Spanish Civil War Essay

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Spanish Civil War
(1936–39), military revolt against the Republican government of Spain, supported by conservative elements within the country. When an initial military coup failed to win control of the entire country, a bloody civil war ensued, fought with great ferocity on both sides. The Nationalists, as the rebels were called, received aid from fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The Republicans received aid from the Soviet Union, as well as from International Brigades, composed of volunteers from Europe and the United States.

The war was an outcome of a polarization of Spanish life and politics that had developed over previous decades. On one side (the Nationalist) were most Roman Catholics, important elements of the military, most
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The matter of how many were killed remains highly contentious; however, it is generally believed that the toll of Nationalist violence was higher. In any event, the proliferation of executions, murders, and assassinations on both sides reflects the great passions that the Civil War unleashed.

The captaincy of the Nationalists was gradually assumed by General Franco, leading forces he had brought from Morocco. On October 1, 1936, he was named head of state and set up a government in Burgos. The Republican government, beginning in September 1936, was headed by the socialist leader Francisco Largo Caballero. He was followed in May 1937 by Juan Negrín, also a socialist, who remained premier throughout the remainder of the war and served as premier in exile until 1945. The president of the Spanish Republic until nearly the end of the war was Manuel Azaña, an anticlerical liberal. Internecine conflict compromised the Republican effort from the outset. On one side were the anarchists and militant socialists, who viewed the war as a revolutionary struggle and spearheaded widespread collectivization of agriculture, industry, and services; on the other were the more moderate socialists and republicans, whose objective was the preservation of the Republic. Seeking allies against the threat of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union had embraced a Popular Front strategy, and
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