José Moscardó Ituarte
José Moscardó e Ituarte, 1st Count of the Alcázar of Toledo, Grandee of Spain (26 October 1878 – 12 April 1956) was the military Governor of Toledo Province
Toledo (province)
Toledo is a province of central Spain, in the western part of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. It is bordered by the provinces of Madrid, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Badajoz, Cáceres, and Ávila....

 during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. He sided with the Nationalist army fighting the Republican
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 government and his most notable action was the defence and holding of the Alcázar of Toledo
Alcázar of Toledo
The Alcázar of Toledo is a stone fortification located in the highest part of Toledo, Spain. Once used as a Roman palace in the 3rd century, it was restored under Charles I and Philip II of Spain in the 1540's...

 against Republican forces.

When still a Colonel and military governor of the province, Moscardó was described by the English Major Geoffrey McNeill-Moss as "a tall, reserved, gentle-mannered man, a little awkward, rather punctillious: happy enough with a few people he knew well, but shy in company. He had a strict sense of duty. He was religious. In a nation where most were slack, he was exact."

For some time leading up to the Civil War Moscardó had lived in semi-retirement, a middle-aged soldier. When conflict commenced he assumed the role of Commandant of the citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....

 in Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

, with a total garrison of 1,028, which included six hundred Civil Guard under their own commander, 150 army officers, 35 Falangists, 10 Carlists, 25 members of the Monarchist Association, and 40 peasants and workmen. In addition there were 670 non-combatants including 100 men too old to serve, 520 woman and 50 children.

Spanish Civil War

The Siege of the Alcázar
Siege of the Alcázar
The Siege of the Alcázar was a highly symbolic Nationalist victory in Toledo in the opening stages of the Spanish Civil War. The Alcázar of Toledo was held by a variety of military forces in favor of the Nationalist uprising. Militias of the parties in the Popular Front began their siege on July 21...

 commenced and Moscardó held out for General Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

's Nationalist forces for 70 days from 22 July to 27 September 1936. Day after day, the Colonel sent out his daily radio report: Sin novedad en el Alcázar ("Nothing new at the Alcázar," or "All quiet at the Alcázar", an ironic understatement). His defiance heartened Franco's supporters everywhere and maddened the Republicans, who committed vast forces in vain assaults on the Alcázar.

On 23 July, Republican forces captured Moscardó's 16-year-old son, Luis. They called the Alcazar on the telephone and Moscardó himself picked up the receiver. The political officer of the Republican force informed him that unless he surrendered the Alcazar, Luis would be shot. Moscardó asked to speak to his son. He then told Luis, "Commend your soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

 to God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and die like a patriot
A patriot is someone who feels a strong support for his or her country. See Patriotism.Patriot or Patriots may also refer to:- Politics :* Patriot Party , various political parties...

, shouting 'Long live Christ King' and 'Long live Spain.'" "That," answered his son, "I can do." Although a legend has grown up that Luis was immediately shot, he was not in fact shot until a month later "in reprisal for an air raid".

During the siege
Siege of the Alcázar
The Siege of the Alcázar was a highly symbolic Nationalist victory in Toledo in the opening stages of the Spanish Civil War. The Alcázar of Toledo was held by a variety of military forces in favor of the Nationalist uprising. Militias of the parties in the Popular Front began their siege on July 21...

, a blindfolded Major Rojo approached the badly battered citadel with a white flag on September 9. His mission was to offer the garrison their lives if they would surrender. His proposal was rejected, but on leaving he asked Moscardó if he could convey any requests to the outside. Moscardó asked that a priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

 might be sent to the garrison to baptise children born during the siege. The Republicans agreed and sent in Canon Vasquez Camarassa. Of the priests in Toledo, only seven who were in hiding escaped massacre by the Republicans, so the Canon was in that respect lucky to be alive, said to be because of his left-wing sympathies. He urged the civilians, the women and children in particular to leave under a white flag. The unanimous reply was a refusal.

When the Alcazar was finally relieved, Moscardó is said to have greeted the relief force's commanding Colonel. He had lost his son but saved his garrison. He stood stiffly to the salute and said, "No change to report."

A similar incident in Spanish history is that concerning Guzmán el Bueno, who chose the death of his son to surrendering the Tarifa
Tarifa is a small town in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia, on the southernmost coast of Spain. The town is located on the Costa de la Luz and across the Straits of Gibraltar facing Morocco. The municipality includes Punta de Tarifa, the southernmost point in continental Europe. There are five...


The defence of the Alcazar became a symbol of heroism in Francoist Spain. Moscardó was promoted to Army General after the relief of the Alcázar, and put in command of the Soria
Soria is a city in north-central Spain, the capital of the province of Soria in the autonomous community of Castile and León. , the municipality has a population of c. 39,500 inhabitants, nearly 40% of the population of the province...

 Division. In 1938 he was given command of the Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 Army Corps, but took part in no further heroic episodes.

Franco, however, knew the value of propaganda and authorized Moscardó to wear a special black cloak of mourning for his son over his army uniform. This he did for the rest of his life, so that every soldier who saw him would know who he was.

In Francoist Spain

In late 1944, Moscardó, in command at Barcelona, led the successful defense against incursions by Spanish communists via the Val d'Aran
Val d'Aran
The Val d'Aran is a valley in the Pyrenees mountains and a comarca in the northwestern part of the province of Lleida, in Catalonia, northern Spain. Most of the valley constitutes the only part of Spain, and of Catalonia, on the north face of the Pyrenees, hence the only part of Catalonia whose...

 into Lérida. In March 1945 he was named head of Franco's Casa Militar (personal military staff).

In 1948, he was created Count of the Alcázar de Toledo and a Grandee of Spain
Grandee is the word used to render in English the Iberic high aristocratic title Grande , used by the Spanish nobility; Portuguese nobility, and Brazilian nobility....


His singular passion remained football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

, and, to his pleasure, he coached
Coach (sport)
In sports, a coach is an individual involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a sports team or of individual sportspeople.-Staff:...

 the Spanish football team at the 1948 London Olympic Games
1948 Summer Olympics
The 1948 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in London, England, United Kingdom. After a 12-year hiatus because of World War II, these were the first Summer Olympics since the 1936 Games in Berlin...

 and the 1952 Games
1952 Summer Olympics
The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. Helsinki had been earlier given the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II...

 in Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

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