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In What Ways And To What Extent Did Social And Religious Divisions Lead To War In Spain In 1936?

1123 words - 4 pages

Macarena CostaIn what ways and to what extent did social and religious divisions lead to civil war in Spain in 1936?Social and religious divisions had long existed in Spain before the civil war broke out in 1936. It had failed to modernise and industrialise like its European neighbours, leading to countless military defeats. Its backwardness also meant that its farming methods were very primitive, making Spain a poor country in which most of the population consisted of landless labourers and most of the land was owned by rich landowners. This social injustice often meant people going taking extremes. People who lived in Catalonia and the Basque Provinces also sought to obtain independence from Spain, further contributing to the divisions in the country. Moreover, the church had tremendous influence in Spain, and while there where still many people loyal to it, they were many who wanted to diminish its influences. However, it was ultimately the political instability that ruled in the country, and the inability to let one government be in power long enough to accomplish anything, which made these divisions explode, and finally, led to war.On the one hand, social and religious divisions did lead to civil war in 1936. In the social aspect, Spain's backwardness meant that old farming methods were still being used and land was not distributed equally. Around 2,500,000 people in Spain were braceros, landless labourers who lived under terrible conditions. Revolts by braceros became common and civil guards often had to repress them. Industry was limited in Spain- and working conditions were harsh. Workers received low wages, lived in bad conditions and worked long hours. This is why anarchism, an example of a radical group created because of social injustice, grew in Spain. Trade unions like CNT and FIA were created and often organised strikes. Moreover, regionalism further enhanced social and cultural divisions. Catalonia and the Basque provinces demanded independence from Spain, since they had they own language, Catalonia produced textiles and the Basque region included the famous Vizcaya iron works. Spain was evidently divided in the social aspect.However, Historian George Payne claims that Spain was actually modernising from 1910-1930. He claims that the radicalization of people was not a cause of Spain's backwardness, but rather of its rapid industrialisation. "As millions experienced rapid improvement in their lives, they and others would be determined to demand even more".Religious divisions also ran very deep in Spain. The position of the church was stronger than anyplace else since it had control of education. The church was linked with the higher classes since they gave it its income, and this created resentment with lower classes and a deep feeling of anti-clericalism because the church excluded the poor. This could have eventually led to civil war because it created strong divisions within Spain: those who rejected Christianity and saw the...

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