Spanish civil war


Dictator general Primo de Rivera resigns

January 28th 1930

This occurs after 7 years of De Rivera's martial law, and dictatorship system. In the beginning when the army took over he was appointed prime minister by the king and had a council of 8 senior army leaders to support him, which later turned to a council of civilians. He had tried to advance policies within Spain but they ended up all failing. Because of this. De Rivera' lost the support of others, importantly people in positions of power like the king.

General Berenguer Appointed Prime minister

30 January 1930

With Primo de Rivera no longer Prime minister, King Alfonso XIII ordered Berenguer to take over his position. Berenguer repealed some of the harsher measures introduced by Primo de Rivera.

Pact of San Sebastián

August 17, 1930

A meeting led by Niceto Alcalá Zamora and Miguel Maura (8 different republican party leaders were there). A "revolutionary committee" was formed to overthrow the monarchy, (headed by Alcalá-Zamora); this committee eventually became the first provisional government of the Second Spanish Republic. They planned a military coup in favor of a republic in December which failed.
*The pact was of little relevance after September 1933, when the left-republican parties (Republican Action Party and the Radical-Socialist Party) broke with the Socialist Workers’ Party.

Aznar is Prime minister

February 14th 1931 - April 14, 1931

Admiral Aznar briefly replaces Berenguer as Prime Minister of Spain until King Alfonso XIII is exiled and the Spanish Second Republic is announced (April 14, 1931). He was made Prime Minister at a time of intense crisis, when the monarchy was on the verge of falling under popular pressure for a republic.

Berenguer resigns

14 February 1931

He had faced a number of problems – like the demand for no more monarchy or the disorganisation among the country's political parties after seven years of repression. This made the call for prompt elections an impossible task. There was also labour unrest; and at least one military uprising. He was known as a very soft leader and not very fit for the job.

Republican parties win election.

April 12th 1931

In the municipal election, spanish republican parties win a landslide victory. This election was fought as a virtual referendum on the future of the monarchy. It is the reason that Berneguer resigns and the king flees two days later.

Second Spanish Republic Announced

April 14th 1931

The 2nd Spanish Republic occurred as an aftermath of the Wall Street Crash in 1929.It lasted from 1931 to 1939. People could vote for their Head of State and Government for the 2nd time in history (The first time was in the 1st Spanish Republic from 1873 to 1874).

Niceto Alcalá-Zamora as prime minister (king leaves)

April 14th 1931

in the face of overwhelming popular rejection, King Alfonso XIII fled the country as the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed. The King's departure led to a provisional government.

New spanish constitution

December 9, 1931

It established: freedom of speech and association,gave women more rights, stripped Spanish nobility of special legal status.

There was also now strict control over the Catholics' rights to property and education. These articles prevented the new government from ever reaching a democratic majority. Niceto Alcalá-Zamora had not agreed with this as a catholic and had resigned with its inclusion on Oct. 14, 1931.

Niceto Alcalá-Zamora as president

December 11th 1931

Even though Niceto Alcalá-Zamora didn't agree with parts of the new constitution, he still became the first president of the Spanish second republic.

Popular, National Front formed

15th January 1936

Manuel Azaña helps establish a coalition of left wing parties to fight the national elections fast approching. This became known as the Popular front and included the Socialist Party (PSOE), Communist Party ( PCE), Esquerra Party and the Republican Union Party. Right-wing groups in Spain also came together to form the National Front. This included the CEDA and the Carlists.

National Election; Popular front wins.

16th February 1936

Out of a possible 13.5 million voters, almost 10 million voted. 34.% voted for the Popular Front, whereas the National Front obtained 33% and the center parties got 5 %. The Popular Front, with 263 seats out of the 473 in the Cortes formed the new government.

The Popular Front government immediately upset the conservatives by releasing all left-wing political prisoners. The government also introduced reforms that hurt the upper class as well as taking right-wing military leaders (like Franco) to posts outside Spain, and giving Catalonia more freedom.

As a result of these measures the wealthy took riches out of the country creating an economic crisis and the value of the peseta (currency in Spain) declined which damaged trade and tourism. With prices rising workers demanded higher wages. This led to a series of strikes in Spain.

Manuel Azaña becomes President

10th May 1936

Conservative Niceto Alcala Zamora was ousted as president and replaced by the left-wing Manuel Azaña. Soon afterwards Spanish Army officers began plotting to overthrow the Popular Front government.

Uprising and Military coup

18th July 1936

Following a period of troubles in the Second Spanish Republic, a group of officers attempted to overthrow the left-wing Popular Front government, in a military coup.The coup was launched on 17 and 18 July starting in Morocco and spreading to mainland spain- but the coup failed to take complete control of the country so civil war ensued.

President Manuel Azaña had tried to negotiate with these rebels with no success. He had appointed Diego Martinez Barrio as prime minister to negotiate but replaced him with José Giral when that didn't work. To protect the Popular Front government, Giral gave orders for arms to be distributed to left-wing organizations that opposed the military uprising.

Hitler and Mossulini support Franco

26th July 1936

Adolf Hitler recognized and began to support Franco for a couple of reasons. One was to save Europe from "communist barbarism". Another reason was that it brought Germany closer to Italy, a country that was also supporting the military uprising in Spain.Hitler also knew that a Nationalist victory would give him an important ally in his struggle with Britain and France. He wanted their natural resources, and also wanted to test out his commanders, weapons and tactics.

