Spanish civil war


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Spanish civil war,

1936–39, conflict in which the conservative and traditionalist forces in Spain rose against and finally overthrew the second Spanish republic.

The Second Republic

The second republic, proclaimed after the fall of the monarchy in 1931, was at first dominated by middle-class liberals and moderate socialists, among them Niceto Alcalá ZamoraAlcalá Zamora, Niceto
, 1877–1949, Spanish statesman and president of Spain (1931–36). After holding several cabinet posts under the monarchy, he became a republican and was jailed for his political activity in 1930.
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, Francisco Largo CaballeroLargo Caballero, Francisco
, 1869–1946, Spanish Socialist leader and politician. A trade union leader, he initially followed opportunistic policies and even collaborated with the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923–30).
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, and Manuel AzañaAzaña, Manuel
, 1880–1940, Spanish statesman. An author and critic, he gained prominence as president (1930) of the Madrid Ateneo, a literary and political club, and came to the fore as a revolutionary political leader in 1931.
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. They began a broad-ranging attack on the traditional, privileged structure of Spanish society: Some large estates were redistributed; church and state were separated; and an antiwar, antimilitarist policy was proclaimed. With their interests and their ideals threatened, the landed aristocracy, the church, and a large military clique, as well as monarchists and CarlistsCarlists,
partisans of Don Carlos (1788–1855) and his successors, who claimed the Spanish throne under the Salic law of succession, introduced (1713) by Philip V. The law (forced on Philip by the War of the Spanish Succession to avoid a union of the French and Spanish
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, rallied against the government, as did the new fascist party, the FalangeFalange
[Span.,=phalanx], Spanish political party, founded in 1933 as Falange Española by José António Primo de Rivera, son of the former Spanish dictator.
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.

The government's idealistic reforms failed to satisfy the left-wing radicals and did little to ameliorate the lot of the lower classes, who increasingly engaged in protest movements against it. The forces of the right gained a majority in the 1933 elections, and a series of weak coalition governments followed. Most of these were under the leadership of the moderate republican Alejandro LerrouxLerroux, Alejandro
, 1864–1949, Spanish politician. He first won prominence as a radical and virulently anticlerical demagogue in Barcelona. However, he gradually moved to the right politically.
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, but he was more or less dependent on the right wing and its leader José María Gil RoblesGil Robles, José María
, 1898–1980, Spanish politician. In 1931, after the proclamation of the Second Republic, he became leader of the newly organized right-wing Catholic party, known as Acción Popular.
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. As a result many of the republican reforms were ignored or set aside. Left-wing strikes and risings buffeted the government, especially during the revolution of Oct., 1934, while the political right, equally dissatisfied, increasingly resorted to plots and violence.

Outbreak of War

When the electoral victory (1936) of the Popular Front (composed of liberals, Socialists, and Communists) augured a renewal of leftist reforms, revolutionary sentiment on the right consolidated. In July, 1936, Gen. Francisco FrancoFranco, Francisco
, 1892–1975, Spanish general and caudillo [leader]. He became a general at the age of 32 after commanding the Spanish Foreign Legion in Morocco.
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 led an army revolt in Morocco. Rightist groups rebelled in Spain, and the army officers led most of their forces into the revolutionary (Nationalist or Insurgent) camp. In N Spain the revolutionists, under Gen. Emilio MolaMola, Emilio
, 1887–1937, Spanish nationalist general. Entering the army in 1904, he rose to the rank of general by 1927, when he commanded a military district in Morocco.
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, quickly overran most of Old Castile, Navarre, and W Aragon. They also captured some key cities in the south.

CataloniaCatalonia
, Catalan Catalunya, Span. Cataluña, autonomous community (1990 pop. 6,165,638), NE Spain, stretching from the Pyrenees at the French border southward along the Mediterranean Sea.
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—where socialism and anarchism were strong, and which had been granted autonomy—remained republican (Loyalist). The Basques too sided with the republicans to protect their local liberties. This traditional Spanish separatism asserted itself particularly in republican territory and hindered effective military organization. By Nov., 1936, the Nationalists had Madrid under siege, but while the new republican government of Francisco Largo Caballero (to which the anarchists had been admitted) struggled to organize an effective army, the first incoming International Brigade helped the Loyalists hold the city.

Foreign Participation

The International Brigades—multinational groups of volunteers (many of them Communists) that were organized mostly in France—represented only a small part of the foreign participation in the war. From the first and throughout the war, Italy and Germany aided Franco with an abundance of planes, tanks, and other matériel. Germany sent some 10,000 aviators and technicians; Italy sent large numbers of "volunteers," probably about 70,000. Great Britain and France, anxious to prevent a general European conflagration, proposed a nonintervention pact, which was signed in Aug., 1936, by 27 nations. The signatories included Italy, Germany, and the USSR, all of whom failed to keep their promises. The Spanish republic became dependent for supplies on the Soviet Union, which used its military aid to achieve its own political goals.

