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What Were The Chief Causes Of The Spanish Civil War?

1497 words - 6 pages

When an initial military coup failed to win control of the entire country, a bloody, violent civil war raged within its boundaries. Stretching from the northern part of Africa to the Pyrenees Mountains, the fighting led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Spaniards, who had simply fought to protect an ideal, democracy. In this essay I shall be looking at the events that slowly led up to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and try to identify which were the chief causes.In the early 1900's, Spain was ruled by the constitutional monarchy of King Alfonso XIII. His family, the Bourbons, had ruled since the 18th century. However, Spain was going through a time of unrest and the government was rather inefficient and corrupt. The Spanish-American War of the 1890's had created hard times, and due to this long period of decline, many people lost their beliefs in what was once known as a strong kingdom, as the Spanish Empire had fallen behind in the industrialisation process.After having gone through social, land and economic reforms, in order to restore peace after a Moroccan revolt, King Alfonso made his army's general, Miguel Primo de Rivera, a dictator. Rivera stopped the rebellion successfully in 1925, but his new power and the suspension of the constitution intensified the already serious situation. Soon after, the dictators rule came to an end, after the depression of the 1930's hit Spain hard and unemployment rose, Rivera did not have the ability to sort out Spain's financial mess, so the army withdrew its support and Rivera had to resign, and Alfonso XIII took over the government again. This was one short-term cause, which created the uproar of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) in the following year.The socialists and liberals called for a republican form of government to put an end to the corrupt system of Caciquismo, and no longer able to control his country, Alfonso ordered new parliamentary elections. In April, having won the elections and all the major cities in Spain, forcing the king into exile, they declared Spain a republic, and monarchy was abolished.However, the new republic immediately faced a number of major problems. The first was the issue of the highly influential Roman Catholic Church that hated the republic; though, the republic needed its support, as the clergy was still a major source of power in Spain. The army had to be reformed as well, and the economic reforms had to be tackled. Iron production fell by 33% and the steel by 50% and hence unemployment rose and the workers were disillusioned. The government tried to carry out some reforms which were partially successful, but there was trouble within the government. The wishes of the left alarmed those on the right and vice versa. Political infighting was in danger of pushing Spain into social revolution. In The Spanish Civil War, Hugh Purcell comments that 'the main reasons for the outbreak of Civil War...were the irreconcilable quarrels among the Spanish...

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