The Spanish Civil War Essay Research Paper

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The Spanish Civil War Essay, Research Paper The Spanish Civil War: An Ignored Revolution The Spanish Civil War is often ignored by many nations, for the simple reason of them supporting those who would eventually declare war on them. In the early 1930 s, a miniscule republic emerged in the country of Spain. At this time most of Europe was already a republic, but this was Spain s first attempt at this. Spain had always been a monarchy since before medieval times. It was the last monarchy in a major European nation. In 1936, the Spanish Army, stationed in Morocco under the leadership of fascist General Francisco Franco, finally rebelled against the new republic (Fraser 588). The republic, for a variety of reasons, eventually lost the war after three years of bloody fighting.

The main reason that the Spanish Republic lost the civil war of 1936-1939, was because the United States, Great Britain, and France remained neutral while Germany and Italy sent massive aid to the fascist rebellion of Franco. The United States refrained from aiding the Spanish Republic for several reasons. Beginning after World War I, American foreign policy had consisted of isolationism, the government wanted to focus on domestic problems and not meddle in the affairs of other nations, especially a European one (Werstein 138). During the thirties, the United States was involved in the Great Depression and most Americans did not want to get involved in a war. The majority of Americans chanted the slogan “America First!,” which echoed the policy of isolation (Werstein 153).

Many American companies owned interests in Spain. In fact many industries in Spain were controlled by foreign investors. The largest American interest in Spain was the Spanish national telephone service which was completely owned by an American company (Werstein 136). If the republic, with a strong communist influence, won the war, thought the U.S., France, and Britain, possibly all of the foreign businesses would be nationalized. A fascist regime under Franco would protect the corporations, which were so dearly valued over sense of morality. International businessmen feared the prospect of losing all of their investments in these Spanish industries.. When Italy, under Benito Mussolini, invaded Ethiopia in 1935, the U.S. Congress passed the Neutrality Act (Werstein 138). The

Neutrality Act “forbade Americans to sell or transport arms out of the country once a stated of war existed elsewhere in the world” (Werstein 138). Although the Neutrality Act did not apply to civil wars, the U.S. Government did however apply it to the Spanish Civil War to serve their own purposes. The Neutrality Act prevented all Americans from selling any weapons of war to the Spanish Republic. The Neutrality Act did not apply to other materials such as food or oil. Instead of sending such supplies to the republic, massive quantities of oil were actually sent to the fascist rebels by American oil companies such as Texas Oil Company (Fraser 127, 278). The act did not forbid the importation of goods from nations involved in a war. The United States imported four million

dollars worth of olives from nationalist, or fascist, Spain, which further financed Franco’s war effort (Fraser 279). The United States even sold arms to Germany and Italy, which in turn were shipped to the supporters of Franco (Werstein 19). The capitalists and the government in America were more afraid of a communist take over in Spain than a fascist dictatorship. Despite the popular stance of opposition to involvement in the war, several supporters of the Spanish Republic existed within the U.S. government. These included Claude Bowers, U.S. Ambassador to Spain; Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury; Henry Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture; Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior; and Sumner Wells, Assistant Secretary of State (Werstein 138). The main opposition to the