who best could insist in this necessery work: Luis Rosales. Who by the other hand, is perhaps the only one who knows the real truth, the insides of Federico´s murder, although he has never, (mantaining by his own will, a respectful silence) wanted to reveal it. ¿Isn´t it time already to help in the open knowledge of this man´s reality and tragical death?)

    Luis Rosales stated in the news paper Ideal de Granada, as told in an excerp by the Europa Press Agency on 25-X-79: “If he (Federico)would have been a militant of any polítical party, they would have had killed him with a reason.But, they killed him becouse of a difamation, a lie and there you have the documents. [...] The Communist Party of Spain is been been taking a good share of this cake, called Federico García Lorca, during 40 years.»

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