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Causes of the Spanish Civil War

  • Date Submitted: 06/07/2010 10:14 PM
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Discuss why the Civil War broke out in Spain in 1936

The   Spanish Civil War   started following a failed military coup d'etat, which started on the 17th of July 1936, realised by the conservative elements within Spain, against the country's Republican government. The bloodthirsty three year civil war that followed transcended the Spanish frontiers   in the fact that it is often considered as a microcosm for the international conflicts between fascism and liberalism, or dictatorship and freedom,   that will ensue in the following years. But to understand why the Civil War took place it is important to consider the several long and short term factors that preceded July 1936.

Spain at the beginning of the 20th century was considerably backward compared to the rest of Europe; an agrarian, monarchist country in which the army, the church, big landowners and the bourgeoisie held the reins. This minority had all the power and influence on Spanish political, economical and social system, oppressing the rights of landless labourers and industrial workers, which formed the majority of the population.

The Spanish social order started to be seriously disturbed during and following the end of World War I, which as in most other countries, served as a detonator for social change. Spain, staying neutral during the conflict, experienced a massive economic takeoff due to being able to export to both sides. Although this financially only profited the Spanish elite, factory and land owners, the resulting shortages and inflation withing the country led to an increased working class-militancy; workers being encouraged by the 1917 successful Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and angered about the drop in their already low living standards.

In 1919 the two opposite sides that were to fight in the Civil War were already clearly defined. On one side the socialists, anarcho-syndicalists and communists, in other words the liberal side, mostly formed by the urban and rural proletariat....


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