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Chris Stocks Spanish Civil War Essay “Diary Entry”

April 16th 1939

The war has ended and all the fighting for has been for nothing. Franco and his Fascist government control Spain, Hitler again has been victorious against democracy. I feel I must take the time to write an account of the war as I have seen it and as I have read it. I do this in case the lies of the Nationalists are told to the world. To the best of my knowledge, all information in this entry is correct.

The Civil war in Spanish aroused from the murder of Jos� Castillo a member of the Socialist party by a Falangist gang in Madrid. This lead to the assassination of Calvo Sotelo who was a powerful right-wing politician and former finance minister of Spain and harsh critic of the new government. This accelerated a military coup lead by General Franco that had been under preparation for a long time. With Franco with the army in Morocco and various other generals controlling other armies around Spain, the Nationalists soon had control of the greater part of Spain excluding larger cities like Barcelona and Madrid. By this time the Republicans had formed a coalition cabinet headed by Giral. Giral appealed to the French socialists for military aid (Prime Minister Leon Blum). Franco then sent messengers to Germany and Italy (Hitler and Mussolini) to ask for military help on the side of the Nationalist who shared similar views as Hitler.

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The Siege of Alcazar

When the Nationalists realised that the uprising in Madrid was failing, the Nationalist troops occupied the Alcazar military academy. For two months the Nationalists held out on the besieging Republican army. The Nationalist were finally helped out by armies lead by Colonel Jose Varela who Stormed Toledo.

Soon after, military armaments from France arrived at the Republicans and military aircraft and vehicles arrived from Germany and Italy. The aid from France was soon cut off with the implementation of the non-intervention policy. Meanwhile, military aid was still arriving from Germany and Italy. This lead to the Nationalist gaining an advantage and capturing Badajoz and therefore linking the two separate parts of Spain, which were governed by the Nationalists.

Britain’s view

Britain knew that Franco would win the war with the aid of Hitler and so did not want to make an enemy of them and so did nothing to interfere as a country. Many Brits were involved in the war but none were official representatives from the British armed forces. They were too afraid that if they got their German aeroplanes through to London, then the casualties would be in the thousands. Some Brits believed that this was a chance to stop the advance of Fascism.

The League of Nations contemplated war and deemed inaction illegal as that would mean refusing to help a league member. By this time, though, the league was seen as a joke and was not even properly run anymore.

Germany’s View

Hitler saw the war as a testing ground for his new aircraft i.e. dive bombers for clearing ground targets and the Condor Legion transported troops to their destinations. Hitler also liked the idea that Italy was tied up in the Spanish civil war and so Germany could move into Austria.

Soviets View

Stalin provided the Republicans with military weapons. The aim was to give them enough to keep the Nationalists at bay but not enough to have a military edge. In his opinion as long as Germany and Italy were fighting in Spain, Russia was safe from attack from them. Because of this, he tried to prolong the war.

International Brigades

The International Brigades were armies of volunteers from many different backgrounds, who were all left wing anti-Fascists. There were people from Britain, France and even Italians and Germans who were against Fascism. Some had military experience but most were untrained in war. They came from all backgrounds, students, workers, trade unionists and some were even communists. They had to give up their jobs to fight but would get the satisfaction that they were fighting the Fascists. The Brigades were given names to reflect their views, i.e. the Germans brigade was called “Thaelmann” Brigade, as he was the leader of the outlawed German communist party. The Brigades withdrew in 1938 because of a peace initiative by the League of Nations.

The Battle of Madrid 1936-37

In the winter of 1936, Franco’s army forced their way to the west of Madrid but could not capture the city. When trying to move north, the French, British and American national brigades held up the Nationalists movement. Despite many casualties, Madrid did not fall. The International Brigades had kept the Nationalists at bay for now.

The End of War

With the Germans equipping the Nationalists, Franco soon had 100,000 Italians, which was enough to renew his advance. The Republicans with Russian help could not hold back the Nationalists. The Republican armies were made up of people with different political view i.e. some communists, Anarchists etc and so even though they were fighting against the Fascists, they were fighting against themselves too which weakened their armies. In 1939, the cities of Barcelona and Madrid fell to the Nationalists after they retook Teruel and so cut the Republican territory in half.

Cost of War

There were over one million fatalities in the War including many from Britain and many of the towns and cities lay in ruins. Franco seized power and remained there until 1975.

After the war, Hitler knew that he had again beaten Britain and France and Fascism had been triumphant. With the help given during the war, Hitler assumed that Spain would be a profitable ally if he should ever declare war in the future. Hitler had also improved his relationship with Italy after how well they worked together during the civil war. The war also saw the main democracies ( USA, Britain and France) separated by the war. They each had different views on how they should combat the Fascists in Germany and now Spain and so this weakened them in the opinion of Hitler. Spain, though, refused to fight in the Second World War, as Hitler would have hoped as they saw it as nothing to do with Spain or Spanish interests. Hitler had seen how his weapons would behave in a war environment and so could estimate how well they could be used and in what ways is a much larger conflict.

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Chris Stocks Spanish Civil War Essay "Diary Entry". (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved May 9, 2021, from