Civil War, 1936-1939
July 1936, Spanish army units stationed in Morocco
proclaimed a revolution against Spain's
government. Most army units in Spain then rose in
revolt, and they soon won control of about a
third of the country. The rebels hoped to
overthrow the government quickly and restore
order in Spain, but Popular Front forces took up
arms against the military.
In October, the rebel leaders
chose General Francisco Franco as their commander
in chief. They also made him head of the
revolutionary government, called the Council of
National Defense. By this time the revolt had
developed into a full-scale civil war. Franco's
forces became known as Nationalists or Rebels and
were supported by Spain's fascist political
party, the Falange Española. The forces
that fought to save the republic were called
Loyalists or Republicans.
The Spanish Civil War drew
international attention. Nazi Germany and Fascist
Italy supported Franco's forces, and Communist
Russia aided the Loyalists. In addition, Loyalist
sympathizers from the United States and many
other countries joined the International Brigades
that were formed by Communists to fight in Spain.
By the end of 1937, the
Nationalists clearly held the upper hand in
Spain. They had taken most of western Spain in
the summer of 1936 and were gradually pushing the
Loyalist forces to the east and north. Russia
ended large-scale aid to the Loyalists in 1938,
and Franco launched a mighty offensive against
Loyalists armies that same year.
Franco entered Madrid in March
1939, and the remaining Loyalist forces
surrendered on April 1st. Several hundred
thousand Spaniards had died in the war, much of
Spain lay in ruins, and the short-lived republic
had been replaced by a dictatorship under Franco.
Chronology of Major
Miguel Primo de Rivera seized
power in a military coup.
January 28 Miguel Primo de Rivera was
forced to resign.
April 14 The Second Spanish Repulic
was proclaimed and King
Alfonso XIII went into exile.
May 25 Niceto Zamora resigned as
Prime Minister and was replaced by Manuel Azaña.
December 11 Niceto Zamora was elected
President of the Second Spanish Republic.
August 10 General Jose Sanjurjo led a
failed miliary uprising against the government.
January 8 Anarchists led uprisings in
Saragossa, Seville, Bilbao and Madrid.
October 29 José Antonio Primo de
Rivera established the Falange Española.
November 19 Right-wing parties won
the general elections.
December 2 Anarchists staged
uprisings in Catalonia and Aragon.
October 7 Manuel Azaña was arrested
and interned in Barcelona.
April 6 A Tribunal of Constitutional
Guarantees acquitted Manuel Azaña of all
January 15 Manuel Azaña organized
the Popular Front.
February 16 The Popular Front won the
February 19 President Niceto Alcalà
Zamora appoined Manuel Azaña as Prime Minister.
February 22 General Francisco Franco
was relieved of his command and sent to the Canary Islands.
February 28 General Emilio Mola was
relieved of his command and sent to Pamplona.
March 14 José Antonio Primo de
Rivera was arrested and charged with arms
April 7 President Niceto Alcalà
Zamora was deposed.
May 8 Manuel Azaña was elected
President of the Spanish Republic.
July 18 Successful military uprisings
were staged in Morocco and Seville.
July 20 Coup leader General Jose
Sanjurjo was killed in a plane crash.
July 21 Nationalists captured the
central Spanish naval base at Ferrol.
July 24 Nationalists captured
August 4 Nationalists captured
August 28 Nationalist forces bombed
Septenber 4 The Republican government
September 5 Nationalists took Irún.
September 15 Nationalists took San
September 21 Francisco Franco was
chosen Chief Military Commander of the
November 2 Nationalists captured
November 6 Nationalists began a siege
November 20 Miguel Primo de Rivera
was esecuted in Alicante.
February 8 Nationalists captured
March 8 The Italian Corp captured
March 18 The Republican Army defeated
the Italian Corps outside Madrid.
April 26 Guernica, the Basque
capital, was bombed by German planes.
June 3 General Emilio Mola was killed
in an air crash.
June 19 Nationalists captured Bilbao.
August 26 Nationalists captured
August 28 Nationalists began bombing
1 Republican forces captured Belchite.
December 8 Nationalist aircraft
January 9 The Republican Army
captured Teruel from the Nationalists.
February 22 The Nationalist Army
March 16 An Italian air force began
April 15 The Nationalist Army
November 15 International Brigades
paraded through the streets of Barcelona.
January 26 Barcelona was captured by
February 4 President Manuel Azaña
went into exile.
March 27 The Nationalist Army entered
March 30 The Nationalist Army
April 1 Francisco Franco announced
the end of the Spanish Civil War.
King Alfonso XIII
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