Spanish Civil War Documentary

The Kingdom of Spain is an
independent country in Europe. It also happens to be the largest
country in Southern Europe. The capital of Spain is Madrid. It is bordered by the
Mediterranean Sea on its east and south and the Atlantic
Ocean in the northwest. Besides the famous game of
football the country is rich in historical sites and has
its own unique heritage. The Royal Palace of Madrid,
Alhambra, Sagrada Familia, Casa Battlo, Alcazar of Seville and
Santiago de Compostela Catherdral are just a handful places where one could
see the beauty of Spain’s ancient past. This beautiful country was a few decades
back drowned in revolts and rebellions. People sought to rule. They wanted to change the society
and execute their own thoughts. The Spanish Civil War was a three year
long fight for power where millions of soldiers lost their lives, children became
orphans and civilians were not spared too. The Reasons Why the Spanish
Civil War was Triggered The situation of the country
was bad and even though the immediate cause of
Spanish Civil War may be political there were many
other causes which were lurking in the environment
of Spanish for years. The Spaniards were looking
forward to having decent lives. Agriculture was one of the most important
means to earn living in Spain. Towards the south of the nation were
many estates where labourers worked. These workers did not own
their lands hence worked on these estates or latifundia
which was earned by Grandees. Towards the north farmers had small lands
and were very unstable economically. More than half the
population used to starve. The entire army was conservative and for
every 100 soldiers there was a general. The officers were excessive and
the soldiers were poorly armed. The army had excessive interference
in the government businesses. They even rigged the elections. The government formed were
never elected fairly. There were 12 governments that
were formed between 1918 to 1923 and none of them succeeded in
running Spain efficaciously. Catholic Church was overly powerful
and hoarded too much wealth. There were many who were against
the practices of church. The wealthy were quite close
to the church and none of them wanted to bring about
a change in the country. Even though the Spaniards were not
church people and hardly went for mass the rural area people upheld
their devotion in the religion. Limiting the power of the church
would mean an impartial Spain. The church also controlled
the education system. Main Cause of the Spanish Civil War Spain was going through a rough
phase in the 19th century. Even though there were many who looked
forward to reform Spain they had to fight with immense political
holder who refrained from changes. Back in 1812, Spanish Constitution
was set up so the power of the Kings could be limited and Spain would
be established as a liberal state. This constitution failed to uphold itself
and King Ferdinand II had it dissolved. Oligarchy was powerful and Spain ran
on land and agriculture business. The wealthy held high government
positions and vast estates. There was a revolt in 1868 that fell the
House of Bourbon and Queen Isabella II. The main causes for the 1868
revolt were liberal movement among the middle class people which
was led by General Joan Prim who was troubled with the
extreme obscurantism of the kingdom and a series
of rebellions in the city. King Amadeo I of House of Savoy
had taken the position of Queen Isabella II but had to
renounce his position in 1873. Amadeo I faced immense political
stress, after him the First Spanish Republic was formed
which too didn’t last for long. The House of Bourbons was restored
once again in 1874 by Alfonso XII who was also responsible to end the
First Spanish Republic in a coup. The monarchy then had to face
anarchists and carlists. The anarchists looked forward to self-governed
societies while the carlists were those who looked to establish an entirely different
line of Bourbons on the throne of Spain. Spain did not take sides
in World War I after which the business class,
military and the working class came together to get
rid of the government which was fraudulent but
they were not successful. Dangers of growing Communism
increased in these times. Miguel Primo de Rivera gained power
in one of the military coups of 1923. Spain was then under a
military dictatorship. Rivera’s dictatorship lasted for seven
years after which his supporters seemed to diminish which led to his
resignation in the January of 1930. Rivera’s position was taken over
by General Damaso Berenguer and he then stepped down for Admiral
Juan Bautista Aznar-Cabanas. They continued the dictatorship
form of government. There were very few people who actually
supported monarchy form of government, so King Alfonso XIII called in for a republic
form of government to be formed in 1931. He also held the municipal
elections on April 12, 1931. In almost all the provincials the
republicans and the socialists won. King Alfonso XIII left
