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The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

Spain had become a republic in 1931, its prior government was a monarchy. This new government
wanted political and economic reforms and received much of its support from the working class of
Spain. This government wanted to convert Spain to socialism and reduce the power of the Catholic
Church. This government was taken over in 1933 and was supported by wealthy Spaniards and the
Catholic Church. The government elected in 1931, became the Popular Front. The National Bloc was
formed in opposition, this included Fascist followers.

The Popular Front won the elections in 1936 and riots ensued. The National Bloc urged the Spanish army
to rebel against the Popular Front and save the country from socialism and communism. The Spanish
Army was joined by General Francisco Franco in July of 1936 and invaded the country. Franco and the
Spanish Army gained control of the northern part of Spain while the Popular Front ruled other parts of
the country.

This began the Spanish Civil War. For three years the Popular Front and the National Bloc fought each
other to gain rule over Spain. The Popular Front became known as the Republicans and the National
Block, the Nationalists. Both sides committed war atrocities. Approximately 500,000 people died during
the Spanish Civil War. The Nationalist would round up people in villages who supported the Republicans
and shoot them. They executed over 200,000 anti-Fascists during the war.

The Nationalists received aid from Hitler and Mussolini (tanks, artillery, and soldiers). Italy also sent
70,000 troops and Germany provided war planes and pilots. The Republicans were aided with 60,000
volunteers from various countries. 40,000 of these troops were known as the International Brigade,
which was commanded by communist commanders. The Soviet Union also supplied tanks and aircrafts.

The war ended in March 1939, when Franco and his troops seized Madrid. Franco was a brutal dictator
until his death in 1975.

Questions: Answer these questions on this sheet.

1. Identify the topic and main points of the reading.


2. Identify five facts from most important to least important. Discuss with your group/partner.
Why you chose those facts.
3. How was the Spanish Civil War a preview to WWII? Explain using specific details.
Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter. He crearted this painting, “Guernica” after the atrocities of the
Nationalist bombings in Guernica, Spain in 1937. This painting received worldwide attention and it also
brought attention to the Spanish Civil War

Questions: Answer the questions below on this sheet.

1. Identify the images that you recognize in the painting.


2. How does your understanding of the Spanish Civil War help you to understand this painting?
3. Identify two objects in this painting. What do they represent regarding the Spanish Civil War?
4. What is the “big idea”? What does Picasso hope viewers will take away from this painting?