Juan Negrín

Juan Negrín
67th Prime Minister of Spain
In office
May, 1937 – February, 1939
Preceded by Francisco Largo Caballero
Succeeded by Francisco Franco
Personal details
Born 3 February 1892(1892-02-03)
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Died 12 November 1956(1956-11-12) (aged 64)
Paris, France
Political party PSOE

Juan Negrín y López (3 February 1892 – 12 November 1956) was a Spanish politician and physician.

Contents

Early years

Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Negrín came from a religious middle-class family.[1] He was a pupil of the Nobel Prize of Medicine, Ramon y Cajal,[2] qualified as a doctor in Germany and later he became a university professor of physiology[3] at the Complutense University of Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) at the age of 29.[4] Negrin spoke English, French, German[1] and also a little Russian.[5]

On 21 July 1914 he married María Fidelman y Brodsky and had Juan Negrín y Fidelman, married to Rosita Díaz y Gimeno, Rómulo Negrín y Fidelman (Madrid, 1917 - 30 July 2004), married to Jeanne Fetter and father of Juan Román Negrín y Fetter (b. Mexico City, 20 September 1945), and Miguel Negrín y Fidelman.[6]

Negrín joined the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) in 1929.[7] He belonged to the Indalecio Prieto faction, opposed to that led by Largo Caballero, left-wing extremists.[8] In 1931 was elected was elected deputy for Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands.[7] Negrin helped many people to escape from the revolutionary checas in July and August 1936.[2]

Minister of Finance

He was named Minister of Finance in September 1936 in the government of Francisco Largo Caballero.[9] As the finance minister, he built up the carabineros (custom guards), a force of 20,000 men[10] which was later nicknamed The Hundred Thousand Sons of Negrín,[11] in order to recover the control of the French frontier posts, which had been seized by the CNT.[12][13] He also took the controversial decision to transfer the Spanish gold reserves to the Soviet Union in return for arms to continue the war (October 1936).[14] Worth $500 million at the time[15] (another $240 million had been sent to France in July),[16] critics argued that this action put the Republican government under the control of Joseph Stalin.[17]

Prime minister

On 17 May 1937, Manuel Azaña (after Largo was dismissed) named Negrín the 135th President of the Government.[18] Negrin's government included Indalecio Prieto named minister of War, Navy and Air, Julian Zugazagoitia as minister of interior (both socialists), the communists Jesus Hernandez as minister of education and Vicente Uribe as minister of agriculture, the republicans Jose Giral as foreign minister and Giner de los Rios as public work minister, the Basque Manuel Irujo as minister of justice and the Catalan Nationalist Ayguade as minister of labour.[19] His main objectives were to fortify the central government,[20] to reorganize and fortify the Republican army[7] and to impose the law and order in the republican held area,[21][22] against largely independent armed militias of the labor unions (CNT) and parties, thus curtailing the revolution inside the Republic. He also wanted to break the international isolation of the Republic in order to get the arms embargo lifted,[23] and from 1938 to search an international mediation in order to finish the war.[24] He also wished to normalize the position of the Catholic Church inside the Republic.[25] All this was intended to connect the Spanish conflict with World War II, which he believed to be imminent, although the Munich Agreement definitively made all hope of outside aid vanish.[26]

On the military level he launched a series of offensives at Brunete, Belchite, Teruel and the one on the Ebro. Although Negrín had always been a centrist in the PSOE, he maintained links with the Spanish Communist Party (PCE), whose policies at that point ere in favor of a Popular Front alignment.

One of the most controversial aspects of Negrín's government was its deep infiltration by the PCE,[citation needed] leading his critics[who?] - on both the Spanish left and right - to accuse him of being a puppet for the eventual establishment of a Stalinist communist state.[citation needed] The collapse of his government against the military golpe of Franco's forces destroyed any future development of the Spanish Republic. Negrín relied on the Communists to curtail the Anarchist wing of the Spanish Left, and was forced to rely on the Soviet Union, then led by Joseph Stalin, for weapons and armament, because of the arms embargo imposed by the Non-Intervention Committee.[27] Soviet activities in Spain seemed to be focused as much or more on NKVD-directed purges of real or alleged Trotskyists and anarchists within the republican zone as on winning the war against the Phalange.

