Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spanish Civil War

Hi, guys! Here is a two part video about the Spanish Civil war. I have added a summary of it at the end of each part. I hope you enjoy them!

The International Brigade was a group of soldiers that went to Spain to fight on the side of the Republicans in 1936. Many members from different countries fought and died for their ideals. Intellectuals from every country fought side by side, even against their own countrymen. There was a premonition of civil war, and coordinated rising began all over Spain on the 18th of July. Within four days, the insurgent military were under the command of Francisco Franco, and controlled about 1/3 of the country. The government refused to accept the seriousness of the situation, which proved really wrong.

Germany and Italy reacted swiftly to Franco's rebellion and decided to help him, but Britain didn't. Spain was in a state of Anarchy. The British position was that it wasn't unexpected that an armed rebellion would happen, but their concern was that there was a great possibility of the spread of soviet influence in a country in which they had serious interest. Italy sent 12 bombers to Spain, while Germany sent several u-boats, battleships and 600 fighter planes. The British stopped providing oil to the government and permitted the insurgents to use the different communication lines with other countries. Eventually, they sided with Franco and sent 20 000 troops in support. Hitler had seen the chance for his pilots to get experience in wartime conditions, so he sent them.

Franco was named the head of government on September 29th. By October 1st, he was calling himself Head of State. During his government, hundreds of political suspects were taken and massacred. On October 7th, Madrid experienced the first airstrikes on the city. The nationalists' army was approaching from the northwest and the southwest, and by the middle of the month, all towns near Madrid were on their hands. The 'Milicianos'  lost thousands of men, while the Nationalists gained ground steadily. Refugees rushed into the city, and their hopes remained on the International Brigade.

Franco continued to fight for Madrid while 'La Pasionaria' gave moral to the soldiers, and her words kept them fighting. "Resist! It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" she had said. On November 17th missiles fell on the center of the city, turning beautiful squares into burning ashes. Still, the 'MadrigueƱos' continued fighting. Madrid remained the focus of battle for the next four months. Germany and Italy recognized the Franco Regime on November 18th, breaking the pretends of non-intervention, which began in London. What they meant was to keep the fight in Spain from 'infecting' the rest of Europe.

Since Madrid remained resistant, the attack was taken towards Bilbao. German bombers began to attack the city. It was an experiment, and it was a huge success. On June 19th, 1937, Bilbao fell to the Nationalists. They did their best to extinguish the pride of the Basque Nation. The Republicans tried to regain initiative and break the siege of Madrid. 50000 republicans soldiers were able to storm Brunete, a town which was only 15 miles away from Madrid. After 13 days of fighting, the Nationalists were able to push back the Republican army into Madrid.

The different International Brigades were terribly damaged, and some even refused to go back to the fight. Their losses at Brunete had been terrible. The flow of new recruits began to dry off and the volunteers began to return home. The nationalists now controlled 2/3 of Spain. There were about 600000 men in the Nationalist army against about 450000 Republicans, and the presence of German and Italian bombers also gave the Nationalists a lot of advantage in the fight for Spain. Franco was winning the war. 

The Republicans needed a victory for gaining back moral, and they chose to attack the town of Teruel. They failed to keep the initiative again. Ten days later, the Republicans entered the town and Franco planned their counter attack. They fell on the Republicans and massacred them once more. On January 17th, 1938, the Republican line broke. The fighting continued for over a month, and when it finally ended, there were about 10000 Republican corpses. By March, the Nationalist armies were swarming into Aragon. Town after town fell under the Nationalist army, and the Republicans were slowly driven back. The brigades went home, and 'La passionaria' spoke to them, telling them to go home proudly.

After the battle, practically the whole Republican army had been destroyed. By January 1939, Barcelona belonged to Franco, and on February 27th, the Republican President resigned after other nations recognized the Nationalist Government. On April 1st, 1939, the Civil War was over. The victor was General Franco.

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