‘History of the Second Spanish Republic’

Destination publishes the History of the Second Spanish Republic (1929-April 1933), by Josep Pla, from the original unfinished Catalan manuscript.

At the end of the Civil War, Pla wrote, commissioned by Francesc Cambó, a History of the Second Spanish Republic; the book was published in four volumes, between 1940 and 1941, by Destino, and has never been republished.

Recently, an original manuscript of the first third of the work has been discovered among the author’s papers, from the immediate background of the Republic to the events of Casas Viejas (1931-April 1933). The big surprise is that this manuscript is written in Catalan.



Xavier Pla, director of the Josep Pla Chair at the University of Girona, has been in charge of editing it, and Maria Josepa Gallofré, one of the great authorities in Pla’s work, has been commissioned to carry out the preliminary study.

Below are two excerpts from the forthcoming book, the first of which is unpublished.

Cover of ‘History of the Second Spanish Republic (1929-April 1933)’, by Josep Pla (Destination / Group 62)


Excerpt from Chapter II

“By concord”

In this process of discrimination, it must be made clear, to contrast frankly with the general unconsciousness and, in this sense, to represent the effort of a statesman, the work carried out by Mr. Cambó.

At the moment when the Dictatorship enters its agony phase, it becomes visible to some minds that the question of Catalonia will have a considerable weight in the future political order. For seven years, Catalonia has received nothing but grievances from the Dictatorship. Some of these grievances have become unbearable because of their very smallness, the sheer ignorance of the aggressor, the taste for secessionism that betrays in the minds of politicians, high and low, who have led them. It is perfectly predictable, then, that Catalonia, as a whole, can drift towards the most purely negative and frantic forms of opposition. To prevent the production of a similar reaction, Mr. Cambó, eliminating pettiness, ignorance and intellectual and moral miseries – and this in itself already surpasses the vulgarity of the positions -, organized, through The Literary Gazette, then directed by Giménez Caballero and Ledesma Ramos, the future creator of the JONS (Juventudes Obreras Nacionales Sindicalistas), the exhibition of the Catalan book in Madrid, an exhibition that achieved enormous success and had the virtue, for the number and quality of ‘Castilian adhesions he found, to remove from Catalan opinion the unbearable feeling of isolation and the unhealthy reactions of the psychosis of persecution. The best spirits of Castile followed with exceptional interest the exhibition of the Catalan book and rejected, in a manifesto addressed to Catalan intellectuals, the anti-political attacks, literally secessionist, that the Dictatorship carried out against the most intimate forms of spirituality. Catalan.




The best spirits of Castile followed with exceptional interest the exhibition of the Catalan book and rejected, in a manifesto addressed to Catalan intellectuals, the anti-political attacks, literally secessionist, that the Dictatorship carried out against the most intimate forms of spirituality. Catalan ”


Likewise, Mr. Cambó tried to publish his book shortly before the fall of the Dictatorship By concord –title that already says so even though he has just outlined the position of this politician – but he did not succeed because he was banned by the authorities. The book, however, passed from hand to hand and had a considerable circulation. Fallen General Primo de Rivera, the book was completed and published in Spanish and Catalan and opinion gave him a wide consecration. In this work, Mr. Cambó rejects, as absurd and counterproductive, the extreme solutions to the problem of Catalonia, Catalan separatism and Castilian assimilation, and this position deduces it from an analysis of the historical process – an analysis made with absolute impartiality and a bright sense of elevation.

Always following this same policy of collaboration and union, Mr. Cambó organized, a few weeks after the formation of the Berenguer government (March 1930), the trip of Spanish intellectuals to Barcelona, ​​in which the most prominent figures of the Spanish movement, from right to left, took part. of Azaña to Sainz Rodríguez and of José Antonio de Sangróniz to Fernando de los Ríos, and that gave rise to acts of confraternización of the highest tone. In the spring of 1930, the Catalan problem showed no signs of glassy deviation and moral distension seemed to have been obtained for a long time. If this work could have gone hand in hand with a momentum in the general policy of the state, many things could have been saved. Unfortunately, this impulse did not occur and, on the other hand, Mr. Cambó fell seriously ill shortly afterwards, until he had to abandon political activity completely, and thus the leadership of the state was deprived of its most important adviser and the Catalan opinion of his leader more energetic, active and valuable.




Excerpt from Chapter VII

Old Houses (first version)

Political debate. – The holidays did not last long. The Parliament was convened again for February 1, 1933. In the middle – on January 12 – the tragic events of Casas Viejas, province of Cádiz (29 deaths) had taken place. These facts, little known, produced in the public opinion, in the political atmosphere, an enormous, monstrous tumor, that will affect, in the successive months, all the Spanish life. The fact, in itself, not only for the number of deaths and for being an episode linked to a general anarcho-syndicalist movement, but for coming to present, in its most tragic terms, a situation of public order characterized by an indescribable anarchy, it took on a grandiose volume from the first moment. The government did not have the strength to cautiously cauterize the deep infection. Rather, he treats it like any other affair, hides what he can, tries to diminish its importance. The first official version of events, given to Congress, was of a complete deficiency. Keeping the affair in this vagueness only increases its dangers, volume, and gravity. Casas Viejas became, in spite of its contradictory and blurry details, an imposing tragedy.




Keeping the affair in this vagueness only increases its dangers, volume, and gravity. Casas Viejas became, despite its contradictory and blurry details, an imposing tragedy “


The radical-socialist deputy Mr. On February 1, Ortega y Gasset asked the government for explanations. Mr. Casares Quiroga was not present on the blue bench. Mr. Esplà, Undersecretary of the Interior, answered with four words of circumstances of unfortunate indiscretion. Mr. Azaña, Mr. Prieto, they put, with great measure of words, the theory of the Government. The government, they say, should not give any explanation about Casas Viejas. He accepts the opening of a political debate. If a Member believes he is obliged to attack the Government, he may do so freely, and if that happens, the Government shall answer and on its own initiative shall not be obliged to say anything else. The composition of the seat made by the Government is that there will not be a responsible deputy foolish enough to attack it for having treated with tremendous harshness a violent manifestation of anarchism. The government, however, makes a wrong calculation. From that moment on, the government is facing a formidable attack from the opposition, not from the right-wing opposition, but from the Republican opposition. In the following weeks, this attack reaches delirium and as it goes growing, the government does nothing but back down, retreats and is, in the end, completely defeated. This is the political line of the Casas Viejas issue. Unofficial observers have been able to argue that Casas Viejas demonstrates the Republican opposition’s inability to fulfill its duty. It is possible, however, that the exorbitation of the issue was due, in the early hours, to the Government’s refusal to give an elementary explanation of the facts.



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.