The Spanish Civil War Of 1936

1157 words - 5 pages

The Spanish Civil War of 1936The Spanish revolution of 1936 initiated during the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Civil War was a major contest in Spain that started from a failed coup d’etat by a part of the army against the legitimate government of the Second Spanish Republic.

Spain had encountered several civil wars and revolts in the previous century, caused by the reformists and the conservatives who attempted to displace each other from power. The reformists’ goal was to get rid of the absolutist monarchy in the country, which would end the old regime and create a new model of state. The conservatives tried to stop these reforms and sustain the monarchy. The followers of Infante Carlos who were known as “Carlists,” fought in the Carlist Wars against liberalism and later republicanism in order to keep the Spanish tradition of absolutism and Catholicism. These wars and the founding of the First Spanish Republic in 1873 started to establish tendencies in the Spanish concept of the state that, along with other reasons, would later climax in the Civil War of 1936.

On February 16th of 1936 a progressive Popular Front government (composed of liberals, Socialists, and Communists) was elected. To upset the conservatives, immediately after the election the Popular front released all left-wing political prisoners, introduced agrarian reform that penalized the land aristocracy, transferred right-wing military leaders like Francisco Franco to posts outside of Spain, outlawed the Falange Espanol, and gave Catalonia political and administrative sovereignty. On the 10th May 1936 the conservative Niceto Alcala Zamora was ousted as president and replaced by the left-wing Manuel Azaña. Soon afterwards Spanish Army officers, including Emilio Mola, Francisco Franco and José Sanjurjo, began plotting to overthrow the Popular Front government (1936 Elections, 1).

During this time Spain had two distinct military forces, the Peninsular Army and the Army of Africa. The Peninsular Army had roughly three times the men of the Army of Africa; however they were not well trained and over a third of them were on leave at the beginning of the war. The superior Army of Africa consisted of the Spanish Army units stationed in Morocco. July 17th, 1936, General Francisco Franco took command of this army and organized a military rebellion against the Popular Front government. The military that expected a quick victory and a swift takeover of the entire country, did not predict what happened next. The Spanish people broke into barracks, took up arms, and defeated the rebellion in essential areas like the cities of Barcelona and Madrid. Realizing they had underestimated the Spanish people, the...

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