the country and reserved the claim to the now
non-operational throne. Monarchy was restored only in 1941 when
the grandson of King Alfonso XIII, Juan Carlos inherited the throne as the
monarchy form of government was confirmed. Aznar’s government crumbled and the
Second Spanish Republic was formed. Alcala Zamora was made
the President and Head of State with a
provisional government. Every segment of the society supported
the republic form of government. However there was an incident where a taxi
driver was attacked just outside a club of the monarchists and protests began
throughout western parts of Spain and Madrid. The slow response of the government to this
occurrence aggravated the people more. Several strikes were called
by Confederation del Trabajo (CNT) that led to
serious conflicts between the CNT and the Civil Guard
who are military people but with the job of police
officers, in Seville. So much violence made people think
that the Second Republic government was nothing less cruel than the
monarchy form of government. CNT said they would use revolt to
overthrow the running government. In the elections of June 1931 the
Socialists and Republicans won again. Great Depression had set its foot in Spain
and the government tried to calm the situation by establishing eight hour day work
and granting land tenure to the farmers. There were some contentious reforms that
the military continuously underwent because of which the nation was
always under the threat of Fascism. A new constitution which
was liberal, reformist and democratic in nature was
declared in December. The new constitution was a broadly secular
and some of the Catholics were against it. Manuel Azana was the Prime
Minister of the country and he took his position
in October, 1931. The anarchists did not
participate in the general elections of 1933
and the parties won. After November 1933, the occurrences
which took place is known as the ‘black two years’ and it was this
period which triggered the civil war. Alejandro Lerroux who was from the Radical
Republican Party made a government which altered all the changes that
were made by the government before and pardoned all those who
were involved in the futile revolt by General Jose Sanjurjo
in the August of 1932. The monarchists joined hands with the
fascists to achieve their goals. Streets of Spain saw
violence on the streets and military crowded
to stop this turmoil. The scenario was more of a
political cataclysm than a peaceful way of solving
problems – the democratic way. After two governments went down by the
end of 1934, the members of Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Right-wing
Groups (CEDA) came into power. All the Republican members
in the military were removed and the salaries of the farm
workers were made half. An association of political parties was
formed which is referred to as ‘front populaire’ who won the general elections
of 1936, it was a narrow win. Initially Manuel Azana Diaz had a weak
minority government but he fortified his position and soon took the place of President
Niceto Alcalá-Zamora in April, 1936. It was in Azana’s rule that
the Spanish Civil War broke. Prime Minister Santiago Casares Quiroga
did not care about the warnings which he received about a military
sedition that involved many generals. It was this military uprising that led
to the Spanish Civil War, July 17, 1936. The Spanish Coup There were many generals being
removed from high posts by the Republican government and were being
transferred to different places. Emilio Mola was made the
military commander of Pamplona Navarre,
Francisco Franco was sent to head the Canary Islands
and the new general of Balearic Island was
Manuel Goded Llopis. The only one who was in a
beneficial situation was Mola as he could easily oversee
the mainland uprising. Jose Sanjurjo was the main
person of the whole operation and also made an agreement
with the Carlists. Next to Sanjurjo was Mola
who was the brains of the operation and next in
command after Sanjurjo. Falangism was introduced by
José Antonio Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia, which was an
ideology inspired by Fascism. However he was imprisoned
and executed later on. General Juan Yague and
the then Prime Minister Casares Quiroga met
on June 12, 1936. Yague managed to convince Quiroga
that he was loyal to the Republic. Franco was previously the director of
military academy and was also the one who had crushed the strike of Asturian
miners a couple of year back in 1934, this made him an important
player in the entire plan. The Army of Africa which was
considered to be the best and the toughest in the entire
Army had high respect for him. On June 23, 1936 Franco wrote a secret
letter to Quiroga stating that the army was untrustworthy but could be
bridled if he were made their head. Quiroga did not take any steps
to arrest or stop Franco. Some of the British supporters who were with
the insurgents had Franco transported to Spanish Morocco from Canary Islands in a
