Law of Political Responsibilities
The Law of Political Responsibilities (Ley de Responsabilidades Políticas) was a law issued by the Francoist dictatorship on February 1939, two months before the end of 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...

. The Law targeted all the supporters of the Second Spanish Republic
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....

 and was a central piece of the Francoist repression
White Terror (Spain)
In Spain, White Terror refers to acts of politically motivated violence committed by the Nationalist movement during the Spanish Civil War and during Francisco Franco's dictatorship...

 in the postwar.


On February 1939, soon after the fall of Catalonia
Catalonia Offensive
The Catalonia Offensive was part of the Spanish Civil War. The Nationalist Army started the offensive on December 23, 1938, and rapidly conquered Republican-held Catalonia with its capital city from October 1937, Barcelona. Barcelona was captured on January 26, 1939. The Republican government...

, the war was lost for the Republic and 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...

 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.".

Law of Political Responsibilities

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 of those who was a member of a Popular’s Front
Popular Front (Spain)
The Popular Front in Spain's Second Republic was an electoral coalition and pact signed in January 1936 by various left-wing political organisations, instigated by Manuel Azaña for the purpose of contesting that year's election....

 party from 1 October 1934 and all of those who was opposed the military Coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 of the 17–18 July
Spanish coup of July 1936
The Spanish coup of July 1936 marked the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Following a period of troubles in the Second Spanish Republic, a group of officers attempted to overthrow the democratic government in a military coup. Planning started in early 1936, and the coup was launched on 17 and 18...

 or had shown "grave passivity" (all the government officers of the Republic and all the members of the Republican Army). The law was retroactive
Ex post facto law
An ex post facto law or retroactive law is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of actions committed or relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law...

 (could be applied back to October 1934) and established fines and expropriations from defendants and their families (from 100 pesetas
Spanish peseta
The peseta was the currency of Spain between 1869 and 2002. Along with the French franc, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra .- Etymology :...

 to the confiscation of all the accused's assets). Furthermore, additional penalties included the restriction of the professional activities, the limitation of freedom of residence and the loss of the Spanish nationality. Deceased and disappeared persons could be held responsible and their families inherited the economic sanctions. Among the victims of this laws were intelectuals and artists like Pere Bosch-Gimpera
Pere Bosch-Gimpera
Pere Bosch-Gimpera was a Spanish-born Mexican archaeologist and anthropologist.He arrived in Mexico with many other intellectuals during the Spanish Civil War. He became a Mexican citizen in 1971.-Career:...

, Josep Lluís Sert
Josep Lluís Sert
Josep Lluís Sert i López was a Spanish Catalan architect and city planner.- Biography :Born in Barcelona, he showed keen interest in the works of his painter uncle Josep Maria Sert and of Gaudí. He studied architecture at the Escola Superior d'Arquitectura in Barcelona and set up his own studio...

 and Pau Casals
Pablo Casals
Pau Casals i Defilló , known during his professional career as Pablo Casals, was a Spanish Catalan cellist and conductor. He is generally regarded as the pre-eminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest cellists of all time...

. The most common way of finding the "collaborators" was through the Electoral Register at the time, targeting those who had previously voted Republican.


The law was abolished on February 1945, although a a Comisión Liquidadora de Responsabilidades Políticas (Commission for the Discharge of Political Responsibilities) remained in operation until the 1960s. Between 1939 and 1945, 500,000 persons out a population of 23,000,000 (1% of the population of Spain) were subject to Political Responsibilities proceedings.

External links


  • The Francoist Repression in the Catalan Countries. Conxita Mir.
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