Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Asturias - 5 October 1934

In Spain in the early 1930s, political parties were polarized, chiefly over the powers to be granted the Roman Catholic Church. In 1934, the united Socialist Party developed a scheme to keep the right-wing, pro-church Confederation Espanola de Derechas Autonomos (CEDA) from joining the increasingly confused and despotic Spanish government; it planned a nationwide general strike, an uprising in Madrid, and a declaration of independence in Catalonia. On October 5, 1934, over 70,000 highly unionized, communist-oriented miners in Asturias (region in northwestern Spain) rose in revolt, occupying the city of Oviedo and taking control of much of the area within a few hours. However, Francisco Franco (1892-1975) and another general led Spanish Foreign Legion and government forces to Asturias, where they brutally put down the uprising in two weeks. The miners had burned churches and killed about 40 persons, including 29 priests. The government troops killed an estimated 3,000 and took about 35,000 prisoners, who were tortured and tried well into 1935. The ferocity of the government divided the Spanish people and helped to precipitate the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.

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