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The Plundering of the Vanquished

The Economic Repression during Early Francoism

Julio Prada Rodríguez

Economic repression became a keystone of the social exclusion policies of the Franco dictatorship from the stage of the coup dʼétat. Beyond its utility in provisioning the warfronts and for the proper functioning of the rearguard, it became a valuable deterrent and a weapon of intimidation that smothered any expression of non-conformity. If its efficiency was so remarkable, this was due to the fact that it did not act in an isolated fashion, but projected itself on the social body that had already suffered the combined effects of the Civil War, the physical repression and the rest of the coercive and social control mechanisms employed by the regime.

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The Asset Seizures Before Decree No. 108

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It is not always a simple task to distinguish between ‘requisitioning’ and ‘asset seizure’. There are numerous examples in which the military records themselves indistinctly employ both terms to refer to that broad range of services that could be requisitioned mentioned above. However, there were many cases of asset seizure decreed by the military authorities before the entry into force of Decree No. 108 of the JDN of 13 September 1936 and the Decree of 10 January 1937 and the Order of the same date, which developed it in a way and with consequences very different than before. Firstly, because neither was requisitioning performed pursuant to the legislation regulating the right to do so, nor was it consequently subject to the same formal requirements, nor did it give rise to the right to compensation or to any other form of redress. And, secondly, because its only justification was the left-wing inclinations of the natural persons or entities whose assets were subject to seizure, for which reason the profiles of the victims vary greatly.

The rebels had no need to resort to a legal rule to carry out the first financial extortions or to seize the assets of individuals and entities with left-wing sympathies, as different studies performed all over Spain have shown (Castro 2006: 271–273; Barragán Moriana 2009: 45–46; Casanova and Cenarro 2014: 42–43; Gómez Calvo 2014: 239; Prada Rodríguez 2016a: 71). This was also the case with the closure...

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