Vista aérea del edificio de Telefónica

The CTNE took on an unexpectedly important role in the development of the Civil War from its headquarters in Barcelona. Communications were key.

Assault on Barcelona's exchange: the May Events


The Barcelona telephone exchange take on unexpected prominence in 1937. The Assault Guards take over the building to control CNT calls and, ultimately, communications in Catalonia. This seizure of control was the fuse that sets off the so-called May Events, the bloody clashes between anarchists and politicians that took place between 3 and 8 May in several towns in Catalonia.

Destrozos interior teléfonos

The race is on, the CTNE resists


The war continues and escalates in all cities. Our Gran Vía building continues to play a key role, both as a telephone exchange and in its unexpected role as a Foreign Press and Propaganda Office. From the offices, such illustrious names as Antoine d Saint-Exupèry and Josephine Herbst, as well as Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, cover the war. Historical chronicles that travelled directly to their editorial offices thanks to the international circuits whose functioning was preserved at all times. Before that, the essential censorship, which the writer Arturo Barea, as head of the Ministry of State, passed. And all this despite the fact that the building itself became a target for shells and grenades. Its height and location made it an easy target to hit, but not to destroy. Floors 8 to 13 remained empty throughout the war, and the rest of the building withstood hundreds of attacks - more than 120 grenades and several shells fired from the Casa de Campo hit its façade - thanks to the technique by which it was built, without load-bearing walls and with an internal structure of wrought iron.

Edificio Gran Vía 28

CTNE splits


Two different directorates are established in the company, which will coexist in parallel for the next two years. One, in the Republican zone, with American managers from ITT at the helm. The other, in the national zone, where the managers were only Spanish.

Tendido linea en el campo de operaciones, por los soldados ingenieros