Franco and the Spanish Civil War

By Filipe Ribeiro De Meneses | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE

The course of the war

A generalized civil war was not the intention of the military rebels in July 1936. Their goal was rather to capture power using great violence; but this was to be done in a sudden way, with the military authorities in complete control of the coup. Civilian support had been negotiated in order to make this task easier; however, it was clear to all that Carlists and the Falange would act in support of the military, adding to the impression of an irresistible force taking control of the country. The coup failed and the rebel officers were left in a difficult position. Compromise was impossible and a war had to be fought against a more numerous enemy which controlled two-thirds of the population, the country's main cities and its principal industrial areas, and which, forming as it did the internationally recognized government of Spain, should, in theory, find it easier to obtain whatever raw materials, weapons or ammunition might be needed in order to win the war. In this chapter we will examine how this situation was overcome by the military rebels and, conversely, how the Republic saw all of its trump cards bested.

The military history of the Spanish Civil War is one of frustration on both sides. The Republic never won a lasting victory in an offensive battle; all of its victories were defensive, the most notable being the Battle of Madrid late in 1936. Unfortunately for the Republic, even these defensive victories were not sufficiently decisive. Republican strongholds gradually fell to the Nationalist forces, whose greater cohesion and unity of purpose, as well as vital foreign supplies of weapons, allowed them to undo the shaky political and territorial coalition that faced them. First Andalusia and Extremadura, then the Basque Country and Asturias, and finally

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Franco and the Spanish Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Maps x
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter One - The Origins of the Spanish Civil War 1
  • Chapter Two - The Spanish Army and the Rise of Franco 23
  • Chapter Three - The Course of the War 38
  • Chapter Four - The Republicans' War 59
  • Chapter Five - The Nationalists' War 81
  • Chapter Six - Contrasting Visions of Spain 98
  • Aftermath 119
  • Chronology 125
  • Personalities 129
  • Bibliography 135
  • Index 143
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