Repository: Museo de Abánades, Abánades, Spain
Repository: Ismael Gallego Puchol and Alfredo González-Ruibal Research Project
Date Created: 1938
Extent: 1 item
Geographic Region: Algemesí, Spain
The great battles of the Spanish Civil War meant a great loss of men, particularly for the Republican side, which lost more soldiers than the rebels as well as population from which to recruit new ones. For this reason, as the war progressed, conscripts got both younger and older. This Popular Army recruitment card is dated September 16, 1938. Four days before, on September 12, the 1923 and 1924 reserves were called up. Those of 1919, 1920 and 1921 were also called up for fortification works. The morale and fighting drive of these recruits, all of whom were at least 35 and most of whom had dependents, were scarce and they were reluctant to die on the frontline. The desperate situation of the Republic can also be observed in the obligation to come equipped with “dish, spoon, blanket and shoes”, which means that authorities could not guarantee this basic kit to the new recruits. The requirement that the men had to wear shoes is particularly striking. This might have been a way of avoiding recruits coming with sandals or espadrilles (the common footwear for many workers and farmers), perhaps with the hope of receiving better shoes in the barracks.
The document was issued by the municipal council of Algemesí, a small town 30 km south of Valencia, the Republican capital between November 1936 and October 1937. Municipal councils were the way in which the government of Largo Caballero reconstructed local power starting at the beginning of 1937. Through the councils, the government intended to end the power of revolutionary committees and claim back jurisdiction for the official institutions, while at the same time distributing positions among the different organizations that backed the Republic.