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Brunete (Municipality, Community of Madrid, Spain)

Last modified: 2016-05-15 by ivan sache
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Flag of Brunete - Image by Ivan Sache, 1 July 2015

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Presentation of Brunete

The municipality of Brunete (10,188 inhabitants in 2014; 4,894 ha) is located in the south-west of the Community of Madrid, 30 km of Madrid.

Brunette is the namesake of a main event of the Civli War, the Battle of Brunete (detailed account), outlined by John Simkin (Spanish Civil War Encyclopedia) as follows:

On 6th July 1937, the Popular Front government launched a major offensive in an attempt to relieve the threat to Madrid. General Vicente Rojo sent the International Brigades to Brunete, challenging Nationalist control of the western approaches to the capital. The 80,000 Republican soldiers made good early progress but they were brought to a halt when General Francisco Franco brought up his reserves.
Fighting in hot summer weather, the Internationals suffered heavy losses. Three hundred were captured and they were later found dead with their legs cut off. In retaliation, Valentin González (El Campesino), executed an entire Moroccan battalion of some 400 men. All told, the Republic lost 25,000 men and the Nationalists 17,000. George Nathan, Oliver Law, Harry Dobson and Julian Bellwere were all killed at the Battle of Brunete.

Totally ruined, the church excepted, at the end of the war, Brunete was rebuilt in 1940 by the Directorate General of Devastated Regions. The new town was designed by the architects Luis Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez (1896-1975) and Luis Quijada Martínez (1908-1978), as published in 1940 in Reconstrucción. Inaugurated on 18 July 1946 by Francisco Franco, Brunete was a strong symbol of the new regime.

The Directorate General of Historical Heritage of the Community of Madrid initiated on 15 November 2013 the procedure of registration of the church and main square of Brunete as a Monument of Cultural Interest, as published on 8 January 2014 in the official gazette of the Community of Madrid, No. 6, pp. 78-85 (text).
Requested by the municipality of Brunete, ruled by the PP, the procedure stirred a local controversy. The PSOE opposition group presented the proposal as "a petty attempt to circumvent the Law on Historical Memory". Adopted on 26 December 2007 by the PSOE government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, this controversial law prescribes in Article 5 that the public administrations should remove the emblems, coats of arms, plaques and commemorative items of the Civil War and of the repression exerted by the Dictatorship.
The main square of Brunete is indeed decorated with several commemorative plaques and Francoist coats of arms, which have already attracted the concern of the PSOE municipal group, to no avail.
[El Pais, 25 January 2014]

División Acorazada (Armoured Division) “Brunete” no° 1 was established on 20 May 1943 by Special General Instruction No. 2 of the Central Headquarters of the Armed Forces, which set up the new organization of the Spanish armed forces. In February 1996, the unit was renamed to División Mecanizada “Brunete” nº1, its headquarters being transferred from Madrid to Burgos. This was the most important unit of the Spanish Army.
The unit was disbanded by Royal Decree No. 416, adopted on 11 April 2006 and published on 22 April 2006 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 96, pp. 15,579-15,587 (text). The unit was transformed into the Mando de las Fuerzas Pesadas (Command of the Armoured Forces).
[Spanish Army website]

Ivan Sache, 1 July 2015

Symbols of Brunete

The flag of Brunete (photo, photos) is white with blue triangles forming the upper left and lower right angles and red triangles forming the two other angles, and the municipal coat of arms in the center. The flag does not appear to have been officially approved.

The coat of arms of Brunete does not appear to have been officially approved, either. It is described in Article 4 of the Special Regulation of Honours and Distinctions (text), as featured on the obverse of the medal granted to the Municipal Councillors, as follows:

Coat of arms: Divided into two parts; on the right, four lions on each side of a lozenge charged with a castle, on the right, 13 pieces of bread, as a symbol of an agricultural village and the faithful representation of the town.

Ivan Sache, 1 July 2015