USSR highpoint of support for Republicans

October 1936 - June 1937

Due to the Franco-British arms embargo, the Government of the Republic could receive material aid and could purchase arms only from the Soviet Union. To pay for these armaments the Republicans used US$500 million in gold reserves.
The period from October 1936 to June 1937 marked the high point of Soviet intervention: regular shipments of the most advanced military equipment were sent to Spain; over one thousand Soviet tank crews and pilots were active in combat on the side of the Republic; diplomatic relations were conducted at the highest levels; the Soviet populace was continually rallied by its government to support the Republican cause; and cultural exchanges between the two countries were planned and implemented.

Nationalist forces declared Franco head of the government

October 1, 1936

Anticipating a swift victory, the Nationalist forces declared Franco head of the government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. However, when their initial assault on Madrid was repelled, the military coup evolved into the protracted conflict known as the Spanish Civil War.
Over the next three years, the Nationalist forces—led by Franco and backed by right-wing militias, the Catholic Church and Germany and Italy—battled the left-wing Republicans, who received aid from the Soviet Union as well as brigades of foreign volunteers. Though the Republicans were able to resist the Nationalist advance for a time, with far-superior military strength Franco and his forces were able to systematically defeat them, eliminating their opposition region by region.

First international brigade arrives in spain

October 14, 1936

International Brigades were groups of foreign volunteers who fought on the Republican side against the Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War . They came from some 50 countries, and were recruited, organized, and directed by the Comintern (Communist International), with headquarters in Paris. A large number of the mostly young recruits were Communists before they became involved in the conflict.The first group of 500 trainees arrived in Albacete, Spain. There were seven brigades in all, and each one was divided into battalions by nationality. The number of volunteers probably never exceeded 20,000 at any one time,

Guernica destroyed

26th April 1937

In 1935, General Erich Luderndorff had published “The Total War” (Die Totale Krieg) in which he argued that modern war was all encompassing and that no-one could or should necessarily be spared by the military (like civilians).

Guernica was the first city to be deliberately targeted for aerial bombing. Guernica was the ancient capital of the Basques which had withstood the advances of the army since the beginning of the war. By bombing it, a clear message would be sent of the Nationalist military power-though No-one knew what a bombing raid would do to a city. Franco’s Nationalists actually had little air force power and had been greatly helped by Nazi Germany, who wanted to try out their Luftwaffe.

The first bombs fell around 4:30 in the afternoon, and since it was market day, the city centre was packed with people from the outlying area around Guernica. Targets had been selected strategically, including the main bridge that lead into the city. unfortunately, the Legion could not accurately hit targets from height.
By the time theraid was over, the centre of Guernica was in ruins and over 1,500 people were killed and almost 1000 wounded.

Consequences of the raid included distrust in the diplomatic meetings between Chamberlain and Hitler in September 1938. Chamberlain, feared the possibility of a southern English city being similarly bombed. It also acted as a stimulus for Britain to modernize her outdated Royal Air Force.

America's Neutrality act

May 1st 1937

The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and the rising tide of fascism in Europe increased support for extending and expanding the Neutrality Act of 1937. This Neutrality Act, was an extension of earlier acts, but this time had no expiration date, and extended them to cover civil wars as well. Further, U.S. ships were prohibited from transporting any passengers or articles to at war countries, and U.S. citizens were forbidden from traveling on ships of at war nations.

Barcelona falls to Franco

January 26th 1939

Barcelona being captured by the nationalist army was the end of the Catalonia Offensive which had started back on December 23, 1938. With Barcelona down, the Republican government, and thousands of people headed for the French border (who were placed in internment camps). Unfortunately, Franco closed the border with France soon after by February 10, 1939.

Britian recognizes Franco

27th February 1939

The British government recognized General Francisco Franco as the new ruler of Spain. Chamberlain announced this in the house of commons, leaving the USSR and America to be the only large powers that had not yet recognized Franco

Unconditional surrender demanded

March 12th 1939 - march 25th 1939

After the defeat of one of the left side government's three armies, the popular front tried peace negotiations with Franco. The left sides situation was very hopeless, with way less soldiers, supplies, and very little food. On March 12, a peace deal was proposed, asking for a guarantee against political retaliation and 25 days so anyone who wanted to leave Spain could. 2 days later, Franco said he only wanted an unconditional surrender (which means that no guarantees would be given). On March 25th, the two negotiators that the popular front had sent to Franco were told that the Republican Air Force had to be surrendered and by the 27th the Republican troops had to raise the white flag. Unfortunately, the Republicans did not surrender their Air Force due to bad weather so the peace talks stopped.

Madrid falls to nationalists

March 28 1939

Madrid had been under siege for two and a half years (since October 1936) but finally fell to the Nationalists with the help of pro-Franco forces inside the city (called the "fifth column" in propaganda broadcasts of 1936). Madrid had been the last stronghold for the popular front, and it signaled the end of the war.

Franco announces the end of the civil war

April 1st 1939

The republicans offers unconditional surrender and General Francisco Franco declares victory for the Nationalists over the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War during a radio speech. It was the end of the nearly three-year, bloody civil war that even entangled Nazi Germany, and also ushered in the reign of dictator Francisco Franco. Franco would rule after this point a harsh dictatorship within Spain until his death in 1975.