At the outbreak of the war the revolution burst out spontaneously in most of Republican Spain. But the Republican government was hopeless and would later face a confrontation with the revolution, to the detriment of both. In the first weeks of the war the militias offered the only real defense of the Republic.
Wildly optimistic and recklessly confident, they lacked however the coordination necessary for an army. Socialists, Communists, Anarchists and moderate Republicans all marched together in the beginning. Then relations deteriorated and each group went its own way. The Anarchists prevailed in Catalonia but their battle was debilitated insofar as it was not just against the army rebels, but against Capitalism itself.
An Anarchist newsreel of the time showing images of the huge dining room of a grand hotel, converted into a hospital, proclaims: “In its great kitchens meals are prepared for anyone who needs to eat. The spacious dining areas that once received frivolous girls, financiers, captains of industry, lazy aristocrats and international adventurers, are now overflowing with humble men and women living in a new society.”
Some towns were collectivized and in them money was almost abolished. Collectivism brought instant benefits. The revolution was triumphing in most of Republican Spain, but it was failing in its most important task: winning the war. The Anarchists were eventually ousted by the Republican government in May, 1937, and their dreams dismantled when the Communists took over. The Catalan resistance was mortally weakened in April, 1938 when the Nationalist troops reached the Mediterranean, cutting the Republic in half.
Here’s the link to the video, The Spanish Civil War – Inside the Revolution: http://youtu.be/XN5TbqzxQBg
Video courtesy of Granada Television, UK, 1983