The Spanish Civil War.docx - IB HIS SL 2019 The Spanish...

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IB HIS SL 2019 The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) Long-term causes of the Spanish Civil War: political instability (1920 1931) Struggle between conservatism and liberalism. Weakness of government 1871 onwards Spain was a constitutional monarchy with a parliament that retained little power. Political control shifted between the wealthy oligarchs and their various cliques. Two main parties, Conservatives and Liberals, with very little difference between them. Elections were rigged or decided in private. The role of the Spanish Army Army had powerful political position due to imperial past. It intervened in politics if a crisis occurred to defend its interests. It was unpopular, had a reputation for brutality, and was expensive and required heavy taxes. It was ineffective, as proven by the loss of the Spanish Empire during the 19th century, the American war in 1898, and the struggle to keep Morocco between 1906 to 1926. It was too big with too many officers and overly middle class. Army was conservationist, traditional, nationalistic and 'Africannistas.' The role of the church Catholic church was rich and powerful, with guaranteed role in education and the economy. Its wealth was used to gain political and social influence! It used its power for economic conservatism and to oppose modernising and liberal forces. Defended the upper class as many of the clergy were aristocrats, who helped fund. In many urban areas and rural areas, there were protests against the church. Economic causes Spain was mainly an agricultural economy, and it was inefficient, thus not providing sufficient food and its work was seasonal. Most lived in abject poverty, with an enormous gap between rich and poor. Rioting and disorder often broke out in the countryside, with the Civil Guard deployed to ruthlessly repress. No support from churches made some groups support the anarchists who argued for land redistribution. Many small landholders were conservative, resisted socialist/anarchist ideas, and were exploited by the Catholic Agrarian Federation who provided support for their beliefs, only to later support Franco. There was a need for modernisation and reform, and was limited by endemic poverty. Workers in twos faced low wages, long hours, unregulated working conditions, poor housing, and little welfare provision. This situation led to a growth in trade unionism, which, however, failed to achieve anything substantial. The workers' political parties had no real political power, with no legal means and violent uprisings. Spain's neutrality during WWI facilitated a short period of economic boom, however the increase in exports only increased inflation and shortages. By 1920s, there were major economic problems.

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