Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War (1936–39), one of the most violent and bloody conflicts in Spanish history, between the liberal second republic and conservative forces in Spain. After the bloodless overthrow of the monarchy in 1931, the democratic republican government proposed far-reaching reforms that alienated conservatives. On the election (1936) of the Popular Front, a left-wing coalition, the rightists under Gen. Francisco Franco resorted to force. Supported by Hitler and Mussolini, Franco was on the verge of shattering the republicans when the Soviet Union began to send them aid. Madrid and Barcelona fell to Franco in 1939. Over 600,000 died in the war, many of them foreign volunteers, and the country suffered massive damage. Franco's dictatorship remained in power until his death in 1975. The Luftwaffe's systematic destruction of the Basque town of Guernica, a preview of Hitler's blitzkrieg, shocked the world.