Analyse the factors which led to the Republic losing the Civil War?
There were many factors which led to the Republic losing the Civil War. At the outset of the war, the outcome of the war was unpredictable due to the way the two sides were so evenly matched. However as the war progressed the balance began to tip in favour of the Rebels.
The way Spain was split after the attempted coup was reflected in how the population had voted in the elections. The East, South and Industrial north, including most of the major cities where the workers mobilised to thwart the rebels, remained loyal to the Republic leaving a small number of cities in the north-west and largely conservative areas to the Rebels. This left 60 per cent of Spain under Republic control. The army split equally between the Republic and the Rebels, however 65 per cent of the Officer corps, who felt disgruntled by the way they had been treated by the Republic as it came to power sided with the Rebels, giving the rebels a ready-made army which benefitted from having the structure of a military command in place along with trained officers and professional combat-ready soldiers from the Army of Africa. The structure and experience of the Rebel forces gave them a clear purpose and high level of organisation, providing them an advantage over the Republic. Franco was able, with the aid of some luck, to become Supreme Head of the Army and State for the Rebel zones providing a clear figurehead and chain of command, eliminating the infighting and rivalry that plagued the Republic. Franco also unified his supporters by creating the feeling that they were rescuing Spain and Europe from Communism through his use of propaganda and by providing his followers a feeling of duty similar to that of the crusades from his open ‘extermination’ of the republic ‘evil’.
The Republic army faced many problems. Unlike the Rebels, the Republic did not have the advantage of a ready-made army and experienced officers, and although some officers remained loyal, this was often not down to choice, but out of necessity due to their geographic location. Examples of betrayal from supposedly loyal officers were frequent, e.g. Oviedo, leading to genuinely loyal officers being mistrusted. Although successful against the Rebels at first, the lack of experience and discipline of the makeshift armed forces of the Republic, and the political divisions within the ranks led to inefficiency and delays in battles. This inefficiency was exemplified by the lack of supplies to the Republic, which often led to initial victories where nationalist advances were cut short, not being followed up.
The political situation within the Republic was also problematic to their cause. Unlike the Rebels, the various factions within the Republic engaged in fierce political disagreements, sometimes leading to violence and infighting. This led to a breakdown of law and order which the government could not easily overcome. Revenge taken by groups who felt they had been repressed and exploited by the Church is a prime example of this.
One of the greatest factors in determining the outcome of the Spanish civil war was the impact of foreign intervention. Both sides appealed for assistance from foreign governments, however 1936 saw Britain and France instigate the formation of the non-intervention Committee, to which ambassadors from other countries attended. This committee tried to create a voluntary agreement from all countries they should not interfere with, or supply arms to, Spain whilst it was in Civil War.
France initially gave assistance to the Republicans due to her need for an ally on its borders, through which it would have access to its North African colonies. However France soon withdrew their support after various concerns began to emerge. The French Popular Front government was under pressure from the Right, threatening anarchy if the aid sent to the Republic continued and the French high command also...
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