The Spanish Civil War started on July 17, 1936 and lasted until April 1, 1939. This orinal conflict began in 1931 when King Alfonso XIII agreed to have elections to choose what the government of Spain shall be. The voters decided to get rid of the monarchy and with the dictatorship the King went too. This new government was initially ruled by the middle class. With the church, aristocrats and military soldiers not liking the new government and liberal reforms that had been happening, another election was in progress. In 1933 a more traditional group, the Second Spanish Republic won the election; which caused an outburst from the socialites, and sparked revolutions everywhere. In 1936 the last set of elections that happened before the war occurred. The Popular Front, a communist, radical, socialite group jumped into power. Afraid there was going to be a revolution, army leaders such as General Franco, wanted to seize the power. In July of 1936, General Francisco Franco revolted against the government. The goal of this rebellion was the destruction of all left-wing organizations.
In this war there were two sides, The Republicans and the Nationalists. The Republicans, or The Loyalist was the group that favored the Second Spanish Republic. These people were mostly middle class workers and farmers, and supported the government. The Republicans’ symbol was the color red. The red side was backed by the Soviet Union and Mexico. The opposing team was the Nationalists. The National party or The Rebels was made up of Falangists, Carlist, Soldiers, Catholics, and Aristocrats. This party was colored blue, and did not like or agree with the government. The Nationalist were backed by Germany and Italy.
The bombing of Guernica happened in the town of Guernica, Spain during the war in April of 1937. This attack was significant because the German military air force bombed the uninvolved civilians of Guernica. The Germans bombed Guerncia because Hitler and other Nazis supported and wanted to help the Nationalists. The German Nazis bombed this town because Hitler wanted see if his trained soldiers were ready for combat. This bombing lead to the destruction of the town and the lost of approximately1,650 innocent lives.
Pablo Picasso who was a spanish painter and created a work of art named Guernica. This work of art was thought to be one of his best pieces. This painting was an immediate reaction to the bombing. American author Ernest Hemingway wrote a book called For Whom the Bell Tolls which is based on this particular war. Published in 1940, it tells the story of Robert Jordan. Robert was a young American who was connected to a Republican war unit during the Spanish Civil War. Federico García Lorca was a Spanish theater director. Federico also helped produce the second golden age of theater in Spain. He was believed to be a Republican, and in the first few months of the war was executed by a Nationalist firing squad.
After a long battle, on March 28, 1939, the Republicans ultimately surrendered in Madrid which finally ended the war. General Franco served as as the dictator of Spain until he died in 1975. The United States remained neutral during this war, and told US citizens to refrain from selling arms to Nationalists and Republicans. In total, it is estimated that between 200,000 and 500,000 people died, which made this war the bloodiest conflict western Europe had experienced since the end of World War I. After the war ended the citizens of the Republican side fled to other countries to live a different life, because General Franco and the other Nationalist entered Madrid after the win.
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