Spanish Civil War
Chapter 2—Rebellion, revolution, and repression

Beginning of War:
  • Began with military coup agains the Republic on July 17, 1936 in Morocco and shortly spread to the Spain
  • The Rebels paralyzed the Republican regime but did not takeover the Spain entirely
  • Some police and the worker militia joined forces to suppress in urban, industrial Spain
Start of violence:
  • Absence of police force and a sound judiciary system made it possible for issues to be settled on a personal level, causing inane criminal acts to occur in the behavior of revolutionary justice
    • Aerial bombardment triggered acts of violence as well, and rumors of mass shootings in rebel territory spread
  • Republican violence was directed toward the Rebels attempt at restoring “old power”
  • The mass Catholic party (CEDA) and the Falange, on the side of the Rebels, “unleashed a savage repression that happened from the outset” on all parts of Rebel Spain
    • This turned into a 'culture war;' their belief that Spain needed to “be purged or purified” opening the door to “mass murder”
  • Backbone of violence was the abolition of the other forces
    • Republican forces killed to achieve 'tabula rosa'
    • Rebel forces killed to cleanse the polluted population
      • Included numerous assassinations of authors, vigilantes, and other groups labeled as a threat to the Rebels
Geography of war:
Republican areas:
  • Urban Centers--Rebellion failed in areas with widespread Republican reform support and in progressive areas
  • Catalonia and Valencia (regions in the countryside)
  • Madrid (center of communication and gold reserves in Spain)
    • Caused for the control of industry
Note: Territorial divisions generally favored the Republic

Rebel areas:
  • Seville--General Queipo de Llano combated a labour movement
  • Majority of the countryside--area with thousands of landless peasants, caused for the coup to generally fail, thus favoring the Rebels
  • Rural, smallholding center-north and northwest Spain--areas with returned conservative majorities in the February 1936 election
  • Small villages where people felt the need for support from the Rebels
  • No collapse of police or public order
  • Wide use of terror
Note: No area of Spain was entirely conservative

International Intervention: Aid to the Rebels
  • Received planes from Hitler and Mussolini to transport crack troop (Foreign Legion and the Army of Africa)
    • Both dictators wanted to shorten the way by aiding a quick Rebel victory
  • Fighting force of Moroccan mercenaries (Africanistas)
    • A group headed by Francisco Franco
Rebel expansion of power:
  • Created order by terror in occupied areas
  • The Rebel repression was able to annihilate home as a safe place
    • People believed if they could return home, to their place of origin, they could escape the fall-out of political divisions
    • But most civilian deaths by the Rebels occurred because they returned home
  • In 'rebel-held' south, there was “systematic brutality, torture and rape of women”
  • Rebels conquered villages as if they were carrying out a colonial conquest against “insubordinate indigenous people”
  • Franco noted: “the need to annihilate all resistance in occupied zones”
  • The Catholic Church legitimized the coups