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How Did The Spanish Civil War Contribute To Appeasement By Britain?

2036 words - 8 pages

How did the Spanish Civil War contribute to the policy of appeasement by Britain?Until 1931 Spain, the poorest country in Europe at the time, was a monarchy however, as a result of deep divisions within society exacerbated by the military rule of Primo de Rivera imposed in 1923, the incompetent King Alfonso XIII abdicated. Following municipal elections a liberal government took power but the ensuing republic was immediately at risk from the divide between the Nationalist right and the Republican left. As a result of divisions in political ideology many small parties arose which aligned into these left- and right-wing blocs. In the face of this clash tensions between the two steadily increased as the new, democratic, government set about reducing the power of the army through mass redundancy of officers and redistributing ownership of land to the Braceros as part of a range of, often unpopular, egalitarian policies. These changes polarised the population and between 1933 and 1936, after the election of a Nationalist government, political stability declined as alliances formed and collapsed whilst civil disturbances and rebellions tore the country apart.As no one party was strong enough to take control each side was composed of a coalition, with the Republicans united to form the Popular Front comprised of democrats, socialists and communists, between whom there existed a stable balance of power, supported by anarchists . The joint seats of power for the Republicans were Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque region: both provinces were aspiring to autonomy with the blessing of the capital. Highly industrialised in comparison to the rest of Spain, modern ideals that were fostered from the principles of Marx found a natural home here; with the concept of democracy central to their cause the Republicans were representative of a movement sweeping through Europe which sought progress to create an equality that threatened the power of the elitist traditionalists that had been in place for centuries. Rejecting the role of both the Church and the army within the political sphere, the Republicans represented the poor and promoted a new morality which favoured the masses.Set against this union was the Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Rights, a coalition of conservatives, monarchists, Catholics and Falangists (fascists), supported by the army and holding to the old values of autocracy, the 'natural superiority' of the wealthy and a strong central government. Much of Spain, predominantly the rural north and west, had not yet modernised creating a stronghold of nationalist sentiment grounded in traditional Catholic morality and conservatism. In an attempt to resolve the situation a further election was held in 1936, the leftist Popular Front won power but the attempt failed and the country disintegrated into chaos as both sides fought running battles in the streets. From the beginning of the civil war the army backed the Nationalists and in July 1936 General...

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