Nationalist Victory

As the war progressed the situation played into the hands of the Communists, who at the outset had been of negligible importance. The Loyalists ranks were riven by factional strife, which intensified as the Loyalist military position worsened; among its manifestations was the Communists' suppression of the anarchists and the Trotskyite Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista (POUM). On the Nationalist side internal conflict also existed, especially between the military and the fascists, but Franco was able to surmount it and consolidate his position. Gradually the Nationalists wore down Loyalist strength. Bilbao, the last republican center in the north, fell in June, 1937, and in a series of attacks from March to June, 1938, the Nationalists drove to the Mediterranean and cut the republican territory in two. Late in 1938, Franco mounted a major offensive against Catalonia, and Barcelona was taken in Jan., 1939. With the loss of Catalonia the Loyalist cause became hopeless. Republican efforts for a negotiated peace failed, and on Apr. 1, 1939, the victorious Nationalists entered Madrid. Italy and Germany had recognized the Franco regime in 1936, Great Britain and France did so in Feb., 1939; international recognition of Franco's authoritarian government quickly followed.

Influence

For Germany and Italy the Spanish civil war served as a testing ground for the blitzkrieg and other techniques of warfare that would be used in World War II; for the European democracies it was another step down the road of appeasement; and for the politically conscious youth of the 1930s who joined the International Brigades, saving the Spanish republic was the idealistic cause of the era, a cause to which many gave their lives. For the Spanish people the civil war was an encounter whose huge toll of lives and material devastation were unparalleled in centuries of Spanish history.

Bibliography

See F. Borkenau, The Spanish Cockpit (1937); G. Orwell, Homage to Catalonia (1938); G. Brenan, The Spanish Labyrinth (1943); H. Thomas, The Spanish Civil War (1961); G. Jackson, The Spanish Republic and the Civil War (1965); R. Rosenstone, Crusade of the Left (1969); R. Carr, ed., The Republic and the Civil War in Spain (1971); R. Fraser, Blood of Spain (1979); P. Preston, The Spanish Holocaust (2012); S. G. Payne, The Spanish Civil War (2012); A. Hochschild, Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939 (2016).

References in periodicals archive ?
Although Zaagsma's largely thematic organization creates some repetition, it allows him to tease out the national, international, and transnational contexts that shaped the Botwin Company, the Polish Jewish emigrants who organized and fought in it, and the Jewish veterans and journalists who contested and constructed the meaning of Jewish participation in the Spanish Civil War. The emphasis on this multilayered context is particularly clear and powerful in his discussions of how the Jewish communists in France "became embedded in new national and local contexts while simultaneously operating in and creating particular transnational networks and communicative spaces that linked them to their countries of origin as well as migrants elsewhere" (8).
In Leonard Cohen's Spanish Civil War song "The Traitor," a volunteer soldier's brief flirtation distracts him for a "fatal moment," and the battle is lost.' Although a single dalliance is hardly to blame for Francisco Franco and his fascist forces' victory over the democratic Spanish Republicans and their Popular Front supporters, the trope is nearly ubiquitous in North American writing about the conflict.
When the Spanish Civil War came to an end in 1939, thousands of refugees fled to France, but received a lukewarm welcome from the French.
The title of this book suggests that it is a collection of essays that focuses on the political and social issues surrounding the Spanish Civil War. More to the point, however, is the image chosen for the cover--Robert Capa's photo of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (ALB) at the farewell ceremony for the International Brigades on 16 October 1938.
"And I have wanted to write a poem about the Spanish Civil War since reading about it about eight years ago and thought the two could go along together.
It is a first-rate account of the political and military events of the Spanish Civil War. It is also a deeply philosophical examination of the relationship among war, truth, and propaganda.
Richard Rhodes has put this question to a test by writing an aggressively anti-ideological history of one of the most extravagantly ideological events that has ever occurred, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39." PAUL BERMAN
She is weeping in sympathy with the women of Guernica, the Basque town which was flattened in the Spanish Civil War by German and Italian bombers in support of General Franco and his Spanish nationalists.
Michael Robinson said: "Both these documentaries show the important role that football played in three sad episodes of the 20th Century - the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and the apartheid regime in South Africa.
(8) In Spain, where almost four decades have passed since the end of Franco's dictatorship, open controversy in historical scholarship and public debate about the Spanish Civil War a discursive struggle" over its "interpretive framework--is greater than ever.
En el verano de 2005, quien esto escribe, antiguo alumno de Paul Preston y hoy catedratico de Historia Espanola en la Universidad de Bristol, publico The Spanish Civil War: Origins, Course and Outcomes.
Salud ; British volunteers in the Republican Medical Service during the Spanish Civil War, 1936u1939.