Causes of the Spanish Civil War.doc - Causes of the Spanish...

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Causes of the Spanish Civil War Long Term Causes The fundamental long term cause of the Spanish Civil War was political instability. It had several reasons and expressions. 1. Weakness of government a. During the 19 th and up until 1923 Spain’s monarchs repeatedly intervened in the political system to halt reform and liberalization b. Since the 19 th century Spain had possessed a constitution that was frequently ignored and circumvented by the ruling elites c. Since the 19 th century Spain had possessed a legislature (Cortes) but elections to it were usually rigged and it had no real power anyway d. Before 1931 voting rights were restricted the very wealth (oligarchs) resulting in domination by conservative factions opposed to political or social reform e. Consequently The Spanish people were accustomed to a political system that they perceived as reactionary, unresponsive, powerless, conservative and corrupt 2. Role of the army a. The army saw itself as the protector of tradition and of the integrity of the Spanish nation. Thus, it had frequently intervened in political crises since the 19 th century. 1936 was not an aberration. b. The army leadership and much of the rank and file was conservative. They were strongly nationalistic and traditionalist in outlook. This was especially so of the Africanistas, the portion of the Spanish Army stationed in Spain’s African colonies. c. The army was viewed negatively by most Spanish citizens. It was seen as costly, incompetent, antiquated, and violent. The middle and upper classes tended to defend military interests while the lower classes tended to attack them.

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