IB 20th Century History
Germany’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War
Analyze how the Spanish Civil War aided Germany in developing its international relations and enhancing its war strategies during WWII?
The Spanish Civil War was caused by the political unrest of the 19th Century and the opposing political ideologies of the Communists and Nationalists. In 1936, this political unrest reached its breaking point, when many of Spain’s military commanders staged a coup to overthrow the left-wing government. Francisco Franco, leader of Spain’s right-wing Nationalist rebels, called out to foreign powers for assistance in fighting the war that ensued. International help was crucial to keeping Franco’s resistance effort alive. After pleas for help by the Nationalist underdogs, Germany came to the aid of the Spanish war effort in July of 1936. Both Hitler and Franco were fascist leaders. Their shared ideologies led to Hitler’s support of Franco. Like George Orwell said, “For some reason, all the best matadors were Fascists” (Homage to Catalonia). The Spanish Civil War was a trial of sorts for many German weapons, as well as its military strategies. By aiding Spanish Nationalists, the Germans not only developed advantageous international relations with Spain, but came out more prepared to fight in WWII.
Hitler wanted to hinder the spread of communism in the European theater, yet he was hesitant to come to Franco’s aid. It was Hermann Goring, his commander in chief of the Luftwaffe, Germany’s Air Force, that helped Hitler see the military and political benefits of such an action. Goring wanted to “test the Luftwaffe in live conditions” (243, Pearson Text). Hitler and Goring used the Spanish Civil War as a trial run to test out their newest military technology. German planes and airmen got to experience the battlefield without actually having to go to war with another country. This was a valuable experience for Hitler, because it allowed the German forces to work out any kinks in their military strategy prior to WWII.
The Spanish Civil War allowed Germany to test new military technology and strategies, allowing the Germans a head start in preparing for WWII. By testing new technology in a non battlefield situation, it allowed the Germans a less risky opportunity to experiment with their weapons and strategies. The Germans use of the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War allowed the German air force to hone its precision bombing strategies, for example. Precision bombing played a huge role in WWII so the fact that the Germans were able to practice and develop pilots and airmen capable of pulling off such feats gave the Germans a head start when entering into WWII. They were also able to test what bombing on civilians was like and get a feel for if it was effective. According an article on the bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica, prepared by the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno on the 70th...