The Siege of Madrid Adds Another Phrase to the Lexicon

Sunday 8th November 1936

The four conventional columns of the Spanish Nationalist army launched what was supposed to be the final stage of their offensive on Madrid. The attack was on a narrow front through the open park of the Casa de Campo. The Republicans had got wind of the plan and concentrated troops to defeat it. The situation was so precarious, though, that the government fled the city to Valencia. General Miaja nearly wept with rage, when he was put in command of defenders, seemingly a doomed and sacrificial mission.

The Republican defenders were exhorted to greater efforts by a simple slogan, originally coined by the Republican and Communist propagandist Dolores Ibárrui Gómez “La Pasionara, "¡No passarán!" , they will not pass, another phrase that has gone into posterity. The siege lasted two and a half years, almost the remainder of the war.