Spain was a very backward country with very few industries, it was primarily a peasant economy. It was also a very religious country with a very powerful Catholic Church. It also had the growing problem of separatist groups; particularly Basques and Catalans. Urban workers, most landless peasants, much of the educated middle class, all the left-wing political groups and socialist and anarchist Trade Unions They were particularly strong in industrial regions such as Asturias and Cataluña. The majority of Catholic clergy and practicing Catholics (outside of the Basque region), most of the large landowners, many businessmen, carlists, monarchists, centralists (those opposed to regional autonomies) and fascists They kept the best trained part of the Army, that is, the Army of Morocco, and many important officials. From 1923-30 Spain was under the Dictatorship of Primo De Rivera with Alfonso XIII King. During this time the country had some modernisation but was still largely backward and like most countries was hit hard by the Wall Street Crash and the depression which followed. This was one of the reasons why Rivera resigned and Alfonso In 1931 a republican government brought in some reforms. This was replaced by a right wing government characterized by riots and unrest. In 1936 elections were won by the Popular front Government (a coalition of all left wing political parties e.g Communists, Socialists, Anarchists) who wanted radical reforms. In July a revolt of Army officers led to a civil war (the prospect of radical reforms which would most likely have lead to a loss of their influence) Portugal, Germany and Italy helped the Nationalists. The democratic countries decided not to get involved (Non Intervention) Attitude In 1936 France was ruled by a popular front government similar to Spain which was led by Leon Blum Non-Intervention policy suited French; they wanted to support the republicans but couldn’t rely on British support, were militarily unprepared and financially committed to a program of social reform. Involvement Officially the French government stuck to the policy of non – intervention. Unofficially, Small amounts of arms were smuggled across the border by French Trade Unionists to help the Republicans Non-intervention was the ideal policy for Baldwin’s government. As a conservative government, they couldn’t be seen to be supporting a popular front government, but also couldn’t be seen to be supporting a nationalist side. In addition to this Britain was not militarily or financially capable of getting involved. Involvement Britain stuck to the policy of non-intervention Attitude Italians initially agreed to nonintervention. However Mussolini wanted to support the nationalist side; he was afraid that if they lost Italy would be surrounded by popular front governments. Another motive for involvement was the raw materials available in Spain. Add to this the chance to divert Italian attention from the poor living standards and high unemployment rates. He also hoped to create a nationalist puppet government which would give him control of the Mediterranean. Involvement Gave military aid to Franco and the Nationalists. Between 1936 and 1938 the Italians provided. 50,000-100,000 troops – 6,000 killed. 760 aircraft. 950 tanks. 91 ships. 7.5 million rounds of ammunition. 80 million. In November 1936 Italy officially recognised Franco’s government. Attitude Involvement Stalin used the Civil War to further his own foreign policy aims. He was keen to prevent a victory for Franco and the Nationalists. However he was also keen to prevent a communist revolution as this would damage his own relations with Britain and France. Therefore he had to be seen to be supporting the legally elected government. Russia gave limited aid to the Popular Front/Republican side in return for Spain’s gold reserves. -240 Planes -800 tanks -88million (in exchange for gold reserves) -700 guns -29,000 tons of ammunition -Oil, tractors, technicians Russia also insisted that revolutionary socialists and anarchists were weakened. As a result many were murdered. Supporters of Stalin were given a large measure of power in organising the International Brigades. Attitude Involvement Hitler was keen to help the spread of any Fascist type regimes in Europe. Like Mussolini Hitler was keen to prevent a popular front government in Spain; he would feel ‘hemmed in’ by Spain, France and Russia. Raw materials would help with Germany’s rearmament plans. Spain as an ally would help control the Mediterranean in a future war. It would also be a chance to try out new weapons and methods. i.e Blitzkreig It would also be a chance to get closer links with Italy. Condor Legion under command of General Von Sperlle – 6,000 MEN 43 million 16,000 men – 300 killed/wounded Guernica April 26th 1937 1,700 killed 900 wounded 100 planes 16 tanks The Soviet Union and Mexico helped the Republicans The International Brigades and American Volunteers went to Spain to protect the Popular Front government. They were always led by Communists. These were volunteers from 53 different countries. Wide range from intellectuals to unemployed workers. They were recruited and organised by European Communist Parties under the control of Russia. About 60% of the 40,000 volunteers had been Communist party members. Many were keen for the sense of adventure and the chance to fight against Fascist aggression Brigades were forced to withdraw when Stalin changed his policy – this led to fall of Madrid and defeat of the Republicans. About 1/3 lost their lives Around 2,000 British joined the brigades Bad luck, lack of uniforms and equipment led to a loss of morale amongst the Brigades They were later incorporated into the Republican Army George Orwell, one of the most famous International Brigaders – wrote – ‘Homage to Catalonia’ On 19th July, 1936, General Francisco Franco assumed command of the Nationalist forces. In 1936, October, Franco was named Generalísimo de los Ejércitos and Head of the State of the National area. The main aim of the rebels was to occupy Madrid. But the defence of the city was fierce; some Anarchist Brigades from Cataluña and the first volunteers of the International Brigades took part in it. The Republican government was forced to shift from Madrid to Valencia, out of the combat zone. Having failed to take the capital, Franco bombarded it from the air. After the failed attempt to conquer Madrid, Franco decided to finish the Republican North defence. In April the German Condor Legion bombed the town of Guernica in the Basque Country, causing hundreds of casualties. In the anarchistcontrolled areas, Aragon and Catalonia, workers and peasants collectivized land and industry, and set up councils parallel to the Republican government. This revolution was opposed by both the Sovietsupported communists, and Social Democratic Republicans. As the war progressed, Anarchists and the POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista) were integrated with the regular army, but in May 1937 anarchists and communists engaged each other in violent street battles in the city of Barcelona. At the end of March, 1939, the Nationalists entered Madrid. The war was finished. Evacuation of children to Mexico, Britain, Belgium, the Soviet Union and other European countries. Many of those in the Soviet Union, from Communist families, remained there and experienced the Second World War Atrocities were committed on both sides during the war. The terror was used against civilians. In the case of the Nationalist side, these atrocities were ordered by fascist authorities in order to eradicate any trace of leftism in Spain.The most famous victim was the poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca. Atrocities on the Republican side were committed by groups of radical leftists (not by the government) against the rebel supporters, including the nobility, former landowners, rich farmers, industrialists and the Church After the end of the War, there were brutal reprisals against Franco's leftist former enemies. Thousands of Republicans were imprisoned and executed. Many other Republicans fled abroad, especially to France and Mexico. Democracy was discredited Fascism had triumphed Britain and France had shown themselves to be weak by carrying on non-intervention despite the fact that it was not working “non-intervention inspired neither trust among friends nor fear among enemies” Germany and Italy were brought closer together, the Rome-Berlin Axis was signed in October 1936 Britain and France were divided; Even within these countries there were political divisions. The weaknesses of appeasement were shown. The war was a testing ground for Hitler’s Blitzkreig tactics. “A climate of war” had been created Spain had put the possibility of a European war firmly on the agenda. Spain, however, did not ally with Germany.