Free essays on the Spanish Civil War

Free essays on the Spanish Civil War
History Extended Essay

To What Extent were Trotskyists to blame for causing the Barcelona May Days of 1937?


The Spanish Civil War, in general, has been a war that has invariably always captivated me. Prior to reading into the conflict in more depth I perceived it to have been a precursor to the Second World War as well as being the only clash between Socialism (in which I comprehended to have been its most desirable form) and Fascism. These conceptions were partially built through my fascination with the author and journalist Christopher Hitchens who wrote. “When allied with my socialist and Fabian readings in other areas, this soon had me thinking of the Spanish Civil War as the only “just” war there had probably ever been.”[1] He then proceeds to write that this led him to read “Homage to Catalonia. Which causes him to profess “I actually couldn’t make head or tail of this book in those days because the ideological battles within the Left were still opaque to me.”[2] I didn’t fully understand this statement until reading the book myself. In “Homage to Catalonia” George Orwell masterfully describes his experiences during the war in which he served as a volunteer in the POUM militia[3] In the book he dedicates two chapters to the Barcelona May Days in which he describes the build up to the violence and the actual events. During his experiences of the event and its aftermath you get a quite tangible sense of the divides within the left and the antagonism that this caused.              
 Personally one of the most poignant events in the novel was the scapegoating of the POUM, or Trotskyists as the Republican government referred to them during and after the Barcelona May Days, for apparently triggering the clashes in an attempt to undermine the revolution and allow a victory for the Nationalists. Thus during this essay I will attempt to understand whether these accusation had any basis or were slanderous and used in an attempt to strengthen the Stalinist policies of the Republican government.  Before embarking on my investigation it’s imperative to set out the various groups involved. For the purpose of this essay I will regard these groups as falling under three “main” “ideologies”: Trotskyism, Stalinism and Anarcho-Syndicalism. 
In this essay I will regard the followers of Trotskyism as being anti-stalinist as well as generally being sympathetic to Trotsky’s interpretation of Marxism. Despite this it’s important to bear in mind that the term Trotskyist at this time was used in a highly slanderous way by many Stalinist sympathisers. This is well explained in the essay entitled “Spilling the Spanish Beans” by George Orwell who wrote “if he still refuses to shut up, you change your tune and call him a traitor. More exactly, you call him a Trotskyist.” He then proceeds to explain this writing: “And what is a Trotskyist? This terrible word--in Spain at this moment you can be thrown into jail and kept there indefinitely, without trial” “The word 'Trotskyist' (or 'Trotsky-Fascist') is generally used to mean a disguised Fascist who poses as an ultra-revolutionary in order to split the left-wing forces.” Due to the nature of the word at the time it’s very difficult to determine who exactly was a Trotskyist and who was an anti-Stalinist. It could perhaps be said that Orwell would not have considered himself to be a Trotskyist but rather anti-totalitarian. Despite this confusion as to the exact nature of many anti-Stalinists in this essay  I will regard the POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista) as being “Trotskyist” despite not officially being so. This was due to the merging of the Trotskyist ICE (Izquierda Comunista de España) and the BOC (Bloque Obrero y Campesino) in 1935, against the wishes of Leon Trotsky.[4] Regardless of this “split” members of the POUM were widely Trotskyist sympathising and almost exclusively anti-Stalinist.[5] I will regard the followers of Stalinism as seeing the Soviet Union under Stalin as being a desirable form of government and secondly seeing Trotsky as being a counter-revolutionary and in some cases a Trotsky-Fascist. In Catalonia the largest Stalinist group was the PSUC (Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya (a regional party of the national PCE (Partido Comunista de España)) which was at this time part of Comintern.[6] The major Stalinist union at the time was the UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores) which had close ties to the PCE.  
The third main ideological group were the Anarcho-Syndicalists who, in summary, believed that industry should be controlled by individual unions rather than on a state level. The two main anarchist groups in Barcelona at this time were the FAI (Federación Anarquista Ibérica) and the CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo) both of which were closely linked although historically the FAI was more radical.

The Event  

The Barcelona May Days were a period of civil unrest between factions on the Republican side in the region of Catalonia. With the focal point being the various factions engaging in street battles in the regions capital, Barcelona, from the 3rd to the 8th of May 1937.  Trouble began on the 3rd of May when the Catalan councillor for public order, Rodriguez Salas (a Communist leader), without the knowledge of the Catalan government attempted to take control of Barcelona’s central telephone exchange which had been controlled by the Anarchist Trade Union the CNT from the beginning of the “revolution”.[7] With a force of Assault Guards (urban police) and members of the Stalinist group PSUC. The confrontation led to fighting across the city during which the anti-Stalinist, and predominantly although not officially Trotskyist, POUM and the anarchist FAI supported the CNT. The violence between the Communist and non-Communist forces led to the deaths of nearly five thousand people and also left another one thousand wounded.[8]  Following the May Days the republican government (supported by the PCE and PSUC) launched a crackdown against “counter-revolutionary” groups namely the POUM and it’s allies. During this crackdown forty “Trotskyists” were arrested[9] and the leader of the POUM: Andrés Nin was taken into custody and then subsequently murdered, although the circumstances remain shady.[10]

The Claim  
In this essay I will use the book “Trotskyism in The Service of Franco” by George Soria to establish “the claim” of the Stalinist factions in relation to the Trotskyist actions during the Civil War. Soria argues that Trotskyists factions sought to undermine the “revolution” and thus could be argued to have been in the service of Franco’s Nationalists and that these “counter-revolutionary” actions, according to many Stalinist sympathisers climaxed during the Barcelona May Days.  A major spokesperson of the Stalinist left at the time was Dolores Ibárruri. Ibárruri, frequently known as "La Pasionaria", was a Republican leader during the Civil War and communist politician of Basque origin. She is often regarded as one of the greatest public speakers of the 20th century and is idolised by Communists even today. Therefore, at least in Communist terms, she could not be argued to be a complete fanatic. In regards to the Barcelona may days she wrote that the May Days were an "Anarchotrotskyist" attempt at shutting down the Republican government on orders from General Franco, acting in tandem with Adolf Hitler. According to her, the violence was the culmination of an anarchist plot which included plans to stop the movement of trains and cut all telegraph and telephone lines.[11]  To understand the repercussions of such a claim it’s imperative that we look at the plight of the ex PCE leader who founded the POUM: Andrés Nin. In Wilebaldo Solano short biography of Andrés Nin he writes that “But thanks to the heroic sacrifice of Nin, they were not able to mount a "Moscow show trial" in Spain.”[12] This extract references to the supposed planned show trial in Spain of Trotskyists which seems to have many similarities to the Moscow show trials in which Stalin destroyed his political opponents and slandered many of them as Trotskyists a highly slanderous term as Leon Trotsky had been exiled for being “counter-revolutionary”. These show trials perhaps lay the basis of the views harboured by those who saw the May Days as the pinnacle of un-revolutionary actions by the POUM amongst others.  

Although it’s difficult to deem what the exact crime and evidence used against the “Anarchotrotskyists” would have been if the trial had been allowed to take place.  When assessing “The Claim” it’s difficult to analyse the extent to which the supposed Trotskyist crimes against the Republican government can be deemed to be true as the Communist aspects within the Republican government were predominantly Stalinist sympathising thus their judgement may have been perhaps limited because of such things as the Moscow Show Trials which displayed Trotsky as a supposed opponent to Communism  When looking at the May Days we must bare in mind that at this time that Stalin was not considered to be such a monster as he is now as much of the left simply didn’t accept events such as the purges and Ukrainian famine to have happened to the extent that we know them to have had now. Thus mine and I can imagine a great number of peoples judgement of someone referring to themselves as a Stalinist are clouded by more recent historical truths.  

Historic Antagonism  
When looking at the history of the Spanish left it begins to appear that the May Days were an inevitable clash between Anarchism and Communism as within Spain these two different ideologies had been vying for popularity for many years. If we briefly look at the history of both groups within Spain this becomes quite apparent.  
Although obviously not either an Anarchist or a Communist the most radical movement in the mid-19th were the followers of Pierre-Joseph Proudhorn, the most famous of these “federalists”, in Spain, was Fransesc Pi i Margall whom was regarded as being “the wisest of the federalists, almost an anarchist” by Ricardo Mella and also interestingly the only prime minister of the short lived First Spanish Republic of 1873. What we can gather from this is that Spanish “radicals” historically veered to the libertarian side of the left rather than the more federalist communism.[13]  
The first major introduction of Anarchism to Spain was through a visit in 1868 by Giuseppe Fanelli the famous Italian Anarchist revolutionary, which was organised by perhaps the most influential figure of Anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin, to recruit members for the newly formed First International[14] (which aimed to unite different left-wing socialist, communist and anarchist political groups as well as trade-union organisations as well as creating a forum for discussion).[15] In 1872 the anarchists split from the International. Anthony Beevor describes this as being because “Bakunin utterly distrusted Marx’s character and predicted that the philosophy of such a man could only lead to dictatorship and deceit.”[16] If Beevor is to believed it seems inevitable that the two would be destined to split and secondly that the ideologies presented by these two intellectuals would not be able to coexist because of their contradictory nature of them as well as the emphasis both put on the problems with the others views and the negative affects such ideologies, if followed, would have.  
In 1871 Marx sent his son-in-law Paul Lafargue to Spain after the fall of the Paris Commune.[17] During his time in Spain he is said to have laid the basis of Spanish Marxist socialism in Madrid.[18] Beevor writes that “The Marxists’ lack of success, in comparison to the anarchists, was partly due to the emphasise they placed on the central state. The idea of a ‘parliamentary road to socialism’ was unthinkable in such a blatantly crooked electoral system as Spain’s.”[19] Marx is said to have written to Engels that they would have to leave Spain to Bakunin for the time being.  Due to the popularity of Anarchism in Spain it’s perhaps not surprising that the 1936 revolution was predominantly an Anarchist movement [20] with much of Spain’s economy being put under worker control; in anarchist strongholds like Catalonia, the figure was as high as 75%, but lower in areas with heavy PCE influence.[21]  Any chance of cooperation between the two groups within Spain was further harmed in 1923 when Primo brought the secretary of the UGT, Fransisco Largo Caballero, into his government to set up industrial arbitration boards.[22] This was much against Anarchist principles as it was seen to be entirely “counterrevolutionary” to have any link to the bourgeois government as they were essentially the “enemy”.  
It could perhaps be these historic relationships between Anarchism and Communism that caused such antagonism throughout the war as both ideologies had never previously been able to coexist and when present in the same environment tended to clash. Ultimately when the communists sided with the Republican government and attempted to disband the militias in favour of a “Popular Army”,[23] disarm private citizens and create a non-unionised army went against many of the “victories” that the Anarchists had made at the beginning of the revolution. Thus the Anarchists had to make the decision to either put up with these changes in order to form a “Popular Front” against the Fascists or continue their more Libertarian revolution.  When looking at these events from a historically determinist viewpoint it could be argued that the historical antagonism between Communists and Anarchists, both generally and specifically is Spain, caused the Barcelona May Days as at the inception of the “revolution” it was inevitable that it’s final resting place could not be ideologically inclusive of both views. The question therefore lies: if there was no Spanish Civil would these opposition groups have clashed in such a violent manner? At least hypothetically it seems that this would have been unlikely as events like the establishment of a regular army and moves towards more capitalist forms of production transpired to have brought these two groups into a hostility. Without such events it seems that antagonism of the nature seen in the May Days would have been unlikely to occur. We could perhaps therefore look at the Spanish Civil War as a catalyst for the May Days which brought historical opposition to a violent head. 
This exacerbation of the situation could perhaps be partially attributed to the split on the Communist side with anti-Stalinists now forming a large group within Spain and  because of their anti-Soviet views be more likely allies of the Anarchists, which naturally would have unnerved the Stalinist aspects within Republican government who were at this time striving for a more Stalinist style governmental system.

The Anarcho-Syndicalist Standpoint  
Before embarking upon the views of Anarchists we must firstly remember that rather than a small and inconsequential left wing faction, as anarchists are regarded in many European countries, in 1934 and, I dare say, even now anarchists, hold great public support within Spain. In 1934 the CNT’s, “according to a government source”, membership numbered 1.58 million people whereas the UGT’s membership was 1.44 million.[24]  
The Anarcho-Syndicalist standpoint is along the line of the May Days being part of a much wider move to make an originally predominantly anarchist revolution more inline with a Stalinist agenda. For this reason the IWA (International Workers Association), essentially the English cousin of the CNT, have written an article about why the May Days were significant as they saw the “Communists made their decisive move”[25] against the CNT and it’s associates as they stormed the CNT controlled telephone exchange which was seen to be symbolic of a much larger aim of “reintroducing capitalist modes of production.”[26] Which is against Anarcho-Syndicalist philosophy that sets out how industry should not be controlled on  a central level but instead by individual trade unions.[27]  The article from the IWA goes on to refer to a “courageous” plea made by the leadership of the CNT which read “Workers of the CNT! Workers of the UGT! Don’t be deceived by these manoeuvres. Above all else, Unity! Put down your arms. Only one slogan: We must work to beat fascism! Down with fascism!”[28] This call was mostly headed, leading to a stop in the fighting and can perhaps explains why Anarchist trade unions were not targeted after the May Days to the same extent that the POUM was. The article however fails to mention that this call to create a “popular-front” and essentially put on hold the “revolution” was not shared by all Anarcho-Syndicalist factions, the more radical Friends of Durruti whom were calling for a all out “revolution” against the “counter-revolutionary” republican government.[29]  
To summarise the Anarcho-Syndicalist perspective, groups like the CNT and FAI took the view that the PCE and Republican government were attempting to attack the principles upon which the revolution had been built. However in the most part they took up the opinion that this conflict was one to be had later and at this time it was far more important to stop the Fascists winning the war. However we must also not forgot that there were those within these main Unions as well as in the Friends of Durutti militia who felt that any hope of the prolongation of the revolution depended upon the Republican government being combated at this time.