chartered plane by the name Dragon Rapide. Franco reached Morocco on July 19, 1936. Lieutenant Jose Castillo who was
a police officer in the Guardia de Asalto was murdered in Madrid
by Falangists on July 12, 1936. Castillo was also the member
of Socialist and had initially headed the Assault Guards who had
brutally crushed the uprisings just after the funeral
of Lieutenant Anastasio de los Reyes who was a
part of Guardia Civil. Reyes was shot by the anarchists
in a military parade which was held to venerate five years of
Republic on April 14, 1936. Captain Fernando Condes of the
Assault Guard was Castillo’s close friend and immediately
after Castillo was shot he went to arrest the
founder of CEDA Jose Maria Gil-Robles Quinones to avenge
the death of Castillo. Since Quinones was not home Condes
and his squad went to Jose Calvo Sotelo who was a famous parliamentary
conservation and a monarchist. One of the members of the
squad by the name of Luis Cuenca shot Sotelo on his
head killing him instantly. Some say that Condes intention
was just to make an arrest and Cuenca took a self-decision
by shooting Sotelo. Retaliations were huge as
Sotelo’s death involved the police which led
to more suspicions. The opponents on the right got a
point to discuss and ponder on. The generals on the other hand were ready
with their plans and were almost ready for the uprising and this occurrence was
like a catalyst to the whole situation. It was a sort of cover up and explanation
for the coup which was about to take place. And it Begins… Everything had been planned
ahead and the date and time of the rebellion
was already decided – July 17, 1936 at 17:01 is what Manuel Fal
Conde, the leader of the Carlists had said. The time of the uprising was changed
and the men in Morocco which was a protectorate of Spain, were to
rebel at 05:00 on July 18, 1936 while the men in Spain were to revolt exactly
twenty four hours later so there could be a balance in the revolts of Spanish Morocco
and things could be controlled easily. The men would then be
sent back to Iberian Peninsula to accord with
the uprisings there. The coup was intended to
be a quick one but the government still had control
over most of the country. It was quite definite that Spanish
Morocco would be bought under control. The idea was uncovered in
Morocco on July 17, 1939 and the plotters put the
plan to action immediately. The rebels hardly faced any conflict,
they shot around 189 people. Franco and Goded were allocated to take
over the islands which they did in no time. Prime Minister Casares Quiroga was offered
help on July 18, 1936 by the Union General De Trabajadores and Confederación
Nacional del Trabajo, but he refused. The angered groups went
on a general strike. The buried weapons were surfaced. The paramilitary forces
(military force formed by the government) don’t
take action immediately – they wait to see how effective the
militia (military force which is formed for the public) is before
they move in to crush the revolt. Action taken on time by the
militias or the rebellions decided the fate of a city
at the time of uprisings. Seville was safeguarded
by General Gonzala Queipo de Llano for the rebellions
as he took quick steps. He made numerous arrests. Result of the Coup The rebellions couldn’t manage to
control any big cities except for Seville and this was where the
African troops of Franco landed. The other areas which were easy to
capture were Leon and Old Castle. The first troops from the Army of
Africa helped in taking over Cadiz. Almeria, Malaga and Jaen were still
under the control of the government. The rebellions were cornered
in Montana barracks and after a two day fight the
uprising was crushed. The Prime Minister of the
country Quiroga was replaced by Jose Giral when the
civilians get weapons. With weapons to fight the rebellion
the main industrial centres such as Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid
were kept safe from the uprising. However the anarchists
took control of Barcelona and huge regions of
Catalonia and Aragon. General Goded was given death punishment
after he surrendered in Barcelona. Most of Cantabria, Basque Country and Asturis
along with the entire east coast and central area surrounding Madrid were under
the control of the Republican government. The rebellions called
themselves ‘Nacionales’ which literally translated
to Nationalists. In the end of the coup the
Nationalists controlled 11 out of 25 million
population of Spain. About 50% of Spain’s territorial army
supported the Nationalists along with 60,000 men, somewhat half of
Spains military police forces, Carabineers, Assault
Guards, Civil Guards and around 35,000 men from
the Army of Africa. About one third of artillery
pieces and machine guns and less than half rifles were under
the control of Republicans. They had around 18 tanks which were
designed and equipped with all modern amnesties but the Nationalists
had taken control of 10. Numerically the Nationalists were less
in terms of navy but some of the highest commanding offices and two of the best
