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The Spanish Civil War


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Causes and Course of the Spanish Civil War

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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The Spanish Civil War

  1. 1. The Spanish Civil War Mr. Rakochy
  2. 2. This is the place we are talking about.
  3. 3. What was the Spanish Civil War? • Civil conflict resulting from uprising of military against Republican government of Spain. – An example of a Civil War for Paper 2 Topic 1 and part of the HL syllabus for Paper 3 Topic 8.
  4. 4. Long Term Causes of Spanish Civil War • A history of violence – 1803-1936 a total of 19 military coups in Spain – Carlist Wars (3 Civil Wars between 1833-1876) • Carlists were conservatives looking to put a Bourbon king of male lineage on the throne – Isabella II (on thrown from 1833-1868) a female bourbon monarch (she and her heir’s considered illegal by Carlists) • Catholic traditions vs. liberalism (similar to divisions in Italy between Church and Enlightenment ideal of critical thinking)
  5. 5. Long Term Causes • Economic Issues – Agrarian economy • Poor and backward compared to rest of W. Europe • Southern Spain – vast estates worked by landless peasants • Northern Spain – indebted peasants worked to stay afloat
  6. 6. Economic Issues #2 • Industrial economy very limited and regional. Limited to textiles (Catalonia), coal (Asturias), iron, steel and shipbuilding (Basque)
  7. 7. Separatism • Industrial areas generally wanted self-rule • Basque (non-romance language), Catalan (from Catalonia), Galician and Asturian languages and culture different than the rest of Spain
  8. 8. Regional Languages of Spain
  9. 9. The Spanish Republic • 1st Spanish Republic 1873-1874 after abdication of monarch – Relatively unstable period of time • 1874-1875 military dictatorship/restoration of king • 1876-1923 system of turnos developed Political System – constitutional monarchy controlled largely by Cortes (parliament) • Corrupt system with only two parties having any power from 1876-1923 (liberals and conservatives took turns) • Independence movements in Basque and Catalonian regions
  10. 10. More Background • 1898 Spanish-American War weakens Spanish Empire further as USA takes key strategic colonies of Cuba and Philippines (and P.R.) • 1898-1923 instability – Strikes, separatist movements, constitutional crisis – 1918-1921 terrorism in Barcelona by anarchists – General discontent
  11. 11. General Primo’s Dictatorship • 1923-1930 military dictatorship of General Primo Rivera (coup) – Suppressed discontent in separatist regions, censorship, martial law – Public work schemes, irrigation – Lost favor with army and King Alfonso XIII - fled in 1930
  12. 12. 1931-1933 The Left Republic • Second Republic – held by Socialists and Republican coalition • Manuel Azaña President – Better working condition for working class – Weakening of Catholic Church – Land Reforms (created issues with productivity) – New constitution – Cortes, Church and State, Civil laws (e.g. divorce made easier)
  13. 13. The Right Republic 1933-1936 • Suppression of worker’s rights, anarchist and socialist groups • Black Years – undoing “accomplishments” of Left Republic • Suppression of movements, strikes, murder of strikers in Asturias coal region • Lost to left led Azaña Popular Front in 1936 (a new Left Republic)
  14. 14. Who were the insurgents and who supported them? • The Nationalists or Francoists were supported by conservative elements within Spain and by Fascists outside of Spain (Italy/Germany) – Unión Militar Española (Formed in 1934): conservative political organization of officers in armed forces, including outspoken critics of Republic i.e.Francisco Franco. – Monarchists: seeking restoration of King Alfonso XIII – Carlists: seeking a Bourbon king to rule Spain – Catholic Church – Fascist groups and other right wing interests (see handout for more detail – but don’t try to memorize all of it!)
  15. 15. Who were the Republicans? • Popular Front – Democratically elected government of Spain (1936 Manuel Azaña President) – Supported by Anarachists, Leftists, Anti-Fascist, USSR (see future slide), International Brigades
  16. 16. The Civil War • Military uprising started July 17, 1936 in Morocco and moved onto mainland • Rebels took parts of Andalusia and most of North – failed to take Madrid • Military evenly split • Catalans and Basques supported Republican government (which had granted them autonomy)
  17. 17. Republican Advantages • Controlled major cities • Held gold reserves • Air Force and Navy remained loyal
