What Were the Causes and Concequences of the Spanish Civil War?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 450
  • Published : March 12, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
What were the causes and consequences of the Spanish civil war?

The Spanish Civil War had been majorly caused by a series of long-term events and short-term events which had contributed to its outbreak in July 17th, 1936. The consequences of the Spanish Civil War may be divided in terms of its effect on Spain and its effect upon the rest of the world. Paul Preston argues that the war had been influenced by a series of events, which had built up until the final eruption of the war in 1936. Preston argues that the social tension in Spain during the 19th and early 20th century had contributed to the outbreak of the war. The differences between the Socialists, Nationalists, Anarchists and the Republicans had created a very tense atmosphere in Spain. Moreover, the failure of the political system to address these tensions meant that they festered in to the 20th century making civil war more likely in a country with a very violent past.

Paul Preston claims that Spain’s 19th and early 20th century played a significant role in the causes of the Spanish Civil War. Preston argues that there was a build-up to social tension due to Spain’s late industrialization and due to Spain’s failure to follow Britain’s and France’s economic and political development. Spain’s refusal to enter the First World War had benefited her. Spain was able to sell to the Entente and allied powers, causing the boom of her coal, steel and ship building industries. However, Basque and Catalan industrialists wanted more political influence. Workers were angered because the export industry had led to shortages. The army was also angry about the loss of Cuba in 1898 and begun to offer themselves as a reforming institution. This increased political and social tension. The landed class was under the threat of a possible takeover from an unlikely alliance of the army, the capitalists and the workers. Preston argues that such an alliance could have brought the changes that Spain required. However, the failure of the political system to address these tensions meant that they would continue to fester.

Spain had suffered a variety of political changes during the 19th century which continued to worsen the political tension is Spain. From 1873 to 1874 Spain had formed its first republican government, however, soon after the Spanish monarchy had been restored by the hands of General Pavia. The Restoration was the name given to the period that began on the 29th of December, 1874 after the First Spanish Republic ended with the restoration of the monarchy under Alfonso XII. The system of “turnismo” had represented the deliberate rotation of the two political parties that had emerged during the 1970’s: Conservatives, which represented the oil and olive growers, and Liberals, who represented wheat growers. The workers and the industrialists were not represented. The system of Caciquismo ensured that the interests of the landowners dominated – this was ensured through fixed elections and labor exchanges which favored local landlords. The Latifundo System had also left a deep resentment from the Spanish peasantry. Traditionally, the Latifundos had been owned by the aristocracy and the church. These institutions adopted the peasantry who lived on their land. However, due to Royal Financial problems, the land had been sold during the 1840s, reading new landlords who desired the profitability of their land to increase. This had caused the exploitations of the poor land laborers. There was a failure to address these problems, which created resentment towards the landlords and the system.

Political destabilization had been caused by a series of attacks in Barcelona. The years from 1919 to 1921 were marked by several terrorist attacks in Barcelona, accompanied by socialist strikes in industrial Spain and land riots in the rural parts. These years were known as the Bolchevique Trienio. In 1923 Primo de Rivera established a military dictatorship hoping to bring stability to...
tracking img