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Franco’s Victory in the Spanish Civil War Exaggerated?

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Druga Gimnazija Sarajevo-IBO Javier Ochoa Spanish Civil war To what extent was the contribution of foreign powers to Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War exaggerated? Word count : 1800 Plan of investigation3 Summary of evidence3-5 Evaluation of sources 6-8 Analysis8-10 Conclusion10-11 List of sources11 Plan of the Investigation The Spanish Civil War(1936-39), was a military revolt against the Republican government of Spain, supported by conservative elements within the country, resulting in a civil war with a lot of foreign support thus being accause of World War 2.

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The war increased tensions in the lead-up to World War II and was largely seen as a possible war by proxy between the Communist Soviet Union and the Fascist Axis of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany while giving the Nazis the chance to practice using the new Luftwaffe planes. This study will seek to answer the question: To what extent was the contribution of foreign powers to Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War exaggerated? I chose this question because its part of the history of my country as well as a very important event a priori to World War 2.

Summary of evidence The Spanish Civil War began with a military coup. The coup of 17–18 July 1936 was an old instrument being used for a new purpose. The military coup against the Republic began on 17 July 1936 among elements of the colonial army based in Spanish North Africa (Morocco). The captaincy of the Nationalists was gradually assumed by General Franco, leading forces he had brought from Morocco. On Oct. 1, 1936, he was named head of state and set up a government in Burgos.

Though 27 countries, including Britain, France, the Soviet Union, Germany and Italy, signed a Non-Intervention pact in September 1936, the war soon took on an international element. Hitler supported Franco’s rebellion and justifying it by saying that he was he was attempting to save Europe from “communist barbarism”. After the non-intervention pact he disguised his aid by sending it through Portugal. About 40,000 foreigners fought in the International Brigades on the Republican side, and 20,000 others served in medical or auxiliary units.

The international brigades came from over 50 countries, they were recruited, organized, and directed by the Comintern, with headquarters in Paris. The Nationalists used Spain as a testing ground for new methods of tank and air warfare. The Republicans were sent material mainly by the Soviet Union, and the volunteer International Brigades also joined the Republicans. some Americans did take part in the fighting. The Abraham Lincoln Battalion was established by those wanting to fight for the Republic during the war.

Americans also defended the Soviets such as the American ambassador to Madrid sought to refute both the erroneous Franquista propaganda claims of Soviet shipments: ‘’ Up until that time [October 1936] I invariably asked war correspondents from the front about foreign war material, and, without exception, they all said they had seen many Italian and German planes, tanks, guns, and soldiers, but they had not seen any Russian material. The amount of material bought in Russia has been grossly exaggerated.

None appeared until four months after the planes, tanks, and even soldiers sent by Hitler and Mussolini were notoriously in Spain. ’’ Britain and France remained theoretically neutral, though in practice Britain was more neutral to the Nationalists than it was to the Republicans. By November 1936 the Nationalists had advanced to the outskirts of Madrid. On March 7 a civil war broke out in Madrid between Communist and anti-Communist factions.

By March 28 all of the Republican armies had begun to surrender, and Nationalist forces entered Madrid on that day. Evaluation of Sources Source No. 1 Origin: David Low (England) (1891-1963) at Evening Standard, 17 Aug 1936 Purpose: The purpose is to show the new armada Spain had especially after Germany and the Nazis got involved with the Condor Legion, also shows that Franco was planning to do propaganda after he won the war. The cartoon was published in a magazine, making it for the general public not a selected group of historians or politicians.

Value: The source is primary, it comes from that exact time making as exact as possible, the cartoon was published in the UK who were neutral and if they really had to choose a side they chose the Nationalist. David Low was a very respected cartoonist and made a lot of them, so he knew what he was talking about. Limitation: The limitiation of this source is that it was from another country so it is possible that some facts were not right Source No 2 Origin: Propaganda poster from that time by the Republicans.

Purpose: The objective of this source is to recruit volunteers to fight against the Nationalists, partly shows the Soviet interference and the posters says: ‘’More than ever, workers unit- popular front’’ Value: The source is clearly propaganda making it really subjective in most cases and this is not an exception, they also show a wounded man fighting, this an example of the subjectivity I just mentioned for a wounded man wouldn’t actually fight but he would stay home.

Limitation: This source is limited because it does not show both stories or so to say ‘’the two sides of the coin’’ It is also a recruiting poster so it has to lie and motivate people so they become future soldiers. Analysis: This investigation is important in its historical context because it was a factor that created tensions between the countries that would soon fight in WW2, also during this period the world was being shaped by extremist politics and getting ready for the soon-to-come war.

The sources I evaluated in Part C can be used as a beginning of my analysis to answer my research question using critical comments. As I stated before the first source was a cartoon about foreign involvement and it is the best example I could find. The source clearly exaggerates the foreign involvement and aid the Nationalists received during the war. While the second source does not exaggerate but shows that foreign involvement Russia had. The support of all countries was conditioned by their interest and their benefits in case of victory of one or another side.

