Dorothy Parker, broadcast on Madrid Radio (October 1937)
In spite of all the evacuation, there are still nearly a million people here in Madrid. Some of them – you may be like that yourself – won’t leave their homes and their possessions, all the things they have gathered together through the years. They are not at all dramatic about it. It is simply that anything else than the life they have made for themselves is inconceivable to them. Yesterday I saw a woman who lives in the poorest quarter of Madrid. It has been bombarded twice by the fascists; her house is one of the few left standing. She has seven children. It has been suggested to her that she and the children leave Madrid for a safer place. She dismisses such ideas easily and firmly. Every six weeks, she says, her husband has 48 hours leave from the front. Naturally he wants to come home to see her and the children. She, and each one of the seven, are calm and strong and smiling. It is a typical Madrid family.
Nationalist forces occupy Covadonga in the Picos de Europa.
The new communist-influenced governing board of the UGT expels former prime minister Francisco Largo Caballero, who has been traveling around the Republic holding lectures against communist synchronizing and Stalinism. The Spanish parliament also expels the Caballeristas, parliamentarians close to Caballero.
US president Roosevelt condemns the ‘Nazi-Fascist aggressors’ in Spain.
Navarrran troops take Cangas de Onis in Asturias.
The International Brigades and Republican army launch new attacks in the Southern Ebro.
The Madrid council of socialist parties and unions, unhappy with the influence of the Communist Party on the Spanish government, confronts the Spanish parliament over the expulsion of “Caballeristas”.
The Consejo Soberano decides to evacuate Asturias. The Nationalists are gaining absolute control of Asturias and closing in on Gijón. Asturian officials, their families and members of the Republican army have to be evacuated quickly. Many Asturian fighters organize a guerilla campaign from the high and inaccessible mountains. With memories of the 1934 workers’ revolt and the its bloody suppression still fresh, Asturian villages empty in terror at the approach of the Nationalists. The Asturian miners practice a scorched earth policy, and from the ruins of their houses often fight to the death with dynamite charges.
Largo Caballero is arrested while giving a speech at the Madrid cinema ‘Pardinas’, in which he criticized the PCE. (speech here). The speech was also broadcast to five more cinemas in Madrid.
He is placed under house arrest.
Nationalists enter Gijón and plunder the city for days. Death sentences throughout Asturians become so frequent that the Nationalists themselves call their jurisdiction “the machine gun”. Rapes and murders are tolerated by the Nationalists leadership for several days. There is no reliable count of the thousands of civilians murdered during these days, though 2000 have been found in Gijón in common graves in recent years.
The Republican government abandons Valencia for Barcelona.