In 1937, the city of Burgos experienced a growth that will last for the rest of the war period. As the number of births declined and the number of deaths increased, this growth was due to immigration, which was of three types:
1º Exodus country-city, previously initiated, but increased during the period.
2º Refugees from the Republican side. According to press reports from those years, the National Refuge received more than 880 refugees in Burgos between 1936 and 1939.
3º Due to the the location, in Burgos, of the Junta de Defensa Nacional (National Defence Board), then the Junta Técnica (Technical Board) and later various Ministries, a large number of people from other cities, arrived to take charge of command posts.
The war provoked very different reactions in Burgos. Sometimes, the capital lived days of enthusiasm and euphoria, manifestations of joy to commemorate official festivities or events such as the capture of Malaga (8 January), Bilbao (19 June), Santander (26 August) or the end of the War in the North, with the conquest of Asturias on 21 October.
But also, the city suffered from tragic moments such as the death of General Mola in an airplane crash on June 3, 1937 or the bombing of the city on July 2, 1937, which affected the district of San Julián.
On the economic side, this aforementioned immigration brought the overflowing of hotels and guesthouses as well as restaurants, with the consequent increase in rents and prices of goods.
The economy is oriented towards the battlefields, so that the soldiers at the front are the highest priority. The rest of the population, in exchange for the comfort of living in the rear, have to face severe restrictions, such as the “Fasting days” and the “campaigns to collect warm clothing for combatants”.
The state of business was affected by the lack of raw materials and the requisitions imposed by the Administration due to the war. In spite of this, the industries continued their activity, especially those related to agriculture and livestock, the ones that produced flour, tanning and gloves factories, which were necessary elements to feed and protect the soldiers in the cold front.
However, there were also positive aspects, such as the reduction in unemployment, since the war economy kept the population occupied in La Rebolleda and Carderas, in the San Ildefonso barracks, in the facilities of the Cycling Club, in the stores of the Gamonal City Hall, in the Sedas factory and in the San Juan prison.
Moreover, the City Council approved, in 1938, a budget of 3,562,747.16 pesetas for the construction of a monument to the fallen, the channelling of the rivers Pico and Vena, the annexation of Gamonal, the redevelopment of the streets Madrid, Miranda and Plaza Vega, as well as the location of a new bus station, the installation of a meat products factory and the construction of a new Guardia Civil barracks.
Media & Communications
The local press used to publish big headlines about the advances of the national army and was filled with obituaries of the fallen Burgos people, whose sacrifice demanded public recognition. In small print, however, almost in the last few pages of each issue, there were reports of death sentences and executions as a result of the summary trials.
In July 1936, “Radio Castill”‘ was seized by the authorities and replaced by “Radio Nacional”, which was directed byAntonio Tovar. The radio became an important instrument of political propaganda.
Despite the war, life goes on and so does culture. The movies screened in Burgos were initially Italian and German (“El Escuadrón Blanco”, “Escipión el Africano”), complemented with some Spanish ones (“Morena Clara”, “La hermana de San Sulpicio”) or new films (“Suspiros de España”), and political documentaries.
The Civil Government was another fundamental pillar in the political control. From 1936 to 1940, José Álvarez Imaz served as civil governor. His field of action was varied: He collected the funds of warm clothing for combatants, promoted the days of the “single dish”, controlled postal censorship and also, he had the punitive power.
In addition, the courts, such as the National Court of Political Responsibilities, the Higher Administrative Court of Political Responsibilities and the Regional Courts of Political Responsibilities, would carry out tasks, such as the establishment of an inventory of entities, groups and parties declared to be outside the law; as well as the issuance and processing of files, the delivery and the enforcement of judgements.