Spanish Civil War
Chapter 1 – The origins of Spain's civil war

  • Began with a military coup between July 17 and 18, 1936
    • Goal was to stop the political democracy created by the First World War and the Russian Revolution and a number of changes in the 1920s and 1930s (equivalent to Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany)
Note: Spaniards often include in “causes” of the war, the “feelings that were produced by the war itself”
  • The uneven levels of development that “obtained inside Spain by the 1930s”
    • Military coup caused a series of culture wars
      • Urban culture v. Rural tradition
  • Influence of Catholicism
  • Emergence of a strict and intolerant political culture in Spain's army
  • 1898 - Spain's “final loss of empire”
    • Spain then lacked external markets
    • Deprived Spain's officer corps of any meaningful, defensive role, causing them to become over powerful internally
    • Within the officer corps, the blame final loss of empire was placed on civilian politicians
      • Sparked a belief that young Spaniards must be defenders of Spain's unity against other groups of Spaniards who believed in the new social and economic changes
    • New social constituencies

Reforming (Republican) agenda:
  • Groups:
    • Progressive Republicans – lawyers and teachers, a party based on universal suffrage
    • Spain's socialist movement
  • Agrarian reform – intended to create a “small holding peasantry with Republican allegiance” in southern Spain
    • Provide an interval market to “stimulate industrial development”
  • Separation of church and state to allow for the phasing out of the clergy and for non-religious education
  • Debar religious orders from teaching (this, in turn, failed)
Problems facing the Republican reform:
  • Too ambitious
  • Attempt was made during world economic depression and the government already had debt from the Primo dictatorship
  • Difficulty in finding experienced leaders
  • Complexity of the proposed structural reform, along with a lack of time
  • Enormous gap between political authority and real power
    • The government could pass legislation in Madrid's parliament, but implementing these proved difficult
  • Divisions on the Left
  • Conservative government resumed power in November 1933
  • Fascist youth uprising took politics to the streets, causing a shift in the space of Spanish politics
  • Spain's traditionalists
    • Included: elite officials, Catholic church, military elites
  • People in the center-north “conservative heartland”
    • Due to the Church
    • Republican reform interfered with the Catholic culture “that framed social identities and daily life,” because the Republican reform included a separation of church and state

Military Academy:
  • 1927 – Franco took over Spain's military academy at Zaragoza, put Africanistas in most teaching positions
    • Implemented the idea of the military being the “guardian and savior of Spain”
    • Note: one of the Republican government's first goals was to close the Academy in June of 1931