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May Days
May Days
Conflict: Spanish Civil War
Date: 3-8 May 1937
Place: Barcelona and Catalonia, Spain
Outcome: Government victory
Combatants

Flag of Spain 4 Spanish Republic
Flag of Catalonia Catalonia
PCE Communist Party of Spain
Supported by:
USSR Soviet Union

CNT-FAI CNT/FAI
POUM POUM

Commanders

Variable

Variable

Strength

Variable

Variable

Casualties

Both sides:
500-1,000 dead
1,500 wounded

Both sides:
500-1,000 dead
1,500 wounded

The May Days of 1937 was a series of clashes between Spanish republican factions that occurred from 3 to 8 May 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.

The city of Barcelona had been controlled by anarchist workers' militias since July 1936, when the fascist military rebellion in the city had been put down. Within the first two weeks of the civil war, libertarian communist militias had conquered half of Aragon, working with the Aragonese peasantry. The central government in Madrid was powerless to control the anarchist militias, who allied with the Trotskyist POUM party. The Communist Party of Spain met with Comintern officials and Soviet agents in Valencia and decided to liquidate the POUM, accusing its leaders of being Nazi agents and members of a conspiracy led by Leon Trotsky and the fascists. During the spring of 1937, Soviet agents and the civil guards arbitrarily arrested and executed confederals, and the government banned police officers from having political affiliations and asked for all political militias to disarm themselves. However, the anarchists withdrew from the government in response, leading to open rebellion.

On 3 May 1937, 200 police officers stormed the Telefonica central building, which was run by an anarcho-syndicalist committee due to its nationalization. In the administrative center, the PSUC communists and the anarchist militiamen formed barricades, and battles began in different parts of the city as the communists and anarchists set up their own barricades on the streets. Brutal fighting occurred over the next few days, and the Assault Guards were sent into the city by the central government to restore order. The CNT called for a return to work and to normality on 8 May 1937, and the Assault Guards murdered several members of the CNT, FAI, Libertarian Youth, and POUM in the city. By 8 May, between 500 and 1,000 people were killed and 1,000 injured, and the alliance between anarchists and communists had eroded. Soon, the communists became the dominant faction within the Frente Popular government with help from Joseph Stalin's Soviet government, and the anarchists lost their power in both the alliance and in the government.

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