The Spanish Civil War

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The Spanish Civil War

The Republicans

The Nationalists


social background

  • Moderate republicans attempting to secularise Spanish society.

  • Socialists and Communists seeking real social revolution.

  • Anarchists seeking liberty for the workers.

  • Resentment against the 1931 overthrow of King Alfonso XIII and the creation of the Republic.

  • Desire to maintain the traditional structure of Spanish society – religion and social conservatism.

Political Groupings

  • CNT (left wing anarchists)

  • PCE (Communist party)

  • POUM (anti-Soviet Communist Party)

  • PSUC (Pro-Soviet Communist Party)

  • PSOE (Spanish socialist party)

  • CEDA (anti-Republican Catholic Party)

  • The Falange (fascists)

  • UME (right-wing army officers)

Called by their enemies

  • Fascists


  • Largo Caballero, Prime Minister of the Republic, 1936-9

  • Manuel Azaña, President, 1936-9

  • General Francisco Franco “Il Caudillo”

War Aims

  • Defeat of the military uprising of 1936

  • Defeat of right-wing elements in the army and their allies

  • Anarchists and Communists had their own war aims distinct from those of the democratic republican government of 1936.

  • The destruction of the Republican government of 1936, and the defeat of socialism.

  • The protection of the Catholic Church and the armed forces.

  • The upholding of Conservative moral and social values

Political Ideology

Mixture of:

  • Moderate democratic republicanism.

  • Communism.

  • Anarchism.

  • Anti-Communist

  • Social and economic conservatism

  • Pro-Catholic

  • Forms of fascism – strong Spain with powerful armed forces.

International Support

  • The USSR

  • Socialist and Communist volunteers

Composition of armed forces

  • Conservative and pro-monarchist and pro- Catholic elements in Spain’s armed forces.

  • The Spanish army of Morocco

  • The Condor Legion (German pilots)

  • Italian armed forces

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