The Trotskyist Standpoint  
In the eyes of many Trotskyists a conflict with the republican government was in some ways inevitable and perhaps desirable. This was because the republican government was moving towards a more Soviet Union style system of government[30] which obviously went against the anti-Stalinist views of the “Trotskyists”.  The liquidation of a “revolutionary” atmosphere in Barcelona is no better shown than in George Orwell’s accounts of the Spanish Civil War. When he first arrived in Barcelona on the 26th of December 1936 [31] he described a situation were “there were no private motor cars”, “revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues” and “except for a small number of women and foreigners there were no ‘well-dressed’ people at all.”[32] This seemingly couldn’t be more in contrast to his description of Barcelona just prior to the May Days with him writing that “The smart restaurants and hotels were full of rich people wolfing expensive meals, while for the working-class population food-prices had jumped enormously.”[33] Understanding this situation, it seems conceivable that the so called “Trotskyists” would want to show there opposition to the Stalinists and the republican government. This would therefore support an argument for the Trotskyists starting the May Days although obviously not in the sense that they were acting under Fascist orders whilst trying to undermine Stalinist elements within the Republican government.  
It could therefore be said that although many “Trotskyists” desired a confrontation in order to challenge Stalinist influence within the Republican government, the actual violence of the May Days was in the most part triggered by the Stalinists with the taking of the telephone exchange and the clamping down on Trotskyist militias and leaders both after and before the May Days.

It’s obvious that the historical opposition between the Anarchists and Communists and later the Stalinists and Trotskyists played a major part in the creation of a climate in which a conflict could occur. This can be seen by the numerous disagreements in the past that in the case of Anarchism and Communism lead to the Anarchists leaving the First International and secondly the opposition of Trotsky to Stalin in Russia which lead to the Moscow show trials, due to these events it does not seem inconceivable that such groups could clash in such a way in Spain.  What also seems to be clear is that Stalinist influence played a major part in causing antagonism between the Republican government and the POUM as well as Anarcho-Syndicalist groups, through the creation of a “Popular Army” as well as moving towards more capitalist modes of production. It could perhaps be said that it was through the taking of the CNT controlled telephone exchange that the situation was ignited.  In reference to the Trotskyist involvement in causing the May Days, it seems inconceivable that they could have had caused it in the way that many Stalinist insinuate/have insinuated. Although I’m sure that the Trotskyists didn’t cause the May Days in the sense that they were Fascist spies and in league with Hitler. They perhaps contributed to the situation that caused it’s occurrence with many members of the POUM, as I’ve previously mentioned, believing that a confrontation with the Republican government was desirable.  
To summarise the “Trotskyist” factions were as far as I can see partially to blame for the conflict as they did nothing to prevent such a clash occurring. Although through my research it seems that the Stalinist government played a far larger part in creating the conflict as they both brought about the events that made cooperation no longer an option for both the Anarchists and Trotskyists as many of their aims had now been marginalised. The aftermath also shows us that the Stalinists capitalised on the conflict in such a way that it seems unlikely that it was simply a consequence of the clashes. Alongside the roles of factions in the immediate build up to the conflict it seems that the role of the long run antagonism within the left in Spain must not be overlooked as it appears to have done more than anything to create a climate in which a confrontation could occur.

  [1] Hitchens, Christopher. Hitch 22: A Memoir. London: Atlantic, 2011. 72. Print  [2] Hitchens, Christopher. Hitch 22: A Memoir. London: Atlantic, 2011. 72. Print  [3] Leys, Simon. Orwell & the Anarchists. 2011. Web  [4] Durgan, Andy, The Spanish Trotskyists and the Foundation of the POUM in The Spanish Civil War: The View From The Left - Al Richardson. Pontypool: The Merlin Press Ltd, 1992. 47. Print  [5] Held, Walter. Stalinism and the POUM in the Spanish Revolution. Quatrième Internationale, 1937. Print  [6] Rees, Tim. International Communism and the Communist International, 1919-43, Manchester University Press, 1998. 154. Print  [7] Souchy, Augustin. A Tragic Week In May. London: Freedom Press, 1987. 17. Print.  [8] Courtouis, Stéphane. The Black Book of Communism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999. 340. Print  [9] Brockway, Fenner. Arrest of P.O.U.M. leaders. International Bureau for Revolutionary Socialist Unity, 1937. Print  [10] Solano, Wilebaldo. The Spanish Revolution The Life of Andreu Nin. ILP: 1974. Print  [11] Ibárruri, Dolores. Memorias de Dolores Ibárruri. Barcelona: Planeta, 1985. 383. Print  [12] Solano, Wilebaldo. The Spanish Revolution The Life of Andreu Nin. ILP: 1974. Print  [13] Bookchin, Murray. To Remember Spain: The Anarchist and Syndicalist Revolution of 1936. San Francisco: AK Press. 1994. Print  [14] Guillaume, James. Michael Bakunin A Biographical Sketch. New York : Knopf. 1971. 23. Print  [15] Raymond, Walter. Dictionary of politics: selected American and foreign political and legal terms. Brunswick Publishing Corp. 1992. 85. Print  [16] Beevor, Anthony. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. 24. Print  [17] Heywood, Paul. Marxism and the Failure of Organised Socialism in Spain, 1879-1936. Cambridge University Press. 2003. 6. Print  [18] Beevor, Anthony. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. 26. Print  [19] Beevor, Anthony. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. 26. Print  [20] Bookchin, Murray. To Remember Spain: The Anarchist and Syndicalist Revolution of 1936. San Francisco: AK Press. 1994. Print  [21] Dolgoff, Sam. The Anarchist Collectives: Workers' Self-Management in the Spanish Revolution.  New York Free Life Editions. 1974. 41. Print  [22] Beevor, Anthony. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. 31. Print  [23] Colberg, Barbara. The Effect of Communist Party Policies on the Outcome of the Spanish Civil War.The Ohio State University. 2007. 33. Print  [24] Beevor, Anthony. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. 27. Print  [25]‘may-days’-in-barcelona-1937. The ‘May Days’ in Barcelona 1937. Web  [26]‘may-days’-in-barcelona-1937. The ‘May Days’ in Barcelona 1937. Web  [27] Rocker, Rudolf. Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism. Freedom Press. 21.1988. Print  [28]‘may-days’-in-barcelona-1937. The ‘May Days’ in Barcelona 1937. Web  [29] The friends of Durruti group. Towards a Fresh Revolution. 1938. Print  [30] Colberg, Barbara. The Effect of Communist Party Policies on the Outcome of the Spanish Civil War. The Ohio State University. 2007. 33. Print  [31] Orwell, George. Orwell In Spain. Penguin Classics. 2011. 6. Print  [32] Orwell, Geroge. Homage to Catalonia. Mariner Books. 1980. 3. Print  [33] Orwell, Geroge. Homage to Catalonia. Mariner Books. 1980. 98. Print

History Extended Essay
To What Extent Did Foreign Intervention Help The Nationalists Win The Spanish Civil War?

            The Spanish Civil War started on July 17, 1936 and ended on April 1, 1939 with the surrender of Madrid and a Nationalist victory. To what extent did foreign intervention help the Nationalists win the Spanish Civil War?

The factors I will discuss which influenced the outcome of the war will be military aid, the internal political landscape, foreign intervention (and briefly non-intervention) and the effect of these factors upon both the Republicans and the Nationalists. The Republicans received foreign aid from the Soviet Union in exchange for Spanish gold[1], however in 1938 the Soviet Union stopped supporting them[2], as it was clear that they were going to lose. The Republicans were militarily and politically more disconnected than the Nationalists and had conflicts between the different political parties constituting the Popular Front[3]. The Nationalists on the other hand were generally unified under Generalissimo Francisco Franco. The Republicans were supported by only one major power, whereas the Nationalists were aided by both the Germans and the Italians throughout the whole war.

The Nationalist victory was due to a combination of all the factors mentioned above. However, Spain was industrially underdeveloped[4] and foreign intervention was crucial, especially for the Nationalists starting the uprising. Even if a group is politically and militarily better organized, a war cannot be won without equipment and or masses. Therefore the foreign intervention received was the deciding factor in their victory.                                                                                            Word Count: 299

To What Extent Did Foreign Intervention Help the Nationalists Win the Spanish Civil War?


The Spanish Civil War was between the Republicans and the Nationalists and began on the 17 of July 1936, ending with the surrender of Spain’s capital, Madrid, and a Nationalist victory on the 1 of April 1939[5]. To what extent did the foreign intervention help the nationalists win the Spanish Civil War? This question will be answered by looking at the political, military and foreign intervention (and lack thereof) factors concerning both the Republicans and the Nationalists, however with more emphases on the Nationalists.
The Nationalists were lead by General Francisco Franco, who, in July flew to Spanish Morocco to join the uprising and consequently lead the Spanish elite troops stationed there to continental Spain to join the other rebels with the help of German transport.[6] The Nationalists were politically and militarily more united than the Republicans as the Republicans had to deal with revolutions in Catalonia, as well as changes in the government and conflicts within the different political parties.[7] Both the Republicans and Nationalists had foreign intervention, however it worked out better for the later. The Nationalists had substantial help from the Italians and the Germans. This constituted of training, transportation and men and equipment to fight the war. However the Republicans had limited aid from the Soviet Union. This included advisors and equipment, which in March 1938 declined and was soon after withdrawn. The Republicans also had to pay for Soviet materials with Spanish gold[8]. The outcome of the war still affects many Spanish people of older generations today who still carry bitterness or delight depending on their stance.

Foreign Intervention
The foreign intervention the Nationalists received was the most important factor for winning the war. Both sides needed foreign aid as Spain was not very industrially developed and couldn’t make the amount of weapons needed for a war. ‘To an industrially under-developed country, as Spain was in the 1930s, foreign military equipment was a necessity.’[9] Both sides were able to acquire this from different countries, the Republicans from the Soviet Union and the Nationalists from the Germans and Italians.
Though it is often assumed that the Republicans received limited aid from the Soviets, the reality is that the Republicans received substantial aid starting in late autumn of 1936 and ‘…totaling 600–800 aircraft, around 350 tanks, 1200 to 1500 artillery pieces, 500,000 rifles…’[10] at the end of the war.[11] Up until the Civil War, the USSR hadn’t focused on Spain. However, ‘After Hitler came to power in 1933, Stalin, fearing an alliance between capitalist and fascist countries, radically changed his policy [and]…decided to support the Spanish Republican government…’[12] They were supplied weapons, military advisors and the International Brigade,[13] which was a group of 40000 – 60000 volunteers[14] from different countries ready to fight for the Republic. This included countries such as France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and many more.[15] Many of these created their own units to fight under, for instance the Americans’ unit was called the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.[16] The majority of the volunteers in the International Brigade volunteered because of idealistic beliefs, believing the war was a fight against fascism, and most did not have much military experience. However, when in 1938 it seemed clear to many that the Nationalists were going to win, the International Brigades retreated. Also, in March 1938 the ‘Soviet supply shipments declined…’[17] Also, unlike the Nationalists, the Republicans had to pay for the shipment of supplies the Soviet Union sent them in Spanish gold from the Bank of Spain. Thus, the impact on the Spanish civil war was that the Nationalists had a more rounded aid, lasting them the whole war.
The Nationalists received substantial aid from the Italians, supplied by Benito Mussolini, and from the Germans, supplied by Adolf Hitler.[18] The Spanish Civil War gave both the Italians and the Germans the opportunity to try out new weapons and tactics.[19] The Nationalists received roughly ‘…10,000 military personnel, 600-800 aircraft and 200 tanks.’[20] from the Germans, as well as the Condor Legion, which was made up of almost 12,000 men.[21] The German air force was important for the Nationalists at the beginning of the war, as the ‘…German JU-52 transports allowed for the initial transfer of soldiers from Africa to Sevilla, securing western Andalusia as a bastion for the rebels.’[22] Also, some German units trained many Spanish nationalist soldiers, bringing with them new war strategies. It is difficult to fight a war without equipment, and with the help of the Italians and Germans, the Nationalists were able to get what they, as the rebels, lacked, helping them in turn to win the war. 
In 1934 Mussolini had made an agreement that if a rebellion broke out he would offer immediate assistance.[23] Mussolini failed to keep that promise, but on the 27 of July he sent Black Shirts numbering around 30,000 by the end of the war.[24] The Italians also took part in the bombing of Malaga, Valencia and Barcelona.[25] The Italians sent approximately ‘130 aircrafts, 2500 tons of bombs, 700 mortars, 50 tanks, 500 cannons, 1200 machine guns and 38000 vehicles.’[26] Also, Mussolini sent roughly 50,000 ‘volunteers’.[27] This force was called the Corpo di Truppe Volonraie or Corps of Volunteer Troops.[28] Unlike the volunteers fighting for the Republicans, the ‘volunteers’ fighting on the Nationalists’ side were professionals and had a military experience. This was due to the fact that they were not really volunteers. ‘At the Battle of Guadalajara the Republic won a propaganda coup when captured documents showed that the members of the Italian Corpo di Truppe Volontarie were in fact regular Italian army units and Fascist blackshirts.’[29] This is important, because it shows that the Nationalists had experienced fighters on their side, where as the Republicans had mostly volunteers with no military background, only joining due to their of political beliefs. The fighters on the rebels’ side gave the Nationalists the upper hand in war because of their military experience. The foreign intervention was crucial in Nationalist victory as the support gave them the numbers and equipment needed to perform a successful putsch.

Military Aid
The military also played an important role in the victory of the Nationalists.  On the 19 of July 1936, Franco went to Tetuan, the Spanish Moroccan capital and took command of Spain’s elite military situated there.[30] Once he was in Spain, the ‘…Republic failed at retaining the loyalty of the junior officers of whom more than 2/3’s had joined the conspirators.’[31] Not only did some of he young officers leave the Republicans to fight on the Nationalist’s side,[32] but ‘…the commitment of local Army garrison to the rebellion and also the willingness of security forces, the Civil Guards and Assault Guards, to abandon their allegiance to the Republic…’[33] also helped the Nationalists gain the numbers they needed to fight the war.
Franco’s main goal was to capture Madrid, the Spanish capital. The Nationalist’s efforts to do so dominated the time up until March 1937. However after multiple unsuccessful attempts at capturing Madrid, Franco decided to seize northern Spain. Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, commander of the Condor Legion, lead raids on the 26 of April 1937 to support the Nationalist advance towards Bilbao. He also planned and executed attacks on vital railroad stations and bridges in Guernica to prevent Republican reinforcements from being transported and so making it more difficult for the Republicans to retreat. By bombing Guernica on Market day, the Nationalists not only killed around 250 civilians, but ‘…the pilots of Hitler’s Condor Legion reduced the Basque’s holy city of Guernica to rubble…’[34], the heart and soul for the Basques. Franco also made a strategic move to weaken his enemies. After recapturing Teruel, the Nationalists ‘…reached the Mediterranean…and cut the Republic in half.’[35] in April 1938. This hindered the Republicans from being able to help each other. The Republicans were not very united as it was, as they had internal strife and splitting their forces in half weakened their military force and thus were more likely to lose. As Julius Caesar said: “Divide and conquer.”[36] Though the Nationalists military is generally seen as more united and organized than that of the Republicans, according to Franz, a German writer, they also had struggles. There was ‘…distrust and rivalry between Germans and Italians…[and the]…Spanish nationalists… profoundly dislike[d] the interference of the foreigner.’[37] However, it should be recognized, that Borkenau only spent two months in Spain during the war, giving him a limited perspective on the situation as he was not there for the whole war and was not actually fighting in it. The dislike between many people on the Nationalist side did lead to a Republican victory in the Battle of Jarama. Military aid was vital to the Nationalists, as it allowed for new strategies and an increase in military soldiers and equipment used to win the war.

