The Spanish Civil War and Adolf Hitler

Soon after the war broke out it was clear there were political sympathies between the rebel leader General Francisco Franco and the leaders of Italy and Germany - Mussolini and Hitler respectively. The two leaders soon put their metal where there mouth was by providing equipment, personnel and advice to the Nationalists. Spain would prove to be a most excellent theater in which to experiment with new military techniques and train officers in their use.

A brief history of the war

1936: The death of Calvo Sotelo rapidly accelerated a military coup that had been undergoing preparations for a long time. The conspiritors had in fact just being awaiting General Franco's order to begin the uprising. The coup soon spread to other garrisons in metropolitan areas of Spain and Franco was shortly in charge of the army in Morocco. The uprising was successful in many places, and by the end of the year Franco controlled the greater part of Andalucia, Extremadura, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Valladolid, Burgos, Leon, Galicia, a part of Asturias, Vitoria, San Sebastian, Navarra and Aragon, as well as the Canary Isles and Balearic Islands with the exception of Menorca. Castilla la Nueva, Catalunya, Valencia, Murcia, Almeria, Gijon and Bilbao remained in Republican hands.

On September 29th, Franco was named head of the government and commander of the armed forces. To offset these circumstances, the Republican government also created a popularist army and militarized the milita. Both sides soon begun receiving aid from abroad: the International Brigades supported the Republicans and Germany and Italy supported the nationalists.

1937: There was a large amount of fighting in the north of the country; Guernica was bombed in April by nationalists and Bilbao, Santander and Gijon were taken. The Battle of Teruel begun at the end of the year.

1938: The Nationalists concentrated their efforts at Aragon, recovered Teruel and divided the Republican zone in two parts. The government replied with the Battle of the Ebro, which ended in a huge Republican defeat and 70,000 casualties.

1939: Government resistance now exhausted, the Republican exile began. Many fled accross the border to France. Madrid was eventually the only city left resisting, and after it rejected offers of peace it was occupied. Franco officially declared the end of the war on April 1st.

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