Manuel Azana

Manuel Azaña , was a Spanish minister and president of the Second Republic whose attempts to form a moderately liberal government were stopped by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Despite this situation, he managed to unite the republican parties , thus creating the republican left , a movement that led him to be president.

Personal information

  • When was he born:  01/10/1880
  • Where he was born:  Alcalá de Henares, Spain
  • When he died: 11/03/1940
  • Where he died:  Montauban, France

Who was Manuel Azaña?

Manuel Azaña was an important and recognized writer and politician of Spanish origin with a republican vocation who was part of the first Revolutionary Committee that managed to establish the Republic, occupying the war portfolio and the presidency later.

  • Biography of Manuel Azaña
  • What did Manuel Azaña do
  • Characteristics of the government of Manuel Azaña
  • Ideology
  • Speech
  • Plays
  • Quotes by Manuel Azaña
  • Importance

Biography of Manuel Azaña

Manuel Azaña was born on January 10, 1880 in Alcalá de Henares. He attended the Colegio de María Cristina in El Escorial and later entered the University of Madrid to study Law . His life in Paris introduced him to Europeanism which was the subject of the literary and cultural movement called the Generation of 1898 in Spain . He maintained an anticlerical vision and a taste for radical politics .

During the 1920s, Azaña was secretary general of the Ateneo de Madrid , and worked as a writer , translator, and journalist . Perhaps his best work is the biography of the 19th century writer Juan Valera, an outspoken social critic. In 1930 Azaña became president of the Athenaeum.

By then, he had already begun to move into politics by organizing a small party called Republican Action . With the advent of the republic in April 1931, Azaña was appointed minister of war in the provisional government and reorganized the army. He collaborated in the republican constitution , and in October 1931, after the resignation of Niceto Alcalá Zamora, he became prime minister until 1933.

As a result of the economic crisis of the early 1930s, the right-wing triumphed in the 1933 elections and Alejandro Lerrox succeeded Azaña. The right-wing government watched Azaña, and in October 1934, the unrest in Asturias threatened to plunge the country into civil war, for which he was imprisoned for a few months. In 1935 he became the spokesperson for a renewed left-wing coalition that in January and February 1936 won a controversial election under the banner of the Popular Front .

Azaña returned to the post of Prime Minister until May 10, when he replaced Alcalá Zamora once more, this time as President of the Republic . When civil war broke out in July, Azaña’s influence waned after he appointed the moderate Diego Martínez Barrio as prime minister. Azaña left Madrid in the autumn of 1936, never to return again, and spent much of the period of the civil war practically isolated in Catalonia . After the fall of Barcelona, ​​Azaña went into exile in France . He died in Montauban on November 3, 1940 .

What did Manuel Azaña do

He helped resolve difficult constitutional issues that threatened to divide the active coalition in Republican politics. He did everything possible to achieve land reform equitably, improve education and modernize the society Spanish. He managed to pass the Law for the Defense of the Republic to punish political dissidents . He sought the benefit of Spanish society, always defended the Republic and its values .

Characteristics of the government of Manuel Azaña

Program implemented reforms of the Popular Front releasing prisoners October 1934 by an amnesty . He opened the Catalan Parliament making Catalan autonomy work . He ordered to give the yunteros the use and enjoyment of the lands they had used and authorized the Agrarian Reform Institute to occupy any property provisionally that was of social use.

The labor relations were affected and many small employers closed their businesses. The extreme right started the street violence creating great agrarian conflicts so much there were clashes with deaths between the Civil Guard and the peasants causing the violence to increase.

Congress approved a program for the organization of the society , with a thirty-six-hour work week and the expropriation without compensation of farms that measured more than fifty hectares.


His ideology was based on making Spain a subordinate homeland before the courts where the army could identify with the people, which was apolitical , without social classes and secular . He was in favor of the autonomies and the agrarian reform , as he saw it as a way to generate equality .


Manuel Azaña’s speech was based on peace , mercy and forgiveness . This speech was made on July 18, 1938 at the Barcelona City Council , after the Spanish Civil War had started . It was a message of reconciliation that sought international mediation to stop the war. His speech was attended by diplomatic representatives, the government and many deputies.

In it, he also spoke of the absurdity of war as a solution to the problem that existed in Spain, separatism and national identity . It lasted 74 minutes and reflected on the difficult situation that his country was going through.


Among his main works are:

  • The freedom of association.
  • The Spanish problem.
  • Contemporary French Political Studies.
  • Life of Juan Valera.
  • Three generations of the Athenaeum.
  • Pens and words.
  • Greatness and misery of politics.
  • Defense of the Autonomy of Catalonia.

Quotes by Manuel Azaña

  • I do not care that a politician does not know how to speak, what worries me is that he does not know what he is talking about.
  • If we Spaniards spoke only and exclusively about what we know, there would be a great silence that would allow us to think .
  • The freedom does neither more nor less happy men; it makes them simply men.
  • I don’t want to be president of a Republic of murderers .
  • In Spain the best way to keep a secret is to write a book .
  • Malhaya who is born anvil instead of being born hammer .


Manuel Azaña was one of the most important politicians and speakers in 20th century Spanish politics who managed to make important changes and create important reforms in the republican program , the Army Reform, the Agrarian Reform, the Teaching Reform , suppressing religiosity and potentiated the republic by creating a statute of autonomy Catalonia.

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