Spanish Civil War

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Background of the Spanish Civil War

In July 1936, the Right wing Nationalist led by General Franco who was supported by the Monarchists, Catholic Church and most of the armed forces attempted a coup d'etat as they didn't want the Popular Front running the country

The Nationalist tried to overthrow the newly elected Republic government, the Popular Front who was supported by the industrial working class, liberals, socialist and communist who fought back. Franco was always a conservative, but the extent of his fascism was down to the leader of other fascist leaders e.g. Mussolini and Hitler.

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How did the Spanish Civil War affect other countri


Left and Labour: The Left saw the war as a fight against evil which was represented by fascism and saw Franco as a fascist puppet. They believed that the war represented a fight against good and evil. People in Britain believed so strongly in this opinion that 2,000 joined the International Brigade to wage a war against fascism.

Right and the Conservative: They saw the Republicans as communist inspired and sided more with Franco. However, Britain didn't want to get involved in Spain as this could escalate into a European war if too many nations became involved. Britain had other problems such as the Rearmament of Germany and the issue with Japan in the Far East, that the future of Europe was unsure causing the government to be cautious. France wanted collective security. Leon Blum who was Prime Minister didn't want to be trapped in a fascist triangle. With France in political instability and Britain didn't want to commit to nay action in Spain, France suggested a non intervention pact. This was to discourage intervention on either side and enforce an embargo of war material. However, this was easily violated by America, Germany, Italy and USSR. Due to agreeing to the Pact, France closed its border to Spain.

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How did the Spanish Civil War affect other countri

USA: Roosevelt decided to ignore what was happening in Spain. As a result, didn't ban the Texas Oil Company from supplying oil to Spain which violated the Non-intervention Commitee.

USSR: sent men and weapons to help the communist on the Republican side. USSR didn't want to get fully involved in the conflict at the risk of losing a potential alliance with Britain and France. Mussolini (Italy): sent aircraft, ammunition and 100,000 men. Italian submarines also bombed merchant ship suspecting of trading with the Republican. Many young people in Italy only knew the fascist way so believed in supporting it. However, there were some young Italians who fought against fascism.

Germany: sent fewer me to Spain than Italy, however used the war to test out new weapons and military tactics. An example of this was the bombing of Guernica in April 1947 which made a great impression on the West.

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  • Reinforced the devestation that would happen if another world war was to occur. More people began to support Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement. 
  • Helped mobilise the Liberal left. 
  • Franco gained control of Spain, however, he mainly focused on rebuilding Spain which resulted in him giving limited support to Italy and Germany. 
  • Britain and France lost Italy as a ally because of the Rome-Berlin Axis signed in 1936 between Germany and Italy as well as the Anti-Comitern Pact signed by Germany, Italy and Japan. Mussolini now saw the once great powers of the world, Britain and France, as weak shown by the non-intervention comitee. 
  • Many people began to believed that if a world war is to occur, then it should be down to ideological differences rather than on the grounds of what is percieved to be national interests. 

Rome-Berlin Axis: An Italian intervention to develop special relationship with Germany. Ciano convinced Hitler that Italy was no longer a slave to democracy. It was a series of secret protocols outlining military interests. e.g. the Mediterranean was to be an Italian lake and Germany's free control in Central and Eastern Europe. 

Gentlemen's Agreement (1937) used by Britain to remove Italy from the list of potential enemy. Recognised the Med as an area of vital interest and Mussolini agreed to stop intervention in Spain. However as Eden traveled to London, Mussolini sent 3,000 troops and boasted publicly about Italian victory. 

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