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Segismundo Casado was born in Spain in 1893. He joined the Spanish Army and by 1936 had reached the rank of major and was in charge of the military household of President Manuel Azaña.
After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War Casado helped to develop the tactics of the Republican Army in central Spain. In 1938 he was promoted to colonel and given command of the Republican troops in the central zone.
In August 1938 President Manuel Azaña attempted to oust the prime minister, Juan Negrin. However, he no longer had the power he once had and with the support of the communists in the government and armed forces, Negrin was able to survive.
On 27th February, 1939, the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain recognized the Nationalist government headed by General Francisco Franco. Later that day Manuel Azaña resigned from office, declaring that the war was lost and that he did not want Spaniards to make anymore useless sacrifices.
Juan Negrin now promoted communist leaders such as Antonio Cordon, Juan Modesto and Enrique Lister to senior posts in the army. Casado now became convinced that Negrin was planning a communist coup. On 4th March, Casado, with the support of the socialist leader, Julián Besteiro and disillusioned anarchist leaders, established an anti-Negrin National Defence Junta.
On 6th March José Miaja in Madrid joined the rebellion by ordering the arrests of Communists in the city. Negrin, about to leave for France, ordered Luis Barceló, commander of the First Corps of the Army of the Centre, to try and regain control of the capital. His troops entered Madrid and there was fierce fighting for several days in the city. Anarchists troops led by Cipriano Mera, managed to defeat the First Corps and Barceló was captured and executed. It is estimated that 230 people were killed during this internal conflict.
Casado now tried to negotiate a peace settlement with General Francisco Franco. However, he refused demanding an unconditional surrender. Members of the Republican Army still left alive, were no longer willing to fight and the Nationalist Army entered Madrid virtually unopposed on 27th March.
Casado went to Valencia where he boarded an English ship at the end of March. He lived in Britain for many years and did not return to Spain until just before his death in 1968.
Militare di carriera, aderì alla Seconda Repubblica spagnola durante la guerra civile. A Madrid tra il 4 e il 13 marzo 1939 assunse ad interim la Presidenza del Consiglio di Difesa Nazionale mediante un Colpo di Stato contro la presidenza del consiglio del socialista Juan Negrín, in funzione fondamentalmente anti-comunista, cercando invano di trattare una resa 'separata' con il Gen. Francisco Franco che stava ormai vincendo la guerra, ma che trovava ancora un'ostinata resistenza nelle formazioni dell'esercito lealista controllate dal Partito Comunista.
"A motivare l'iniziativa di Casado, che era un abile soldato e un uomo privo di ambizioni personali, era il disgusto: Juan Negrín e i comunisti parlavano di lottare fino all'ultimo e intanto si davano da fare per esportare capitali e preparare gli aerei per la fuga." 
Franco fece cenno di accettare la proposta Casado ed in una decina di giorni di scontri, il Col. Casado riuscì a far cessare la resistenza repubblicana fucilando molti ufficiali decisi a non arrendersi al franchismo. Una volta ottenuta la capitolazione d Madrid, Franco fece comunque esiliare lo stesso Casado e complici, procedendo liberamente alla rappresaglia degli ultimi resistenti e dei comunisti. Tornò comunque in Spagna anni dopo.
Segismundo Casado López, nado en Nava de la Asunción (Segovia) o 6 de outubro de 1893 e finado en Madrid o 18 de decembro de 1968, foi un militar español.
Fillo de militar, ingresou con quince anos na Academia de Cabalaría de Valladolid. Ao estalar a guerra civil era membro da masonería, diplomado de Estado Maior e comandante da escolta do presidente da República.
Loitou no bando republicano. En 1936 é ascendido a tenente coronel. Entre outubro e novembro de 1936 encargouse de treinar e organizar as Brigadas Mixtas do Exército Popular español. Participou na defensa de Madrid e na batalla do Jarama. Logo tomaría parte na batalla de Brunete. Posteriormente foi xefe do XVIII e do XXI Corpos do exército e, posteriormente, do Exército de Andalucía. O 17 de maio de 1938, na fronte de Aragón, foi ascendido a coronel, substituíndo o xeneral José Miaja, foille encomendada a Xefatura do Exército do Centro.