cruisers were taken by the Nationalists. Although most of the Air Force
of Spain was retained by the government it was quite out-dated
in terms of equipments. Participants of the Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War was between the
Republicans and the Nationalists. Nationalists The insurgents or as they called
themselves ‘Nacionales’ and ‘Franquistas’ or fascists by the
rivals planned the uprising because they were afraid
that the country would be disintegrated, they
also opposed separatism. The Nationalists were also known for
their anti-communism because of which several other movements such as
monarchists and falangists came up. The leaders of such movements
were rich especially land owners and came from
conservative backgrounds. Alfonsists, Carlists, Fascist
Falange, Spanish nationalists, monarchists and conservatives
were with the Nationalists. Almost all the Nationalists
had strong Catholic beliefs that the local clergy of Spain
had their complete support. Businessmen, Catholic
clergy, many important people from army were
for the Nationalists. One of the most important purposes
of the rightists (right wing politics which comprised of
reactionaries, traditional conservatives, monarchists, racial supremacists,
fascists and Nazis) was to protect the Catholic Church from the anti-clericalists
who belonged to the Republicans and accused the Church for the
problems that Spain was going through. The Republican form of
government was liberal and their policies were guarded by the
1931 Spanish Constitution. The Church was completely
against the free thoughts. Before the Spanish Civil
War could happen Spain faced another rebellion
in the year 1934. The revolt is known as
Asturian miners’ strike. The rebellions killed
around 100 pro-Catholic police, clergy and
religious civilians. They also burned down several
religious buildings. It was in this revolt that Franco had
bought the ‘Ejercito de Africa’ or ‘Curepo de Ejercito Marroqui’ the African armed
forces belonging to Spain’s colonial Army and suppressed the revolt with the help
of bombing raids and artillery attacks. The African Army was also known as
the Spanish Legion and in the revolt of 1934 they had killed many people
which included women and children. The result of the suppression
was even more ruthless, the prisoners of Asturias
were tortured acutely. The Constitution of Spain –
articles 24 and 26 banned the ‘Society of Jesus’or as they are
commonly known as – Jesuits. This slighted many conservatives. There was a revolution which happened
just before the Spanish Civil War in which about 7,000 common
people and clergy were killed. This event had aggravated the
conservative Catholics who supported the Nationalists whole-heartedly
after this occurrence. The Regulares or the Moroccan Fuerzas
Regulares Indígenas also joined the revolt. They had an important role to
play in the Spanish Civil War. Republicans The only two countries who
sided the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War
were USSR and Mexico. USSR majorly was of much help
as they sent volunteers, gave them political support, weapons
and money to buy them. Most of the countries
chose not to take sides which upset many
intellectuals in the United Kingdom, the United
States, to all those who followed Marxism and a few
more European countries. The International Brigade was formed
by the Communist International and many foreign paramilitary from
different countries who were neutral volunteered to participate in the
war and support the Republicans. Although the military forces
were not as noteworthy however they did boost the
morale of the Republicans. The Republicans comprised of the
centrists who looked forward to a much reformed Spain and supported liberal
democracy and revolutionary anarchists who were against the
Republic form of government but they fought beside
the Republicans to suppress the coup, landless
peasants and people from industrial areas
of Basque country, Asturias and Catalonia. This group was known
by several names like ‘leales’ or Loyalists,
‘Republicans’, ‘Popular Front’, ‘the government’ and their rivals
addresses them as ‘los rojos’ or the Reds. All the workers from the fields,
a section of middle class people and the urban workers
took sides with the Republicans. The conservative Catholics of
Galicia, Basque country and Catalonia looked forth to independence from
the central government of Madrid. Self-government was allowed
by the Republicans for two areas and after
October, 1936 their armies united under the People’s
Republican Army which was further restructured
into mixed brigades. Some famous people such as Norman
Bethune who was a Canadian thoracic surgeon, George Orwell the writer of
Homage to Catalonia and Simone Weil who was earlier an anarchist but her
short-sightedness made the anarchist group suspicious that she would shoot them recklessly
and did not take her on any missions. Foreign Involvement in the Spanish War There was an alliance signed by around
