The Spanish Language Blog

When the Republicans won the elections in 1931 with a small majority, the Spanish monarchy came to an end. This caused some conflicts in Spain and strong antagonisms arose between the left (republicans) and the right (nationalists).

After the elections in 1931, major antagonisms arose between the left and the right. In the end, the small left majority provided a very leftist constitution to the annoyance of the nationalists. In 1932, the nationalists tried to carry out a coup, but failed. New elections took place in November 1933 and the right-wing parties won. This went well until October 1934. Then a very right-wing party joined the government and this caused uprisings from the left. The leftist leader called for a revolution and during this uprising Catalonia declared independence.

The civil war had begun

In February 1936, new elections took place between the republicans and the nationalists. With a small majority, the republicans won again. In April that year, there were attacks claimed by right-wing groups. The civil war had begun. When the murder of José Calvo Sotelo took place in July 1936, it prompted the army of Spanish Morocco, led by Francisco Franco, to advance into the Spanish peninsula. Soon Cadiz, Zaragoza, Seville and Burgos joined the nationalists led by Franco.

The nationalists received voluntary support from Germany and Italy. The republicans received support from Russia. The nationalists had an army with a large military background. Consequently, this ensured that by 1936 50% of the Spanish peninsula was already in the hands of the nationalists. Especially the Basque Country and Catalonia were difficult to overcome. In 1937 Bilbao was conquered and in 1938 the Nationalists were most successful, gaining control of Catalonia. Only the major cities of Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid were not yet in Nationalist hands. When at the end of 1938 the Russians withdrew, it was only a matter of time before the republicans were overcome. Barcelona was conquered in January 1939 and Valencia and Madrid followed in April that year.


During the Civil War, a major bombardment took place in Guernica. This bombing took place under the leadership of Francisco Franco and killed 1,500 people and wounded 800. This bombing shook all of Western Europe. Pablo Picasso created a giant painting of the city of Guernica. Picasso did not depict what the city looked like during the war. Picasso wanted to convey the feeling people had during this bombing.

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