Viking Oceans: Spain’s Civil War


(crowd cheering) – [Narrator] It began
as any good dream should with bursts of joy and optimism. When King Alfonso XIII
decided to allow elections. Socialists and Liberal
Republicans supported by the poor, intellectuals,
anarchists, and communists swept overwhelming victories, and the Second Spanish Republic was born. (crowd cheering) Its constitutions established
many rights for the common man removed special status
for the Spanish nobility, Declared the right of regional autonomy, and sort to secularize the country. (speaking in foreign language) – [Man Voice-Over] When the
Second Republic was proclaimed, they were great expectations. There was the hope that
we would have a fairer, more open society. – [Narrator] But the flame
of hope flickered out in just two years amid the poverty and unemployment of the Great Depression. Conservatives won the next election and rolled back many of the changes. (crowd chanting) The Left incensed counted
with the general strike. But it was shutdown by the army. Farm workers wages were cut in half and Republicans were removed
from the armed forces, deepening political divisions. In 1936 power sung back to the Left. When the popular front a board colation of Liberal
and Socialist group, eked out a parliamentary majority. The political divided
quickly became a chasm. (crowd chanting) The Right consisting of the
military, Conservatives, the Catholic Church, and the Elite, feared for the very survival of Spain. (crowd applause) President Manuel Azana
further inflamed the situation as he began re-instituting
changes from 1931. That hindered large farms and the church. At the same time Anarchists
began pushing Bols-for-vis-um. And some Conservatives joined
the Fascist Falange Espanola. Multiple malicious formed on both sides. It was a battle ground for idealists. Violence escalated, culminating in a series of assassinations, that finally killed
the dream of democracy. The Civil War exploded with a coup led by General Franco and the army. Who believed he was saving
Spain from the Communists. His nationalists forces began in Morocco, then seized Spain West and North. While Republicans managed
to hold the South and East. The Nationalist grew stronger with immediate support from the Nazis. Mussolini added 100,000
men and more firepower. The undermanned Republic
without most of the army had to arm it’s citizens, and turned the Communists of
the Soviet Union for help. Support also came from Mexico
and from an unexpected source. (speaking in foreign) – [Man Voice-Over] Many
citizens in Democratic countries felt that what was being decided was relevant to their lives, and so they came to fight with
The International Brigades. (gun firing) – [Narrator] More than 40,000 volunteers from 53 nations joined the Republicans. Including a ground from distance American known as The Lincoln Battalion. All fought alongside Republic soldiers and helped defend Madrid until the waning moments of the war. Noted author George Orwell
also served in the conflict. While American author Ernest
Hemingway reported on the war, and it became and integral
part of his novel, For Whom The Bell Tolls. It’s been estimated that
more than 500,000 people lost their lives during the conflict. As idealism gave way to senseless violence and atrocities on both sides. It was an endless
grinding war until Franco, tried a new tactic. (dramatic thud) (squealing) (crashing) (building tense music) The Nationalist plans was
to target major cities instead of industry. (speaking foreign language) – [Man Voice-Over] What
was new was the idea of massive bombing. At first of very specific targets. And then with the intention of terrorizing the civil population. These bombing would grow very
intense in 1937 and 1938, and until the end of the war in fact. Met Barcelona was the
first great metropolis to be bombed on a massive scale. (tense music) (crashing) (speaking foreign language) – [Woman Voice-Over] At
first my father would take us up to the roof to watch. He made it into a fireworks display so we wouldn’t be afraid. But eventually the bombings
increased in intensity and we would just huddle together in the middle of our parents
bed, waiting and worrying. (tense music) – [Narrator] To better
protect themselves the people built an unprecedented number of underground shelters in record time. Likely saving far more lives
than the anti-aircraft guns. – [Man Voice-Over] These
ordinary people who fought fear and who kept their faith in the future are extremely important. For they remind us that all of us are able to do a lot more than we think. To overcome such difficult situations. (speaking foreign language) – [Narrator] Living under the
constant threat of bombing took its toll. Slowly draining away the will of the people and the Republic. – [Woman Voice-Over] We never knew when the planes might
return and we were cold. In the Winters of 1938 and 39 we would wrap ourselves up in
blankets and still be cold. It was dreadful. (sullen music) – [Narrator] In January
1939, Barcelona fell, and Madrid soon followed in March. Bringing to a close the Spanish Civil War. While combat ceased, tensions
continued to smolder. And supports on both
sides endured episodes of persecution until
Franco’s death in 1975. The unimaginable carnage
of this dark time lives on in Pablo Picasso’s “Gurenica”. The story of a bombing
attack that destroyed an entire village and its people. (sullen music) Other remnants of the
past have also endured. Thought provoking museums bare witness to the human tragedy that unfolded here. It was a time of senseless violence, polarization, and divisiveness that must never be forgotten. (sullen music)

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