The Non-Intervention Agreement was an important factor in the defeat of the Republicans. The French Prime Minister worried that the international aid would cause the war to also become international and didn’t want France to be dragged in. With Britain’s support a Non-Intervention Agreement was written up in September 1936 and signed by 27 countries.[38] This included France, Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union all of whom later ignored the Agreement and gave their support in the Spanish Civil War.[39] The French Prime Minister, Leon Blum, agreed to aid the Republicans at the start, as he feared a nationalist Spain under Franco would ally with fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. [40]However, after being pressured by Stanley Baldwin, the British Prime Minister, as well as some right-wing members of Baldwin’s cabinet, Blum revoked his support. [41]Also, at the beginning the Germans tried to disguise their support by sending it through Portugal. Without the help of the French, British and the United States the Republic relied on the Soviet Union for help as well as the volunteers from the International Brigade.[42] Where the Republic was being partially supported by one great power, two were aiding the Nationalists. Non-intervention was an important factor for the victory of the Nationalists because if France and Britain had ‘intervened’, they would have been on the Republican’s side, as they didn’t like Germany (Hitler) and Italy (Mussolini) at the time. This would have meant more support for the Republicans.[43]

Battle of Jarama  
A vital combat was the Battle of Jarama from the 6 to the 27 of February 1937. This battle was one of the fights the nationalist’s army lost. By crossing the river Jarama, Franco attempted to isolate Madrid from Valencia (which is where the Republican government had moved to in November 1936)[44] as well as from the rest of the Republicans. While the Italians led by General Mario Roatta fought at Guadalajara, a nationalist unit lead by Mola were supposed to cross the Jarama and fight the Republicans back. This however did not work, as the Italian unit was not ready in time and Mola decided to go through with the plan even without their help. There was  ‘…rivalry between Spanish Nationalists and Italian commanders…’[45] which is one of the reasons Mola went ahead with the plan without the Italian unit. Lenin once said: “You should not glory in victory before you come out of the battle.”[46] It seems that at this point in the war, the Nationalist forces were used to winning their battles and were not prepared for strong counter attacks. ‘As soon as [Franco] came up against something like organized resistance…he had to stop.’[47]  The Republicans counter attacked and at the end of the battle, though the Nationalists had been able to cross the river, failed in completing their plan. Though this battle’s outcome was in favor of the Republic, the Nationalists had many successful fights and after several more tries were able to finally capture Madrid. Thus, this demonstrates the Nationalist’s perseverance.

Battle of Ebro
Another important battle was the Battle of Ebro, 1938, being the longest battle in the civil war, lasting from July 25 to November 16. This is seen as ‘…a final heroic effort carried out by a republic split in two by Nationalist forces and lacking the means to supply troops.’[48] During the night of the 24th to the 25th of July the Republicans in Catalonia crossed the river Ebro to try to regain some of their lost territory and to reunite the Republican troops. They crossed by any means necessary ‘[The move was made with any boat that would float]…’[49] The Republicans were ready to get their territory back in whatever way they had to. The Nationalists were quick to respond and Franco had the Condor Legion bomb the Republican’s supplies, which they had been transporting over the Ebro. ‘…the Nationalist Army’s aerial and materials superiority allowed them to attack the Republican unit frontally and therefore completely destroying it.’ [50] This left Catalonia vulnerable and the Nationalists broke through the Republican’s fronts in November, continuing their advance. This further shows the Nationalist’s perseverance and strength in war strategies.

Internal Factors
The political factors were important for the Nationalist victory. Throughout the war the Nationalists were more unified and were politically stronger than the Republicans. In areas like Catalonia there was a social and economic revolution in 1936, lead by anarchists.[51] The revolution meant, “…land and industry properties were collectivized…”[52] People became enraged that they had to share their profits. In May 1937 fighting broke out in Barcelona among the Republicans (anti-Stalinist Marxists and Communists). The socialist government under leadership of Francisco Largo Caballero was becoming weak[53] and, as the government lost power,[54] it was taken into the hands of different political parties as well as unions.[55] The Republicans were in a chaotic state, conflicts emerged between political groups as well as militia groups fighting between themselves. ‘The Madrid government and general staff have shown a startling incapacity for the elementary organization of defense. So far they have not achieved agreement between the parties.’[56] The Republicans are often described as being disorganized and incapable of unity during the Spanish Civil War. When things got completely out of hand Largo Caballero abdicated and his second in command, Juan Negrin came to power. Though Negrin started out as a socialist, with time he slowly became a communist. The Republican government was in turmoil, not only because of the fights between different political parties, but also because the government itself had changed. According to Borenau, ‘Franco has lived by the mistakes, even by the stupidity of his enemies. He has been successful…because neither the republicans nor the socialists were able to organize an army.’[57] Franco used the Republican’s weakness of not being organized to win most of the battles between the two sides; hence it can be said that foreign intervention wasn’t the most important factor.
In contrast to this ‘ …it was the Nationalists who were most successful in enforcing unity.’[58] Four days after the death of General Jose Sanjurjo on the 20th of July 1936 military leaders created the ‘Junta de Defensa Nacional’, the National Defense Council. On the 1st of October 1936, four month later, Franco was designated as leader. The Caudillo, as Franco was sometimes called, got rid of all the political parties and merged the Carlist and Falangists so that Franco ruled over one united political party instead of many. This prevented different political parties from conflicting with each other and kept the Nationalists unified, unlike the Republicans. By October 1937 Franco had already established a unified political and military leadership over the Nationalists, and to enhancing his political power even more, combined the roles of legislative, judicial and executive branches of the government in himself and therefore was completely in charge. Also, due to the chaotic state Spain was in because of the ‘revolutionary outbreak’, ‘The Daily Mail…was able to represent Franco as a patriot delivering his country from hordes of fiendish ‘Reds’.’[59] The country was politically divided, and because of the increasing communist influence, Franco was seen, to many, as a loyal Spaniard who wanted to defend his country from the Communist sphere of influence. This representation of him helped unite many people under Franco, who didn’t want communism in their country, increasing Nationalist support.

In the Spanish Civil War political and military factors as well as the provided and refused foreign intervention were fundamental in determining the outcome. From the start it can be seen that the Nationalists were politically and militarily more organized and united than the Republicans, as Franco lead one political party yet the Republicans had to deal with hostility between the many political parties as well as the reforms and a change in their governmental leader. The Nationalists were also militarily better organized than the Republicans. Though the Republicans were doing much better at the beginning of the war, and even though all didn’t go according to the Nationalists plan, for example not annexing Madrid sooner or losing the Battle of Jarama, they were able to get to their end goal nonetheless. Also, by dividing the Republican forces the Nationalists’ fight was easier. However, even though they were politically and militarily better organized and unified, the Nationalists wouldn’t have been able to win if Germany and Italy hadn’t come to the Nationalist’s aid. With the German’s help Franco was able to move his army from Morocco to mainland Spain and bombed Guernica. The Italian units helped throughout the war for example in the Battle of Ebro. Even if a group is politically and militarily better organized and united, if they do not have the equipment and or masses there is not much that can be done. It was a combination of the politics, military factors and foreign aid that made it possible for the Nationalists to win, however the Nationalists would not have been able to win if it had not been for the Italian and German aid. Therefore it was the foreign intervention received that was the deciding factor in their victory on the 1st of April 1939.

Footnotes:    [1] Brown, Harry. Spain's Civil War. 2nd ed. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 1983. Print.  [2] Forrest, Andrew. The Spanish Civil War. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.  [3] Cf.: Socialist Party (PSOE), Communist Party (PCE), Esquerra Party, Republican Union Party  [4] BORKENAU, Franz. The Spanish Cockpit. An Eye-witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts of the Spanish Civil War. [With Plates.]. London: Faber & Faber, 1937. Print.  [5] Bernecker, Walther L. Spanische Geschichte Vom 15. Jahrhundert Biz Zur Gegenwart. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1999. Print.  [6] Brown, Harry. Spain's Civil War. 2nd ed. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 1983. Print.  [7] BORKENAU, Franz. The Spanish Cockpit. An Eye-witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts of the Spanish Civil War. [With Plates.]. London: Faber & Faber, 1937. Print.  [8] Forrest, Andrew. The Spanish Civil War. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.  [9] “Spain’s Civil War 2nd Edition”. Harry Brown. Addison Wesley Longman 1983, New York, USA. Pg. 77  [10] ‘The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)’ by Erik Blaine Riker-Colema. University of North Carolina, USA.   [11] De, Meneses Filipe Ribeiro. Franco and the Spanish Civil War. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.  [12] “The Condor Legion: German Troops in the Spanish Civil War” by Carlos Jurado. Osprey Publihing Ltd., 2006, Great Britain. Pg.5  [13] Bernecker, Walther L. Spanische Geschichte Vom 15. Jahrhundert Biz Zur Gegenwart. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1999. Print.  [14] Forrest, Andrew. The Spanish Civil War. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.  [15] ‘Spanish Civil War’. The New Book of Knowledge. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2012. Web. 25 July 2012.  [16] Heandrick, Daniel R. ‘Spanish Civil War.’ Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2012. Web. 5 July 2012.  [17] Headrick, Daniel R. “Spanih Civil War.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2012. Web. 5. July 2012.  [18] Bernecker, Walther L. Spanische Geschichte Vom 15. Jahrhundert Biz Zur Gegenwart. Chapter 3. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1999. Print  [19] Brown, Harry. Spain's Civil War. 2nd ed. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 1983. Print.  [20] Access to history in depth – “The Spanish Civil War” by Patricia Knight, Hodder & Stoughton 1998, London, UK. Pg. 74  [21] “Franco and the Spanish Civil War” by Ribeiro de Men. 2001 Routledge, London, UK. Pg. 94  [22] “Franco and the Spanish Civil War” by Ribeiro de Men. 2001 Routledge, London, UK. Pg. 91  [23] Seidel, Carlos C. Der Spanische Bürgerkrieg - Geschichte Eines Europäischen Konflikts. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2006. Print.  [24] Bernecker, Walther L. Spanische Geschichte Vom 15. Jahrhundert Biz Zur Gegenwart. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1999. Print.  [25] Bernecker, Walther L. Spanische Geschichte Vom 15. Jahrhundert Biz Zur Gegenwart. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1999. Print.  [26] BORKENAU, Franz. The Spanish Cockpit. An Eye-witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts of the Spanish Civil War. [With Plates.]. London: Faber & Faber, 1937. Print.  [27] Marty, Andrew. Letter to General Consul of the Soviet Union in Barcelona. 11 Oct. 1936. Spartacus Educational. Peter McMillan, n.d. Web. 4 Nov. 2012. .  [28] Bernecker, Walther L. Spanische Geschichte Vom 15. Jahrhundert Biz Zur Gegenwart. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1999. Print  [29] “The Spanish Civil War” by Andrew Forrest. Routledge, 2000, London, UK. Pg.60  [30] Seidel, Carlos C. Der Spanische Bürgerkrieg - Geschichte Eines Europäischen Konflikts. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2006. Print.  [31] “Spain’s Civil War 2nd Edition”. Harry Brown. Addison Wesley Longman 1983, New York, USA. Pg. 39  [32] Thomas, Ann VW, Jr. Proceedings of the American Society of International Law at Its Annual Meeting. Vol. 61. United States of America: American Society of International Law, 1967. Print. Monographic Ser.  [33] “Spain’s Civil War 2nd Edition”. Harry Brown. Addison Wesley Longman 1983, New York, USA. Pg. 38  [34] “Madrid 1937: Letters of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade From the Spanish Civil War” by Cary Nelson. Routledge 1996, New Yourk, USA. Pg. 3  [35] Access to history in depth – “The Spanish Civil War” by Patricia Knight, Hodder & Stoughton 1998, London, UK. Pg. 4  [36] Julius Caesar  [37]The Spanish Cockpit: An Eye-Witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts’ by Franz Borkenau. Faber an FaberLtd.,  pg. 265  [38] Thomas, Ann VW, Jr. Proceedings of the American Society of International Law at Its Annual Meeting. Vol. 61. United States of America: American Society of International Law, 1967. Print. Monographic Ser.  [39] Brown, Harry. Spain's Civil War. 2nd ed. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 1983. Print.  [40] Simkin, John. "Non-Intervention Agreement." Spartacus Education. Spartacus Educational Publishers Ltd, n.d. Web. 23 June 2012. .  [41] Simkin, John. "Non-Intervention Agreement." Spartacus Education. Spartacus Educational Publishers Ltd, n.d. Web. 23 June 2012. .  [42] Orwell, George. Homage to Catalonia. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1952. Print.  [43] Gómez López, Manuel. Personal interview. 23 August 2012.  [44] ‘Political Turnmoil, Civil War and Franco Dictatorship 1898 – 1975.’ 2006.  23 June 2012.  [45] “The Spanish Civil War” by Andrew Forrest. Routledge 2000, London, UK. Pg. 60  [46] ‘The Spanish Cockpit: An Eye-Witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts’ by Franz Borkenau. Faber an FaberLtd., 1937.  Pg. 266  [47] The Spanish Cockpit: An Eye-Witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts’ by Franz Borkenau. Faber an FaberLtd., 1937.  Pg.271  40 ‘The ebro 1938: Death knell of the Republic’ by Chris Henry. Osprey Publishing Ltd. 1999 pg. 6  [49] Ramon Puche Macia, El paso se hizo con cualquier embarcacion que flotara…”  [50] Ramon Puche Macia, la superioridad aeria y material del Ejercito nacional les permetia atacar frontalmente y asi destruir de manera complete las unidaded republicanas.”  [51] Forrest, Andrew. The Spanish Civil War. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.  [52] Access to history in depth – “The Spanish Civil War” by Patricia Knight, Hodder & Stoughton 1998, London, UK. Pg. 4  [53] Seidel, Carlos C. Der Spanische Bürgerkrieg - Geschichte Eines Europäischen Konflikts. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2006. Print  [54] De, Meneses Filipe Ribeiro. Franco and the Spanish Civil War. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.  [55] BORKENAU, Franz. The Spanish Cockpit. An Eye-witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts of the Spanish Civil War. [With Plates.]. London: Faber & Faber, 1937. Print.  [56] Letter from Andre Marty to the General Consul of the Soviet Union (11th Oct. 1936)  [57] The Spanish Cockpit: An Eye-Witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts’ by Franz Borkenau. Faber an FaberLtd., 1937.  Pg.271  [58] [58] Access to history in depth – “The Spanish Civil War” by Patricia Knight, Hodder & Stoughton 1998, London, UK.  [59] “Homage to Catalonia” by George Orwell. Houghton Mifflin Books, 1952, USA. Pg. 49 It should be taken into account, that Lord Rothemere owned the Daily Mail at the time and was a friend of Hitler and Mussolini’s. Therefore it is possible to assume that Rothemere would paint Franco in a good light. (Griffiths, Richard. ‘Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany’. Oxford Paperbacks, March 17, 1983) 

