Biography of Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja (1870-1930)

Military and Spanish politician born in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) on January 8, 1870 and died in Paris on March 17, 1930. He/She was head of Government and Chairman of the military implemented by himself in 1923 by the means of a coup, occupied this position until his resignation in 1930.

Don Miguel Primo de Rivera. F. Godoy.

Military career

Member of an illustrious and numerous Cadiz family of military tradition, from his childhood his education was directed towards military career. At the age of fourteen, in 1884, he/she entered the Military Academy and after investigating it was destined to Melilla, where he/she managed a series of quick promotions up to the rank of Captain, and where in 1893 he/she was awarded the medal laureate of San Fernando. After his stay in the African coast was destined to Cuba (1895), under the orders of the captain general Arsenio Martínez Campos, there was promoted to Commander. Later, in 1897, he/she was sent to the Philippines, to be his uncle, Fernando Primo de Rivera , appointed captain-general of the Islands. With this, Miguel had served on the last remnants of the Spanish Empire and had come into contact with the various problems that gangrenaban the last Hispanic possessions overseas, which would mark his life permanently.

In 1902 he/she married Casilda Sáenz de Heredia, with whom he/she had six children; his eldest son, José Antonio, was the founder of Falange Española. In 1908, Miguel was promoted to Colonel, and a few months after his wife died not be able to overcome is the birth of his sixth child. He/She was again appointed to Africa where he/she participated in the war of Morocco (1909-1927). In 1912 he/she was appointed brigadier general on their merits in the African war, thus being the first valedictorian in ascending to the Generalate. On his return to Spain he/she was appointed military Governor of Cádiz.

Throughout the first world war he/she was commissioned by the Government as French and British observer of some military campaigns of the allies, especially in the fronts. miguel Primo de Rivera was a military "Africanist", due to his military career and his promotions occurred mostly in Africa, but which was contrary to the system of promotion of the Spanish army which took precedence to the Africanist over the rest of the officers, the so-called "junteros". On March 25, 1917, on the occasion of a lecture at the Royal Academy Hispanoamericana de Cádiz, Miguel starred in his first public scandal by declaring: "Morocco nor any part of Africa is in Spain; "generous and abundant blood spilled Africa not be able to ever deeper and more useful justification that the have been in possession of something that serves to recover Gibraltar".

In July 1919 he/she was promoted to lieutenant general and was appointed captain general of Valencia. Soon after, he/she left Valencia to take charge of the captaincy general of Madrid. As captain general of Madrid held a hard confrontation with the Government that ultimately cost him the resignation. In November 1921, while discussing in Parliament about the disaster of Annual, Primo de Rivera insisted defended what posture to the Royal Spanish Academy American "I think, from a strategic point of view, that a soldier beyond the Strait, is detrimental to Spain". Because of these statements was relieved of the captaincy general of Madrid, since the Government was aiming to maintain at all costs the last colonies. In the famous disaster of Annual your uncle Fernando died, so Miguel inherited the title of Marquis of Estella.

Next year, in May 1922, the Government named him captain general of Barcelona, a job complicated by the tense social reality that currently existed in all of Catalonia, and especially in Barcelona, motivated by the confrontation between radical anti-absolutist sectors and the central Government, the incidence of the pistolerismo and great social unrest. miguel Primo de Rivera won the support of the sectors more conservatives of the Lliga Regionalista thanks to its policy of strong hand against crime and criminality.

The first 20 years were marked in Spain by an intense conflict and unrest, at a time of already if it whooping across Europe by the end of the first world war. To this is added the discomfort of the military due to the continuous defeats of the army in Morocco, especially when even the memory of 1898 remained alive, and the scandal raised by Picasso record, document drawn up to try to debug the responsibilities of the disaster of Annual. Both for the army and the rest of society, the carelessness of the Government regarding the issue of Spanish prisoners in the hands of Abd el-Krim, was a focus of continued unrest. All these events were accompanied by a series of terrorist attacks, such as the murder of the Prime Minister Eduardo Dato (1921) by three anarchist gunmen.