27 countries which said that they would not intervene in the Spanish Civil
War nor supply any arms to Spain, this political alliance was
led by France and Britain. Italy, Soviet Union and
Germany signed the alliance, but went on to support
the Spanish Civil War. United States of America went ahead
with the support unofficially. The secretive actions which
were happening around the world was giving way
to another world war. Foreign Help for Republicans Soviet Union: Soviet Union had already
signed the alliance which stopped it from intervening
in the Spanish Civil War. USSR provided the most
help to the Republicans. The then General Secretary
of Russia, Joseph Stalin had provided enough weapons, tanks
and planes to the Republicans but all of them seemed to
be lesser modern compared to the ones which Germany
provided the Nationalists. The weapons and supplies which
were shipped from Russia to Spain, but the process
turned to be very slow. The ships concealed in various
ways arrived in the ports of Spain where they were
received by the Republicans. 176 tonnes of gold reserves
were paid to the Soviet Union through Bank of Spain which
was sent through France. This act was subject of debate later on. France: The Prime Minister of France, Leon Blum,
supported the Republicans but he feared a revolt would trigger in France, he did not
send direct help to the Spanish Republicans. He was with the Republicans
because he dreaded that Italy and Germany who were Fascist and Nazi
respectively would become allies if the Nationalists became successful
in their coup which was bad for France. Any aid which France sent was opposed
and convinced by the British General’s Blum who declared that France would
not send any forces or technology to Spanish Republicans on July 27,
1936 but France also said that they have the rights to offer aid
if it wanted to the Republic. A gathering of 20,000
pro-Republicans on August 1, 1936 requested Blum to
send them an aircraft. Just at the same time
Blum was attacked by the leftists because he was
supporting Republicans. The French ambassador
in Germany was informed by the German government
that they would hold France responsible for supporting the plans
of Moscow if they support the Republicans. Therefore France signed
the Non-Intervention Agreement on August 21, 1936. Blum knew nothing could be
done to help the Republicans openly so he used secretive
measures to help them. He sent the Potez 540
bomber which the Republican pilots nicknamed
– Flying Coffin. From August, 1936 to December
of the same year Dwoitine and Loir 46 aircrafts of France
buzzed to help the Republicans. French engineers and pilots
were also sent from France. Any aircraft bought from
other countries could pass from France to Spain
without interruption. This free passage was only
till September 8, 1936. The German’s had informed Franco about
the help the Republicans were getting from the French through military intervention
in Balearic Islands and Catalonia. Although the support from the French to
the Republicans was only till December, 1936 the Nationalists were always afraid
of their intervention in the war. There was a time in 1938 when Franco
was afraid about French intervention when the Nationalist were almost on
the verge of becoming victorious. Although France was
supporting the Republicans there were some French
fascist and anti-communists who supported the nationalists
known as ‘La Cagoule’ or ‘Comité secret d’action
révolutionnaire’. They played an important role in destroying
some important ships in the ports of France which were carrying guns and relief
equipment to the Republicans in Spain. Mexico: The Spanish Republicans had the
support of most of the Latin American governments such as Peru, Argentina,
Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Mexico did not listen
to the non-intervention proposals and helped the
Republicans openly. They sent 20,000 rifles and 20 million
cartridges and $2,000,000 cash as aid. Mexico arranged a sanctuary
for the refugees of the Republicans
and their families. There were 50,000 people who took refuge
in the cities of Morelia and Mexico City. International Brigades: There were many people who were not
Spaniards and yet thought that the Republicans were right and
also the way to remove fascism. Units from all over the world
representing 53 nations came to be a part of this
international brigade. There were roughly 40,000
people who supported the Brigade and about 18,000 fought
by the Republicans side. Most of the volunteers
were from France followed by Federal State of
Austria, Italy and Germany. Other countries were United States, Ireland,
Romania, Kingdom Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, China, Polish Republic, United
Kingdom, Canada and Kingdom of Hungary. Foreign Help for Nationalists Italy: The Italians joined the
Spanish Civil War when Hitler encouraged Benito
Mussolini to join the war. Italy had been established
as a major power after it won the Second
Italo-Abyssinian War however having the Spanish as their
