Why Did the Left Republican Government (1931-1933) Fail?

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The second Spanish republic was set up in 1931 after the poor leadership of King Alfonso XIII together with the failure of Primo de Rivera. Many people thought that life would improve under the new leadership of the Left wing parties. The left was made up Socialists, Liberals, Radicals and the Republicans. In 1931 the left were elected into Parliament. The left wing party won by are large majority beating the Right who were made up of Generals and Officers, the Church, landowners and Monarchists.

It was very easy for the left to get things heard as they took over half of the seats therefore being the majority rulers. Many people believed that the right wing parties lost as they were not as united as the left was. The right suffered a huge number of splits which made it hard to contest with the left. The first law that was put into place out of the new left wing constitution stated that there was going to be a change in how Spain was run.

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They wanted to change Spain into a secular state, limiting the influences the Church had over Spain the constitution said that the Church now have have no power within the government and there would no longer be religiously run schools and there would no longer be a state religion. It also said that there were land and social reforms being put into place as well as free speech and divorce was made legal. Land reforms were also planned as were social reforms. Not everyone agreed with this new constitution; landowners were angered as they felt that their own power would decrease.

President Azana was in favor of these changes but The Prime Minister Alcala Zemora thought that these changes were far to extreme. Many people thought that these were good changes as they thought that the church had too much say in the ruling of Spain . Many people would say that this is one of the places were the Left wing parties slipped up, they directed all of their attention on the running of Spain and not the people of Spain. The new left wing party also wanted to limit the power of the army and civil guards, as they felt that they had let them down in previous years.

These radical changes were taken differently but all types of people, many strikes were organised but many also embraced them. Zemora thought that these new constitution was changing Spain and was forced to resign. Although the government had started to make loads of changes they couldn’t handle the reform and the protests by the anarchists. Often the civil guard had to fight with peasants and ended up in killing them, which caused even bigger protests by the rural population. The anarchists also were against the government and on few occasions they had to fight the civil guard.

The endings of these occasions were not very pleasant and often let to the death of both anarchist and civil guards. Many living conditions were improved due to the change in constitution, the standard of life increased dramatically, divorce was legalised, the death penalty was abolished , a pension scheme was brought in and more and more people got the chance to attend university. Rent rises were also banned and eviction of peasants was stopped. Outside ‘scab’ workers were banned, eight hour days and ‘obligatory cultivation’ were enforced.

Obligatory cultivation was enforced to make sure that workers had jobs all year round and not only in prime seasons when the landowners wanted them. This made sure that people were financially secure throughout the year. Scab labour is when outside workers are brought in when your own workers went on strike; this meant when strikes were happening landowners lost out on money. Alongside these ‘successive’ changes there were also failures. The new government faced uprising with in towns.

In Casas Viejas and Castiblanc they failed to meet the needs of the peasants and found themselves with a large revolt. Another main reason that the Left republic failed was the decrease in support from the Anarchists. The anarchists were probably the main reason that they won the earlier election. All of these reasons gave the Right wing parties fuel to bring the left down. There were also reasons that they failed that were out of their hands. Throughout spain people were finding out what was going on through the media, the media was consequently not in favor of the left wing party.

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Why Did the Left Republican Government (1931-1933) Fail?. (2016, Sep 30). Retrieved from


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