Evaluate the role of ideological differences in the Spanish Civil War

In July 1936, in parallel to German troops marching in the Rhineland and the Rome-Berlin Axis being signed, the Spanish Civil war broke out. A consequence of complete opposite ideologies, unhappiness towards democracy and an appeal to extreme solutions, Spain soon fell under the same situation happening in neighboring countries, Germany and Italy, where Fascism was taking over. From 1923 to 1930 General Primo de Rivera ruled the country after years of an incompetent government in power. Following the 1929 Wall Street Crash and Great Depression, Spain and many more countries suffered a severe economic crisis, which led Alfonso XIII to abdicate and the end of a monarchy. As unhappiness and lost hope increased among the population in Spain, the popularity of two main opposing groups grew, the right-wing Nationalists and the left-wing Republicans. Professor Alaric Searle describes the civil war as a war that “had a clear division between the major totalitarian participants and the democratic observers.” This essay will in fact analyze and evaluate the difference in ideologies of the two main forces fighting in the Spanish Civil war and how their role and additional complications affected the victory of the Nationalist right-wing party.

José Calvo Sotelo, a leading member of the monarchist and conservative right-wing party in the parliament, was murdered on July 13th, 1936 by a close connection to the leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), Indalecio Prieto. This event was the spark that started the previously planned military coup by the Nationalists, which later failed and officially marked the start of the Spanish Civil War. The so-called Nationalist group led by General Franco was amused by the totalitarian fascist ideology whose popularity was growing in both Italy and Germany around the same time. Supported by the Army, the Church and many landowners, this political group had the tendency to only focus on the military aspects of a conflict. As they all claimed they were fighting for law and order, they also felt the need to protect the Church from godless political parties like the Communists. The Nationalists was how the numerous right-wing groups decided to call themselves prior of the war. However, even though the name may suggest that they all share the same ideology, they didn’t. In fact, it was a group made up of the Carlists, who demanded a restoration of monarchy; the Falange, a fascist group favoring a dictatorship; the Nationalists, who fought for a strong government and a national attitude; and finally the Military and the CEDA, group of right-wing parties leaders. Clearly, all groups had different aims and ideologies in mind, however they shared one similarity which was the enemy, specifically the Communist party. The role of ideology within the Nationalists was crucial, with only one aim connecting all groups it had to be strong, passionate and clear enough for them to fight together. Foreign interest was as equally divided, in fact countries like Britain decided to follow non-intervention. Nevertheless, countries such as Italy, Germany and Russia joined either side due to their immense interest in who would win the war and therefore affect any political, economic or social connections with Spain. I believe the support to the Nationalists from such charismatic fascist countries such as Italy and Germany, definitely played a role in uniting the differences in ideologies from all right-wing countries. The belief of fighting alongside such passionate totalitarian states that shared some of the same ideals and definitely the same enemy, had an impact on how much the groups believed in one another as they fought against the same enemy. Therefore, observing all ideology differences part of the Nationalists the chances of internal fighting was high, however the fact that they shared the same enemy and threat tightened the bond between them.

Foreign investment also played a major role in maintaining fanatic loyalty within Nationalist members and all ideology differences may have become secondary to them while fighting. As Eric Hobsbawm claims, these times, such as the Spanish Civil War years can be defined as “Ages of extremes”, this can suggest how the Republic ideology was the complete opposite of any right- wing beliefs from the Nationalists. After the abdication of the King Alfonso XIII and the fall of the monarchy, the atmosphere of republicanism was growing. The republican left-wing government was elected at the start of 1936, whose ideology wanted radical change after years of instability and skepticism in the government. Supported by army officers, workers and peasants, their ideology to solve problems was based on the organization of strikes, riots and assassinations. Some of their first radical changes, included Catalonia being allowed to be a self-government, attacks on the Church and its power and the nationalization of large states, which were against all different right-wing party’s ideologies. Also known as the Popular Front, the Republican opposition was made up of 3 main left-wing ideology-based groups  whose differences severely weakened their position later in the war. This group was made up of the Anarchists, who believed in no borders, and complete freedom; the Syndicalists, who was a powerful group of trade unions and wanted to overthrow the capitalist system; and finally, the Socialists, who in fact were despised by the two previously stated left-wing groups, because of their ideology appeal to the middle-class groups instead of the workers. Led by Largo Caballero, the Socialists party in charge, decided to not support the government anymore, which gained the support of the communists as well, hoping the government would fail and they could seize power. The clear and tragic differences in ideologies between these 4 left-wing groups, had little to no equal ideologies, similarly to the Nationalist groups. However, unlike the Nationalists, the Republican’s foreign interest and intervention played a weak role in keeping the different ideologies together to fight against the same enemy. Even if the USSR, a communist state, offered intervention to the Republicans, their support was weak, underequipped and old-fashioned. The USSR decided to provide the left-wing army in Spain with old ammunition, aircraft and military resources reserves, which were no longer needed or wanted in the USSR. Stalin also firmly believed that all Anarchists and Socialists should be weakened since they did not support communist ideology completely. As a result, he considered them as enemies as well and murdered many of them. This weak, violent and unstable connection between groups part of the Popular Front, started to affect the final outcome fighting against the Nationalists, leading to Republican defeat in March 1939.

Looking beyond the ideology conflicts which caused the civil war, factors like the Great Depression added pressure and unhappiness among the Spanish population. Just like in numerous other countries, like Britain, Italy and Japan, the Great Depression after 1929 severely caused problems within these nations. Prior to the war, as Spain was still a monarchy, the country was considered quite backwards, with very few industries based on the production of steel and iron, and it mostly relied on the agriculture market. As a result of the Wall Street Crash in 1929 and the Great Depression, in Spain, agricultural prices were drastically falling due to the drop in important trades with outside countries in economic instability. Both wine and olive exports declined, as a result peasants and workers unemployment increased. This can explain the support and appeal to the left-wing ideology at the beginning of the 1930s, who prioritized workers, their positions and wages. Although, all solutions  presented by the left-wing parties, soon resulted in little to no change to the worker’s conditions and problems, therefore causing the support loss of many workers contributing to the start of the civil war. Consequently, the small industrialized market in Spain of iron fell by a third, while steel production fell by a half. Looking a few years forward, foreign intervention was very much needed in order to fight a war, since such metal production had drastically fallen, unable to provide ammunition and resources to both Nationalists and Republicans. Just as we can observe a similar situation happening in Weimar Germany, the population was clearly unhappy, exhausted and had lost belief in the government, here the extreme and drastic solutions that both the right-wing and left-wing parties proposed, turned out to be very appealing to the population. In Spain, the lost trust in the government resulted in political and social infighting from different groups in the population, leading a tragic division of ideologies.

In conclusion, after carefully analyzing and evaluating how the ideology differences from the right-wing Nationalist party and the left-wing Republican party contributed to the start of the civil war, it is clear to see that there was a great threat posed by opposing ideologies. Such extreme ideologies as these, clearly caused conflicts and severe disagreements within the population and the groups themselves, which could only be heard by the organization of violent attacks or assassinations. While ideology differences inside the numerous groups forming the Nationalists could be kept together with the help of foreign fascist intervention and the aim of defeating the same enemy, the Republican army fell apart due to the same reasons. Both opposing parties appealed to very different approaches of totalitarian states, where the military aspect had a tendency to only be focused on. In addition to these great differences in ideologies, the Great Depression certainly played a major role in the building up to such extreme divisions in the country. Results of the depression such as unhappiness, economic and political problems led the population to follow and believe in extreme ideals, dividing the population further.

 In 1936 a civil conflict broke out in Spain between the country's republican government and a nationalist movement led by Francisco Franco, after over 100 years of social, economic and political disputes. Both Republicans and Nationalists could be considered amalgamations of different political groups, each with differing ideologies. Furthermore, there was great ideological polarization in Europe at the time, which marked the reactions of the other countries when it came to the conflict. Due to this “Evaluating the role of ideological differences in the Spanish Civil War” can be considered quite a broad and vague prompt as said ideological differences found their way into all aspects of the conflict. In order to analyze their role more effectively this essay will describe their influence in starting, fuelling and deciding the victor of the conflict. This essay will argue that while ideological differences played a major role in starting and, on a more minor scale, fueling the war, it was the overwhelming power difference granted to the two combatting sides by the military support of foreign countries, or lack thereof, that ultimately sustained the war and decided its outcome.
While Ideological differences were clearly a crucial factor in starting the war, it is not a stretch to argue that they might have had little importance in commencing the conflict. The motivation that most likely sparked the war on July 17th 1936 was the pent up frustration and displeasure on the part of all the exponents of conservatism in Spain, built up by a series of radically liberal reforms made by the government. One of these major exponents being the CEDA party (Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas), the most influential catholic force in Spanish politics, who were naturally perturbed by the government’s “separation of the church and the state” which denied, under article 26 of the constitution, funding for the catholic church; repurposing some of their properties, and banning clerics from teaching in schools. Likewise, integral conservative and nationalist parties such as Acción Española, as well as the aristocracy, strongly  disapproved the nationalization of large estates, such as land, banks and railways, in addition to the agrarian reforms and the strides that were being made to give more freedom to Catalonia and the Basque Country. Additionally, the Spanish Military Union (Unión Militar Española), of which Franco was a part of, felt betrayed by the government’s amnesty of left wing political prisoners and the discharging or transfer of various military leaders. Furthermore the fascist Falange group was intent on establishing a fascist government in Spain under the example of Italy and Germany. Lastly, groups like the Alfonsists and Carlists, who advocated for the reinstitution of the Spanish monarchy, were ideologically opposed to the idea of a democratic government in the first place. The rise to power of the Popular Front in the elections of 1936 and their immediate radical liberal reforms, thus forced a strong communion of interests among all the differing right wing ideologies. And together with the structural weakness, due to the clash of ideologies, of the Popular Front, which included a heterogeneous mixture of parties such as the socialists, syndicalists and communists (with the addition of the anarchists), that made a possible war more appealing to the right, a conflict was made inevitable. However the straw that broke the camel's back was the murder of right wing polititian Calvo Sotelo by the Republican guard which led the right wing to believe that force was the only option. On the other hand, it can also be argued that, as AJP Taylor said referring to Hitler rather than the war, the Great Depression put wind in the Spanish civil war’s sails, as the 1929 stock market crash was what caused the great ideological divide present in Spain in the first place. Due to the depression unemployment skyrocketed and the Republic lost support of the working class. Due to this the government was forced to give into the people’s demands more to regain their support, this led to a much more “socialist” way of governing, as well as all the aforementioned reforms. Furthermore, it can also be argued that what truly moved the right wing to action  were the economic interest of different social classes. The military officers were simply moved by their forced premature retirements that caused them trouble economically and in terms of social status. The conservative representatives, who were largely landowners, and the members of the church were hit economically by the nationalization of their estates as well as a general loss of power, which, for the landowners, also came largely due to the agrarian reforms. While the Industrialists were hit hard by the nationalization of railways and the government enforced increase in worker rights and salaries. And while this economic argument does explain the actions that led to the start of the war in a similar way to the previous one, it still represents the polarization of opposite ideologies involving the conceptions of social order, the roles of Church and State, the battle between obscurantism and modernization.
As the war progressed, the ideological conflict attracted the interest of major international powers with similar ideologies (Italy and Germany on the side of the Nationalists and the USSR on the side of the republicans). To some extent Hitler and Mussolini chose to get involved in the conflict in order to stop the spread of communism and spread their own Fascist ideology. Much like his fascist counterparts, Stalin was concerned with the recent rise of fascism in europe and offered his help to the republicans in order to marginalize its advance and increase the influence of communism. Stalin however was not alone as the anti fascist sentiment had spread throughout the world, which led to the formation of the International Brigades counting over 40000 men from 53 different nations. These soldiers truly believed in their ideology and risked their lives for it; they believed they were fighting a crucial battle against evil as shown in the Irish song “​Viva la Quinta Brigada​'' in which lyrics like “truth and love against the forces of evil” truly carry the sense of determination and passion these men felt during the conflict. This shows how ideological differences played a key role in turning a civil
 war into a global conflict that would affect the lives of people the world over as well as in extending the conflict and fueling the bloodshed. However Hitler and Mussolini’s motivations ran much deeper and were much more strategically based than simply supporting a war of ideologies. The two dictators hoped that a nationalist Spain would be a valuable ally against France and Britain, an alliance that would give them control over much of mainland Europe and an especially strong advantage against France. In addition, well agreed upon sentiments regarding Hitler and Mussolini’s motivations are that of historian and author Eileen Heyes who argues that for Hitler the Spanish civil war was merely “a chance to test the weapons and planes Germany was building” and that of the Naval War College (U.S.) which states that Mussolini “coveted access to bases from which he could easily ravage vital French strategic routes in the western Mediterranean”, access that he would later obtain. This, together with the fact that Franco wasn’t actually a pure Fascist, thus reducing the importance of ideological influence, shows how these countries' motivations for fueling the war were much more tactical than ideological. To further reinforce the idea that pure ideological motivation wasn’t enough of a reason to further fuel the conflict, on the other side Stalin only offered minimal support and mainly focussed his efforts on encouraging the Comintern to act, while France, Britain and the US refused to act out of domestic issues, military incapability and lack of strategic interest respectively.
Ideological Differences also played a minor role in deciding the victor of the Spanish civil war. While the nationalists were unified in their aim, had a common enemy and a charismatic leader in Francisco Franco, the republicans were divided by Ideological differences, often clashing with each other. The anarchists and communists fought each other in Barcelona, the communists themselves being divided into Stalinists and Trotskyites. There was even a change in leadership as Caballero was replaced by Juan Negrín. Showing how ideological differences
 ended up playing a limited, secondary role in deciding the victor of the civil war. Ultimately, it is evident that the prime reason for the Republican loss in the spanish civil war was the overwhelming discrepancy in military resources between the two armies. As discussed before the Republican army was offered only a fraction of the military support the Nationalists received. Italy offered around 80000 men, 157 tanks and 458 aircrafts and much more while Germany supported the Nationalist army by air dropping them to the continent from Morocco with the use of the Condor Legion, a special aircraft unit, as well as also offering equipment and men. Crucially, the international community signed a non-intervention agreement. The US had their own non intervention policy and therefore refused involvement in foreign countries’ affairs. The United Kingdom was struggling with the consequences of the Great Depression, public opinion was extremely anti war and the army was in no shape to fight a large scale conflict. France on the other hand was already worried by a possible conflict with Germany and thus opted not to participate in the war. Even the aid the Republicans received was limited and subpar. It only included the 40000 international brigade volunteers as well as obsolete weapons and aircrafts from the Soviet Union all heavily priced and whose payment was to be immediate and in gold. Further adding insult to injury, Nationalist war leaders were highly skilled, experienced soldiers as a large part of the experienced army officers aligned themselves with the right wing cause. This exemplifies the relative non importance of ideological differences in deciding the victor of the Spanish civil war as even without internal turmoil, the Republicans were left at an insurmountable military disadvantage.
In conclusion, while ideological differences played a crucial role in starting the civil war; as a whole, they did not contribute in a significant manner to the events that followed, and thus played an overall supporting role to that of foreign intervention that was key in fuelling and deciding the outcome of the conflict.

