By James W. Cortada

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Additional resources for A City in war: American views on Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39

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Foreign companies were also seized; workers took over the Ford Iberia Motor Company, Hispano-Suiza, and Ashland Cement. In the Ford plant, a committee of workers soon operated the facilities for their approximately five hundred colleagues. Disruption of the normal management of small and large commercial enterprises inevitably affected adversely Barcelona's economy; business activity dropped due to the lack of raw materials and reduced availability of experienced management. 11 During the fall and winter, Barcelona continued to be the scene of violence as various political factions struggled for control of local affairs.

He reported that the plaza with its tall buildings dominated old Barcelona and stood on the edge of the newer part of the city; therefore, whoever monopolized the square controlled the entire community. He witnessed the fighting there when workers charged army eraplacements and saw proof of the plaza's military value. He remembered that for days afterwards sporadic shots could be heard all through the city as various small factions clashed for control of street corners and tall buildings. 5 Cedric Salter's memoirs also contain a great deal of material on these critical days and what it was like in the streets.

Surrounded by four Catalan-dominated provinces (Lérida, Gerona, Tarragona, Barcelona), the city had a cultural and political base that enhanced its already important economic position within Spain. This circumstance added to its differentiation from the Castilian, Andalusian, and Basque urban centers, which did not prosper economically and which had cultural and linguistic traditions unique unto themselves. 8 During the days of the Second Republic (193136), leaders of the Catalan political community argued the case for an autonomous government within Spain.

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