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The Victorious Counterrevolution

The Nationalist Effort in the Spanish Civil War

Michael Seidman

Publication Year: 2011

This groundbreaking history of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) examines, for the first time in any language, how General Francisco Franco and his Nationalist forces managed state finance and economic production, and mobilized support from elites and middle-class Spaniards, to achieve their eventual victory over Spanish Republicans and the revolutionary left.
    The Spanish Nationalists are exceptional among counter-revolutionary movements of the twentieth century, Michael Seidman demonstrates, because they avoided the inflation and shortages of food and military supplies that stymied not only their Republican adversaries but also their counter-revolutionary counterparts—the Russian Whites and Chinese Nationalists. He documents how Franco’s highly repressive and tightly controlled regime produced food for troops and civilians; regular pay for soldiers, farmers, and factory workers; and protection of property rights for both large and small landowners. These factors, combined with the Nationalists’ pro-Catholic and anti-Jewish propaganda, reinforced solidarity in the Nationalist zone.
    Seidman concludes that, unlike the victorious Spanish Nationalists, the Russian and Chinese bourgeoisie were weakened by the economic and social upheaval of the two world wars and succumbed in each case to the surging revolutionary left.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

This social and economic history of the Nationalist zone during the Spanish civil war attempts to explain the Insurgents’ success not only in defeating their Republican enemy but also in comparison to the failed efforts of their counterrevolutionary counterparts in Russia and China in the twentieth century. ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-2

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pp. 3-12

Despite the estimated 20,000 books on the Spanish civil war, the literature still lacks a comparative perspective that breaks through the Pyrenees-like border that has isolated it from the rest of Europe and the world. Reflections on other major revolutions, counterrevolutions, and civil wars in global history can yield valuable insights into the Spanish conflict. Comparisons with ...

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1. The Destruction of the Second Republic

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pp. 13-77

The Second Republic (1931–39) modeled itself on the ideals of the French Revolution and the French Third Republic. It intended to go beyond liberty and fraternity and introduce some sort of social equality or redistribution of wealth. Yet it faced special problems to achieve its project in backward Spain, which on the basis of civic culture, literacy rates, and economic ...

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2. Authoritarian Political Economy

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pp. 78-158

When a British anti-Communist, Frank Thomas, arrived on a train from Lisbon to Salamanca in October 1936 to volunteer to fight for Franco, his fellow third-class passengers offered him an abundant and free breakfast of meat, cheese, and wine. When he reached Burgos, which would soon become the official capital of the movement, he noticed no shortages but rather provincial ...

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3. Catholic Neotraditionalism

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pp. 159-207

The venerable Spanish antagonism to secularization reinforced a distrust of modernity, which was identified with cosmopolitan females, “anti-Spanish” leftists, Jews, and Protestants. The trauma of collective attacks on property and religion pushed much of the middle class to reembrace a traditional religion. Persons recently “liberated” from Republican control gave thanks to ...

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4. Defiance of the State

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pp. 208-246

Probably the majority of residents of the Nationalist zone defied some aspect of its authoritarian moral and political economy. The most respectable citizens engaged in illegal economic practices, the least reputable in their traditional calling of crime. All shared a distrust of the state and a commitment to their own personal interests and survival. Very few conformed as either ...

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Conclusion: Flawed Victory

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pp. 247-258

The conventional political and diplomatic perspective on the Spanish civil war has focused on the supply of arms to the Popular Army following the Battle of the Ebro. Franquistas insist that the Republic had enough military resources to continue the struggle, whereas Republicans blame the failure to fight on the “betrayal” of the democracies. This political and diplomatic ...

Appendix: Fines for Price Control Violations

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pp. 259-262


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pp. 263-320


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pp. 321-336


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pp. 337-352

E-ISBN-13: 9780299249632
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299249649

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2011