Foreign intervention played a key role in the outcome of the Spanish civil war, leading to a Nationalist victory and Republican loss. Germany and Italy, the fascist powers of Europe, supported the nationalists under Franco, supplying them with weapons, strategy, supplies and to a smaller extent soldiers. The Republicans on the other hand received support from the soviet union, receiving limited and outdated weaponry such as the Heinkel airplanes as well as little manpower other than the International brigades, which contained 36,000 untrained men. Additionally, the republicans did not receive aid from the only other Democratic powers in Europe, Britain and France, as they had a non-intervention policy. This essay will argue that Foreign intervention on one side and limited intervention on the other were the main cause for the victory of Franco’s nationalists. Firstly, a look into the support received by the Republicans is required. The republicans received resources from the Soviet Union in exchange for their gold reserves. This meant that the Republicans no longer had money to buy resources from anyone and were solely reliant on the Soviet Union for support. This can be seen by them not buying weaponry and resources from any foreign power. The Soviets, supplied with the Spanish gold reserves, provided the Republicans with a few hundred tanks and airplanes yet no actual soldiers to support them other than the International Brigades which were organized by the Comintern. This meant that the Soviets were unwilling to provide real assistance to the Spaniards as they did not consider this war important enough for Russian lives to be lost. This is further detailed by George Orwell, as he determines that there were very few Russians within the international brigade and that there were no trained Russian units fighting in the war. The planes and pilots the soviets provided the Republicans ultimately proved ineffective and unimportant in the outcome of the war. The Heinkel airplanes proved no match for the German Messerschmitt’s provided by the Condor legion which ultimately led to a loss of air superiority in 1937. Additionally, the Russian tanks proved ineffective as they broke down and as there were no mechanics nor resources to fix them, the Nationalists gained superiority in the flatlands. The lack of strategy within the Republican army allowed the Nationalists to take the entirety of western Spain within a year. This could have been avoided had the Soviets sent over trained brigades as well as commanders, as they would have been able to put up a strategic defense of the western part of Spain as well the major cities. Ultimately tanks and airplanes were instrumental in the taking of the two major Republican cities of Madrid and Barcelona as detailed by George Orwell when describing the loss of morale within the International Brigades and subsequently the Spanish Republican volunteers. In conclusion, due to the lack of foreign intervention in support of the Republicans they could not keep up with the Nationalists and the support they received from the Italians and Germans However, the Republicans would have been unable to win the war were it not for German and Italian intervention. Firstly, the Army of Africa would have been unable to cross over to mainland Spain as they would not have had any means of transportation. The Germans supplied the army with an airlift while the Italians supplied the ships moving the supplies with air cover. Without this air cover and airlift, the Nationalists would have been unable to cross the Mediterranean. The Army of Africa would have had to go by sea as they had no airplanes in Morocco and the airplanes under Nationalist control in the Mainland would have been unable to carry the soldiers. This can be seen as there were only 10 planes under Nationalist control. The sea was controlled by the Republicans, as they still remained in control of the navy. Therefore, any attempts to cross the Mediterranean by boat would have been stopped and would most likely have made the war far easier for the Republicans. The Army of Africa was instrumental to Nationalist victory. In 1936, the Army of Africa took control of almost the entirety of western Spain, stretching all the way from Cadiz, to Corunna. The reason for this was that the soldiers were trained and under the command of a well-respected General. The soldiers also had far superior supplies to those of the regular Spanish army, as they had machine guns and weapons which were needed in their conquest of Morocco. These soldiers had also experience battles before, as they were stationed in rebellious Morocco, therefore their morale was far higher and rarely decreased. The assistance of Foreign powers was also instrumental in decreasing the morale of the soldiers of the Republican army. The Italians decreased the morale through the destruction of the ships carrying resources for the Republicans using submarines. This can be seen by the lower conscription numbers in 1936-37, the increase in 1938 occurring due to heightened morale after the Italians agreed to stop bombing the ports. Additionally, the gruesome bombing of Guernica by the Condor legion, as portrayed by Pablo Picasso, led to the Germans instilling fear in the Republican cities, as they were now aware as to what will happen if they resist the Nationalists. This can be seen by the swift fall of Bilbao. This meant that the Nationalists were able to move through Spain at a far greater speed as they could take major cities very quickly. Additionally, air superiority as well as tanks played a major role in the taking of the major cities of Barcelona and Madrid. The German Messerschmitt’s outmatched the Soviet Heinkel’s in the war due to their superior technology as they were built far later. The superiority of German planes can also be seen in operation Barbosa were the Germans achieved air superiority over Stalingrad before moving their planes to the west. Addiotionally, tanks played a key role in taking the major cities, as the conscripted soldiers had no tools to fight them, as detailed by George Orwell’s description of the fall of Barcelona. Finally, German and Italian assistance was vital in the Nationalists winning the Spanish civil war. In conclusion, although both sides received foreign aid, the German and Italian proved much more effective than the Russian aid and was the only reason the Nationalists won the war. Had the airlift of the Army of Africa not occurred, the Republicans would have remained in control of the government just as they remained in control after the riots in 1936, they did not require soviet assistance for that and would not have required it to stop the soldiers of the mainland Army that decided to join the Nationalists. 

 From the May 2018 IBDP History Paper 2 Exam

 Examine the long- and short-term causes of one 20th-century war. 

As stated by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “A civil war is not a war but a sickness...The enemy is within. One fights against oneself”.
The Spanish Civil War, which took place from 1936-39, began following the failure of a military coup in its aim to take control of the entire country, and was the outcome of political polarisation in Spain that had already been brewing for several decades before the outbreak of the war. It was seen as the equivalent of Fascist takeovers by Mussolini and Hitler. The war led to the intervention of other countries on both sides, with the Nationalists, or rebels, receiving aid from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, whilst the Republicans were helped by the Soviet Union and the International Brigades, which was made up of European and American volunteers. Regarding the origins of the Spanish Civil War, there were long- and short-term causes that were to blame for this ruthless conflict. This essay will discuss that whilst political issues were the main causes, long- and short-term, there were also other factors, especially when taking the long-term causes into consideration.
Officially, the Spanish Civil War began on July 17th, 1936, only four days after the murder of Jose Calvo Sotelo, a Spanish politician and jurist. The assassination followed the victory of the Popular Front government in the general election on Febrary 16th 1936, in which Azaña was restored to power with a liberal but not radical manifesto. This event was seen as both a pursuit to keep democracy and peace and also an operation of extremist communism, highlighting the extent to which Spain was polarised at the time. Furthermore, this threw the Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Rights (Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas), or CEDA into a pit of disruption, which was unusual, as usually the CEDA itself was the one at the root of chaos subsequent to its formation in February 1933, shortly after Azaña lost much of the support he once had. For example, it was what sparked the Asturias rising in October 1934, when Catalonia attempted to declare independence, however the act of freedom was suspended after the uprising of the Asturian miners against the right-wing government. Going back a decade, Spain was already suffering, as the country had no resistance to the coup of General Primo de Rivera, who established an authoritarian right-wing regime to solve Spain’s problems. Due to this, he was able to rule ruthlessly for seven years (1923-30) and undermine the legitimacy of the monarchy before his resignation in 1930. Additionally, Spain had twelve unsuccessful governments between the years 1918-1923, further presenting the political instability and struggles between periods of conservatism and liberalism. Moreover, extremists in Spain believed that the country’s problems stemmed from long-term issues that could only be fixed by war, in particular after the establishment of the Second Republic in April 1931. This was also the Republican movement that overthrew Alfonso XIII. These long-term issues were not also political, but also industrial, economic, and army-related.
Many of the short-term causes of the Spanish Civil derive from there being ‘Two Spains’ at the time, however this polarisation began long before the war ever broke out. There was the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and VGT controlling urban areas, but the Communist Party, Socialists, and Liberals were also present in Spain, all of which were divided over reforms, which could’ve been the lead up to Spain failing to keep a stable government closer to the start of the war. There were an abundance of different political issues, including corrupt or rigged elections, the church using its wealth to gain political and social influence, and power being held mostly by the wealthy oligarchs of society. In addition, there were struggles between the centralist state and Catalona and the Basque Provinces after Primo de Rivera took
 back Catalonia’s self-governing rights. The effects of WWI, the Russian Revolution, and the final loss of the Spanish empire in 1898 also had a further effect on Spain that could have been somewhat at fault for the Spanish Civil War, destroying much of Spain’s political strength.
Aside from political injustices and problems, Spain was also faced with industrial issues long before the war. There was a huge need for modernisation and reform, as industrial workers struggled with low wages, long working hours, poor working conditions and housing, and more. Agriculture was Spain’s main source of economy and employment, but it did not provide enough food, as work was seasonal. Furthermore, the agricultural system was feudalistic, with anarchists advocating for the redistribution of land. The expansion of any agricultural land was also limited by poverty. For all of the reasons mentioned above, it is understandable why the country was so divided, not only over politics but also industry (in this case, mainly agriculture), and also the economy.
Moreover, there were several different origins of economic issues that contributed to the long-term causes of the Spanish Civil War. The post WWI depression was one of them, as well as the end of the Moroccan war in 1924, which put Spain in severe debt. The Church was also an issue, as it controlled education and certain important elements of the economy, however only really supported the upper classes, therefore was resented by the poor peasants. They saw the Church as a part of the wealthy classes that oppressed them, forbidding them to ever attempt to move up in the economic and social hierarchy. Spain was completely segregated, with land being owned by the ‘Grandees’ (Spanish nobility) in the south, and peasants owning insufficient land in the north who were supported by the anarchists. In the north, there were also riots which were repressed by the Civil Guard, but still even decades before the war there was violence and division within the country.
The Spanish army was seen as a protector of the nation that intervened in politics if a crisis ever were to occur. However, it was unpopular due to its brutal reputation and heavy taxes, and also ineffective, as shown by the loss of the Spanish empire and struggle to keep control of Morocco between 1906-26. Knowing this, it can be understood why the civil war escalated in Spain, as it is unlikely that it would be able to keep control of its own population if it could not control Morocco’s, which has always been much smaller. In addition, the army was too big, with too many officers, and there was a desperate need for reform as with too many officers, it is difficult to keep order within the army. Similarly to the Church’s preference to the upper class, upper and middle class dominated officer corps and were generally conservative, so the lower class and those who were not conservative were completely excluded.
To conclude, although it was technically the assassination of Jose Calvo Sotelo and other significant events shortly before that that caused the Spanish Civil War, one cannot forget the political, industrial, and economic issues that Spain had been struggling with long before such events, which may have not even happened if such problems had been resolved earlier. If such had been successful, Spain would most likely no longer have been polarised, meaning that no civil war would’ve ever broken out. For these reasons, whilst the short-term causes of the Spanish Civil War are obviously significant to the reasons as to why the war started, these would not have arisen without the long-term problems Spain had already been faced with.
 Works Cited
Untitled, Accessed 11 December 2022.
Byrne, Justin. “Spanish Socialist Workers' Party.” Wikipedia, Accessed 11 December 2022.
“History- Spain Flashcards.” Quizlet, Accessed 11 December 2022.
“The Long Term and Short Term Causes of the Spanish Civil War.” Prezi, Accessed 11 December 2022.
“Spanish Civil War | Holocaust Encyclopedia.” Holocaust Encyclopedia, Accessed 11 December 2022.
Woodcock, George. “Spanish Civil War | Definition, Causes, Summary, & Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, published 8 November 2022, Accessed 11 December 2022.


