Spain’s Civil War

Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

A civil war erupted in 1936, between the right wing Nationalist and the Leftist Republican government. The revolt was led by General Francisco Franco, who decided to bring the Army of Africa onto their side. The Nationalist party was made up of monarchists, landowners, employers, the Roman Catholic Church and the army. The Republicans consisted of the workers, the trade unions, socialists and peasants.

Economically, the country had been deeply hit by the Great Depression after the Wall Street Crash. Partly due to this turmoil, in 1929 the military dictatorship that had ruled Spain since 1923 collapsed. In 1931 the King Alfonso XIII abdicated after the Republicans came to power.

While the peasants and workers wanted to fight the uprising, the Republican government refused to give them weapons which led to the Nationalist gaining control. Franco was able to unite the Nationalists under the racist party called Falange. The Nationalists were supported by Germany and Italy, while the Republicans of Spain were backed by Soviet Union. The interest of these countries in Spain was that Spain had naval bases on the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Germany and Italy better equipped and supported the Nationalist than Soviet Union did with the Republicans. In early 1939 Barcelona was surrounded and captured which led to  March 1939 the Nationalist rebels winning the war by capturing Madrid, the capital of Spain, and the Republicans surrendering. Francisco Franco became the dictator of Spain until his death in 1975.

As a result of the Nationalists winning the civil war, Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany was more confident in his plans of expanding that would ultimately lead to the start of World War II. In Spain’s history, this civil war was the most horrific with more than a millions lives being lost.


By: Nancy Rebolledo