Analyse the principal causes of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) Many historians have said that the Spanish Civil war was fuelled by political, economical, international ambitions and social conditions. The combat which was happening between socialism and fascism that dominated Europe, around the time of the war, only made matters worse. Spain was a monarchy in 1920 when King Alphonso XIII was in reign. The monarchy collapsed during 1931 due to the fact that the Spanish people detested the King and the dictatorial regimes which he supported.
The monarchy was overthrown by the republicans once the downfall of General Miguel Primo de Rivera’s government came on the 29th January 1930. The Wall Street Crash is what led Rivera and his dictatorial regime to downfall it was only normal for King Alphonso XIII and the monarchy, which were in support of Rivera’s regime, to be targeted and overthrown. Where Spain stood politically, economically and socially reveals the prime causes of the Spanish Civil War.
Throughout this essay I will be analysing the principal causes of the Spanish Civil War by looking at the political, economical and social causes which contributed towards the war. After the monarchy was overthrown, the 2nd republic was created. The 2nd republic consisted of liberals and communists, also known as the left wing. This caused tension between the left and right wing due to the fact that the right wing mostly consisted of fascists and conservatives. The left wing however, realised that they did not possess all the power by simply leading the 2nd republic.
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The right wing consisted of the army and the Catholic party CEDA. The army was used to being in power especially when they were under the reign of King Alphonso XIII (because of his dictatorial means) so when the new government (led by Manuel Azana) decreased the army’s political importance and their costs were cut it only angered the right wing even further causing more of a tension between both wings. CEDA, the right wing party, dedicated to protecting the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and landlords, was led by Gil Robles and had the support of many Spaniards from the upper classes.
The government started addressing and attacking churches and land owners claiming that they had too much privileges in the society, the government only did this once they realised the power CEDA possessed and the influence and support that it has. The attack was seen as a means to alter and redeem some of the power which CEDA possessed, however this was a fail. This is when the fight between fascism and socialism began to take place; building up, along with other causes, to the Spanish Civil War.
Spain’s economy was very poor and the Wall Street Crash only made it worse for Spain. Spain had an underdeveloped industrial sector that made them suffer economically. Industrial workers could not get jobs and the threat of inflation only made matters worse. The government wasn’t in support of peasants or landlords and this widened the gap between the poor and the rich. It became evident to the poor that the government were not supporting them resulting in the government losing support. All these issues were making Spain more and unstable both socially and economically.
Spain suffered from agricultural poverty, land was owned by the wealthy and the wealthy preferred to benefit from their own wealth rather than grant land to peasants. The government introduced the Agrarian law of 1932 which was the distribution of land among peasant, this process however was failure and the government then introduced the Cases Viejas revolt during 1933, this however led to the suppression of members of the right wing by the government and this suppression lost them a great deal of support.
Due to the great deal of support which the government lost, over the accusations of government troops killing 25 people in search of anarchists, Azana resigned from Prime Minister and the elections which were called in November 1933 were won by CEDA. The most vital issue which caused social unrest was the independence which Basque and the province Catalonia region were demanding. These regions were culturally and ethically different from the rest of the country hence why they wanted to separate themselves and constitute their own government.
This did not go down well with the army, who were in the right wing, due to the fact that they preferred the idea of unity instead of the idea of autonomy. The army’s state of thinking almost reflects Spain’s old-fashion social structure where the rich had the “bread” and left the peasants with “crumbs”. Wealthy landlords and ‘aristocracy’ had extensive political influence and used it in favour of themselves.
The right wing, specifically CEDA and the army were representing the upper class as well as defending the Roman Catholic Church; the army played more of a role in taking full advantage of its power rather than defending the Roman Catholic Church or representing the upper class. The left wing, however, were willing to give Basque and Catalonia their independence. They were following in the footsteps of the British government in the sense they wanted everyone to be equal in the eyes of the law.
The right wing did not accept any changes made after the monarchy was abolished as they were clear representatives of the privileged and the rich; this difference in interest between the two parties caused some social instability. To make matters worse the radical left wing had carried out and displayed many acts of violence, weakening the already feeble country. Overall, the difference of interest within the left, right wing and the radical left contributed to the arrival of the Spanish Civil war.
The society was unsure and had little faith in Spain due to its poor and failing economy. The social tension which arose from Basque and Catalonia’s demand for independence, only added to the many other problems that Spain was already struggling to handle. The social, economical and political causes of the Spanish Civil war has been analysed in the essay and it can be summed up that the main causes was the social instability and the difference of interest between the political parties. BIBLIOGRAPHY http://ibhistory. wikidot. com/4
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