Social Democracy and Social Conflict: The PSOE in Power, 1931–3

  • Paul Preston


Unaware of just how successfully the Right would be able to organise its opposition to reform, the Socialist leadership saw the coming of the Republic with great optimism. Two weeks before the municipal elections which were to convince the King that he no longer enjoyed ‘the love of my people’, Largo Caballero spoke at an electoral meeting in Madrid and expressed the hopes which he and many others placed in a change of regime. Declaring that, because he was a Socialist, he was also necessarily a republican, he claimed that only the overthrow of the monarchy could remedy the hunger in Andalusia and change a situation in which the social order had to be defended by the Civil Guard. At a similar function in Granada, Fernando de los Ríos said that the Socialists were about to help the middle classes make their democratic revolution.’ In so far as they analysed the situation at all, the majority of the Socialist leadership were convinced that a classic bourgeois revolution was imminent. If they differed over the tactics to he followed — Besteiro counselling that the bourgeoisie be left to get on with its own task, Prieto convinced that without Socialist help the bourgeoisie would be too weak to do so, and Largo keen to participate in the hope of benefit for the party and the UGT — they were all united in the conviction that progress was inevitable. In fact, the ‘bourgeoisie’ was not about to make an assault on feudalism.


Social Conflict Socialist Presence Union Official Agrarian Reform Strike Action 
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© Paul Preston 1978

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  • Paul Preston

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