allies would let them control the Mediterranean
Theatre of Operations. The Royal Italian Navy helped
in supplying aircraft, guns, soldiers and artillery
to the Nationalists. Their warships helped in
removing the barricade which the Republican
forces had formed. Germany: Without losing any time
Hitler sent immediate help to the
Nationalists in Spain. Soldiers and aircraft were sent by him. However the Spanish Civil
War also meant there could be a world war and
Hitler and his army were not prepared for
one hence he encouraged Italy’s Mussolini to
do partake in the war. About 16,000 German
soldiers fought with the Nationalists and 300 on
an average were killed. Germany used Spain as a base to
check their newly designed weapons such as Junkers Ju-52 transport
Trimotors and Luftwaffe Stukas. German armies were of great help to
the Nationalists as they undertook many operations and helped the
Nationalists to become victorious. Portugal: Franco’s Nationalist army
received immense help from Portugal in terms of
logistics and ammunition. A volunteered force by
the name of ‘Viriatos’ fought with Nationalists
till the Civil War lasted. The then Prime Minister of
Portugal Antonio de Oliveira Salazar was the one who helped
Franco in his uprising. Other Volunteered Forces: Just like there were supporters
for Republicans, United Kingdom also had many people
who supported the Nationalists and came forward to help
them irrespective of the political alliance
of non-intervention. Even though the government
of United Kingdom had declared that it was
a crime to fight in Spain there were about
4,000 volunteers who were fighting in Spain
with the Nationalists. There were Romanian volunteers
who came to Spain in December, 1936 to assist the
Nationalists with their cause. About 600 Irish who were mostly
Catholics fought aside Franco. Course of Spanish Civil War 1936 None of the years experienced such massacre
and killings that happened in 1936. Both ‘The Red Terror’ which was caused
by the Republicans and the ‘White Terror’ which was caused by the
Nationalists caused several deaths. However it is quite clear and also
agreed by the historians that the number of deaths was much higher in the
White Terror as compared to the Red. Franco’s Nationalists were more cruel
and brutal and the Republicans. In a plane crash which happened just three
days after the uprising, one of the coup leaders Sanjurjo was
killed which meant Mola and Franco had to take
care of the uprising. Mola took north while Franco took south. The Ferrol, Galicia Spanish naval base was
taken by the Nationalists on July 21, 1936. The Nationalists comprised mostly of
generals which made their armies more effective and organized whereas the
Republican forces were disorganized. The Nationalists had captured
Gipuzkoa and they also managed to shut down the French
borders to the Republicans. The Republicans who fought
under Prime Minister Jose Giral were unable
to handle the situation. Once he resigned on September 4,
1936 Francisco Largo Caballero took over charge who belonged
to Socialist organization. The Republicans began to
unite under his command. At one of the meetings of Nationalists
which was held on September 21, 1936 in Salamanca, Franco was selected
as the Chief Military Commander. Alcazar was also taken by the
Nationalists on September 27, 1936. Once the siege took place
Franco declared himself ‘Caudilo’ which means
chieftain in Spanish. He used power to unite Royalists and
Falangists with the Nationalists. By October 1, 1936 Franco was the
head of armies and state in Burgos. The troops also took Oviedo from the
Republicans on October 17, 1936. Oviedo is in Northern Spain. The Nationalists had planned
something for Madrid. They began an attack on November
8, 1936 forcing the Republicans to move their headquarters
from Madrid to Valencia. The Republicans did not
make it easy for the Nationalists and put up a
tough fight against them. They fought from November
8 to November 23, 1936. The Fifth Regiment of the
Republicans were strong and help also came from
International Brigades. The Nationalists were unable
to take the capital city. Franco bombarded the city
from air and in the next two years continued to
attack the city many times. They managed to push the Republicans
in the Second Battle of Corunna Road in 1936 but they failed to
take over the city of Madrid. 1937 The city of Malaga was taken by the
Nationalists on February 8, 1937. In the Battle of Jarama the Nationalists
occupied much of the region while simultaneously cutting
the supplies for the Republicans in Madrid
through Valencia road. The Battle of Guadalajara was an
important win for the Republicans. France lost many supplies
and had 5,000 casualties. The Germans said the Nationalists
should focus on taking more susceptible areas before
the take in the main cities. In the months of April and May
there was much chaos in Catalonia. There was a dispute in the Republicans
Group which the Nationalists were happy about however they did not take any
