“The war was a civil war and a revolution. It could not finish until the country had been transformed either into a Fascist or into a socialist state.” -Arturo Barea
The Spanish civil war – 1936 – 1939, was a savage civil uprise, one of the worst conflicts that Europe up to that point had ever seen. It was a battle between democracy and Fascism. On July 17th 1936 the military officers rebelled against the government of the Spanish republic. Political opponents became the enemy and were hunted down and killed.
After the fall of the monarchy in 1931 the republic government was welcomed and rejoiced by the country and its civilians. They had broken through to the modern. The monarchy was thought to be an oppressive system, which felt like they were living in a tightly repressed society. There was a feeling a freedom for society when the republic came into power. The workers had great hope for their future, with the promise of fair pay, union rights, land reform. The republic was the revolution that the country needed.
This feeling of hope and freedom soon turned sour….just a month after the proclamation of the republic, a sharp divide was apparent within the Country. Many areas of the country wanted to have their own government and wanted independence from the rest of Spain. Aswell as the landowners and the workers having many disputes. Pretty soon violence erupted, churches and convents were burnt by mobs and rioters. Spain was quite literally ready to explode and the final spark that lit the fuse of war was the assassination of the right wing leader, Calvo Sotelo, in July 1936.
The War was an horrific with a considerable amount of life lost, it claimed over half a million people, from both Spain and abroad. Lots of others countries became involved in the war due to it being about left and right wing polices. It was seen as political lever to their own countries political views.
There are memorials all over the world for the many men that fought in the Spanish Civil War. Here is one that is in Cardiff city centre next to the museum for the Welsh volunteers that contributed.