Rotundamente contrario aos comunistas -cría que a guerra continuaba en beneficio da Unión Soviética- e convencido da inutilidade de proseguir a loita ata o final, rebélase contra o goberno de Juan Negrín. Na noite do 5 ao 6 de marzo de 1939 crea en Madrid o Consello Nacional de Defensa que, mercé o apoio da 14ª División mandada polo líder anarquista Cipriano Mera, achegada desde Guadalaxara, e logo de seis días de loita, derrota as tropas fieies ao goberno na capital. Os combates remataron o 12 de marzo.
O triunfo, saudado desde o xornal El Socialista como unha vitoria que impedía que a España republicana se convertese nunha colonia soviética, permitiu ao Consello Nacional de Defensa -liderado por Julián Besteiro- negociar con Franco, coa pretensión de obter unha paz negociada. Porén, non se obtivo resultado ningún, xa que o goberno de Burgos só aceptaba unha rendición incondicional. Ante a inminente entrada das tropas de Franco en Madrid, Segismundo Casado partíu cara a Valencia, e desde aí exiliouse en Marsella, (Francia). Posteriormente, estivo exiliado en Gran Bretaña, Venezuela e Colombia.
Regresou a España en 1961, sendo xulgado e posteriormente absolto por un consello de guerra. Intentaría, en van, que se lle recoñecese o seu grao militar e que se lle permitise o reingreso no exército.
Casado var sønn av an offiser, og gikk 15 år gammel inn i det kongelige kavaleriakademiet i Valladolid, og hadde da borgerkrigen brøt ut i 1936 avansert til major og tjenestegjorde som leder av president Manuel Azañas vaktstyrke.
Tidlig under borgerkrigen bidro Casado i å utvikle en militær strategi for republikkens krigføring i det sentrale Spania. Han deltok i forsvaret av Madrid og i slaget ved Jarama. I 1938 ble han utnevnt til oberst og kjempet i slaget ved Brunete. Året etter ble han kommandant for de republikanske styrkene i sentrumsområdet. 4. mars 1939, da han var overbevist om at statsminister Juan Negrín var i ferd med å ta makten sammen med Partido Comunista de España, foretok han et statskupp med støtte fra den vestlig orienterte delen av sosialistpartiet PSOE, blant andre Julián Besteiro og desillusjonerte anarkister og etablerte den anti-Negrín Junta de Defensa Nacional.
General José Miaja i Madrid sluttet seg til kuppmakerne to dager senere, og starter arrestasjon av kommunister i byen. Negrin forberedte seg på dette tidspunktet å flykte til Frankrike, og beordret Luis Barceló å ta tilbake kontrollen over Madrid, og han ikke lyktes med, og etter flere dagers harde kamper ble Barceló tatt til fange av anarkistiske tropper under ledelse av Cipriano Mera og henrettet.
Casado prøvde på dette tidspunktet å innlede fredsforhandlinger med Francisco Franco, med Franco godtok bare betingelsesløs kapitulasjon. De gjenværende republikanske styrkene i Madrid var da ikke lengre villige til å kjempe, og Francos nasjonalistiske styrker rykket inn i Madrid uten å møte nevneverdig motstand 27. mars 1939. Casado flyktet til Valencia hvor han flyktet videre med et engelsk fartøy i slutten av mars. Han ble i eksil i Venezuela til han fikk vende tilbake til Spania i 1961.
Spanish Civil War History – Episode 5 – A Bloody Transformation
Our final episode on the Spanish Civil War looks at how the war ended and its bloody aftermath.
Rss feed | iTunes | Spanish Civil War page | Other listening options
We left you last time with a weakened and divided Republic. In November 1938, the Republicans retreated back across the River Ebro having been outfought by the Nationalist’s superior forces in the Battle of the Ebro. The Republican’s threw all of their energies into that battle, but failed in their objectives.
This episode considers the aftermath of that battle, including the Nationalist advance on Catalonia, how the war ended, another internal civil war, and the bloody transformation that occurred in the years and decades after the war.
