Elections Of 36

Large posters of Gil Robles began to appear with a slogan demanding power. The CEDA dominated the newly formed alliance of the right, which now included Alfonsist monarchists and Carlists. This electoral bloc was the National Front, and the church said that a vote for them was a vote for Christ.

The left wing formed their own Popular Front, forged of the unity created in the failed rising of 1934. The communists joined with the republicans and socialists to oppose Fascism and to provide the minor communist parties with a trojan horse method of entry 'to the very heart of the enemy camp.'

The election was very close, and completed with little violence or interference. The Popular Front ended up 150,000 votes ahead out of the 10 million votes cast, but due to the electoral laws ended up with an absolute majority in the Cortes. In spite of the extremely moderate composition of the new government the right wing reacted as if revolution loomed. They were horrified to see political prisoners freed by crowds who did not bother to wait for the official amnesty to be announced. But it was the failure of the National Front that persuaded them to abandon the political process.

The rhythm of political violence and strikes increased that summer as the new government found itself saddled with all the problems of the old, enabling the right wing press to sensationalise the issue. On 1st June 1936 70,000 workers began a joint UGT-CNT strike. Falangists machinegunned the pickets from cars in hit and run raids and attacked isolated workers. Fighting also broke out between anarchists and socialists in Malaga in mid June, which was condemned by both UGT and CNT. 100,000 peasants of the CNT were on strike in the countryside. The socialists and anarchists were beginning to take over in the rural areas, but in the main Andalucian towns Falangist squads drove at top speed through working class suburbs shooting people indiscriminately. During all this time the right wing press repeatedly compared President Azana to Kerensky, and Jose Antonio, leader of the Falange, reminded the army officers of what happened to the Tsarist officers during the Revolution.

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