• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why did civil war break out in Spain in 1936?

Extracts from this document...


Why did civil war break out in Spain in 1936? To this day the Spanish Civil War is still remembered as the single most pivotal moment in the history of Spanish politics. The only way of understanding how 600,000 Spaniards were killed between 1936 and 1939 is to ask ourselves why the civil war broke out in Spain in 1936. There were a number of reasons which led to the civil war in Spain. The main and most significant being the increased political polarization between the left and right wing parties. This polarization primarily began within Spanish society, which had been characterized by its strong religious beliefs and conservative values, as it remained a strict Roman Catholic country for many centuries. This was evident in the senate1 where some of the clergy held seats. As a result of this the church also played an important role in the Spanish government and had portrayed its influence through aspects of education2 and freedom of expression. This was an important factor that contributed to the start of tensions within the Spanish society as many Spaniards felt that the church had too much political authority and wealth. ...read more.


In order to reduce the power of the army many officers were forced to retire early. Furthermore, these modifications angered the right, who had the support of many Spaniards that saw Spain as a fundamentally Catholic country. Consequently, leading the Nationalists to attempt to de-stabilize the republic through means of violence and conspiracy. It was only through the right's fear of communism and the left's fear of fascism that both groups found it impossible to consider the other's existence within Spanish politics. Either side's fear of extremism led to the intervention of other countries. Spain's neutrality during First World War due to its division over the two sides led to an economic boom. In return for its help during the First World War, Hitler and Mussolini supported the right's fascist movement. Furthermore, the fears of other European countries of communism caused the republic's lack of international support, except the Russian support due to the extreme communist parties such as the PCE12 and coalition of the left to form POUM13. The emergence of these extremist parties led to great political unrest. As well as CEDA, the extreme fascist groups such as the Carlists14, Alfonsine monarchists,15 JONS16 and the Falange17 participated in a number of conspiracies and street fighting against the left, especially in retaliation for the mass burning of churches around Spain, leaving the situation on the verge of a greater eruption. ...read more.


Inevitably problems occurred, in particular with regions such as Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country who had their own cultural identities and wanted regional autonomy. This was a larger problem for the Nationalists because they considered it as the dismembering of the Spanish 'Fatherland.' However, Catalonia and the Basque Country also held great importance to the Spanish economy, as they were the only regions in Spain that had been modernized through the great boom of industrialisation in the nineteenth century and consisted of thriving economies. The main Catalan organization was the Esquerra, which was formed by an alliance between democratic and republican groups led by Francesc Macia and also formed strong relations with the CNT. The republic was able to legitimise Catalans Statute of autonomy in the Cortes in September 1932 under its regional government, the Generalitat. However, the situation in the Basque country was far more complicated as the Basque attitudes towards the Spanish were full of disgust as they regarded them as foreigners20. The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), being devotedly Catholic and conservative caused fear for the republic who thought that with autonomy the Basque's would help the right-wing parties. Although they did ally with the extreme right Carlists, they eventually realised that their only hope of achieving autonomy was if they supported the Republic. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. To what extent did the foreign intervention influence the outcome of the Spanish Civil ...

    However, Franco's battle strategy was very slow and according to Lee, "was unimaginative but solid". The Republicans on the other hand, had commanders with imaginative and brilliant attacks, which were successful at the beginning, although Franco's great strength as Lee maintains was "his cautious and thorough preparation".

  2. The Spanish Civil War

    in the Vatican. Franco pursued the war with a characteristic ruthlessness, with mass executions becoming the norm in Nationalist Spain for any former activists for the left such as trade unionists, politicians etc and eventually even anyone who had even voted for one of the left wing parties.

  1. Reasons for the increasing support given to NSDAP by the German people in the ...

    The overall changes in the Nazi party's progress and success in electoral terms correspond to "the events of discontinuity" quite clearly as outlined by Sebastian Haffner in The Meaning of Hitler; "...In the 1920s through his oratory and demagogy Hitler hardly ever gained more than 5% of all Germans as

  2. To what extent was the Civil War the main factor in the Bolshevik

    Lastly, even though the threats from the Whites, Greens and the nationalities were largely eradicated there was still huge discontent from the peasants and it was a necessity to remove this opposition through various policies and the use of "Red Terror" hugely helped in the consolidation of power.

  1. Was the civil warinevitable?

    It is the opinion of this essay that the southern succession was an inevitable step for the south to take in response to what they saw as the ultimate threat to their way of life. However due to the North's core belief that the union was eternal it necessitated the

  2. 'The three great quarrels of region, class and church caused the Spanish Civil War.' ...

    A large working class had also developed in northern Spain who opposed the wealth Latitifundistas. This naturally led to deep division between the Spanish social classes as was seen by the Asturian uprising of 1934 were 70,000 communist oriented miners revolted and occupied the city of Oviedo.

  1. American History.

    Still, some newspapers began publishing essays that used Real Whig ideology to accuse Britain of scheming to oppress the colonies. It was a conspiracy! But nobody really advocated independence [yet]. - So patriots continued to view themselves as British subjects.

  2. Russia: a Century of Upheaval.

    The subject races not only wanted to be rid of the Tsar, but any Russian government, so they were in no way sympathetic or supportive of other opposition groups. So, there was a lot of discontent in Russia, but it was unlikely to lead to full-scale revolution unless something disastrous happened, something that people could blame on the Tsar.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work