• Short Summary

    Visnews library film shows events in Spain, April/May 1931, when the Republicans took over from King Alfonso XIII.

  • Description

    Visnews library film shows events in Spain, April/May 1931, when the Republicans took over from King Alfonso XIII.

    After years of differences between Alfonso XIII and the virtually dictatorial regime of General Primo de Rivera, which the king had been obliged to endorse in 1923 and which ended with the dictator's resignation in 1930, two successive temporary governments pressed for democratic rule. The municipal elections of Apr. 12, 1931, brought majorities to the Republicans in most of the large cities. Alcala Zamora, leader of the Revolutionary Committee, took the bold course of demanding King Alphonso's abdication and the immediate transfer of powers to the Committee.

    There were clashes in Madrid between Republicans and Monarchists who - according to the only figures ever issued - had won more seats in the elections. Republicans demonstrators, using their influence in the cities, defied the police and urged the end of the monarchy.

    After some parleying, King Alfonso undertook to leave Spain, but without formal abdication. On the night of Apr. 14 he embarked at Cartagena for France, then went on to Britain where London crowds gave him a warm welcome. He never returned to Spain, though General Franco later re-instated him as a Spanish citizen. King Alfonso XIII died in Rome, Feb. 28, 1941, after designating his son Juan as his successor to the Bourbon throne of Spain.

    The King's departure from Spain was immediately followed by the proclamation of the Republic and the formation of a Provisional Government made up of members drawn from the Republican and Socialist parties. The new regime - which lasted until General Franco's counter-revolution in 1936 - was far from stable. Lacking a strong leader, it gave much scope to left-wing extremists who tried to pave the way for a proletarian revolution by strikes and anti-clerical outrages. There were disgraceful scenes in May 1931, when churches were burned by mobs in Madrid, Valencia and all over southern Spain. Demonstrations and marches continued.

    Parliamentary elections were held in June 1931, giving the left wing 315 out of 466 members. The new constitution - promulgated on Dec. 9 - defined Spain as "a democratic republic of workers of all classes", with authority "emanating from the people" and "no official religion".

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:

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