José María Gil-Robles y Quiñones


José María Gil-Robles y Quiñones

:"For the erstwhile president of the European Parliament, see José María Gil-Robles."

José María Gil-Robles y Quiñones (Salamanca, 27 November 1898-Madrid, 13 September 1980) was a prominent Spanish politician in the period leading up to the Spanish Civil War.

Gil-Robles received his masters degree in 1919 and in 1922 he gained by examination the chair of political law in the University of La Laguna (Tenerife). During the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera he was secretary of the Catholic-agrarian national Confederation and member of the Writing Council of "El Debate". After the declaration of the Second Spanish Republic, he participated in and led "Acción Nacional" (National Action), later renamed "Acción Popular" (Popular Action). In the elections of 1931 he was chosen as a deputy in the Cortes for Salamanca. During the period of the Republic, he maintained the posture of "accidentalism": whether Spain was a monarchy or republic was less important than the law's compatibility with religious principles.

Gil Robles formed the rightist coalition CEDA ("Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas") which won the elections of November 1933. In order to avoid conflicts with leftist parties, President Niceto Alcalá-Zamora, did not ask Gil Robles to form a government as head of the largest party in the Cortes. Instead, he invested Alejandro Lerroux, leader of the Radicals. The appointment of three CEDA ministers to the cabinet in 1934 triggered the leftist Revolution of October 1934 that rose against the government of the Republic. Gil Robles served as Minister of War under Lerroux from May to December 1935. In the decisive elections of February 1936, the CEDA was the largest part of the National Front coalition, which also included Alfonsine monarchists and Carlists. He campaigned for a majority under the slogan "Todo el poder para el Jefe" ("All the power to the Chief [i.e., Gil Robles] "), and while he himself was reelected to the Cortes, the National Front narrowly lost the elections.

Gil Robles is a unique and controversial figure in the history of Spanish politics. The nature of his political beliefs during the Second Republic either greatly fluctuated or were tailored to his audience, as he is recorded as making many statements that appear contradictory. This is certainly reflected in the nature of his party, the CEDA, which somehow managed to attract support from both moderate Catholic republicans and extreme right-wing monarchists. The controversy surrounding him has been best articulated by historians Paul Preston and Richard Robinson.

Preston believes that Gil Robles was essentially a legalist fascist, whose policy of accidentalism would give way to legislating for a fascist dictatorship when he was confident that the populace was controllable. His evidence references Gil Robles' speeches, which were often filled with "anti-democractic and anti-Semitic innuendo", the oppressive, anti-reformist nature of his government partnership with Alejandro Lerroux's Radicals, and the frank admiration offered foreign fascist regimes by both his propaganda and by the bellicose Catholic press organ, "El Debate."

Robinson, however, refutes any claim that Gil Robles was anything but a consummate politician struggling to keep the unstable Right under control and within the law. The CEDA was not a mere front for fascist aspirations, but a party that was based on Catholic values, including a desire to pursue social Catholicism. Gil Robles himself certainly expressed pro-republican views; in an interview with the American journalist Mallory Browne he said, 'I am the only friend of the Republic,' and is recorded as declaring that 'a new dictatorship would produce, after a period of tranquillity, social revolution.’

Whatever his politics were, with the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, Gil Robles was unwilling to struggle with Franco for power and in April 1937 announced the dissolution of CEDA. After the Civil War he went into exile. Abroad he made negotiations with monarchists to try to arrive at a common strategy for taking power in Spain. In 1968 he was named university professor of the University of Oviedo and published his book "No fue posible la paz". He was a member of the International Tribunal at the Hague. At the death of Francisco Franco, and at the end of his regime, Gil Robles became one of the leaders of Spanish Christian Democracy, a party which did not fare well in the elections of June 15, 1977.


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  • José María Gil-Robles Y Quiñones — Pour les articles homonymes, voir José María Gil Robles. José María Gil Robles y Quiñones (27 novembre 1898 14 septembre 1980) était un homme politique espagnol, chef de la CEDA, durant la période de la seconde république (1931 1939) et de la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • José maría gil-robles y quiñones — Pour les articles homonymes, voir José María Gil Robles. José María Gil Robles y Quiñones (27 novembre 1898 14 septembre 1980) était un homme politique espagnol, chef de la CEDA, durant la période de la seconde république (1931 1939) et de la… …   Wikipédia en Français

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