Was It The Contribution Of Foreign Powers That Tipped The Balance Of The Spanish Civil War In Favour Of The Nationalists?

1459 words - 6 pages

Whatever was in the minds of the Nationalists and the Republicans during the spring of 1936 it was certainly not a Civil War that lasted years rather than months. Most writers agree that once the war was underway its outcome depended on the foreign aid that the two sides received and how it related to internal and political considerations. It can therefore be said that the strong support from Germany and Italy put the Nationalists at an advantage if compared with the weaker and unreliable aid given to the Republicans. However it is important that other factors are also taken into consideration such as the betrayal of Republican Spain's fellow democracies and the policy of non-intervention.By July of 1936 both sides were in need of foreign aid. For the Nationalists this need was responded to early on, whilst the Republicans had to get by without until late September, early October. Franco made pleas to Mussolini and Hitler, the latter being the more positive. According to Angel Viñas, Hitler's primary purpose was, "˜"¦to ensure a pro-German government in Madrid which by its presence would limit France's political and military options, and that in his policy Hitler was following the political line begun by the occupation of the Rhineland in March 1956.' Hitler went beyond Franco's request for fighters and anti-aircraft guns. He ordered 20 Junkers and 52 transport planes to be sent directly to Morocco and under Franco's control so he could transport the Army of Africa to Spain's mainland. This force of some of the best 24,000 men in the war shifted the military advantage dramatically in Franco's favour. The aid Franco received was on easy terms of credit, lasting throughout the war, and it arrived on request, especially at its most needed times, for example in the Battle of Guernica in April 1937 where Franco maintained steady air based attacks with the help of Hitler's Condor Legion Air force and in other battles like those of Teruel in January 1937 and Ebro in December 1938.Although more reluctant than Hitler, Mussolini, after failing to answer to 2 telegrams asking for military or civilian aircrafts, eventually sent twelve Savoia-81 bombers, at a price of £1 million, cash-in-advance, to Morocco. Yet Italy's most important contribution was its Corpo Truppe Volontarie (CTV), an armoured force of 40,000 men that fought throughout the war, especially in Malaga and Guadalajara. Mussolini, like Hitler had his own personal reasons for supporting Franco. He saw intervention as a way of, "˜"¦preventing an establishment of a Communist state in Spain, and as a way of sharpening the Italian fighting spirit now that the Ethiopian fighting campaign was over.' He also wanted to gain more power in the Mediterranean, for example, by moving the British out of Gibraltar and establishing military bases in the Balearic Islands. It is evident then from their own personal interests in Spain that both Germany and...

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