 Paper 2: Examine the long- and short-term causes of one 20th-century war.
As a Spaniard, the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939 is deeply ingrained into my history, as it played an instrumental role in forming the Spain that I know today. Due to the extent of foreign involvement and the supposed direct confrontation between communism and fascism, the Spanish Civil War, which saw a conservative, monarchist, Catholic Nationalist faction overthrow a Republic ruled by communists, socialists, and anarcho-syndicalists, is often touted as the "dress rehearsal for World War II", and, while this may or may not be true, its profound effect on Spain and the world is undeniable. However, in order to properly understand this complex and influential conflict, it is crucial to examine the causes of the Spanish Civil War, both in the long-term and the short-term. In this essay, I will argue that the long-term processes of the Spanish Empire's decline and the class struggle within Spain, combined with short-term causes including the Great Depression, the left-wing government's reforms, and the assassination of José Calvo Sotelo, led to the outbreak of civil war in Spain, and that fascism was not a key factor.
In the long-term, the Spanish Civil War was caused by the gradual decline of the Spanish Empire and the subsequent surplus of military officers concentrated in the Army of Africa. Having been the first empire known as "the empire on which the sun never sets" and having brought Catholicism to the New World, the Spanish Empire's decline, initiated by the Spanish American wars of independence in the early 19th century, was particularly humiliating for Spain, a once proud and powerful nation that saw itself reduced to a rump state. The final blow was delivered by the Spanish–American War of 1898, which resulted in Spain's loss of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. This was a key turning point, as, after the Spanish–American War, the considerable number of military officers that had been necessary to control a colonial empire but were now superfluous returned to Spain, eventually becoming primarily concentrated in Spanish Morocco as part of the Army of Africa. Given that these military officers were, for the most part, conservative, monarchist, and devoutly Catholic, this concentration of military personnel in Spanish Morocco later served as a powerful basis for a Nationalist uprising against the Popular Front government, which many in the military saw as betraying everything Spain stood for, especially in terms of religion. On the other hand, with regards to the Republicans, it can be argued that the Second Spanish Republic's creation and controversial reforms, which were a short-term catalyst of the Spanish Civil War, were caused by the long-term process of the class struggle within Spain. For centuries, Spain had, much like most of its European contemporaries, been a deeply hierarchical society, with the lavish life of the aristocracy starkly contrasting the horrendous standards of living that the peasants were subjected to. In fact, Antony Beevor introduces his well-known book The Spanish Civil War by using an image of Alfonso XIII, King of Spain until 1931, being pushed forwards in his broken automobile by peasants, to illustrate the extent of the divide between social classes in Spain and the effect this had on the sentiment of the populace. This is a valid representation of Spanish society at the time, seeing as the income share of the top 0.01 percent of the population was around 1.5 percent in the early 1930s, compared to around 0.8 percent in 2005. By the 1930s, Spain's working class population had endured centuries of hardship while watching the monarchs indulge in luxuries – it is not surprising that they embraced the opportunity for change and
 helped bring about the Second Spanish Republic. By doing so, they plunged Spain into the period of instability that would culminate in the Spanish Civil War.
While the Spanish Empire's decline and the class struggle within Spain made civil war possible, it is vital to consider the short-term causes that triggered the Spanish Civil War. One of these was the Great Depression, which led the Spanish economy to drop 20 percent below its usual trend in gross domestic product (GDP) throughout the 1930s. When economic downturn first occurred in 1929 and the value of the Spanish peseta fell, the Spanish military's grievances with dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera grew, causing King Alfonso XIII to withdraw his support for Primo de Rivera, who resigned on January 28, 1930. This proved to be detrimental, as Primo de Rivera's successor, Dámaso Berenguer, was unable to consolidate power and, on April 14, 1931, the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed and Alfonso XIII left Spain as a result of the 1931 Spanish local elections, which were perceived as a plebiscite on the monarchy of Alfonso XIII. The Great Depression had ended a period of relative stability under Primo de Rivera and ushered in the Second Spanish Republic, which further divided Spain politically and whose radical reforms where another short-term cause of the Spanish Civil War. The reforms enacted by the left-wing government of Manuel Azaña, who became prime minister of Spain on October 14, 1931, included granting more autonomy to Catalonia and the Basque Country, separating the Church from the state, ending religious education in schools, compulsorily retiring many military officers, nationalizing large estates which were mostly owned by the Church, and attempting to increase the proletariat's wages. While these changes were welcomed by most city-dwelling young people and women, the Spanish land and business owners, as well as the military and the Church, were furious. The military was especially fearful, as it saw the government's crackdown on military officers as an existential threat. Although a right-wing government was able to take power in the 1933 elections, the Popular Front, a coalition of communists, socialists, and anarcho-syndicalists, among others, took power in 1936, at which point political division in Spain became even more evident. As stated by José María Gil Robles, leader of CEDA, a right-wing party, in a parliamentary session on June 17, 1936, the Republicans had, since February 1, 1936, destroyed 160 churches, murdered 296 people, and assaulted 83 newspapers. Acts like these are a perfect example as to why several high-ranking military officers led by General Emilio Mola had been plotting to overthrow the Republican government since April 1936. Those in the military who were still hesitant or thought a coup lacked justification were finally convinced on July 13, 1936, when José Calvo Sotelo, a prominent conservative, monarchist member of the Congress of Deputies (the lower house of Spanish parliament), was murdered by socialist militiamen. This assassination represented the final catalyst for a civil conflict in Spain that had been brewing for months, if not years, and it also confirmed the Nationalists' view that they were fighting a godless, terroristic regime. As is expressed in the Spanish saying; "nos acostamos en una monarquía y despertamos en una república" ("we went to bed in a monarchy and woke up in a republic"), Spain was not prepared for nor fully open to the far-reaching changes implemented by the left-wing government in such a short period of time – they were too sudden and too radical to ever be successful, instead becoming a trigger for internal conflict.
It is important to note that it is still widely believed that the primary cause of the Spanish Civil War was fascism, following in the path of Germany and Italy. For example, Paul Preston, author
 of some of the most critically acclaimed books on the Spanish Civil War, points to the rise of Spanish fascist movements such as the Falange as a key factor in the country's descent into conflict. However, this is easily disproven by the fact that the Falange only received 0.07 percent of the vote in the 1936 Spanish general election, demonstrating that the vast majority of the Nationalist faction did not align itself with fascism. It is also difficult to broadly categorize the Nationalists in Spain as fascists, seeing as they did not really have a "us and them" doctrine, were mainly a reactionary movement wishing to preserve the status quo, and were made up of many different groups with varying ideologies. While Preston may be right in saying that the Falange contributed to the Spanish Civil War, labeling the Falange a "key factor" is an exaggeration, which must be taken into account when examining the causes of the Spanish Civil War.
In summation, it is clear that the long-term processes of the Spanish Empire's decline and the class struggle within Spain laid the foundations for the Spanish Civil War, which was triggered in the short-term by the Great Depression, the left-wing government's reforms, and the assassination of José Calvo Sotelo. The individual events contained in each of these causes may have, when viewed on their own, seemed unlikely to unleash a conflict that ended up killing around half a million people, which indicates the importance of fully considering all implications of historical events. Thus, after examining the long- and short-term causes, one can conclude that the Spanish Civil War, much like many other conflicts, began long before the first bullet was fired.

Example III:
Despite the complexities of the Spanish Civil War, its causes can be understood by simply examining Pablo Picasso’s famous painting: “Guernica”. In the painting, the deformed bull symbolizes Spain and its internal destruction as a result of growing ideological differences, whereas the physical devastation of the town highlights the impact of external factors in the war. Therefore, this essay will examine the role of ideological factors within Spain and socio-economic factors originating from foreign events and how they led to civil war.
When looking at “Guernica”, it is clear that the distorted bull represents the way Spain was being torn apart by its internal ideological differences. In the short-term, this was caused by increasingly extremist ideas in both left- and right-wing parties, which led to growing civil unrest with the election of every government between the years of 1931 and 1936. This can be seen with the election of the Second Republic of 1931, which banned all support of the monarchy and began the nationalization of large estates, leading to an increasing number of strikes, protests and violence in the streets. Two years later, the right-wing coalition CEDA canceled most of these reforms, but labor strikes did not cease.1 This continuing civil unrest is evidence of Spaniards’ seemingly uncompromising stance regarding their ideological differences, and the unrelenting violence that resulted. This is clearly reflected in the words of French poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “A Civil War is not a war but a sickness. The enemy is within. One fights almost against oneself”.2 This internal conflict can largely be attributed to the spread of extreme left-wing ideologies, which resulted in growing political polarization that would eventually make war inevitable by 1936. One long-term cause of this was the Spanish-American War of 1898, which rid Spain of imperial ideals and shifted political focus towards the country itself.3 This resulted in an increasing need for modernization in politics, eventually leading to the rejection of the monarchy.4 This downfall of monarchist ideals can largely be credited for the political conflicts leading up to the war, as it resulted in the election of the Left Republic in 1931 and the introduction of its extremist reforms. However, the violence that emerged as a result of political conflict cannot entirely be blamed on internal ideological differences in Spain. Here, the Russian Revolution played a crucial role as a long-term cause of the war as it provided an example of a successful revolution for Spain, thus inspiring a long period of violence as a method for political change. The revolution also sparked the ‘trieno bolchevista’ or ‘three Bolshevik years’ in Spain, which saw extreme militancy in the Spanish labor movement.5 Therefore, the increasing demands of trade unions and growing frequency of labor strikes in the period of political polarization of 1931-1936 were not entirely due to ideological differences.
Although the destruction of Guernica in Picasso’s painting was the result of foreign involvement during the Civil War, the effects of foreign events could be seen long before the start of the war with the build-up of socio-economic issues in Spain. Increasing poverty in the 1920s can be interpreted as the root of the social division that drove political conflicts throughout the 1930s as it caused a surge in migrations from rural areas to cities, thus accelerating social polarization between ‘la España profunda’ or ‘deep Spain’ and urban areas.6 The cause of this was the First World War and its aftermath, as Spain went from being a source of imports for the fighting countries to a nation facing severe inflation as a result of the recovery of European industry after the war.7 During WWI, the Spanish economy witnessed remarkable economic growth, however, this simply added to the growing division between northern and southern Spain due to their differing industries. This is because northern regions enjoyed substantial industrial expansion, whereas southern and central regions, as well as most of the Levante, underwent an agricultural crisis.8 Directly linked to this is the facilitated appeal of left-wing ideologies in struggling agricultural areas, thus driving the division between North, eventually Nationalist, and Central and Southern, eventually Republican, Spain.9 In the short term, this social polarization was exacerbated by the Great Depression,10 which caused an agricultural crisis due to soaring unemployment rates,11 thus driving landless laborers towards urban areas and increasing the prominence of social division.
In conclusion, the Spanish Civil War was the result of growing ideological differences within Spanish politics and the population, as well as the socio-economic effects of external events - as depicted in Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”. In Picasso’s interpretation of the bombing of the rural town, as in the four decades prior to the Spanish Civil War, the source of destruction was not simply internal conflict but also international circumstances.
Works Cited
Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Phoenix, 2007. Casanova, Julián. A Short History of the Spanish Civil War. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013. “Cause of the Spanish Civil War and its consequences.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Accessed 10 December 2022. de Ojeda, Jaime. “The Spanish-American War of 1898: a Spanish View - The World of 1898:
The Spanish-American War (Hispanic Division.” Library of Congress, Accessed 10 December 2022.
 Evans, Richard J. “The Spanish Civil War 1936-39.” Richard J Evans, Accessed 10 December 2022.
Ponce, Javier. “Spain | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1).” 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, 20 March 2015, Accessed 10 December 2022.
Preston, Paul. “Spain’s October Revolution and the Rightist Grasp for Power.” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 10, no. 4, 1975, pp. 555-578. JSTOR.
Sánchez, Andrés, et al. “Wartime and Post-war Economies (Spain) | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1).” Encyclopedia 1914-1918, 30 May 2017, ain. Accessed 9 December 2022.
“Spanish Civil War maps.” NZHistory, Accessed 10 December 2022.
Zoffmann Rodriguez, Arturo. “Lenin in Barcelona: the Russian Revolution and the Spanish trienio bolchevista, 1917–1920.” Slavic Review, vol. 76, no. 3, 2017, pp. 629-636. Cambridge University Press.