After the outbreak of Civil war in Spain, Casado helped to develop the tactics of the Spanish Republican Army in Spain. He participated in the defense of Madrid and the battle of Jarama. He was promoted to Colonel in 1938 and fought in the battle of Brunete. In 1938 he was the commander of one army corps of five in the Central Republican zone. In 1939 he was appointed commander of the Republican Central army.
2.1. The Civil War In Spain. Coup Casados and the end of the war. (Casados переворота и окончания войны)
March 5, 1939 Casado, claiming that Prime Minister Juan negrín was planning the seizure of power by the Communists conducted a coup detat with the support of Julian Besteiro, the leader of the Spanish socialist workers party, and disillusioned anarchist leaders. They established an anti-Negrin national defence Council of the National Council of Defensa.
Miaja, General josé in Madrid joined the rebellion on March 6 at ordering the arrests of Communists in the city. Negrin fled on March 6 in France. But Luis barceló, commander of the 1st corps of the army of the Centre, rejected the coup and tried to regain control over the capital. His troops entered Madrid and there was fierce fighting for several days in the capital. Anarchist troops under the command of Cipriano Mera managed to defeat the 1st corps, and barceló was captured and executed.
Casado tried to negotiate a peaceful settlement with General Francisco Franco, who refused anything less than unconditional surrender. The surviving members of the Republican Army were not ready to fight. The nationalist army entered Madrid virtually unopposed on March 28, 1939.
Segismundo Casado -->
Segismundo Casado (Nava de la Asunción, Segovio, 1893 - Madrido, 1968), konata ankaŭ kiel Kolonelo Casado estis hispana militisto.
Filo de militisto, eniris dekkvinjaraᇚ en la Akademio de Kavalerio de Valadolido. Li estis membro de la framasonoj, kaj iĝis komandanto de la eskorto de la prezidento de la Respubliko (1934-1936) kiam eksplodis la enlanda milito.
Luktis defende de la 2a Respubliko. En 1936 li ascendis al subkolonelo. El oktobro al novembro de 1936 trejnis kaj organizis Brigadojn de la Popola Armeo de la Respubliko. Li partoprenis en la defendo de Madrido, en la batalo de Jarama kaj en la batalo de Brunete. Poste posteniĝis en alta militestraro en Andaluzio kaj en 1938 en Aragono, kie li iĝis kolonelo kaj poste anstataŭis la generalon Miaja en la estraro de la Centra Armeo.
Kontraᛚ al komunistoj, li estis konvinkita de la malutilo pluigi la lukton ĝis la fino, kaj insurekciis kontraŭ la registaro de Negrín kiam la milito estis jam perdita. La 4a de marto de 1939, kiam restis malpli da unu monato de milito, Casado, konvinkita ke la 𐣯ministro Juan Negrín planis la trapason de la povo al komunistoj, estris puĉon helpe de la moderuloj de la Partido Socialista Obrero Español, estrataj de Julián Besteiro, kaj kelkaj seniluziigitaj anarkiistoj. La 6an de marto de 1939 kreis en Madrido Nacian Konsilion de Defendo kiu danke al apogo de la 14a Divizio estrata de la anarkiisto Cipriano Mera venkis la restintajn trupojn de la teoria registaro de Negrín. La lukto finis la 12an de marto. La Generalo José Miaja en Madrido unuiĝis al la ribelo la 6an de marto kiam li ordonis la arestojn de la komunistoj en la urbo. Negrín, fuĝonta al Francio, ordonis la komuniston Luis Barceló Jover klopodi rekonkeri la kontrolon de la 𐧯urbo. Liaj trupoj eniris en Madrido kaj okazis akra lukto. La anarkiistoj de Cipriano Mera venkis kaj Barceló estis kaptita kaj mortpafigita.