  18. 18. Republican Disadvantages • Political Disunity – i.e. POUM and Anarchists fighting with Stalinists – Incompatible ideologies – 1937 Non-Intervention Committee created by League of Nations • Military Problems – Lack of central control of regular military – Improvised militias with little training took massive casualties (some left-led training starting in Autumn of 1936) • Economic Problems – Workers committees and collectives slowed productivity and funneled away needed currency
  19. 19. Nationalist Strengths • Political unity – Merger in 1937 of Falange and Carlists to FET (Falange Espanola Tradicionalista)under Franco’s control • Military unity – Held Spain’s best troops from N. Africa • Economic advantages – Controlled major agricultural areas and by 1937 industrial areas – Italian and German “donations” (members of Non- Intervention Committee but ignored it) • Franco – Held respect of military
  20. 20. Foreign Involvement • British and French took position of “non- intervention” – Resulted in Republican government lacking necessities – Fear of Bolshevism blinded Western governments seeking “lesser of two evils” David Low cartoon 13 January 1937 – text reads: “Just to discourage cheating I’ll wear a strait- jacket and let you both play my hand” (British PM Stanley Baldwin)
  21. 21. Nationalist Support • Germany and Italy – Germany: • Condor Air legion of 5,000 men, • tank and artillery units (10,000+) • transport of troops (most importantly helped with cross from Morocco) – Italy: 75,000 troops, 750 aircraft, 950 tanks – Over 560 million USD in loans • Portugal – 20,000 troops – Borders open to deliver supplies • British (unofficial) support: – Allowed Franco to set up communication towers in Gibraltar – Allowed fly over of Gibraltar during the airlift of the Army of Africa – Supplied intel to Nationalists on Republican shipping and Soviet deliveries
  22. 22. Republican Support • USSR/Stalin main supporter of Republic – Soviet aid helpful but was paid for and came in limited quantity (Stalin may have wanted to keep Hitler busy with W. Europe for as long as possible) – International Brigades: 35,000 – 60,000 estimated volunteers from Europe and USA - mostly communists – Mexico sent limited support
  23. 23. Initial success of Franco (gray) Assault from the South coordinated with some uprisings in the North.
  24. 24. Continued Success Franco's rapid advance against the ill-trained Republican army, but despite the professionalism of its military staff, the rebels were unable to capture Madrid and after six months of heavy fighting had failed to defeat the Basques.
  25. 25. Bombing of Guernica April 27, 1937 Picasso’s Guernica was commissioned by the Republican government. You can visit this at Madrid's Reina Sofia. It is approximately 3 ½ X 8 meters in size. Brought to Spain in 1981 - 5 years after Franco’s death. Picasso vowed it would not enter Spanish soil under a Francoist regime.
  26. 26. More Success Utilizing air support provided by Adolf Hitler, and ground troops offered by Mussolini, the Nationalists had finally captured the Basque country, but remained stuck outside the major population centers of Barcelona and the capital city of Madrid.
  27. 27. Difficult Road Ahead Despite aide from abroad, the Nationalist Rebels were unable to advance much at all in the third year of the war. Twenty-four months of tremendous fighting had produced 200,000 deaths but little gain. After laying siege to Valencia, in May 1938 the Nationalist forces fought their way through to the coast thus cutting the Republican forces in half.
  28. 28. Last Stronghold On 28 March 1939 Franco entered Madrid and the rest of the country surrendered in the following days. The Civil War was over! Franco had won. Map series from: man/maps/SpCW.html
  29. 29. Impact • The better organised and better equipped Nationalist forces won the war after Madrid was captured in March 1939. • War atrocities committed by both sides left lasting scars (read Source A page 139 in Wells) • 500,000 - 1 Million dead • Malnutrition, starvation and disease killed even more • Franco dictatorship from 1939-1975
  30. 30. Impact • Hitler's position in Europe strengthened - another ally in right-wing dictator, General Franco. • strengthened bond between Italy and Germany. Rome-Berlin Axis was formed. Italy and Germany were now firm allies. • ignoring Non-Intervention Committee and France and Britain, Hitler showed strength in European affairs.
  31. 31. Sources • Alan Farmer: Modern European History 1890-1990 • BBC – Bite Sized History: • Hendricks and Nelsen: Chronology of the Spanish Civil War--Emphasizing the Lincoln Battalion Involvement • A Selection of Maps tracing the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939