I was recently reading Hugh Thomas' Spanish Civil War
, and I came upon an interesting passage:
"Gil Robles was outraged at Alcala Zamora's action. So was his under-secretary at the ministry of war, General Fanjul, who told him 'If you give me the order, I will this very night move into the streets of Madrid with the garrison of the capital. General Valera thinks as I do.' Gil Robles's reply was not as explicit as it might have been: 'If the army, grouped around its natural commands, believes that it must temporarily take over power with the object of saving the spirit of the constitution, I will not constitute the least obstacle.' He told Fanjul to consult with the other generals. General Franco, chief of staff, gave his opinion that the army could not be counted upon to carry out a coup d'etat. So none was embarked upon, despite support for the idea among some officers, falangists and monarchists."
What if Franco decided that the best option to stabilize the republic and prevent it from descending into anarchy was to support Fanjul and Robles' proposed coup? Would it have been successful, or would Spain have descended into Civil War two years early? If it had been successful, would Robles have become a dictator like Salazar in Portugal or Dolfuss in Austria? Would his dictatorship have been any less harsh than the brutal Falangist dictatorship that came to power in Spain? (This desire of mine comes after reading a pdf on atrocities committed by the Nationalists not only during the Civil War, but in its aftermath
) Would Robles' have banned the Falange similar to how Dolfuss and Salazar banned the Nazi and Fascist parties in their countries? (Hopefully our resident expert on Republican Spain and the SCW, Dr. Strangelove, will show up.