On the 17th of July 1936 …

The Caudillo

For centuries in Spain a grand coalition

Of monarchists and zealous catholic bishops

Had ruthlessly ruled the Iberian nation

Leaving the poor to starve or feed themselves on slops.

With the possible exception of czarist Russia

Spain’s the poorest nation in the whole of Europe

Kings and priests getting wealthier and wealthier

While poor peasants led a life where lost was all hope.

Protests were met with torture, trade unions were banned

The valiant army with ferocious generals

To go into battle were always at hand

The enemy being their own nationals.

They’d fight to the death to maintain the status quo

Keep the poor poor and the rich shall get richer

The unholy compact of the holy duo

Was thus cemented deeper and closer.

Grasping owners of massive latifundia

Were becoming greedier and greedier.

The priests got it wrong teaching the people

To read, forbidding all else but the bible

For this easily developed into a weapon

In the hands of the peasants for their advancement

They were never happy to be preyed upon

And were determined to end their predicament.

It was inevitable that that some day the pot

Would boil over and conflagration would erupt

And the rulers would find themselves in a tight spot

They knew for too long with the devil they had supped.

The Frente finally got a majority

In parliament, and they damn well meant business

For the workers the end of scarcity

But the generals promised to deal with this mess.

Francisco Franco Bahamonde is the man

He was known a saviour, a man with the iron hand

When the miners of the Asturias went on strike

He was the man to confront them and their guns to spike.

After fourteen hundred miners were gunned down

Franco had the battle ‘gainst the people won.

The famously neutral Brits sent an airplane

With Bond and Boy Robin aka Bebb and Pollard

To the Canaries to take Franco to Tetuan

In Spanish Morocco where he, no sluggard

Organised the Spanish African regiment

To be hastily despatched to Madrid

To confront the elected government-

A coup cowardly treacherous, and sordid.

Which saw the new-born Spanish democracy

Go down shamelessly into the Iberian sea.

Cyril Bebb and Major Pollard got their just reward

The White Cross and Order of Civil Merit

For having bravely done more than their bit

Towards the rebirth in Spain of fascism

And the strangling at its birth of socialism

From the blessed Caudillo’s own iron hand

And the ever so neutral and fair-minded Brits

Like a fairy wielding her magic wan

With in mind some political benefits

Made appear for Franco the Dragon Rapide

Which conveyed him from Tetuan to Madrid

And it is now displayed in the Museo del Aire

Which can be seen by all on a cheap away day.

When the Franco faction began its mutiny

Most of the top brass in the the legal army

Deserted in droves to the Nacionalistas

Impatient to join Franco and kiss his ass

They took with them their guns and artillery

And received secret shipments of weaponry

From Italy, Portugal and Germany

To say nothing of neutral countries

Those who stayed loyal were novices and trainees

Whose aims produced few hits and many more misses

The Soviets sent arms, old and obsolete

The Mexicans miles away sent promises

The International brigade did little but bleat

Neutral governments sent nothing_ they were neutral

So the war was between hardened veterans

With arms, money and all the wherewithal

Whilst the other side the Republicans

Had only heroism and sing alongs.

But they were ready to fight hammer and tongs.

Some commanders plan for minimum bloodshed

Others want the enemy eradicated

Franco planned to decimate the opposition

So it would never be in a position

To regroup later and instigate a coup

His Nazi friends were busy preparing

For the war they were about to launch

And were keen to carry out some testing

To see how staunch and deadly was their punch.

Use Spain as your testing ground Franco offered

And the Germans readily concurred

And were joined by the Italian air force

Ready to carry out their inglorious worse

The Condor Legion and the Regia Aeronautica

Piccasso’s Guernica

On the last Monday in April, a market day

Set out on the mission to destroy Guernica

The death toll was barely one hundred some say

At the other end others say five thousand

Pablo Picasso captured the carnage

The scattered limbs, the bull the wounded horse

The dying bird losing its plumage

A wailing mother and baby who’s dead of course

That day of infamy will be replicated

Many times in the world war being incubated.

Half a million civilians and soldiers dead

But Franco wanted to feather his bed

With more corpses _ he wasn’t going to rest

Until he had uprooted the vipers’ nest.

Those who had survived the war faced the firing squad

Many sought safety from Franco’s jihad

By crossing the Pyrenees to neutral France

Where they lived until the coming Nazi advance

When the Maréchal at Hitler’s behest

Who knew that obeying orders was for the best

Ferried them to Nazi extermination camps

Via Drancy for the extinction of their lamps.

Some stayed hidden thirty years in captivity

On Franco’s list after the end of hostility

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San Cassimally

Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.