Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War (Spanish: Guerra Civil Española)[note 2] was a civil war in Spain fought from 1936 to 1939 between the Republicans and the Nationalists. Republicans were loyal to the left-leaning Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic. The Popular Front was constituted by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), Communist Party of Spain (PCE), and the republicans – Republican Left (IR) (led by Azaña) and Republican Union (UR) (led by Diego Martínez Barrio). This pact was supported by Galician (PG) and Catalan nationalists (ERC), the POUM, socialist union Workers' General Union (UGT), and the anarchist trade union, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). Many anarchists who would later fight alongside Popular Front forces during the Spanish Civil War did not support them in the election, urging abstention instead.[12] The Popular Front fought against an insurrection by the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, monarchists, conservatives and traditionalists, led by a military junta among whom General Francisco Franco quickly achieved a preponderant role. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets and was variously viewed as class struggle, a religious struggle, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, and between fascism and communism.[13] According to Claude Bowers, U.S. ambassador to Spain during the war, it was the "dress rehearsal" for World War II.[14] The Nationalists won the war, which ended in early 1939, and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.

Spanish Civil War
Part of the Interwar period

Clockwise from top-left: members of the XI International Brigade at the Battle of Belchite; Granollers after being bombed by Nationalists aviation in 1938; Bombing of an airfield in Spanish Morocco; Republican soldiers at the siege of the Alcázar; Nationalist soldiers operating an anti-aircraft gun; The Lincoln Battalion
Date17 July 1936 – 1 April 1939
(2 years, 8 months, 2 weeks and 1 day)
Location
Result

Nationalist victory

Belligerents

Republicans

Nationalists

Commanders and leaders
Strength
1936 strength:[1]
  • 446,800 combatants[2]
  • 31 ships
  • 12 submarines
  • 13,000 sailors
1938 strength:[3]
  • 450,000 infantry
  • 350 aircraft
  • 200 tanks

  • 59,380 international volunteers
  • 3,015 Soviet technicians
  • 772 Soviet pilots
1936 strength:[4]
  • 58,000 soldiers
  • 68,500 gendarmes
  • 16 operational ships
  • 7,000 sailors[5]
1938 strength:[6]
  • 600,000 infantry
  • 600 aircraft
  • 290 tanks

Casualties and losses
  • 110,000 killed in action (including executions)[7][8][9]
  • 100,000–130,000 civilians killed inside the Francoist zone[10]
  • 90,000 killed in action[7][8][9]
  • 50,000 civilians killed inside the Republican zone[11]
c. 500,000 total killed[note 1]
Events leading to World War II
  1. Treaty of Versailles 1919
  2. Polish–Soviet War 1919
  3. Treaty of Trianon 1920
  4. Treaty of Rapallo 1920
  5. Franco-Polish alliance 1921
  6. March on Rome 1922
  7. Corfu incident 1923
  8. Occupation of the Ruhr 1923–1925
  9. Mein Kampf 1925
  10. Second Italo-Senussi War 1923–1932
  11. Dawes Plan 1924
  12. Locarno Treaties 1925
  13. Young Plan 1929
  14. Japanese invasion of Manchuria 1931
  15. Pacification of Manchukuo 1931–1942
  16. January 28 incident 1932
  17. Geneva Conference 1932–1934
  18. Defense of the Great Wall 1933
  19. Battle of Rehe 1933
  20. Nazis' rise to power in Germany 1933
  21. Tanggu Truce 1933
  22. Italo-Soviet Pact 1933
  23. Inner Mongolian Campaign 1933–1936
  24. German–Polish declaration of non-aggression 1934
  25. Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance 1935
  26. Soviet–Czechoslovakia Treaty of Mutual Assistance 1935
  27. He–Umezu Agreement 1935
  28. Anglo-German Naval Agreement 1935
  29. December 9th Movement
  30. Second Italo-Ethiopian War 1935–1936
  31. Remilitarization of the Rhineland 1936
  32. Spanish Civil War 1936–1939
  33. Italo-German "Axis" protocol 1936
  34. Anti-Comintern Pact 1936
  35. Suiyuan campaign 1936
  36. Xi'an Incident 1936
  37. Second Sino-Japanese War 1937–1945
  38. USS Panay incident 1937
  39. Anschluss Mar. 1938
  40. May Crisis May 1938
  41. Battle of Lake Khasan July–Aug. 1938
  42. Bled Agreement Aug. 1938
  43. Undeclared German–Czechoslovak War Sep. 1938
  44. Munich Agreement Sep. 1938
  45. First Vienna Award Nov. 1938
  46. German occupation of Czechoslovakia Mar. 1939
  47. Hungarian invasion of Carpatho-Ukraine Mar. 1939
  48. German ultimatum to Lithuania Mar. 1939
  49. Slovak–Hungarian War Mar. 1939
  50. Final offensive of the Spanish Civil War Mar.–Apr. 1939
  51. Danzig Crisis Mar.–Aug. 1939
  52. British guarantee to Poland Mar. 1939
  53. Italian invasion of Albania Apr. 1939
  54. Soviet–British–French Moscow negotiations Apr.–Aug. 1939
  55. Pact of Steel May 1939
  56. Battles of Khalkhin Gol May–Sep. 1939
  57. Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact Aug. 1939
  58. Invasion of Poland Sep. 1939

