Lessons on Spanish Civil War

On July 18, 1936, the Spanish Civil War began with Spanish garrisons rising up in revolt all across Spain. The Spanish Civil War was a struggle between the political left and the political right which would spread throughout mainland Spain and finally end on March 28, 1939. 

Workers and peasants attempted to fight the Nationalist uprising, however in many cities, the Republican government had denied them weapons which resulted in the Nationalists gaining control of various regions. The Nationalist revolt in the Spanish navy largely failed, therefore warships became instrumental in securing a number of coastal cities for the Republican government. Regardless, Francisco Franco still managed to transport his army over from Morocco. 

During the first few months of the war, the Nationalist forces were able to overrun much of the Republican-controlled areas in central and northern Spain. Madrid was put under siege in November of 1936.

In 1937, Franco was able to unify the Nationalist forces under the command of Spains fascist party the Falange, whilst the Republican party fell under the influence of the communists. Germany and Italy supported Franco’s Nationalist party with planes, tanks, and other arms, whilst the Soviet Union supported the Republican party. The International Brigades which was made up of thousands of communists and other radicals from France, the USSR, America provided aid to the Republican side. These foreign units were instrumental in the successful defence of Madrid until the end of the war.

In June 1938, the Nationalists were able to divide the Republican territory in two. Also in 1938, Franco mounted a major offensive against Catalonia. In January 1939, Barcelona was captured and soon after, the rest of Catalonia also fell. The Republican leaders attempted to negotiate a peace, but Franco refused. On March 28, 1939, the Republicans finally surrendered Madrid, thus, bringing the Spanish Civil War to an end. Franco subsequently served as dictator of Spain until his death in 1975. The Spanish Civil War saw up to a million lives lost during the conflict, the most devastating in Spanish history. 

This section of our resource library provides lesson ideas that promote an international perspective on the Spanish Civil War. Our lessons have been created by experienced and qualified educators. Resources are editable to ensure educators are able to tailor their classroom resources to meet their students needs and match their teaching style. All lessons have been used in the classroom and adjusted with the help and feedback of students studying this topic. Our students loved learning about the Spanish Civil War and we know yours will too!

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