Franco had had aid from both Italy and Germany . Hitler had hoped for the establishment of another authoritarian, right-wing regime on the border of his great enemy, France. But he also used Spain as a testing-ground for German military forces. The republican forces also received a high amount of foreign aid mostly from Russia. It is pretty much safe to say that both countries received the same amount of aid. But was the aid crucial for Franco? It was, without the Condor legion received in Morocco was crucial to consolidate power in southern Spain and start the march to take Madrid.

According to some historians and important politic figures the amount of aid received by Spain and especially the republicans was greatly exaggerated such as when the American ambassador to Madrid refused both the erroneous Franquista propaganda claims of Soviet shipments. While it is true that Franco had great anti-communist propaganda during and after the war, it has been statistically and historically proven that both sides received the same amount of aid. But I do have to agree with the fact that Soviet aid arrived three to four months later (October 1936).

According to the British historian Anthony Beevor the Italian contribution to the Nationalist cause was enormous and more general than the German contribution but he also states that the Condor Legion was the most efficient and influential assistance in Spain. In the war, propaganda played a key role such as Nationalists stating that they represented the cause of Christianity, order and Western civilization against Communism. The Republicans argued that they were the legally elected government of Spain which was under attack from anti-democratic generals and the fascist dictatorships.

Even though the International Brigades sent only around 50,000 men they are often underestimated. Many of the battalions were named after famous revolutions or revolutionaries and were mostly from communist parties or future communist countries such as Yugoslavia. Britain pursued a non intervention policy but preferred the Nationalist victory than the Republican or Socialist. It has also been claimed that the British secret service was involved in the military rebellion in Madrid and on 27th February 1939, the British government recognized General Francisco Franco as the new ruler of Spain.

In my opinion without the foreign aid from Germanys Condor Legion and later Italy’s armies the war would have ended much differently. Conclusion The point I was trying to make is that the aid received by both sides (Republicans and Nationalist) was approximately or mostly the same. On both sides we have propaganda and exaggeration of the amount of help received by the other side. As well, as in most historic events we have different interpretations of the same event such as the American ambassador refusing both the erroneous Franquista propaganda claims of Soviet shipments.

Both Germany and Italy greatly helped the Nationalists with their own interests while the Soviets ( also with their own interest) and the International Brigades (driven by a sense of justice) also greatly helped the Republicans. If we try to answer the question stated at the beginning: ‘’ To what extent was the contribution of foreign powers to Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War exaggerated? ’’ and we try to answer it, the answer would be that it was exaggerated. List of sources Books: Graham, Helen. “The Origins of Spain’s Civil War. ” The Spanish Civil War A Very Short Introduction.

Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Websites: “Spanish Civil War. ” Spanish Civil War. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://history-world. org/spanish_civil_war. htm>. “Spain’s Very International Civil War. ” BBC History Magazine. N. p. , n. d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. <http://www. historyextra. com/feature/spain’s-very-international-civil-war>. “Germany and the Spanish Civil War. ” Spartacus Educational. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk/SPgermany. htm>. “Spanish Civil War. ” History-world. N. p. , n. d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. <http://history-world. rg/spanish_civil_war. htm>. “International Brigades. ” Answers. com. Answers, n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://www. answers. com/topic/international-brigades>. “Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Spanish Civil War. ” Answers. com. Answers, n. d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. “United States and the Spanish Civil War. ” Spartacus Educational. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk/SPusa. htm>. “Stalin and the Spanish Civil War. ” Gutenberg-e. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://www. gutenberg-e. org/kod01/frames/fkod15. html>. Spanish Civil War. ” History-world. N. p. , n. d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. <http://history-world. org/spanish_civil_war. htm>. “Hitler And Franco. ” Hitler And Franco. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://www. articledashboard. com/Article/Hitler-and-Franco/737391>. “Spanish Civil War. ” World War II Database. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://ww2db. com/battle_spec. php? battle_id=157>. “The Spanish Civil War (1936 – 39). ” Rudbeck-IB-History-Revision. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://rudbeck-ib-history-revision. wikispaces. com/2. 8 Spanish Civil War>. ——————————————- [ 2 ]. Graham, Helen. “The Origins of Spain’s Civil War. ” The Spanish Civil War A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. 16+. Print. [ 3 ]. “Spanish Civil War. ” Spanish Civil War. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. . [ 4 ]. “Spain’s Very International Civil War. ” BBC History Magazine. N. p. , n. d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. . [ 5 ]. “Germany and the Spanish Civil War. ” Spartacus Educational. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. . [ 6 ]. Ibid. [ 7 ]. “Spanish Civil War. ” History-world. N. p. , n. d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. . [ 8 ]. “International Brigades. Answers. com. Answers, n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. . [ 9 ]. “Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Spanish Civil War. ” Answers. com. Answers, n. d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. [ 10 ]. “Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Spanish Civil War. ” Answers. com. Answers, n. d. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. [ 11 ]. “United States and the Spanish Civil War. ” Spartacus Educational. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. . [ 12 ]. “United States and the Spanish Civil War. ” Spartacus Educational. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. . [ 13 ]. “Stalin and the Spanish Civil War. ” Gutenberg-e. N. p. , n. d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013.

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