Appeasement and the Road To
War
The Spanish Civil War
1936-1939
The Origins of the Spanish Civil War
Aims:
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•
To understand the political
instability which existed in Spain in
the 1930s.
To identify how the civil war began
and who the two opposing sides
were.
A Brief History of Spain
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During the 1500s Spain was the world’s
strongest power.
Spanish Empire covered most of South
and Central America.
Spanish language and religion was
imposed on these colonies.
By 1800s Spain had lost most of her
colonies and become a third-rate power.
Catholic Church have always had a
powerful influence in Spanish Society.
Between 1923-1931 Spain was a military
dictatorship under General Primo De
Rivera.
A Republican Government
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Spain became a republic under
Manuel Azana in 1931.
A number of reforms were
introduced which threatened
landowners, the army and the
church.
Spanish Fascism
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In the 1930s support for Fascist ideas was
evident in many European countries. In
1933 the Falange Esapnola – Spanish
Fascist party was formed.
It sought one party rule and wanted
Spain to have a strong authoritarian
government.
It wasn’t a racist party but believed in
loyalty and obedience to the Catholic
church.
War Begins
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On 17th July 1936 a group of army
officers led by General Sanjurjo led a
coup d’etat in Spanish Morocco (tried to
seize power)
Sanjurjo was killed in a plane crash and
replaced by General Francisco Franco.
The coup failed and three years of civil
war followed.
The Opposing Sides
Righteous Republicans
Liberals, Socialists,
Communists, Basque
and Catalan Separatists.
Groups with differing
aims but they all believe
that Spain should
remain a democratic
country.
Nasty Nationalists
v
The armed forces,
large sections of the
middle and upper
classes, the Catholic
Church, the Falange
(Spanish Fascist
Party).
Groups who all feel
threatened by
democracy.
The Opposing Sides
REPUBLICANS
NATIONALISTS
Democracy
Dictatorship
Supported By:
Supported By:
Soviet Russia
International
Brigades
Italy
Germany
Non-Intervention
Britain and France
Key Terms
LEFT WING
•
•
Democratic
government
More government
control of the
economy
Left Wing=Republicans
RIGHT WING
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Strong,
authoritarian
government
Government should
not interfere in the
economy
Right Wing=Nationalists
Progress of the Spanish Civil War
September 1936
Republicans held all eastern and
southern Spain, including the two key
cities of Madrid and Barcelona.
Nationalists have just over half of
Spain, in the south, west and North
West
Progress of the Spanish Civil War
March 1937
Nationalists capture land in the North
but fail to capture Madrid in the
winter of 1936-1937. During the summer
of 1937, Guernica is heavily bombed by the
German Condor Legion By the end of
1937 the fighting has reached a
stalemate.
Progress of the Spanish Civil War
July 1938
Nationalists capture the Basque lands
in the North. Nationalist advance in
the east cuts off Republican controlled
areas.
Progress of the Spanish Civil War
February 1939
Barcelona was captured by the
Nationalists in January. Madrid fell at
the end of March 1939 and the Civil
War was over.
Foreign Intervention
Aims:
•
•
To examine the motives behind
foreign intervention.
To identify what types of aid was
provided for both sides in the SCW.
The Nationalists
Italy
• 40-50,000 troops
• Tanks, artillery, aircraft
Germany
• Junker planes airlifted Spanish troops
from Morocco.
• Condor Legion – 600 aircraft/200 tanks.
Played major role in bombing of Guernica
1937
• 16,000 ‘military advisers’
Motives Behind Foreign Intervention Nationalists
ITALY
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•
Gain more influence in the
Mediterranean
Support a friendly fascist
Military glory
Motives Behind Foreign Intervention Nationalists
GERMANY
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Testing ground for new weapons
Keep Italy tied up in Spain – turn
attention to Austria.
Secure supplies of war materials
Stop spread of communism
The Republicans
Soviet Union
• Military advisers
• Equipment – 200 tanks, 1000 aircraft.
• Had to be paid for by the Republic.
International Brigades
• Left wing opponents of fascism
• 40,000 in total – never anymore than
15,000 at one time.
• Over 2000 British men joined.
• 75% casualty rate
Motives Behind Foreign Intervention Republicans
SOVIET UNION
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Not fully committed to Republicans
Happy for Germany/Italy to be tied
up in Spain.
Did not want to threaten FrancoSoviet Pact and lose an ally.
Knew GB/France would not tolerate
Communist Government
Motives Behind Foreign Intervention Republicans
INTERNATIONAL BRIGADES
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Came from a variety of countries –
France, GB, Italy and Germany.
Little military training or experience
75% casualty rates
Socialists, TUs, Communists
Britain and France’s Policy of NonIntervention.
Aims:
•
•
Identify the reasons behind Britain
and France’s policy of nonintervention.
Identify the one time when this
policy of non-intervention was not
followed.
Strategic Importance of Spain
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If Spain fell to the Nationalists,
France would be surrounded by
Fascist states.
British and French had naval bases
both on the Mediterranean and
Atlantic.
Spain had natural resources e.g.
iron ore essential for the
manufacture of weapons.
The Non-Intervention Committee
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Set up in September 1936.
France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Russia
(27 countries in total) agreed not to
intervene in the Spanish civil war.
Suits both the British and the French.
The French want to intervene but can’t.
NIC will stop other countries.
British don’t want to intervene but cannot
publicly go against the democratically
elected government of Spain.
Why Did France Support NonIntervention?
The French were sympathetic to the
Republicans however:
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Political instability in France – scared of a
right wing backlash.
Concerned that any intervention would
split French Cabinet and bring down
government.
British made it clear they would not be
happy if the French got involved.
Why Did the British Support NonIntervention?
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Expected Franco to win.
Didn’t want to antagonise Mussolini
or Hitler.
Worried that intervention might
cause a general European war.
Suspicious of Communist influence
in Popular Front Government.
Wanted to protect British business
interests.
The Non-Intervention Committee
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Set up a naval blockade to stop weapons
getting into Spain.
By 1937 ‘mystery submarines’ were
sinking ships taking supplies to the
Republic.
Conference was held at Nyon in
Switzerland to discuss the matter.
British and French navies ordered to
destroy submarines or aircraft attacking
non-Spanish ships.
The ‘piracy’ came to an abrupt end.
British Public Opinion
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Active participation in International
Brigades to oppose Franco – only involved
a minority of Britons.
Conservative dominated National
Government advocated non-intervention
and had public support behind them.
Labour party was divided – some
supported neutrality, others advocated
help for the Republicans, some supported
the Nationalists due to religious
sympathies.
British Public Opinion
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The bombing of Guernica in 1937
reinforced the belief that ‘the
bomber will always get through’.
The government was worried that if
war broke out in Europe, British
cities would face air attacks that
would cause huge death and
devastation.
Source C is a cartoon by David Low
published on 13th January 1937.
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Appeasement and the Road To War