From the archive Spanish republic fighting grave revolt
· "The Situation in Control" - Government claim · Rebels still hold Seville wirless station · British Destroyers Stand By
Monday July 20, 1936 Guardian Unlimited
A military, Monarchist and Fascist revolt on a large scale began in Spanish Morocco during the night of Friday-Saturday, and in a number of towns in Spain itself, as well as in the Canaries and the Balearic Islands.
News from Spain is heavily censored, but it is evident from the messages that were being allowed to come through last night that the threat to the Republic has been-and may still be-very grave.
The Left Government still rules in Madrid-though in fifteen hours it was twice reconstructed,-and from the capital's wireless station announced last night that it holds the upper hand both in Morocco and in Spain itself.
Among the centres involved in Spain are Malaga, Seville, Barcelona, Bilbao and Cadiz. A French airliner from North Africa which refuelled at Barcelona reported that the city had been bombed by aeroplanes.
The Seville wireless station, which is in the hands of the rebels, and has been sending out rebel propaganda of varying degrees of credibility, broadcast yesterday a report that General Franco at the head of the rebel troops had landed at Cadiz from Morocco and was to march on Madrid.
What proportion of the army is behind the rising is uncertain, but the Civil Guards seem to be faithful the Government.
The Government claims that the navy remains loyal and that a number of ships have been sent to Morocco to help in quelling the revolt, but a rebel destroyer yesterday bombarded the barracks at La Linea, near Gibraltar, where loyal troops had refused to follow Fascist officers. A Melilla message reports that three warships have joined the rebels.
As for the Air Force, there are frontier reports supporting the Government's claims that its 'planes have been bombed Ceuta, Melilla and other strongholds seized by the rebels in Morocco.
In a statement broadcast yesterday the new Cabinet, headed by Senor Giral, declared that it would arm the Spanish people with the object of the crushing the revolutionary movement. Arms have been issued to civilians in Madrid and other centres for the defence of the Republic.'
There has apparently been no serious trouble in Madrid itself.
Arms issued to civilians
Madrid, July 19
The Republic has survived a well-planned detailed plot against its life. At present the left is still in command. Señor José Gigal, who has been Minister of Marine in previous Governments since the victory of the Left in the last elections, became Premier this afternoon. General Pezas is the new Minister of the Interior in Señor Giral's Cabinet.
The Government formed by Señor Martinez Barrios (Radical Democrat) early this morning in succession to Señor Quirogat's Cabinet fell before midday.
The situation in Madrid was still critical tonight. Many soldiers have taken advantage of the Government's offer to abandon their regiments if they are not in sympathy with the attitude of the officers, and some hundreds in Madrid have offered themselves to the Government to carry out any duties that may be imposed on them.
The authorities in Madrid have armed the people, and throughout the street can be seen taxi-loads of the Milicia Roja (Red-Militia) with rifles, revolvers, and daggers.
Several lorry loads of miners from the north-west of Spain arrived in the capital to-day and placed themselves at the disposition of the authorities.
Jamming the rebels' wireless
The Seville broadcasting station and telephone building is in the hands of the rebels and the Madrid station has taken over the Seville wavelength so that it can jam any broadcast from the latter station.
From time to time the Government broadcasts news of the situation throughout the country, from which it appears that the authorities have everything well in hand. Many of the mutinous officers in Morocco are reported to have fled over the French frontier from Melilla. The navy is firmly state to be on the side of the authorities.
In Barcelona, Seville and Malaga the Government claims to be now controlling the situation.
The importance of the navy's loyalty is emphasised here because of reports that rebels are coming over from Morocco to the home country and that some have actually landed. There is no reliable information regarding reports that some of the warships sent to Morocco immediately the revolt became widespread have fraternised with the rebels. To all appearances the military rising has been overcome by those sections of the forces of the Republic which remain loyal.
Rebel garrisons bombed
Airmen have bombed several towns where the garrisons had rebelled, including Seville, Ceuta, and Melilla. Six generals have been degraded from their ranks. The U.G.T. (General Workers' Union) announced that wherever martial law or a "state of alarm" might be imposed in Spain by the rebels a general strike would be immediately declared by workmen.
The Minister of the Interior broadcast this afternoon that arms would be distributed to villagers who wished to organise themselves against rebels. This is in keeping with the policy adopted in Madrid.
The Minister also announced on the air that the rebels at Melilla, a fortified city and one of the most important centres in Spanish Morocco, had been completely routed. Many of them were, he said, fleeing to French territory, where they were being held at the disposal of the authorities.
He also declared that the rebels at Barcelona and Malaga had surrendered. No forces, he asserted, were marching on Madrid.
"The state of siege illegally proclaimed by the anti-Government elements in a certain number of towns on the Peninsula and in Morocco, the Balearic Islands, and the Canaries, is rescinded by the Spanish Government," it is officially announced. Behind this statement lies the first official admission in Spain that the rebel movement is not confined to Morocco and Seville, but has spread to other towns on the mainland as well as the Balearic Islands and Canaries.
Decrees ordering the dismissal of troops which have taken part in the "illegal movement against the Republic," and the dissolution of all units of the army which took part in the "insurrection movement" are also announced.
In the troubled areas "heads of military forces are relieved of their obedience towards any of their superiors who may have turned rebel."- Reuter.