 Examine the long- and short-term causes of one 20th-century war.
The Spanish Civil War, spanning from 1936-1939, culminated the polarization of the life and politics in Spain, which arose thanks to a failing government and an economic crisis following the Great Depression. Such brought about much unrest among the Spanish people, leading to impulsive reelections and revolts, eventually bringing about the election of the left wing ‘Frente Popular’ (Popular Front) in February 1936. This was met with discontent by the Nationalist right, where the murder of their political leader, Calvo Sotelo, in July 1936 was the last straw regarding revolution, and soon after war. The following essay will argue that financial (long term) and political (short term) unrest were the predominant causes of the Spanish Civil War, and will further discuss the separation within Spain which amounted to such a War.
The long term effects of the depression coupled with the ineffective economic policies in place throughout the early 1930s paved the path to Civil War. The first sign of financial struggle came at the end of Rivera’s reign (1923-1930). Rivera, who came to power as a military dictator in 1923, reformed Spain and rectified its financial struggles, by industrializing a backwards country. Rivera was able to implement many reforms, such as increasing foreign trade by 300%1, but his economical victories came to an end as the depression hit Spain hard in the early months of 1930. The peseta fell drastically against other currencies, and their bad harvest the previous year did not aid the cause whatsoever 2. Exports of iron and oil, which once were higher than ever, now exponentially declined, and working class unemployment was at an all-time high. Rivera found himself stuck in an economic slump, in which he found no escape. Once he lost the backing from the military, public unrest and pressure caused him to resign and hand the regime back to the Monarchy 3. This proved to be pointless, as King Alfonso was unable to do any better than, and was forced to abdicate only one year later. Spain had since become a republic, but governance came and went, as none was able to bounce back from the economic hardship in which the depression had placed them. The working class stared to condemn the republic, and found it no better than the monarchy or dictatorship, as their wages were incredibly low. The left wing government at the time acted quickly to squander any reason for a revolution by implementing a polices such as the
 8-hour-day and the Law of Municipal Boundaries, which forbade hired workers who weren’t local to the owner's holdings1. This law caused unemployment to rise further, and brought about more social turmoil. In a desperate attempt to decrease unemployment, they started to regulate the use of machinery, which alienated the landowners, who now had neither people nor machinery to work their fields and factories. The Spanish governance changed constantly, where every new leader reversed changes made by the last, sending Spain into an economic dilemma. This cause great polarity among Spain, as each new government made reforms which aided different classes of people. Strikes and arson were an everyday occurrence, the largest being the Asturian miners revolt of 19341, the first major sign of an impending revolution. The polarity among the Spanish populace thanks to the long term effects of the depression and the failure of the republic to enact useful policies brought about the formation of two extremist parties; the Frente Popular, a group of socialists, anarchists, syndicalist and communists, and the Nationalists, which were made right wing groups such as the Falange. The mass unrest and financial crisis among the working class most definitely led to the regions filled with different social classes to side with different extremists sides. When the Frente Popular took control of the government in the 1936 rigged election, the working class whom which sided with the Nationalists started to revolt, while the middle class sided with the Frente Popular. This bringing about the Civil war in which the country was split between the density of the classes. With the ever-changing governments unable to make financial reforms to reverse the effects of the great depression, Spain spiraled into chaos and division, a breeding ground for Civil War.
The short term effect of the constant political change and poor political decisions effectively led to the beginning of the Civil War. The constant changing of the government in the years following up to the war left Spain divided, as with every new regime came new policies, and abolishment of old ones. In 1932 the left wing government under the lead of Azana was in power, they placed law in place which they expected would aid the development of Spain. One of their laws was an attack on the Church, which separated the Church and state by cutting funding and expelling the Jesuits4. Since they were mainly the educators in Spain, they now had a huge crisis in terms of teachers and education, which made the middle class and lower classes very
 uneasy. They also started nationalizing large estates, meaning that landowners were losing land which they rightfully owned to the state. Bringing about more unrest, and fueling protests and strikes. In 1933, the government set fire to houses in a village known as the Casas Viejas Incident, which lost them the support of the working class, causing the Right winged CEDA party to win the November 1933 general elections1. But, they were denied the house by the Left republicans, who tried to cancel the votes and instead brought the RRP to power.3 Such brought major unrest to the streets of Spain, as voters felt that their right was being taken away from them, and they such corruption should be punished. After almost a year of protests and violence in the streets, CEDA was given the seats in the Senate which they deserved in hopes that the revolutionary ideas would wash away. But then a revolt by the Asturian miners led to a fierce battle in which the Spanish military squandered the revolution, leading to hatred from the working class. The CEDA once in power, then reversed lots of Azana’s policies, canceling the reforms of the new Catalan government, and refusing the Basques their own government. The Basques, who had previously supported the right, now condemned them and switched to the left. By reversing the polices, CEDA effectively stabbed themselves in the back and lost the support of two major regions in Spain5. As the government returned the land to landowners, they became fiercely in favor of the right, and started to abuse the workers. They started firing leftist workers and taunting the workers by telling if they were hungry to “go eat the republic.”[4] In 1935 the RRP came back into power since the CEDA had lost much support with the lower class and the Basque and Catalan regions.1 The RRP experienced not much better, as they failed to appeal to the middle class and once again, an election was called and a new party rose, a culmination of left-wingers, the Frente Popular2. They were not welcomed since they had taken the streets on election day and rigged the ballots. After this, the country rapidly descended into anarchy, as the widely divided people and parties started to form coalitions to take control of Spain. The outright division between the people and the governments into the Nationalist (right wing) and Republicans (left wing) descending into civil war. The short term effect of the poor political decisions by the rapidly changing governments led to a clear segregation between classes, paving a path for coalitions to fight the Civil War.
 Although some may argue that the sole reason for the Civil War was due to the short term effect of the murder of Right-wing political leader Jose Calvo Sotelo. After the Frente Popular came to power, their police sent squads to arrest certain political oppositions. When going to arrest Calvo Sotelo, they instead shoot him in the back of the neck1. Such a rash action on the side of the Republicans led to massive reprisals and reactions among other right winged groups. Such an event was a perfect catalyst for a publicly justified coup, and almost undoubtedly, according to Preston Paul, was the sole reason for the uprisings in Spanish held Morocco, marking the beginning of the Civil war6. Although Preston Paul did determine the event which justified the start of the Civil War, he didn’t consider the causes of the event, or any of the prior events which led to the separation of the people of Spain, allowing there to be a Civil War. Helen Graham argues that polarity within Spain was the sole cause of Civil war; and agrees with this essay that without financial and social turmoil, there would not be any reason for there to be “two Spains” as Helen states, which confront each other in 19363. The idea that the murder of Calvo Sotelo was what accelerated Spains Civil War is no stranger; but to say that the Spanish Civil War was improbable without the murder of Sotelo completely ignores the rising tension within the country thanks to the depression and constant change in the Spanish Governance and their policies. It is an undeniable fact that the reasons for which the Civil War had occurred were primarily due to the Political and Finical unrest.
To return to the question, both the Long term effect of financial hardship on account of the depression, and the short term effects of the constant political unrest both contributed to the social polarity within Spain, hence bringing about “two Spains” and the contrasting idea in how their country should be ruled. Such forced the hand of political leaders to convene and revolt against the opposing parties, as the end of July 1936 marked the beginning of a 3-year long violent and bloody war preluding the second World War.
RRP- Radical Repulican Party
CEDA- Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas   CEDA English-Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Rights
1.Wikipedia. “Spanish Civil War,” December 5, 2022.
2.The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Spanish Civil War | Definition, Causes, Summary, & Facts.” In Encyclopædia Britannica, January 31, 2019.
3. Graham, Helen. The Spanish Civil War : A Very Short Introduction. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
4.Mann, Michael. Fascists. Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 316 5.Wikipedia Contributors. “CEDA.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation,
December 17, 2019.
6.Preston, Paul, and Paul 1946- Preston. The Spanish Civil War : Reaction, Revolution and Revenge. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2007.


 Long Term and Short Term Causes of The Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War between the years 1936 and 1939 was one of the most brutal civil wars in history, between the Nationalists, the army and the upper-classes, and Republicans, the lower and middle-classes, with a number of approximately 500,000 lives lost. People wondered what could have led to such a brutal civil war, whether it was the occurrence of specific events such as “The Popular Front” or if there were other long term causes as well that made the war inevitable by the time it happened. In his book “The Battle for Spain'', Antony Beevor raised the question “Was there ever a people whose leaders were as truly their enemies as this one?” coming up with the conclusion that it was the leaders of Spain that allowed such destruction to be brought upon their own country. In this essay, I will support Antony Beevor’s argument by investigating the long and short term causes of The Spanish Civil War.
The Spanish Civil War was the result of many long term causes leading the country into division and chaos. Throughout the 19th century until the civil war, Spain dealt with poverty due to an agriculturally based economy supported by Goerge Orwell’s description, “The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money — tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master.”. More than half of the population being peasants and uneducated created an enormous gap between the upper and lower classes. This extreme lack of economical balance within Spain sparked hatred between the two classes as the division it caused left no possibility for mutual empathy or respect that the two sides should have treated each other with. This supports the idea that the Nationalists were too satisfied with their positions of power and wealth that they were selfish enough to disregard the poverty the rest of the country was drowning in. They found it unacceptable to replace conservative elements of the government because it wasn’t going to benefit them like it would the Republicans. Thus with clearly being more powerful than the Republicans, the 1930’s Depression the economic imbalance made way to, became a huge threat to The Republic as they faced losing the support of the working class, motivating the Nationalists to rebel against The Republic as it showed signs of instability. Referring back to Antony Beevor’s argument, the leaders of Spain had differing views on what action to take even though they were responsible for the economic collapse of the country after the failed attempt for the Industrial Revolution. Beevor further argues that “The Spanish Civil War has so often been portrayed as a clash between left and right, but this is a misleading simplification. Two other axes of conflict emerged: state centralism against regional independence and authoritarianism against the freedom of the individual.” This argument was valid and supported as the role that regions played in the causes of The Spanish Civil War was too large to disregard. There was great tension between the centralist state and Catalonia and the Basque regions with both provinces searching for independence and decentralization, having their own languages, economies, cultures and churches. When Primo de Rivera took back the self-governing rights of Catalonia, separatist forces began supporting the Republican movement that replaced Alfonso XIII, the King of Spain, in 1931. Their support
 upset the Nationalists because Alfonso was closely associated with the military, occasionally introducing himself as the ‘soldier-king’. This became a motive for the Nationalists to rebel against the Republic and punish the Catalans which they did achieve after Franco gained control over Spain.
However, these reasons are too simplistic to unleash the country into such bloody chaos. There were two other long term causes that led to the war; The army and The Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, due to its wealth, was able to gain influence over the population and therefore became a major power that allied with the Nationalists. Due to their control over the education and other public life elements, Republicans had already begun disliking The Catholic Church and had made attempts at removing their influence that injected opposing views towards modernization and libreal forces. Additionally, the upper-classes funded The Church so that they could continue to spread religious beliefs that restricted the people’s freedom of choice over their own lives in a means of securing their positions of power and thus having easy access to reaching their goal of overthrowing the Republic with the use of manipulation. The Catholic Church, therefore, allied itself with the Nationalists due to the endless support they received from aristocrats and the Nationalists began taking advantage of the widespread influence their new allies had in order to gain more allies. When it became clear that The Church was supporting the upper-classes, lower-classes’ resentment increased. It led to protests that caused more hostility between the two groups. The Spanish Army, on the other hand, was politically powerful due to their association with Alfonso XIII, although proved themselves ineffective on the battlefield with the Loss of the Spanish Empire in the 19th century. This was an ironic situation as it was proved in many instances, for example the Ottoman Army’s involvement with the Empire’s politics leading to the 31 March Incident in April 1909, a political crisis that became one of the reasons for the Empire’s downfall, that an army’s involvement with politics always resulted in negative outcomes. The Republic, due to this very reason, were bothered by their involvement and wanted to remove The Spanish Army from politics. This aggravated the army who already had a reputation for being cruel and savage, and because they were traditional and possessed conservative beliefs due to their faith towards the Catholic Church, they found it beneficial to take a stand with the Nationalists. The size of the army was a huge advantage that the Nationalists had gained through this alliance, a large number of people joining Franco. The Catholic Church and the Spanish Army both led to the formation of the two groups, once again supporting Beevor’s argument with the Church being Spain’s religious leaders and the army’s association with the King of Spain, Alfonso.
Although, the real trigger that set the civil war into motion was one of the short term causes, political polarization. Between the years 1931 and 1936, the population was divided due to the long term issues. Extremists admitted that they believed that war was the only solution to solve Spain’s problems. Thus this foreshadowed the brutal civil war as there was now a portion of the Spanish people with an undeniable thirst for bloodshed. After Alfonso’s resignation, The Left Republic came to power in April 1931 until November 1933. They shared the views of the Republicans and made an attempt at modernizing Spain. Manuel Azana became president and took action to fix the long term issues that had been causing issues within the country such as restricting the Church’s power and taking an anti-army approach by closing down military
 academies. Every choice that the Left Republic made was viewed as an attack towards the Right Wing even though it can be deduced that they did not intentionally attack the Nationalists but were making a genuine effort to support the lower-class people of Spain to rescue the country from its initial state at the time. From 1933 to 1936, however, the Right Republic took over and led the country in an exactly opposite direction than the way that the Left Republic had begun taking it. The hostility of Right Republicans and the violence behind the decisions they took was revealed quickly when the largest party CEDA turned into ‘a group of war ministers’. These two years were branded as the ‘black years’ due to the systematic reversal that occurred, the Church once again gaining authority over the country, and Catalonia being stripped away from its independence despite how much they tried to resist. This was a backwards step for the modernization of Spain, however it ensured the satisfaction of the upper-class Nationalists. But, in 1936, one of the main triggers for the Spanish Civil War, the Popular Front emerged, a party including a large number of Republicans. The Popular Front was also viewed as the ‘last stand to achieve peace’ within the country or ‘extreme communism’ by following the footsteps of Stalin’s policy in 1935. This angered the Nationalists and the army immediately began planning a coup. This clearly led the country to disaster as the only way the Republicans and the Nationalists interacted with each other was through violent attacks. With all the leaders of each party failing to create a stable government, their actions caused the people to believe that war was the only option they were left with in order to achieve what they wanted.
In conclusion, Beevor makes a valid argument by blaming the leaders of Spain for the causes of the Spanish Civil War. The economic crisis in Spain during the 19th century and the role of regions creating a base for the civil war and later on the increase in tension with the army and the Catholic Church’s made the war inevitable and even motivated the Nationalists to the extent that they did not just think it necessary to rebel against the Republic but also desired the violence it brought forth. The use of manipulation by powerful allies such as the Church and the tension between the two parties indeed carved a path that led to a civil war that was unavoidable.

 Examine the long- and short-term causes of one 20th-century war - Spanish Civil War
“Spaniards! To all of you who feel holy love for Spain, to all of you who in the ranks of the army and the navy have sworn to serve the fatherland, to those of you who swore to defend it from its enemies with your lives, the nation calls you to defend it.” These powerful words spoken by Francisco Franco, leader of the nationalist forces, demonstrate the passion and intensity only a civil war can inspire in its people. In essence, the Spanish Civil war was a culmination of a multitude of social and political factors that led to the culmination of conflict between factions of the nationalist and republican forces. Various short and long term factors escalated to the point of a bloody and gruesome struggle for power. In this essay, I will discuss three key factors that led to the outbreak of civil war: economically divided classes, the changing position of the Catholic Church and colossal political instability.

Antony Beever himself chose to begin his book (one that encompassed the causes, events and aftermath of the entire war) by accentuating the class differences present in Spain before the conflict began. A harrowing picture is painted as Beever describes how the car of King Alfonso XIII is being pushed by tanned and poorly dressed men, while in the background men in suits merely observe. “Few images better represented the extremes of the social and economic contrasts of Spain in the early part of the 20th century”. This class divide is significant as uprisings and revolutions are often led by the working class - and this one was no different. As Spain was a mainly agrarian society, a large amount of the lower classes were made up of farmers as well as other industry workers, who felt as though they deserved better treatment. In the aftermath of WW1, inflation hit these workers particularly hard as salaries increased by a mere 25% while prices doubled between 1913 and 1918. This was a factor that led to the mass joining of leftist union groups such as the UGT and CNT, whose members were to partake in acts of violence leading up to, and during, the civil war. Furthermore, the events in Spain may have been partly attributed to what happened in the Russian revolution little over a decade earlier. Russia abolished its monarchy, just as Spain will, and the working class was at the forefront of this revolution as well. The period of 1913 became known as the ‘three years of bolshevism’ and included uprisings in Andalucia and unrest in Barcelona. The formation of the Spanish Communist party followed in 1921, with continued demonstrations in Andalusia and beyond. Communism was also seen in various other parties in Spain, including in the Marxist POUM founded in 1935, as well as various socialist youth groups brought together under communist rule towards the beginning of the civil war. The creation of these various groups, both communist and union centered, created a stronger desire for social change as well as a large group of men that would form part of the fighting base during the three years of war. Economic class divide created strain throughout Spain, whose effects were significant in both the long and short term, and increased the time it took for the nation to progress into civil war.