Tiu venko permesis al Consejo Nacional de Defensa - estrata de Julián Besteiro - klopodi negocadi kun Franco, por akiri negocitan pacon. Tamen malsukcese ႚr la frankistoj ne volis iun ajn negocadon kaj akceptis nur senkondiႚn kapitulacon. Antaŭ la tuja okazonta eniro de la frankismaj trupoj en Madrido, Segismundo Casado eliris al Valencio, kaj de tie ekziliiĝis en Marsejlo (Francio). Poste ekziliixgis en Britio, Venezuelo kaj Kolombio.
Li revenis al Hispanio en 1961, kie li estis juĝita kaj poste senkulpigita fare de militjuĝo. Li klopodis ke oni agnosku lian militistan rangon malsukcese.
Publikis la jenajn verkojn: Organización del Ejército francés (1931), The Last Days of Madrid (publikita en Londono en 1939) kaj siajn memorojn Así cayó Madrid (1968).
Segismundo Casado, Cipriano Mera, and the Libertarians
This chapter discusses a libertarian conspiracy brewing at the time of Catalonia's collapse. At the center of the movement to end the war was Colonel Segismundo Casado, toward whom the adversaries of Negrín and the PCE now gravitated. Even before Negrín's return from Spain, Casado had resolved to take matters into his own hands, and considered overthrowing Negrín and establish contact with the Nationalists in order to end the war. The most important of Casado's allies upon whom the success of the coup would depend were the Madrid organizations of the CNT, FAI, and Cipriano Mera's Fourth Army Corps. Casado and Mera both shared pessimism with regard to the resistance policy upheld by Negrín. Meanwhile, Casado had been negotiating with Franco's agents in order to put an end to the war and perhaps come to an honorable settlement that would spare lives.
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Gateway to exile: the last secret headquarters of Spain’s Civil War leaders
In the first few months of 1939, the Spanish Civil War entered its bloody end game. After two and a half years of slaughter, the Republic was on the verge of collapse, its territory split in two by Franco’s armies.
A key part of those last desperate weeks was played out in the hills behind Alicante, at the secret headquarters of the Republican government led by Prime Minister Dr Juan Negrín.
The country finca (mansion) of El Poblet still lies just outside the town of Elda, close to the main Madrid-Alicante motorway, completely hidden from speeding traffic by a thick pine wood.
Surrounded by pine woods, El Poblet – codenamed Posición Yuste – was home to Juan Negrín’s government for ten days at the end of the Civil War
These days, it’s an unremarkable villa reached via a narrow track, surrounded by crumbling outbuildings and overlooking rather scrubby farmland. But in early 1939, this was the hideaway from which Dr Negrín and his cabinet tried to run the war during a fateful ten days in Spanish history (map at the end of this post).
The villa itself is surrounded by crumbling outbuildings. During the Civil War it was also used as a home for refugee children, a hospital, and an air traffic control base.
An odd place, you might think, to put any government, never mind one fighting for its very survival. Some of Negrín’s own people thought so at the time.
But the place was well connected. The main road north to Madrid and south to the port of Alicante ran nearby. The railway station of Elda-Petrer was a short drive away, and lay on the main line to Madrid trains still speed by just a few hundred metres in front of the house itself.
Alternative seats of government in Madrid and Valencia were both far too close to the battlefronts for safety. And if the Republican leadership wanted to stage a fighting retreat to the Mediterranean ports, Elda was quite well placed. Crucially, there was also an airfield at El Fondó (aka El Hondón or El Mañar), a few kilometres away, just the other side of the little town of Monóvar. If the politicians needed to get away in a hurry, El Poblet was actually not a bad place to be.
Dr Juan Negrín, Prime Minister of Spain, whose government moved to El Poblet for the final days of the Civil War until forced into exile, March 1939. Picture: Wikipedia
Negrín and his cabinet came here on February 25, 1939, just a month before the civil war ended. El Poblet was codenamed “Posición Yuste”, and it was guarded by around 100 experienced soldiers, armed with machine guns.
At the same time, the Communist Party leadership – including La Pasionaria, the fiery Dolores Ibárruri – took over a collection of chalets in nearby Petrer, codenamed “Posición Dakar” (see the map at the end of this post). By that stage of the war, Negrín’s government was heavily reliant on Communist support, both military and political. Today, ‘Dakar’ lies in an anonymous side street, just across the road from an Aldi supermarket.
