What elements of modern European life there are to-day  in Spain mostly date from the time of Primo; the republicans are loath to acknowledge it. But wherever there is a splendid road (and there are many), a modern inn in a small town, a new breakwater at some important port, a modern barrack or a modern prison, in nine out of ten cases it will have been constructed under Primo's administration. The dictatorship was able to secure the foreign loans needed for this work of construction. And at first it had the enthusiastic support of the industrial bourgeoisie . . . Neither was the dictator unaware of the need for giving the urban proletariat something more than prisons and cartridges in order to make it cooperate. For the first time in Spanish history a constructive effort was made to solve the 'social problem'. Compulsory collective bargaining was introduced, in order to secure acceptable wages for workers . . . Altogether it was the greatest attempt ever made to transform Spain into a modern country . . . But . . . from the first to the last moment [Primo] was in power, he was passively tolerated . . . Moreover, Primo's regime was not only up against the profound Spanish apathy that confronts constructive effort; it contained within itself elements absolutely incompatible with the winning of mass support. A progressive dictatorship such as his must rely, in the first place, on the bourgeoisie and the progressive intelligentsia. But Primo had to foregather with their two natural enemies, the army and the Church.
Was this article helpful?