Analysis of the Inter-War Period

Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

In 1931, the Spanish monarchy fell and was replaced by a democratically-elected government, called the Second Republic. The Second Republic was largely middle-class and dedicated to social reforms. As such, its policies attacked the rights of those priveleged in Spanish society. This angered The Right (aristocracy, the Catholic Church, the military, the monarchists, and the Fascists). However, the government's reforms were not enough to satisfy the Left-wing radicals nor the workers, either. The Second Republic was therefore left in low public opinion, and thus led to conflict between the two factions, known as the Spanish Civil War.

The war was fought by the Nationalists and the Republicans.

The Nationalists were the people of the Right who were led by Generals Franco and Sanjurjo. In the early portion of the war, the Nationalists had the support of the Spanish cities of Cadiz, Saragossa, Seville, and Burgos, as well support from Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe and Mussolini's 50 000 volunteers from Italy.

The Republicans were the people of the Left, led by Azana. They were supported by the Spanish cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Valencia. Russia also declared support for the Republicans, who sent advisors and technicians to Spain. Finally, and International Brigade of international volunteers supported the Republicans.

Realistically, the Nationalists had the advantage, as their supporters had actual military experience. The Republicans relied on mere volunteers with minimal military training, while the Nationalists had support of the Luftwaffe, and Mussolini's 50 000 volunteers, all of which had military experience.

The Republicans held out against the Nationalists until 1938. By that time the Republicans had been split in half by the Nationalists. In 1939 Republican resistance all but collapsed. There was internal conflict inside the party, and Russia had withheld its support from them. Barcelona fell in January 1939, and Madrid and Valencia surrendered in March. The Republicans surrendered on April 1 of that year.