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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 Beneficiaries of the Seizures


As has been seen, the declaration of a state of war in the rebel-controlled area was accompanied by the setting in motion of the fundraising machinery aimed at satisfying the needs of the rearguard and the warfronts. The requisitions, seizures, fines and patriotic subscriptions were guided by the ‘pressing need to adapt to the circumstances’ deriving from the degeneration of the coup into civil war. The literature has repeatedly referred to the impossibility of determining the profits reaped by the treasury of the ‘New State’ from the seizures and fines (Martorell and Comín 2008: 936), but there is not a shadow of doubt that they accounted for a significant proportion of the resources leveraged by the different military commands during the second half of 1936. The situation must have differed notably from one area to another, even in the same organic division. The examples of Grado, Pravia and Pola de Allande are sufficiently illustrative of their importance. In the case of Grado, the revenues from fines paid in cash and securities represented 83.19 per cent of the total raised between the declaration of a state of war and 30 November 1936, an amount similar to that raised in Pola de Allande (81.04 per cent) and which contrasted markedly with the income deriving in both cases from donations (13.26 per cent and 18.96 per cent, respectively). All in all, the most extreme case was that of Pravia, where the amount raised was 1.5 times larger than the sum...

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