Franco and the Spanish Civil War

By Filipe Ribeiro De Meneses | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR

The Republicans' war

The question of whether authoritarian states wage war more successfully than democracies has long been a source of argument for historians. At first glance the experience of the Spanish Civil War might suggest that advantage lies with the authoritarian state's speed in decision making and the execution of orders. However, Republican Spain during the Civil War should not be compared to France, Britain and the USA in the world wars, because so much of the Republican government's effort was aimed at re-establishing its authority and legitimacy in the face of the popular revolution which greeted the military rising. Moreover, in order to accomplish this difficult task and fight a war, the Republic had to stretch the concept of democracy to its furthest limits, concentrating power in the executive branch: a badly depleted Cortes, devoid of conservative and moderate deputies, met only occasionally to sanction all of the government's decisions. The anarchists attempted to carry out their libertarian communist revolution in rural and urban areas, collectivizing land and the means of production, and to fight a revolutionary, rather than a conventional, war, which included the recourse to terror as a weapon. Actions such as these prevented the Republican government from assuming, from the start, the leadership of the war against the rebellious army, and were to earn the Republic much bad publicity abroad. The remaining factions and parties within the Republican camp, in order both to curb this revolution and create a more disciplined military machine, attempted, successfully, to recreate the Popular Front in wartime. The role of the Communist Party is particularly important in this regard. The communists were at the forefront of the attempt to re-establish the Republic's legal control over the whole

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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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