Plaque Unveiled To Juan Bautista Aznar – The Man Who Couldnt Save Alfonso XIII
The Madrid City Council have unveiled a plaque to commemorate Juan Bautista Aznar-Cabañas who was Spain´s last Prime Minister under the monarchy of Alfonso XIII.
The plaque was unveiled at his former home on Calle Serrano 28, where he died in 1933 – two years after the abdication of Alfonso.
Before entering politics he had been an admiral in the Spanish Navy.
Hi short lived tenure (18 February 1931 – 14 April 1931) as Prime Minister came at a time of considerable turmoil in Spain.
The dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera had fallen in 1930 and the king first appointed Dámaso Berenguer who reversed some of the dictatorship´s harsher measures earning his regime the nickname dictablanda (the toothless dictatorship) .
Coupled with the oncoming economic crisis caused by the Great Depression, Berenguer fell and the reigns of power were passed to Aznar.
However Aznar was powerless to address the many problems facing the country and his attempts at bringing absolutist & constitutional monarchists, radicals and republicans together ended in failure.
After the Republicans won the municipal elections in 1931, the constitutionalists recommended that the King vacate the country.
Alfonso XIII fled the country and the Second Spanish Republic was peacefully proclaimed on 14 April 1931.
Aznar-Cabañas’ casual comment: “Do you think it was a little thing what happened yesterday, that Spain went to bed as a monarchy and rose as a republic?” became instantly famous, going quickly around Madrid and around Spain, calming public opinion and making the people and the military accept the fact.
The celebrations did not last long, the same issues faced the new regime that finally collapsed in 1939 with their defeat at the hands of the Nationalist insurrectionists of 1936.
The Nationalist leader, General Franco, went on to rule Spain until his death in 1975.
King Alfonso died in exile in Rome in 1941.
The monarchy was restored following the restoration of democracy in 1978 with his grandson Juan Carlos.