Spanish Civil War, 1936 – 1939
Episode #10 of the course “Revolutions that changed the world”
Coups are not always successful, as the Spanish Civil war displays. The Spanish Civil War was a military revolt against the Republican government. It was supported by conservatives throughout the country. However, it started as a coup that failed to gain control of the entire country.
The civil war was between the Nationalists (the rebellion forces) and the Republicans. The Nationalists were mostly Roman Catholics, and they were landowners and businessmen. The Republican people, on the other hand, were most of the educated middle class, including urban workers and agricultural laborers. At the time of the uprising, a democratically-elected Republican government was in place. However, they were not supported by those on the right and the middle, since the Republicans were on the left. The Nationalists received support from Germany and Italy while the Republicans were supported by the Soviet Union and the European democracies. However, the Soviet Union did not offer as much support as Germany, and the Republicans were somewhat divided by internal conflicts regarding which form of government would be best for Spain.
The Spanish Civil War casualties were great, resulting from executions, murders, and various assassinations. It is apparent that the passions of both sides were extremely high. The actual number of casualties, however, is relatively uncertain. A recent estimate states that it was roughly 500,000 people, but this number does not include those who were killed as a result of starvation and war-engendered disease. Ultimately, the Nationalists were successful after a long war, and it marked the beginning of a 40-year dictatorship in Spain. Spain would not regain its democratic form of government until 1982.
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