exceptional advantage of the situation. When Guernica fell into the
hands of the Nationalists the Republicans suddenly began to
fight with zeal and enthusiasm. In the month of July, 1937 the
Republicans made an attempt to recapture Segovia which
delayed Franco’s advancement. However they couldn’t manage
to hold it for too long. Like Sanjurjo, Mola also
received the same fate and was killed in an airplane
accident on June 3, 1937. Republicans launched another
attack on Brunete but they failed to take over and while doing so
lost many significant troops. About 25,000 Republican
casualties were reported. An attack made on Zaragoza by the
Republicans also failed miserably. Satander was taken by
Franco in the month of August, 1937 followed
by Gijon in October. When Franco and his armies
moved forward toward Valencia the Republican government moved
again for the second time. The Republicans went to
Barcelona this time. 1938 In the beginning of the year
the Republicans managed to conquer the city of Teruel
from the Nationalists. Franco’s men were efficient,
they attacked the city and took it back from the Republicans
on February 22, 1938. Franco was dependent on Italian
and German air support entirely. In their Aragon Offensive which began on
March 7, 1938 the Nationalists marched through the Mediterranean and cut
Republican held part of Spain in half. The Republicans called for
peace in the month of May but Franco looked for
unconditional surrender. The war continued and the
Nationalists moved towards the capital of Valencia but
was stopped by the forces. In the Battle of the Ebro which began on
July 24, 1938 and lasted till November 26, 1938 the Republican government started a
campaign to join their territories back. Franco oversaw the battle and the
Republicans were unsuccessful. The Republicans withdrew from Ebro. Just before New Year Franco
attacked Catalonia fiercely. 1939 By February, 1939 Catalonia was
in the hands of Nationalists. Tarragona and Barcelona
were also taken in January while Girona fell in
the month of February. Both France and United Kingdom accepted
Franco’s rule on February 27, 1939. Madrid and a few more places were
still under the Republicans. Colonel Segismundo Casado from the
Republican army and Julian Besteiro who was a politician revolted against
Juan Negrin, the Prime Minister. They formed the ‘CND (Consejo Nacional
de Defensa)’ to strike peace with the Nationalists but Franco refused to take
anything but unconditional surrender. The Nationalists took over
Madrid on March 28, 1939 and by March 31, 1939 entire Spain
was under their control. On April 1, 1939 Franco declared the victory
of the Nationalists on radio after the last of what remained of the Republican
forces surrendered to the Nationalists. Franco ruled for the next 36 years
till he died in November, 1975. The enemies of Franco were punished,
there was no mercy shown. About 30,000 Republicans were killed and
thousands more thrown into prisons. Several were put to menial jobs such
as drying swamps and digging canals. Thousands of Republicans escaped to foreign
countries, about 500,000 went to France. Refugee camps were set up in France and the
condition of these camps were pathetic. People continued to suffer with the changes
brought about in the political system of France and thousands died while being
relocated and in concentration camps. Children Evacuation During
the Spanish Civil War About 35,000 children were evacuated
from the territories of the Republicans. About 20,000 kids were
evacuated from Basque. The children were sent
to Soviet Union, United Kingdom, Mexico and many
other countries in Europe. Although the opposition in the government
and many charitable organizations were against the thought of removing
the kids from their homeland but it was the best which could
be done to save their lives. The kids were of a maximum
age of 15, every one of them found a home while most of
them were sent back to Spain once the Spanish Civil War
came to an end but many of them chose to stay
with their new families. Spain is a beautiful country and currently
has a parliamentary constitutional monarchy form of government which is
guided by the Spanish Constitution 1978. The king is the head of the country
which is inherited by his children. There are two autonomous cities and
seventeen autonomous communities. Every region is governed
by a local government but the state continues to
hold the ultimate power. Spain has seen much bloodshed, rebellions,
broken families, death, pain and cries. The Spanish Civil War had
made Franco a dictator a ruler who ruled the country
for the next four decades. Secret police saw that the
people followed their leader. Catholicism was the only
religion to be followed. However with time Franco
loosened his control and became liberal in the
end years of his rule. Prince Juan Carlos was named his successor. King Felipe VI is currently
the head of Spain who looks to the daily
affairs of his country.

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