Another notable cause, both long and short term, of the civil war was the changing role and power of the Roman Catholic Church. The church had been a formidable influence throughout Spanish history, and formed much of the population’s thought and purpose in unity with the state as early as 1479. With the concordat of 1851, Catholicism became Spain’s ‘only’ religion and had large power in education and the press, as well as extended influence due to high illiteracy rates. However, its great power led to a more prominent abuse of power, and the lower classes specifically had complications due to the ties the church had with the aristocracy because they defended the rights of the higher classes as they provided a significant amount of funding. Resentment towards the church was seen as early as 1909 in the “Semana
 Trágica”, which was one of the nation’s first uprisings. Though it was caused by an anti-militaristic mood stirred up by the need for an army in Morocco, the church was a chief target, with 80 of the 112 buildings set fire to being church owned or affiliated. In Beever’s words: “Such symbolic violence was the reaction of a people traumatized by intense superstition”. However, despite the important role of the church being a long-term cause of general resentment and change for the people, its effects have been exaggerated in the short term. Collectively, the right wing nationalists (who emerged victorious in 1939) used public support for the church and the past system to gain followers, which did work for the aristocracy. In fact, the creation of the Catholic party CEDA in 1933 reinforced the fact that there was some lingering belief in this old system. However, the church’s power was declining towards the 1930’s as religious attendance was the lowest of any Christian country - in 1934, less than 20% of Spain’s population was going to mass. Other groups and causes (such as various labor unions and political organizations) attracted the masses on a more significant scale than the church did. While the role of the Catholic church was a significant long term cause of bitterness for the working class, its magnitude in escalating violence in the short term is generally overemphasized.

Lastly, political instability caused in particular by the lasting effects of the monarchy contributed greatly to confusion and polarization that eventually led to the civil war. The monarchy had been in place from the times of King Ferdinand and Isabella, and was dissolved suddenly in 1931 with the creation of the Spanish republic. Despite issues associated with it, namely its close ties with the church, the nationalist party supported and used it as a beacon of familiarity for its members. The Carlist group was centered around the idea of reestablishing the Bourbon dynasty, and the “Renovación Española” or the Spanish renovation movement, was also centered around bringing back monarchic principles - both of which establish a clear presence of support for monarchy. Furthermore, the army, which was conservative in nature, also had close ties with the monarchy and this was one of the reasons for the compulsory retirement of many of its members, causing anger and resentment. Moreover, following a line of unsuccessful coup’s the politically charged assassination of monarchist Calvo Sotelo was a monumental short term cause of the civil war. The lack of response from the leading party of the time, the left’s Popular Front, caused public outrage, also caused by the fact that he was a highly influential leader of the right. The event also played a large role as a catalyst to the unsuccessful coup d’etat of July 1936, which was the beginning of the civil war itself. The monarchy played a significant role in the long and short term causes of the civil war.
In all, the significance of the changing role and power of the Catholic church and the monarchy are instrumental to understanding the deep rooted causes of the civil war. Articulately summed up by Antony Beever: ”the trinity of army, monarchy and church, which had originally made the empire, was also to preside over its final collapse”. Both of these factors in combination with the vast class divide in Spanish society created a multitude of short and long term causes of the war - ranging from the social alignment to various political groups to the escalation of violence and assassination of people in power. An understanding of these three instrumental factors allows for a glimpse into the complexity of the causes of the Spanish civil war.

 Examine the long- and short-term causes of one 20th-century war.
In 1936, after a series of aggression by the majority communist, socialist and anarchist Republicans under Azana against the conservative, monarchist and fascist Nationalists, CEDA member Sotelo was assassinated on July 12th by the PSOE-controlled Assault Guards which triggered the Nationalists to stage a military coup a couple of days later, triggering the Spanish Civil War. During this Spain, an impoverished terra incognita became an ideological battleground of ‘Fascism against Communism’ for which thousands of foreign young men gave their lives in a combat a mort. This essay will argue that the causes of the Spanish Civil War included the short-term events of the assassination of Sotelo, a prominent socialist member of the Spanish parliament, as well as Azana’s violent crackdown on the Nationalist faction, along with the long-term causes of the internal class-struggle and ideological tensions, and to a lesser extent the early foreign intervention of Germany, Italy, and the USSR.
In order to truly make sense of the multi-faceted conflict, one cannot only consider the events of 1936, because these short-term causes were deeply rooted in long-term socio-political issues which had been simmering since the beginning of the hierarchical system way back in the Roman Empire, creating and slowly exacerbating political tensions between the Republicans and Nationalists, causing a growth in popularity and passionate intensity for both, thereby leading to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. By the beginning of the 20th century, the once deeply religious Spanish populace turned their back on the Catholic Church, as the farmers viewed the church as a perpetrator of the monarchy, which oppressed them. The landless poor were effectively treated as slaves at the whim of their landowners, who also effectively owned the militarised Guardia Civil, and would go as far as to shoot unemployed workers scavenging for acorns and wood. In Castiblanco desperate men were arrested for gathering acorns, and near Ciudad Real famished peasants fed on grass. It was also common for labourers to earn 2 pesetas a day and forcibly spend a third of their year in enforced idleness, living less well than their master’s donkeys, as approximately 10,000 families of the 21 million population owned half the country’s cultivable land in the 1910s. This widespread inequality and poverty were key in causing a rapid rise in the popularity of left-wing ideologies, such as the PSOE, whose trade union grew from 8,000 members in 1908 to 200,000 in 1920. This was a clear sign of frustration, as revolutionary thoughts were brewing within the increasingly political impoverished population, some of them became anarchists, this meant that frequent strikes, robbed banks, bombs and political assassinations ensued. As we can clearly see, the proletariat was forced into severe apathy for the system, violent revolutionary thoughts were boiling, and the once clueless population shifted into a period of political disillusionment, where they would ache for an opportunity such as the de Riviera’s death to forcibly reform the nation out of mass poverty. Thus, the antagonism of the proletariat towards the conservative minority and those associated with them soon created a radical polarization in Spain, which finally erupted into open conflict in 1936. Furthermore, it is also crucial to keep in mind the long-term decline of Spanish influence and economy which triggered the rise of conservatism, and led to a climate of fear and repression in Spain when they were in power. Spain was once a great power whose king, Charles V used to say “I speak French to women, Italian to my soldiers, German to my horse and Spanish to God", he also left Spain to his firstborn and
 Germany to his half-brother. This was the reason why it was especially humiliating for the conservative population of Spain to witness the once powerful Spain’s loss of all its colonies in the Americas, Carribean, and the Pacific, only being left with its African possessions. This caused immense frustration within the monarchist Spanish military, who is now impotent, without any other colony to conquer or control, making them stuck in, and extremely concentrated in Morrocco. This frustration was almost brought to its limit when the devastating blow of the depression of 1929 caused Spain’s GPP to decline by 30%, almost an imitation of Hitler’s rise to power in Weimar the Weimar Republic, public dissidence of de Rivera significantly increased, so that when he died, his intended successor, Derenque was not able to gain power, and the popular front overthrew the dictatorship, whose policies were anti-clerical, anti-military, anti-oligarchy and anti-education, everything that the Nationalists stood against. They also forced the king, Alfonso XII, to abdicate the throne, never to return. The contribution of these factors to the preexisting political instability was extremely crucial, as it made the military officers resentful towards the Republicans, exacerbating tensions between the two.
While the decline of the Spanish Empire and its, it is also crucial to consider the short-term causes of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s which were the clashes between the Nationalists and Republicans, as well as the assassination of Sotelo. As the Nationalists implemented their vision when they got in power in 1933, they cracked down on opposition groups and individuals using violence and intimidation, as well as the imprisonment and execution of political dissidents, the Republicans did the same in 1931, and 1936. The rise in tensions and left-wing support allowed the republicans to overthrow the monarchy and the military dictatorship of de Riviera in January 1931, this catalysed violent rivalries between the Nationalist factions and Republicans, during the October revolution of 34’ caused by protests against electoral fraud by the socialists, both sides killed 1,500 men, women and children, and burned down 112 religious buildings. This example clearly shows how ideological tensions between the Nationalist factions and Republicans and the polarization of Spain up to 1935 instigated detrimental effects on the population, which over time built up an unbearable amount of hostility, hatred, and contempt between those who took sides, one side wishing to completely crush and eradicate the other. This divide turned Spain from a monarchial, organised nation, to a deeply divided one with both extremes. Knowing what we know now, it is clear that the detrimental conflicts, strikes, and innocent deaths exacerbated the passion of the two sides, increased popularity within their supporters, and aggravated the opposition, increasing hostility and desire to fight and kill marched the deeply divided country into a civil war. Additionally, up to 1936, the Republican military significantly overpowered the Nationalists in manpower, Franco needed to also win the support of as many Civil Guards as possible, as he couldn’t count on the Regulares consisting of inexperienced Moroccans and a mere 8,000 troops of the Legion Espanola to beat the 750,000 manned Ejército Popular de la República. Thankfully, the Popular Front’s abuse of power towards the Nationalists and their assassination of Sotelo 2 days before the coup was his go-head. After the Popular Front coalition’s win in the 1936 general elections, Azana resumed his Premiership amidst socio-economical convulsions between FAI and CEDA. After failing to reconcile and moderate the situation, Azana, in hopes of consolidating his power, attacked the Republicans’ most powerful rival, de Riviera, and forcibly dissolved the Falange, among many other provocative actions. This backfired, as the Falange's membership rose rapidly from 1,000 to 100,000 in July, this pattern repeated itself for the Monarchists and others.
 Azana’s open antagonism and the Falange’s desperate actions clearly frustrated the Nationalist factions, causing more and more to become open to the idea of a revolution, and those who have already accepted it, to become more vocal. One of these men was Robles. In July, he gave the Cortes a list of violence that was caused by the popular front, including 269 political murders, 1.200 wounded, 160 churches gutted, and 10 newspaper offices destroyed; Sotelo, an important member of the Renovacion Espanola then followed with a bitter diatribe, passionately and openly threatening a military revolt. A couple of days later, he was shot dead by Assault Guards controlled by the PSOE on July 12th. During Sotelo’s funeral, Renovacion Espanola leader Goicochea promised to “imitate your example, to avenge your death and to save Spain”. This wish manifested 5 days later, when the military rebellion began in Morrocco, marking the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, and a staggering 47% of the Guardia Civil turned to the Nationalist side, giving Franco his last push. As we can see, even though a plan for a coup was already in place ever since the Republicans’ win in January of 1936, the assassination of Calvo Sotelo, the last of its kind before the war, as well as Azana’s open antagony and hostility towards the Nationalists clearly provoked the last indecisive military soldiers to support the Nationalists’ rebellion and was Franco’s last impetus to reclaiming Spain from the hands of Azana.
Additionally, the widely believed misconception that foreign intervention in the global war of ‘Fascism against Communism’ caused the Spanish Civil War was largely untrue. Nevertheless, the Spanish Republican army had 750,000 soldiers, 1500 pieces of artillery, 800 tanks and armoured vehicles. El Caudillo wouldn’t have dared to bring his 30,000-manned Army of Africa into Spain simply because of his strong beliefs unless he could muster up a significant backing from foreign powers, more significant than that received by Azana. Luckily for Franco, as early as one month before the coup, Franco went to Hitler for his help, after which 20 cargo planes were immediately flown to Morrocco to the Army of Africa to the mainland. Therefore it was clear to Franco that he would receive the support of the Germans. Additionally, it was also known even before the war started that the Soviet’s Heinkels were no match for the German Messerschmitts as German military technology was far more advanced and cutting-edge. These facts suggest that it was the upcoming severe military edge and initial support that instilled a sense of confidence within Franco and his generals. However, although the nationalists would receive 10,000 troops, 800 aircraft, and 200 tanks from Germany and 70,000–75,000 troops, 750 planes, and 150 tanks from Italy and Germany, as a history student evaluating the causes of an event, one must limit oneself to the perspective of a person experiencing such an event before it happens, put away the power of hindsight. Although knowing what we know now, one would think that if the Nationalists knew the support they would have received, foreign intervention would be the biggest factor influencing their decision to stage a coup. However, the Nationalists knew no such things. Therefore to say that foreign intervention was one of the causes of the Spanish Civil war is an inherently weak argument. One, these impressive provisions were made after the coup on July 15th, meaning Franco couldn’t have been certain that he would have received them. Secondly, although it is also undeniable that Mussolini definitely helped Franco, these provisions wouldn’t arrive until his first bombing of Madrid in September 3rd, and even though Mussolini started planning the coup along with Sanjurjo, who was supposed to be the new Caudillo of Spain since January, his sudden death in July and the lack of communication of Mussolini and Franco up until then meant that il Duce didn’t trust
 Franco. He didn’t even fully decide to support Franco until the French and British mistakenly signed the non-intervention agreement, which he and Hitler were more than willing to break, guaranteeing the victory of the Nationalists, as the Republicans would then receive minimal support. While Germany’s initial support and their technological advancement helped provide some confidence to the Nationalists, it is clear that foreign support, in fact, didn’t make the great impact that it is widely acknowledged to have in terms of causing the Spanish Civil War, as it was still unclear whether or not Franco would receive the full support of Hitler, or even Mussolini at all.
The long-term ideological tensions in Spain since 1876, as well as the short-term factors of an imbalance of foreign support, and the Republican’s public antagonism and abuse of power towards the Nationalists all contributed to the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish population’s long-term ideological tensions caused a polarisation of Spain. They exacerbated tensions between the Republicans and Nationalists, setting the stage for a civil war. At the same time, the short-term antagonism of the Republicans towards the Nationalists and their assassination of Azana was the most important factor in triggering the coup d’etat. To a lesser extent, Germany’s minimal support at the beginning of the coup and its technological superiority to the USSR also influenced the coup, however far less than it was imagined to be. Although this makes us wonder, which of these factors was responsible for turning the coup into a devastating 3-year-long civil war.