Causes and Results of the Spanish Civil War

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Analyse the causes and results of the Spanish Civil War.

From 1936-1939, Spain had undergone through turmoil and destruction as they plunge into an inevitable internal incident that wreaked havoc across the country militarily, economically, politically and socially. The Spanish Civil War had begun. There are many causes to as why the war ignited and the list of results is not that negligible either. Causes such as the unpopularity of the monarch, Nationalism, the Catholic Church versus the Army, Capitalism versus Communism, etcetera. The results include from Hitler’s position in Europe to the revolutionary paintings of Picasso. This essay will highlight some of the causes and effects of the Spanish Civil War.

One cause for the civil war was the corruptness and the unpopularity of the Spanish Monarch, Alfonso XIII, whose decisions made Spain fall under a scale of poverty not seen in other parts of Western Europe. It had reached a point where the people experienced extreme episodes of starvation. It was said that ‘two million agricultural workers in Spain toiled on others’ turf, with 50,000 gentry owning half of the land’ (Pierre Broué and Emile Témime, p34). This made the Spaniards ponder on the other forms of government that might be able to raise them from their current situation including communism, socialism even considering the idea of being an anarchist type of country.

In addition, Alfonso XIII appointed General Primo de Rivera to take control of Spain. Primo de Rivera ruled as a dictator and for short term he seemed to have been doing well introducing public works and irrigation also ending the Moroccan rebellion by 1925. However Primo de Rivera’s projects subjected Spain to huge amounts of debts resulting to the collapse of the peseta. The Great Wall Street Crash in 1929 which greatly affected the whole of Europe sinking Spain’s economy more to the bottom. Primo de Rivera’s ability to put things back in order was lacking, He also lost the support of the army which forced him to resign. The people continued to show their distrust towards the king and in April 1931 the republicans won the election in the major cities of Spain. Alfonso XIII’s decision to abdicate his thrown because of this left the government vulnerable and susceptible to political turbulence in the years that followed.

For the past centuries, the influence of the Catholic Church in the Spanish government had been strong. The Catholic Church had always been involved in any major decisions created by the monarchy and they were in charge of Spain’s educational system. However, many despised the power that the Catholic Church has over Spain because it mostly represented that of a wealthy class. One of the Catholic Church’s enemies was the Republicans. The republicans believed that ‘curbing the power of the church was seen as essential if a fairer Spain was to be created’ (HistoryHome, 2011). Their hostility towards the Catholic Church began a campaign of arsenic acts on religious buildings compelling Manuel Azaña, a radical politician who came to power in 1936, to close Catholic schools to prevent them from being burned down to ashes.

Another cause that triggered the civil war was regionalism. Because of Spain’s natural divisions between each region, a massive difference in language and traditions were evident. The Basque and the Catalan region wanted to handle their own matters. The Catalan for example believe that they are ‘strong enough to have created a group of people that functions as an ethnic group, whether or not they would be considered one by virtue of their actual ethnicity’ (Julia Smith, 2000, p7). The regions demanded full recognition of their own national identity which makes other believe the Spain is a nation with an inconsistent state. Azaña gave the two regions political and administrative autonomy. This angered the conservatives as it outlawed several of its...
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