Spanish Civil War ends, Franco moves to power
Emma Anderson · 1 Apr 2015, 15:22
Published: 01 Apr 2015 15:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Apr 2015 15:22 GMT+02:00
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On this day in 1939, General Francisco Franco declared victory for the Nationalists over the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War during a radio speech.
It had been a bloody three years since the war began on July 18th 1936 when right-wing military officers started a revolt to overthrow the leftist Republican government.
The rebels, known as The Nationalists and headed by General Francisco Franco, were frustrated with the liberal government, supported by the educated middle class and urban workers.
The Spanish monarchy had been ousted after Spanish King Alfonso XIII authorized an election in 1931, in which people could vote on what the government should be.
The majority chose a liberal republic, forcing King Alfonso into exile as the Second Republic took root.
Photo of members of one of the International Brigades Photo: Imperial War Museum/Wikipedia Commons.
The Basque Country and Catalonia relished living in virtual autonomy during the Second Republic.
Franco's forces began to seize regions in Morocco and the Canary Islands in 1936 before moving to the mainland.
The country became divided as the warring parties fought for dominance, with Franco establishing his own Nationalist government in Burgos.
The Republicans received support from the Soviet Union and the International Brigades, made up of European and American soldiers, who were recently honoured for fighting in the grisly Battle of Jarama in 1937.
Franco's Nationalists were supported by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
German soldiers who fought in the Spanish Civil War. Photo: German Bundes archives.
Franco remains a controversial figure in Spain, with some still honouring his death each year.