This summer home, Casa Maruja, on the outskirts of Petrer formed part of Posición Dakar, last HQ of La Pasionaria and Spain’s wartime Communist Party
Army HQ occupied Colegio Padre Manjón, a school in Elda. The spooks of the security service SIM (Servicio de Inteligencia Militar) based themselves in a couple of houses in Ciudad Vergel, a neighbourhood in Elda.
Dolores Ibárruti, known as La Pasionaria, who lived in Posición Dakar and went into exile from El Fondó airfield, March 6, 1939. Picture: Wikipedia
As the politicians and their staffs moved in to El Poblet, they must have had few illusions about the eventual outcome of the war. If they had any, the news two days later would have shattered them.
The first blow fell on February 27, when Britain and France shamefully recognised Franco as the government of Spain (it’s often forgotten that Franco’s Nationalists were actually rebels against the democratically elected Republic). The same day, the Republican President, Manuel Azaña – already in exile, in France – chose to resign. Both were hammer blows.
For the Prime Minister and his cabinet at El Poblet/Posición Yuste, the question was: should the Republic fight on, against odds that were increasingly hopeless? Would that at least buy some time, maybe to allow more refugees to escape from Alicante and the other ports on Spain’s east coast? Or maybe give the Republic some leverage in any peace negotiations with Franco? Or in the hope that the international situation would change in the Republic’s favour? Historians have been arguing about all this ever since.
All debate went out of the window on March 5, thanks to an internal military coup against the Negrín government launched by Colonel Segismundo Casado, a senior Republican army commander.
Leader of the coup against Negrín, Colonel Segismundo Casado. His actions caused the collapse of the Second Republic and forced Negrín to flee from El Poblet. Picture: Wikimedia via Creative Commons
Casado wanted the war to end immediately and thought he was just the man to do a deal with Franco. He accused Negrín of planning a Moscow-inspired Communist takeover and fighting on to the bitter end. Casado himself had been at El Poblet for talks with Negrín only three days before launching his revolt.
The British historian Paul Preston – perhaps the best writer today on the Civil War – is caustic about Casado in The Last Days of the Spanish Republic.
“It is certainly the case”, writes Preston, “that (Casado’s) behaviour during the last months of the Civil War suggest a self-serving arrogance which fed the ambition to go down in history as the man who ended the war”. Certainly Casado had been negotiating secretly with contacts in the Francoist capital of Burgos for some time before staging his coup.
The effect of the revolt was dramatic, not least for those at El Poblet. Negrín and his cabinet had been meeting there to agree what he would say in a radio broadcast the next day, March 6. Negrín had planned to argue for continued resistance in the hope of exacting a promise of no reprisals from Franco. According to Preston, the El Poblet meeting had ended and the ministers had sat down to dinner, when Casado and the conspirators broadcast news of their coup from Madrid at midnight.
Angry telephone exchanges followed between Negrín and Casado. Accusation and counter-accusation flew, but within hours, it became clear that l arge parts of the Republican army and navy, wearied by an unwinnable war, were siding with the Casado coup plotters.
For the politicians at Yuste and Dakar, that meant getting out fast before they were arrested by Casado sympathisers and handed over to Franco. The Communists – Casado’s particular enemy – were in special danger. The next day, March 6, Negrín travelled the few kilometres from El Poblet to Posición Dakar to say goodbye in person to them.
La Pasionaria and the Party leadership then made the short drive from Petrer to the little airfield at El Fondó, near Monóvar. Some say she paused long enough to sit beneath a pine tree, sip a coffee and leaf through a book. A nice story, but unlikely. With the Nationalist air forces in control of the skies and the Casado forces not far away, the getaway was probably all a bit of a scramble.
Some say La Pasionaria had a cup of coffee and read a book beneath this pine tree before flying off into exile. In reality, she’s unlikely to have had time for such luxuries.
Once aboard their Dragon Rapide biplane, they took off for French-controlled Oran in Algeria, a relatively short hop across the Mediterranean.
