*2. [For 2 (i), refer to specific contexts in which 'unity' was apparent, underlining its extent, limitations and impact. For 2 (ii), ensure you place the Socialist Party within the wider political arena and note the unforeseen development of September 1936, which was to find Largo Caballero -who seven months before had demanded such a 'dictatorship of the proletariat' - leading a 'united front' government against Franco's Nationalist rebels.]
2 (i). At the youth-movement level, the Socialist (PSOE) and Communist (PCE) parties did 'unite', as the JSU (United Socialist Youth), in April 1936. But this did not make for a complete meeting of minds. Indeed, pro-Prieto members of this new organization felt alienated: the Communist element had ousted the Socialist Party youth leaders in Madrid, and pro-Prieto meetings were disrupted by militant JSU hostile to the moderate Socialist leader. (Prieto sought cooperation with the Republican government.) At the trade union level, Socialists and Communists did 'unite'; so did the Socialist and Communist parties in Catalonia (late July 1936). This new United Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSUC) affiliated to the Communist Third International (Comintern). Nevertheless, elsewhere in Spain - notably in the north - the moderate Prieto wing of the Socialist Party remained strong, holding a majority on the party's national committee. 'Prietistas' rejected unification with the Communist Party, the cause embraced by Largo Caballero and his more radical Socialist supporters. Furthermore, Prieto attacked 'revolutionary euphoria' (Carr) as a red rag to fascism. Even so, the flawed but obsessive image of a 'communist threat' became more deeply embedded in the minds of the Republic's Nationalist enemies. 2 (ii). To achieve this, the Socialist Party (PSOE) would have needed to be in an effective position of power, which, for the time being, eluded it.
It was in fact another Left Republican, Casares Quiroga, who succeeded Azana as Prime Minister in May 1936. It is true that the now President Azana had considered appointing Prieto to take his place as Prime Minister, but this had been blocked by Largo Caballero's militant faction of the PSOE. Despite this, Prieto was keen to build bridges to Casares Quiroga's government. Prieto's position was strengthened in June 1936 when more of his supporters were elected to the PSOE's national committee. These developments suggest that the PSOE did not fully accept the Marxist-Leninist 'dictatorship of the proletariat' which Largo Caballero was advocating at that time. In the wider political environment, other working-class movements had their own power bases and priorities, notably the CNT (anarchist) and POUM (Marxist, strong in Catalonia), while the Stalinist PCE (Communist Party) claimed 100,000 members by July 1936. In addition, the Republican government had itself been true to the spirit of reform. Ironically, in September 1936, the erstwhile 'Bolshevik' Largo Caballero became Prime Minister, his cabinet containing two Communists - and, from November, Prieto and four anarchists. In an anti-fascist war to defend democracy, the immediate 'dictatorship of the proletariat' was, from the government's perspective, irrelevant.
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