At the beginning of 1923, from various sectors of Spanish society, military, industrial, and conservatives in general, began to contemplate the possibility of a coup, for some as the only way to solve the problems of the nation, and for others as a threat to the established regime. The head of the Government, Manuel García Prieto, operatives that the general Primo de Rivera if the much-feared coup, called the prestigious general Weyler so this to take charge of the captaincy general of Barcelona and thus removal of Primo de Rivera. However, before Weyler arrived to Barcelona, Miguel Torrico troops and took control of the State, was on September 13, 1923.

The dictatorship

The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera has been divided traditionally in two periods clearly defined, the military directory and civil directory.

The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera to the Republic

On September 13, 1923, after consultation with the rest of the General captains, with the exception of the general Zabala, captain general of Valencia, who was supporter of the Government of García Prieto; Primo de Rivera proclaimed the dictatorship, with the approval of the King Alfonso XIII. The new regime lacked a minimal ideological sustenance and was based only on the discontent of the military in relation to the policy by the former civilian Government of the restoration.

Primo de Rivera proclaimed himself Chairman of a military composed by characters whose most characteristic feature was their total lack of preparation and its null initiative to direct and provide resolution to the difficult political and social events of the time. The embryonic Spanish democracy was sacrificed for the sake of social conflict, the Constitution of 1876 was repealed, suppressed press freedom, pursued political dissidents and the Parliament was closed.

In relation to the Moroccan conflict, Primo de Rivera changed his previous stance what and starred in the disembarkation of Alhucemas (1925), Franco-Spanish military action that ended the long war.

Primo de Rivera with his officers, in Morocco.

Following the success of the military actions in Morocco, ultimately the main reason which had justified the coup d ' état, Primo de Rivera refused to leave power. On December 3, 1925 it dismantled the military directory and replaced it with one civil, which featured characters from greater political capacity as Martínez Anido, José Calvo Sotelo, Eduardo Aunós , or the conde de Guadalhorce. Civil directory had the support of the extreme right, the more conservative sectors of society and of a part of the army.

Paternalistic, populist, and archaic, Primo de Rivera Government proved disappointing even for those who had supported him from the beginning and had urged him to lead the coup. Little was what was done and even less what was done well, so the Government of Miguel was quickly losing all its support points.

miguel Primo de Rivera tried to give their political system of a democratic character, this created an organic Assembly, called the National Consultative Assembly, who was commissioned to write a new Constitution that should legitimize the new political regime. The National Consultative Assembly, constituted under the example of what has been done by Mussolini in Italy, was an absolute failure and the Constitution was never carried out. Another of their measures seudodemocraticas consisted in the creation of a political party that should give the regime of a political ideology, such party was the Spanish Patriotic Union (UPE), one-party dictatorship. The UPE catalyse the conservative aspects of Spanish society, while the Socialist Party should exercise political alternation, in imitation of what happened during the restoration. This two-party system of alternating failed also, since it was never applied.

Only in the economic field and public works the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera obtained some relative successes. Calvo Sotelo was able to control and reduce public debt, mainly through the creation of a series of economic monopolies in strategic sectors such as Campsa. In terms of public works, they were built, improved or expanded roads, ports, bridges and irrigation systems... However, the economic boom of the dictatorship collapsed with the stock market crisis of 1929.

From 1928, the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera began a fulminant process of political isolation and loss of support, which came at the hands of increasingly bad relations between the dictator and the monarch. By the same dates, Miguel had a sentimental relationship with Niní Castellanos, relationship that also failed.

The repeated failures of the dictatorship and the lack of freedoms caused a growing opposition movement, supported by intellectuals, students, political Liberal, trade unionists, certain sectors of the army and a large sector of society, especially in provincial capitals. To the growing strength of the opposition, and the loss of support, on January 28, 1930 Primo de Rivera submitted his irrevocable resignation to Alfonso XIII and left Spain.

miguel Primo de Rivera settled in Paris, where he/she died at the end of two months, on March 17, 1930. The death of Primo de Rivera was practically ignored by the Spanish regime.