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Why did the Second Spanish Republic Fail?

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History SL Assignment: Essay - Why did the Second Republic Fail? Name: Eva Teng The Second Spanish Republic was established in 1931, and it was the first attempt to establish democracy in Spain after the previous failure in the 19th century. The reason for this great failure takes its root in many different aspects of the Spanish history. But as John Gunther once said in 1937, "Left against right; poor against rich; workers against troops; ... All these confrontations played their part". This illustrates the fact that Spain was historically a very divided country, and by the 1930s many divisions existed, whether between the rich and poor or the different ethnic groups such as the Catalans and the Basques. It is obvious that the Republic entered at a very difficult time, and thus it is probably unfair to call it a complete failure since it did attempt to establish some reforms. But altogether it was these divisions, combined with the Second Republic's extreme policies and inappropriate approach to situations, that led to this government's inevitable downfall. Despite the Republic's eventual failure, it did achieve some successes. First of all it extended and improved the Labour Arbitration Scheme, which increased wages for the underpaid labourers. The extent of its success can be seen by the fact that its membership tripled between 1931~33. It also set out to tackle its military aim of reforming he army to improve its efficiency; this was done by asking 50% of the officers to retire. ...read more.


This extract suggests that the poorly-implemented agrarian reform only served to angry all kinds of farmers - small to large-sized. This also illustrates how the Republic managed to anger most classes in Spain. The military reform was also a failure; although in theory it would make the army more efficient, in practice this did not happen. Moreover the Second Republic gave the retired officers full-pay, so by the end it had little money left for social reforms. This was detrimental to the Republic because its primary goal was social reform: it was voted in by the peasants because it promised the latter (a majority of the population) reforms that would bring more equality between the labourers and the landowners. But without the money to carry out its promises, the Republic lost yet more support, this time from the working class. Another reason for the downfall of the Left Republic (1031~33) was its extreme anticlerical measures. Spain had a very religious population, and by establishing the extreme measures against the Church, the government lost support from a quarter of the Spanish people already. However Azana firmly believed that by separating Church from the government and education he could ameliorate Spain's backwardness, and thus he continued. All these failures were accompanied by further fiascoes under the Right Republic of 1933~36. The Right Republic was voted in precisely because of the Left's previous failures. ...read more.


This gave Mola and the military the perfect excuse to initiate their plan, and eventually the three years of war that followed confirmed the Second Republic's failure. The many mistakes that the Republic had played the role in polarizing Spain. There were numerous mistakes - whether it be the Asturia's uprising (the government's oppressive methods) or the Agrarian Reform Law; by the 1930s all these tension caused by the government had built up, and once the murder in 193 was done, everything escalated. The Second Republic failed largely because it approached many of Spain's problems with impractical solutions. Had it taken more care to displease only one section of the population instead of the whole (it is almost impossible to please all classes because of the angering factions in Spain), it may have been able to maintain its support and avoid failure. However one must not forget that the Second Republic was established under a difficult time; by the 1930s the working class's resentment towards the wealthy had already been built up (especially after the Economic Depression). Spain's conflicting history had already been built up by that time too - for example Catalan's demand for autonomy. The Second Republic did try its best at times in measures such as the labour arbitration scheme and the Catalan Statute. To say that it completely failed is probably unjust, given the conditions and some of its successes at the time. But the built-up of strain and pressure played the main part in covering up the Republic's accomplishments and made its failure inevitable. ...read more.

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