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The Civil Guard and the Spanish Second Republic, 1931-1936.

Blaney, Gerald (2007) The Civil Guard and the Spanish Second Republic, 1931-1936. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to understand the variety of factors that influenced the fairly widespread defection of much of the Spanish paramilitary constabulary, the Civil Guard, during the military rebellion that sparked the 1936-1939 Civil War. The significance of this phenomenon for the initial stages of the uprising has been recognised in the literature, but the explanations presented for it have been often either overly deterministic or focus too much on structural aspects, at the expense of social and historical factors. Indeed, most academic studies have conflated the issue of the Civil Guard with that of the "military problem", that is, the ubiquitous presence of the military in the political evolution of modern Spain, which often allowed the Spanish armed forces to interfere and eventually assume the control of the governing of the nation. This study, while noting the importance of the links between the Civil Guard and the military, gives equal if not greater importance to the fact that the former is primarily a policing body, and thus a variety of other dynamics have to be considered when attempting to understand the attitudes and actions of the corps. Indeed, while much of the military was detached from the daily workings of society, civil guards were on the front line of social conflict, and this unavoidably affected attitudes within the corps towards the viability of the Republic, and the legitimacy of its left- wing governments. Furthermore, the Civil Guard was not immune to the political passions of the day. Indeed, the antagonism between the Left and the Civil Guard reached a new intensity in the wake of the October 1934 Revolution, leading to a further deterioration when the leftist Popular Front coalition won the February 1936 elections. The polarization that infected Spanish politics during this period, as well as the increasing levels of social unrest and political violence, were key factors in influencing civil guards' loyalties once the military rebellion began in July 1936.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, European, History, Military
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2022

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