The war began after a pronunciamiento (a declaration of military opposition, of revolt) against the Republican government by a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces, with General Emilio Mola as the primary planner and leader and having General José Sanjurjo as a figurehead. The government at the time was a coalition of Republicans, supported in the Cortes by communist and socialist parties, under the leadership of centre-left President Manuel Azaña.[15][16] The Nationalist group was supported by a number of conservative groups, including CEDA, monarchists, including both the opposing Alfonsists and the religious conservative Carlists, and the Falange Española de las JONS, a fascist political party.[17] After the deaths of Sanjurjo, Emilio Mola and Manuel Goded Llopis, Franco emerged as the remaining leader of the Nationalist side.

The coup was supported by military units in Morocco, Pamplona, Burgos, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Cádiz, Córdoba, and Seville. However, rebelling units in almost all important cities—such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, and Málaga—did not gain control, and those cities remained under the control of the government. This left Spain militarily and politically divided. The Nationalists and the Republican government fought for control of the country. The Nationalist forces received munitions, soldiers, and air support from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, while the Republican side received support from the Soviet Union and Mexico. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the French Third Republic, and the United States, continued to recognise the Republican government but followed an official policy of non-intervention. Despite this policy, tens of thousands of citizens from non-interventionist countries directly participated in the conflict. They fought mostly in the pro-Republican International Brigades, which also included several thousand exiles from pro-Nationalist regimes.

The Nationalists advanced from their strongholds in the south and west, capturing most of Spain's northern coastline in 1937. They also besieged Madrid and the area to its south and west for much of the war. After much of Catalonia was captured in 1938 and 1939, and Madrid cut off from Barcelona, the Republican military position became hopeless. Following the fall without resistance of Barcelona in January 1939, the Francoist regime was recognised by France and the United Kingdom in February 1939. On 5 March 1939, Colonel Segismundo Casado led a military coup against the Republican government. Following internal conflict between Republican factions in Madrid in the same month, Franco entered the capital and declared victory on 1 April 1939. Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards fled to refugee camps in southern France.[18] Those associated with the losing Republicans who stayed were persecuted by the victorious Nationalists. Franco established a dictatorship in which all right-wing parties were fused into the structure of the Franco regime.[17]

The war became notable for the passion and political division it inspired and for the many atrocities that occurred. Organised purges occurred in territory captured by Franco's forces so they could consolidate their future regime.[19] Mass executions on a lesser scale also took place in areas controlled by the Republicans,[20] with the participation of local authorities varying from location to location.[21][22]


Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Spanish Civil War, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.