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Juan Negrín


In office
May, 1937 – February, 1939
Preceded by Francisco Largo Caballero
Succeeded by Francisco Franco

Born 3 February 1887(1887-02-03)
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Died 12 November 1956 (aged 69)
Paris, France
Political party PSOE

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

Contents

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Early years

Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, came from a religious middle-class family. Negrin was a pupil of the Nobel Prize of Medicine, Ramon y Cajal,[1] and later he became a university professor of physiology.[2]

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.[3]

Negrín joined the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) in 1929.[4] He belonged to the Indalecio Prieto faction, opposed to that leaded by Largo Caballero, left-wing extremists. Negrin helped many people to escape from the revolutionary checas in July and August 1936.[5] He was named Minister of Finance in September 1936 in the government of Francisco Largo Caballero.[6] As the finance minister, he built up the carabineros, a force which was later nicknamed The Hundred Thousand Sons of Negrín.[7]

League of Nations. Eighteenth Assembly, Opening of the eighteenth plenary of the General Assembly by Juan Negrín (Spain). Geneva, 1937

Prime minister

On 17 May 1937, Manuel Azaña (after Largo was dismissed) named Negrín the 135th President of the Government,[8] with the hope of fortifying the central power front against largely independent armed labor unions and Anarchists, thus curtailing the revolution in Republican Spain in order to create a state capable of simultaneously defeating Francisco Franco's rebel army and win the sympathy of progressive Catholics and members of the middle class who were revolted by the political and social oppression of the Republican Government, starting in 1935. 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.[9]

On the military level he sent 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), who at that point directed their forces towards the Popular Front line.

One of the most controversial aspects of Negrín's government was its deep infiltration by the PCE, leading his critics - on both the Spanish left and right - to accuse him of being a puppet for the eventual establishment of a Stalinist communist state. The collapse of his government against the onslaught of Franco's forces meant that the possible future nature of the Spanish Republic would remain a historical mystery. Negrín was forced to rely on the Communists to curtail the excesses of the Anarchist wing of the Spanish Left, and forced to rely on the Soviet Union, then led by Joseph Stalin, for weapons and armament.

During the Spanish Civil War Negrin took the controversial decision to transfer the Spanish gold reserves to the Soviet Union in return for arms to continue the war. Worth $500 million at the time, critics argued that this action put the Republican government under the control of Joseph Stalin.

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 who were largely veterans of the Rif War and by 1938 the overwhelming advantage of the Nationalist in the terms of men (20%), aircraft and artillery provided by Germany and Italy.[10] 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 goverment,[11] but on not having been able to reach this goal, he moved in February 1939 to the I Central Zone with the intention of achieving the evacuation with the same success with which it had been performed in Catalonia[citation needed].

However, Colonel Segismundo Casado later joined by José Miaja, tired of fighting which they regarded then as hopeless and seeking better surrender terms, finally deposed Negrín, and this rebellion frustrated the latter's last plan[citation needed]. Although the PCE started a mutiny in Madrid with the aim of re-establishing Negrín's leadership, José Miaja retained control and the republicans capitulated soon after.

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.[12] He organized the S.E.R.E. (Servicio de Evacuación de Refugiados Españoles) 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) and died in Paris in 1956.[13]

References

  • Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London.
  • Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005.
  • Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London.
  • Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003.

Notes

  1. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.646
  2. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. p.95
  3. ^ http://www.geneall.net/H/per_page.php?id=467828
  4. ^ Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. p.260
  5. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p.646
  6. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pag.147
  7. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Spanish Civil War. p. 229. ISBN 0911745114
  8. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pag.271
  9. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. pp. 110-111
  10. ^ Graham Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. New York. 2005. p.96
  11. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.380
  12. ^ Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The spanish civil war. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pag.393
  13. ^ 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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