Pasionaria was to spend almost 40 years in exile in the Soviet Union. She managed to outlive her old adversary Franco, and returned to Spain in 1977 at the age of 81, winning a seat in the Cortes in the first democratic elections to be held since the Civil War..
A de Havilland Dragon Rapide, similar to the plane that flew La Pasionaria and the other Communist leaders into exile from El Fondó airfield, March 2019. Picture: Iberia, Wikimedia via Creative Commons
A Douglas DC-2 aircraft, similar to the plane that flew Prime Minister Negrín and his cabinet into exile from El Fondó airfield. March 6, 1939. Picture: Iberia, Flickr via Creative Commons.
Back at El Fondó airfield, with Casado soldiers closing in, Negrín and his ministers took off around 3pm in two Douglas DC-2 aircraft of the Republican airline LAPE, and headed for Toulouse in France. Negrín never returned to Spain, dying in exile in France in 1956.
The site of El Fondó airfield, long since returned to vineyards. Prime Minister Juan Negrín flew out of here into exile in March, 1939.
According to one local story, the taxi driver who had driven the group to the airfield became unexpectedly rather prosperous afterwards the rumour was that a suitcase stuffed with gold had been left behind in the haste to get away.
The memorial stone at El Fondó. It reads “from this place on the 6th of March 1939, the Prime Minister of the Second Republic and other political and cultural leaders went into exile. A few days later, the Civil War ended.”
The airfield itself is long gone, returned to vineyards a few years after the war. The only evidence of that remarkable day in March 1939 is a small commemorative obelisk and some helpful information plaques detailing El Fondó’s bit part in Spanish history.
The flag of the Second Republic at El Fondó in March 2019 the airfield from which Prime Minister Juan Negrín left Spain, never to return.
A few metres away is an air raid shelter built for the troops who manned the aerodrome it’s still accessible and in surprisingly good condition. More visitor info (in Spanish) here.
The air raid shelter at El Fondó airfield it could house up to 200 people.
It’s still possible to scramble through the low entrance door and head underground.
With the Republican government gone, the end came quickly. Casado’s hope of a peace settlement without reprisals proved a pipe dream. Unsurprisingly, Franco insisted on unconditional surrender. Vicious reprisals followed.
Casado himself fled to the port of Gandia, up the coast from Alicante. On March 30, he boarded the British Royal Navy cruiser HMS Galatea, and went to France and then London. He stayed in London throughout the Second World War, even broadcasting for the BBC under the name “Coronel Juan de Padilla”, fuelling suspicions that the British government had played a sinister part in Casado’s coup.
Casado arriving in the UK with other members of the Consejo Nacional de Defensa: the group which launched the coup against Negrín. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
On April 1, Franco declared victory. El Poblet’s ten days at the centre of things were over, and it lapsed back into obscurity.
Decades later, there was to be one more brief flirtation with power in the late 1990s, there was plenty of press speculation that the Belgian government wanted to buy El Poblet as a refuge for the brutal ex-dictator of Zaire, President Mobutu. True or not, thankfully nothing came of it.
Despite its historic significance, El Poblet isn’t open to visitors and remains private property.
For years, campaigners have been trying to get the place declared a “Bien de Interés Cultural” (BIC) – an official cultural asset. A BIC declaration would give it some protection, and maybe some public access. Last year (2019), it looked as if they’d been successful, so let’s see what happens.
- For more on this period, Paul Preston’s “The Last Days of the Spanish Republic” is excellent. Spanish historian Juan Ramón Valero Escandell is a fount of knowledge on everything to do with Negrín, El Poblet and Elda-Petrer.
- Check out also the remarkable story of the Stanbrook how an elderly British cargo ship rescued thousands of refugees from the Alicante dockside. More here.
- Alicante suffered greatly from air raids during the war see this guide to the landmarks still visible 80 years later.
- See also this guide to more key locations of the Civil War in Alicante
Acknowledgements to the Comisión Civica para la Recuperación de la Memoria Historica (Commission for the Recovery of Historical Memory) in Alicante, which keeps alive the history of the Civil War and the repression that followed.