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Andalusia and the Spanish Civil War – Part 2

The second part of our series describes the effect the Spanish Civil War had on Andalusia and explores how the towns around the area got by with the build up to the Civil War, and what sparked such a devastating conflict between fellow Spaniards.

King Alfonso XIII

King Alfonso XIII, in the early years of the 20th Century, was against liberal reform, he was also opposed to many other groups in Spanish society. Among these groups were communists, left wing ideologists, anarchists and some socialists.

In addition to all this, there was a growing feeling in Spain among certain states and regional areas, such as the Basques, Catalans and the Galicians, that the people wanted more autonomy and even independence. This mostly peasant orientated mixed group were to form the basis of the Republican movement in the conflict.

Supporters of King Alfonso XIII

The supporters of the king were mainly rich landowners and small privileged groups, such as the elite of the aristocracy who were in control of a great deal of Spain’s wealth at the time. Other supporters of the king were traditionalists who wished Spain to stay as it was and not cow tie to liberal ideas.

The Catholic Church wanted to keep the status quo and were ardent supporters of the monarchy. Many of these religious men were elitist and saw themselves holding a special place in the structure of Spain’s society. And, once again, religion was picking sides in a political dispute.

Centralists and fascists joined an unlikely group of bedfellows who believed in a strong central government that would control the state and the economy. These groups were to form the Nacionalistas when the war finally broke out.

The Early War Days

Political views were the main driving force behind the outbreak of war, but certain areas and states also joined in on one side or the other and split the demographics of the whole country. At the start, the Canary Islands, Aragon, Spanish Morocco, Navarra, Castille and Galicia all sided with the new military rebels.

In the capital of Spain, Madrid, the troops remained loyal to the elected left-wing government and during these formative years of the war, three leaders rode to the fore. Generals Queipo, Mola and, of course, Franco. Because of the struggle for power, they forced between them a division among the population of Spain. This division laid the seeds for the average citizen to choose sides between the government and the military uprising.

The government still retained control of around three quarters of all industry, plus a large section of the military that remained loyal. Whilst the rebel armies held around 25% of mainland Spain plus five of the biggest and most important cities. Catalonia was under the control of the CNT party, and the Generalitat and the Basques saw an opportunity for independence.

It was a time for misinformation, and the average person in the street did not actually have a clue what to believe or not. In our concluding part of this blog series we follow the course of the war to its conclusion and see what the aftermath meant to the whole country.