Sunday, 23 April 2017

Civil War Sherry Labelling and Advertising

Throughout the years various themes have appeared in Sherry labelling, be they flamenco, bullfighting, sport, religion etc., but the Civil War revived another theme: politics. While doubtless some bodegas supported the rebels, many naturally felt it was safer to at least appear to support them, and fascist wording and imagery was used on many labels to this end. Commonly seen was the yoke and arrows symbol, adopted by the blue shirted members of the Falange from the shield of the Catholic Monarchs. Here is a very brief outline of the Civil War and its beginnings.

Once a great colonial power, at the start of the XX century Spain retained only the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, or Spanish Morocco. King Alfonso XIII began his reign in 1902 after the 16 year regency of his mother Queen María Cristina of Habsburg – Lorraine. The country was facing many internal problems such as calls for democracy, the growing workers’ movements and Basque and Catalan nationalism, and the coalition government seemed unable to cope.

Azaña was the republican prime minister

A military coup led by general Miguel Primo de Rivera (1870-1930), born in Jerez, and of whom there is an equestrian statue in the Plaza Arenal, took place with the King’s backing in 1923. At first things went well until the King tried to restore constitutional order in 1930 and Primo de Rivera stepped down, partly because he was ill - he died shortly afterwards.

Without the strong military hand, republicans, liberals, socialists, communists, anarchists and nationalists united against the King. After a landslide victory for the left in elections held in 1931, the Second Republic was proclaimed and the King went into exile. Interestingly, González Byass were asked by the new Republican government to remove the word “rey” (king) from their Oloroso, which is now known simply as “Alfonso”.

Gonzalez Byass Sherry named in honour of Franco's relief of the siege of the Alcazar of Toledo.
The new government immediately set out on a path of social and land reform, public education was secularised and minority rights recognised. This upset the Church and the conservatives and tension increased with the election in 1936 of the Popular Front. The army began to conspire, with the support of the Church and the fascist Falange party – founded by Primo de Rivera’s son José Antonio - to overthrow the republic. 

The 18th July 1936 was the day the war began
In July of that year most units throughout Spain rose up in a rebellion, led by General Mola. The Civil War had begun and would last till February 1939. The Republicans had changed the Spanish flag to red, yellow and purple stripes and this was changed back again to the original red, yellow and red. General Francisco Franco assumed leadership of the army after Mola’s death and became Spain’s dictator till his own death in 1975.

In Jerez the cavalry commander Salvador Arizón had worked hard to ensure rebel control of the city and this was quickly achieved. There was the occasional confrontation but the republican government had not supplied arms to the people of Jerez for their defence and the mayor wanted to avoid bloodshed. The city council was taken over and replaced and the radio station commandeered while both civilian and military patrols kept an eye on the streets and censorship was introduced. Parties and institutions loyal to the Republic were dissolved, their leaders jailed and many shot causing a frightening atmosphere in the city. Then began the systematic and bloody repression and over 400 people were executed during and after the war. At least there were no battles here and life could continue with some sort of normality.... for the next 40 years.

Domecq Oloroso La Raza dedicated to Franco

After Franco' death King Juan Carlos I and his very able prime minister Adolfo Suarez quickly restored constitutional monarchy and introduced the autonomous communities, of which Andalucia is one. All the wartime labelling and advertising rapidly disappeared into people's label collections, and any Francoist statues, street names etc. were gradually removed after the passing of the Historical Memory law.

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