Law of Political Responsibilities
The Law of Political Responsibilities (Ley de Responsabilidades Políticas) was a law issued by the Francoist dictatorship on 13 February 1939 two months before the end of the Spanish Civil War. The Law targeted all loyalist supporters of the Second Spanish Republic and penalized membership in the Popular Front of the defeated republic.
The Law of Political Responsibilities, reformed in 1942 and in force until 1966, was promulgated in order to give a legal cover to the repression carried out during the dismantlement of the Spanish republican institutions, as well as to penalise those who had remained loyal to the legally established government at the time of the July 1936 military rebellion against the Spanish Republic. It was a central piece of the Francoist repression in the postwar era and an estimated half a million people were prosecuted.
In February 1939, soon after the fall of Catalonia, the war was lost for the Republic and Franco rejected the only condition of the Republican government for a surrender: a guarantee of no reprisals against the defeated Republicans. According to Antony Beevor, the Nationalist Spain was "little more than an open prison for all those who did not sympathize with the regime." and according to Helen Graham the Francoist Spain was "constructed as a monolithic community by means of the brutal exclusions of specific categories of people... Those excluded, broadly speaking, were defeated Republican constituencies who could not leave Spain... For the Franco regime were all reds and, once placed beyond the nation, they were deemed to be without rights.".
Promulgation of the law
On 13 February 1939, Franco published in Burgos the Law of Political Responsibilities (Ley de Responsabilidades Políticas). The law declared guilty of a crime of military rebellion, all those who were members of a Popular Front party from 1 October 1934 and all of those who had opposed the military Coup d'état of the 17–18 July including all the government officers of the Republic and all the members of the Republican Armed Forces. The law was retroactive and could be applied with effects as far back as October 1934, a juridical aberration, for those who had followed the laws of the legally constituted government of the Spanish Republic were suddenly prosecuted for "helping rebellion".
The Law of Political Responsibilities established fines and expropriations for defendants and their families (from 100 pesetas to the confiscation of all the accused's assets). Furthermore, additional penalties included restriction of professional activities, limitation of freedom of residence and forfeiture of Spanish citizenship. Deceased and disappeared persons could be held responsible and their families inherited the economic sanctions. Among the victims of this laws were intellectuals and artists such as Pere Bosch-Gimpera, Josep Lluís Sert and Pablo Casals.
The Law of Political Responsibilities was only nominally repealed in February 1945. A Comisión Liquidadora de Responsabilidades Políticas (Commission for the Discharge of Political Responsibilities) remained in operation until 1966 when the law was effectively abolished. Between 1939 and 1945, 500,000 persons out a population of 23,000,000 (2% of the population of Spain) were subject to Political Responsibilities proceedings.
Bibliography in English
- Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain; The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. ISBN 0-14-303765-X.
- Graham, Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-280377-1
- Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939. Princenton University Press. 1967. Princenton. ISBN 0-691-00757-8
- Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, revolution & revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. ISBN 978-0-00-723207-9 ISBN 0-00-723207-1
- Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2001. ISBN 978-0-14-101161-5
- Boletín Oficial del Estado nº 44, de 13 de febrero de 1939, Gazeta histórica. Referencia: 1939/01451, páginas TIFF.
- Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pp.385-386
- Cuadernos de Historia Nº 39 - Universidad de Chile
- La Ley de Responsabilidades Políticas, un arma más de represión durante el franquismo
- Graham, Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2005. p. 111
- Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.407
- Graham, Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2005. p. 129.
- Preston, Paul. The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, Revolution & Revenge. Harper Perennial. 2006. London. p.296
- Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2003. p. 870
- Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.385
- ...a «quienes habían permanecido leales al Gobierno constitucional se les encausaba ahora por "auxilio a la rebelión"» in Julio Gil Pecharromán, (2008). Con permiso de la autoridad. La España de Franco (1939-1935). Madrid: Temas de Hoy. ISBN 978-84-8460-693-2. p. 40
- Graham, Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A very short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2005. p. 134
- Mir, Conxita. The Francoist Repression in the Catalan Countries. p. 8