Thursday, 31 May 2018

Spanish Civil War by Hourly History – Book Review

When spoken about fascist dictators of Europe, two names that come to mind are Hitler and Mussolini. However, General Francisco Franco of Spain held power for a significantly more number of years and still, is not talked about as much. Franco was involved in a 3-year long power struggle against the ruling Spanish Republicans and in the civil war with estimated casualty starting from a minimum of 200,000 up to 2,000,000 people. This almost acted as a prelude to the Second World War and this is a short retelling of the history by Hourly History.

Spain had a liberal centre-left republican government in 1930s and they had just had a transition of power from military back to a civilian government post the Great Depression. Before too long, Spain plunged into another crisis and a large section of public felt once again that the military needs to be in power to resolve the same. However, even the military was divided, half of them supported the Republican Government and the other half supported the rebellion led by the trio – General Mola, General Sanjurjo and General Franco. Post the ‘mysterious’ deaths of two of the Generals, General Franco became the sole leader of the rebellion. The book focused on the manner in which the two factions organised themselves, the brutalities committed by both sides, the reasons for the failure of the Republicans and the foreign interests in the civil war.

The book was balanced in bringing out the perspectives of both sides of the war. It also explained an interesting fact that this is more documented than most civil wars especially because of Spain’s extremely cautious efforts to forget the event and I read in the book that children in Spain are not taught about the civil war. The book focused a lot on bringing out the various factions on the Republicans whereas, the Nationalists had united under a common cause. The aspect as to how the Germans, Soviets (for the Republican side) and the Italians used the Civil War as means to test their military power before the Second World War was also brought out well.

One could however point to the fact that the book perhaps over simplified the fall of the Republicans and ignored the fact that while the Nationalists were supported by surrounding fascist governments with similar ideologies to that of Franco (being Germany, Portugal and Italy), the Republicans were not supported by the neighbouring liberal powers such as France or the United Kingdom.

This is a very good compilation on the Spanish Civil War and should you want to know more than what is stated in this book, you can always research more starting with this as the base to establish your interest. I award the book a rating of seven on ten.

Rating – 7/10

Have a nice day,

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