Posts etiquetados ‘Franco’

Nazis test Luftwaffe on Guernica

During the Spanish Civil War, the German military tests its powerful new air force–the Luftwaffe–on the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain.

Although the independence-minded Basque region opposed General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War, Guernica itself was a small rural city of only 5,000 inhabitants that declared nonbelligerence in the conflict. With Franco’s approval, the cutting-edge German aircraft began their unprovoked attack at 4:30 p.m., the busiest hour of the market day in Guernica. For three hours, the German planes poured down a continuous and unopposed rain of bombs and gunfire on the town and surrounding countryside. One-third of Guernica’s 5,000 inhabitants were killed or wounded, and fires engulfed the city and burned for days.

The indiscriminate killing of civilians at Guernica aroused world opinion and became a symbol of fascist brutality. Unfortunately, by 1942, all major participants in World War IIhad adopted the bombing innovations developed by the Nazis at Guernica, and by the war’s end, in 1945, millions of innocent civilians had perished under Allied and Axis air raids.

From http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nazis-test-iluftwaffei-on-guernica?catId=6

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Franco captures Barcelona

During the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona, the Republican capital of Spain, falls to the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco.In 1931, King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. Alfonso subsequently went into exile, and the Second Republic, initially dominated by middle-class liberals and moderate socialists, was proclaimed. During the first five years of the republic, organized labor and leftist radicals forced widespread liberal reforms as independence-minded Spanish regions such as Catalonia and the Basque provinces achieved virtual autonomy. The landed aristocracy, the church, and a large military clique increasingly employed violence in their opposition to the Second Republic, and in July 1936, General Francisco Franco led a right-wing army revolt in Morocco, which prompted the division of Spain into two key camps: the Nationalists and the Republicans.

Franco’s Nationalist forces rapidly overran much of the Republican-controlled areas in central and northern Spain, and Catalonia became a key Republican stronghold. During 1937, Franco unified the Nationalist forces under the command of the Falange, Spain’s fascist party, while the Republicans fell under the sway of the communists. Germany and Italy aided Franco with an abundance of planes, tanks, and arms, while the Soviet Union aided the Republican side. In addition, small numbers of communists and other radicals from France, the USSR, America, and elsewhere formed the International Brigades to aid the Republican cause. The most significant contribution of these foreign units was the successful defense of Madrid until the end of the war.

In June 1938, the Nationalists drove to the Mediterranean Sea and cut the Republicans’ territory in two. Later in the year, Franco mounted a major offensive against Catalonia. In January 1939, its capital, Barcelona, was captured, and soon after the rest of Catalonia fell. With their cause all but lost, the Republicans attempted to negotiate a peace, but Franco refused. On March 28, 1939, the victorious Nationalists entered Madrid, and the bloody Spanish Civil War came to an end. Up to a million lives were lost in the conflict, the most devastating in Spanish history.

From http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/franco-captures-barcelona

Spanish king ratifies democratic constitution

Following its approval in a national referendum, King Juan Carlos ratifies Spain’s first democratic constitution in nearly five decades.

Juan Carlos’ grandfather was Alfonso XIII, the last ruling monarch of Spain, who was forced into exile in 1931 after Spain was declared a republic. Born in Italy in 1938, Juan Carlos returned to Spain in 1955 under the invitation of General Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain since 1936. In 1969, Franco designated Juan Carlos his successor. In 1975, Juan Carlos became Spain’s acting head of state after Franco conceded that he was too ill too govern. The 83-year-old dictator had been suffering serious health problems for nearly a year. Three weeks after Juan Carlos assumed power, Franco died of a heart attack. Two days later, on November 22, Juan Carlos was crowned king.

Despite having pledged loyalty to Franco’s authoritarian regime, King Juan Carlos immediately began a transition to democracy in Spain. During the next decade, he presided over a period of extensive democratization in Spain.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/spanish-king-ratifies-democratic-constitution