20th Century topics
The Spanish Civil War Draft BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
There were a number of issues that had directly lead to the outbreak of the
Spanish Civil War, The greatest of these was the long period of decline that Spain had suffered since the days of the Spanish Empire. The fall of the Spanish Empire was truly that of inflation. After Spain had flooded the world with silvernaturally the price dropped considerably. Aside from losing their prestigious place as best naval power in the world, Spain also had to rebuild an entire fleet. Their inability to keep up repairing and maintaining their armies had gotten worse with each war they entered. Eventually they had no militia on any islands except for Spain. Napoleon’s invasion of Spain was the moment where it’s colonies realized Spain was weak enough to rebel.
In 1920 Spain was a constitutional monarch, its king Alfonso XIII. However, the government was inefficient and corrupt. One year later a Spanish troop was sent to Morocco to lay down a rebellion. They were massacred and this defeat seemed to only emphasize how corrupt and incompetent Spain’s leadership truly was. In
1923 Alfonso put General Primo de Rivera in control of Spain when it had suffered a bloodless coup. He ruled as military dictator until 1930 with Alfonso in complete support. However, Rivera did not show the characteristics of a dictator.
He introduced public works to build roads and irrigating the land.
Industrialization tripled between 1923 and 1930. Then the hardships of the Great
Depression had hit. Unemployment rose and Rivera didn’t have the ability to sort out Spain’s financial mess. He eventually resigned when the army withdrew their support. Soon after, Alfonso decided to abdicate when the republicans won all the major cities of Spain when the 1931 elections were held. Monarchism was now abolished. However the new republic faced many problems. Two important regions of Spain wanted their independence, they were Catalonia and Basque.
Had it been granted this would have lead to the breakup of Spain. The highly influential Roman Catholic church was hostile to the republic and would never
allow this to happen. They also believed the army had too much to say in politics and were determined to reduce it’s influence. In January of 1932 an army of officers tried to overthrow the head of government, the prime minister Manuel
Azana. The attempt was unsuccessful for the government was on his side and he had won the election fairly. He had legitimacy. The government of Azana had already lost the support of those of the right wing. Those of the left wing were the anarchists and syndicalists (powerful trade union group). Those of the left felt
Azana’s government was too middle ground. They wanted something more communistic state and to overthrow capitalism. Above all Azana was hated for creating a political union in the ground of Spain’s political life. He was deemed against the working class. The left wing organised strikes and riots to destabilize his government.
ORIGINS AND CAUSES OF WAR
Short term causes:
Spain was a landless country in which peasants cobbled together a bare subsistence and living by following harvest on vast wealthy agricultural estates.
The Catholic church identified with wealthy landowners than the people of Spain.
They were in control of Secondary education and seen no need for women to be educated and believed universal literacy more a danger than a goal. Divorce was illegal, the army was the only defensive wall against civil disorder and ultimate guarantor core values for the Spanish people. In 1936 the progressive Popular
Front was elected with the promise of realistic land reform as a key point. The conservatives immediately started to plan a resistance. The Spanish lefts celebrated the elections in a way that made conservative capitalists, military officers and churchmen worry that a much