The military situation of the Spanish Republic deteriorated steadily under Negrín's government, largely because of the superior quality of the opposing generals and officers many of whom were veterans of the Rif War, and by 1938 the overwhelming advantage of the Nationalists in the terms of men (20%), aircraft and artillery provided by Germany and Italy.[28] On May 1938, Negrin issued the "Thirteen Points" (Trece Puntos), a program for peace negotiations, including absolute independence of Spain, liberty of conscience, protection of the regional liberties, universal suffrage, an amnesty for all Spaniards and agrarian reform, but Franco rejected any peace deal.[29][30] Before the fall of Catalonia he proposed, in the meeting of the Cortes in Figueres, capitulation with the sole condition of respecting the lives of the vanquished and the holding of a plebiscite so the Spanish people could decide the form of government, but Franco rejected the new peace deal.[31] On 9 February 1939, he moved to the Central Zone (30% of the Spanish territory) with the intention of defending the remaining territory of the republic until the start of the general European conflict,[32] and organize the evacuation of those most at risk.[33] Negrin though that there were no other course but resistance, because the Nationalists rejected to negotiate any peace deal.[34]

To fight on because there was no other choice, even if winning was not possible, then to salvage what we could -and at the very end our self respect... Why go on resisting? Quite simply because we knew what capitulacion would mean.

[35]

However, Colonel Segismundo Casado, joined by José Miaja, Julian Besteiro and Cipriano Mera, tired of fighting, which they regarded then as hopeless. Seeking better surrender terms, they seized power in Madrid on 5 March 1939, created a National Defense Junta, and deposed Negrín.[36] The same day, Negrin fled to France.[37] Although the troops led by the PCE rejected the coup on Madrid they were defeated by the Cipriano Mera's troops.[38] The Junta tried to negotiate a peace deal with the nationalists, but Franco only accepted an unconditional surrender of the Republic.[39] Finally all the members of the Junta (except Besteiro) fled, and by 31 of March 1939 the Nationalists seized all the Spanish territory.[40]

Exile and death

Unlike Spanish President Manuel Azaña, Negrín remained in Spain until the final collapse of the Republican front and his fall from office in March 1939.[41] He organized the S.E.R.E. (Servicio de Evacuación de Refugiados Españoles)[42] to help republican exiles. He remained prime minister of the Spanish Republican government in Exile between 1939 an 1945 (although ignored by most of the exiled political forces)[43] and died in Paris in 1956.[44]

Further reading

  • Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. ISBN 0-14-303765-X.
  • Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-280377-1
  • Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War,1931-939. Princenton University Press. Princenton. 1967. ISBN 0-691-00757-8

References

  1. ^ a b Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.647
  2. ^ a b Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.646
  3. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. p.95
  4. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.272
  5. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War,1931-939. Princenton University Press. Princenton. 1967. p.393
  6. ^ http://www.geneall.net/H/per_page.php?id=467828
  7. ^ a b c Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. p.260
  8. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War,1931-939. Princenton University Press. Princenton. 1967. pp.208-209
  9. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pag.147
  10. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War,1931-939. Princenton University Press. Princenton. 1967. p.339
  11. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Spanish Civil War. p. 229. ISBN 0911745114
  12. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.263
  13. ^ , Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. pp.647-648
  14. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War,1931-939. Princenton University Press. Princenton. 1967. pp.317-318
  15. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.435
  16. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. pp.434-437
  17. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.303
  18. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pag.271
  19. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.651
  20. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War,1931-939. Princenton University Press. Princenton. 1967. p.405
  21. ^ Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. p.259
  22. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War,1931-939. Princenton University Press. Princenton. 1967. p.402
  23. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. p.95
  24. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. p.100
  25. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. pp.104-105
  26. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. pp. 110-111
  27. ^ Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. pp.190-191
  28. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. p.96
  29. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.798
  30. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pp.338-339
  31. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pp.380-381
  32. ^ Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. pp.295-296
  33. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. p.111
  34. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.867
  35. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. p.87
  36. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. pp.876-879
  37. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.882
  38. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. pp.883-884
  39. ^ Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. p.298
  40. ^ Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. pp.298-299
  41. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.393
  42. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pag.413
  43. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.423
  44. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.923
Preceded by
Francisco Largo Caballero
Prime Minister of Spain
1937-1939
Succeeded by
Francisco Franco

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