Skip to main content

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Spanish Civil War

Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War

In 2019, the Socialist Worker's Party of Spain desecrated the grave of General Francisco Franco. They dug up his body from its final resting place, the Valley of the Fallen, a monumental memorial to the Spanish Civil War. General Franco won that war, defeating the Socialists.

The Valley of the Fallen is a Christian site featuring a 500-foot-high stone cross above one of the largest basilicas in the world. The current Socialist leader of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, being a militant atheist, naturally hates the devout Christian Franco, the cross, basilica, and memorial. What animates the Left is always, at bottom, rage against God.

The Spanish Civil War is confusing to the casual observer. What happened has been shrouded in Socialist propaganda. For one thing, the Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists called themselves Republicans, as did the vehemently Atheist French revolutionaries in 1789. We in America hear the word Republican and think Christian, conservative, traditional, limited government, and free enterprise. The Spanish Republicans demonically despised that entire package. Socialist propaganda also labels General Franco and the Christians he led "Fascists," which they were not.

The only major contemporary civil war fought in a Western country, 500,000 souls perished in the Spanish Civil War. Famous leftist writers from England and America, such as George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway, journeyed to Spain to fight for the Socialist side. They presented it in print as “defending democracy against Fascists.” They were fighting for the official army of the Comintern: An organization of the Soviet Union to promote worldwide communist revolution led by Josef Stalin.

Valley of the Fallen in Spain

Valley of the Fallen in Spain

Events Leading up to Civil War

Kings and Queens ruled Catholic Spain for hundreds of years. In 1930, communists, socialists, and anarchists joined forces to overthrow the government of King Alphonso XIII. The only monarch ever nominated for a Nobel Prize, Alphonso was deposed and fled the country in 1931. He had ruled 45 years.

The insurrectionists proclaimed a new Spanish Republic into existence. They cobbled together an emergency government and wrote a constitution, promising immediate elections to follow. When it became apparent that they would lose, elections were postponed for a couple of years to give them time to strengthen their hold over the country. One way to do that would be to purge conservative Christians from the police, courts, and military. That is what they set about doing.

We might be surprised to hear that anarchists were involved in the revolt, but they numbered over 600,000 in Spain. They had unleashed a wave of terrorism across the Western world in the early 20th century. Anarchists had assassinated three Prime Ministers of Spain. After the coup, four anarchists seized high positions in the government, the only time in history anarchists have possessed political power.

The 1931 Constitution curtailed the free exercise of the Christian religion and the civil liberties of Christian citizens. To express your faith in public was forbidden. Catholic schools, widely acknowledged as providing the best education in Spain, were forcibly closed. Socialists confiscated all property belonging to the Society of Jesus. They purged the army of Christian officers. Church property was placed under state control. Christians were barred from the teaching profession.

Christ was then and is today the target of leftist vitriol, malice, and animosity. Leftist mobs burned more than 100 churches to the ground. By 1933, members of church congregations were banned from industry and trade, enforced by police brutality and mob violence.

The Socialists implemented their usual nationalization program, stealing land, railways, and banks owned by people they hated. Individuals who owned more than a spot of earth saw their property stolen by the state. Socialists seized farms but knew nothing about agriculture. They prohibited private charity to make the state the sole provider of social services, thus making many citizens dependent on the government to survive.

Finally, an actual election was held in 1933. It was won by conservative Christian traditionalists, who called their party CEDA. Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists were infuriated. They had been sure the public would vote for them. The Socialist 'President'—no one had elected him—declined to allow CEDA to participate in government. CEDA won the most seats in parliament but was denied power.

Socialists launched another insurrection, triggering labor strikes and mob uprisings. Four times they tried to void the results of the vote. Elections or no elections, Socialists demanded the exclusive right to rule Spain. Anyone who voted against them was pronounced too stupid and backward to have a say. At this time, the Left began calling anyone opposed to their policies "Fascists." The Socialist government supplied rifles to their street goons. One thousand four hundred citizens were murdered by them, primarily businessmen and priests.

Much like American leftists after 2016, Spain's Communists swore they would never lose another election no matter what they had to do. "By any means necessary" has long been the slogan of the Left.

Sure enough, the Communists, now calling themselves the Popular Front, fixed the 1936 Election. Everyone thought the conservative Christians would win. They went to bed winners but woke up losers.

Despite the evident and massive fraud, including leftist mobs taking over polling places, the press, dominated by Communists, declared a narrow victory for the Popular Front. The results were falsified in at least ten provinces. Its supporters rampaged across Spain, celebrating by vandalism, looting, arson, and violence upon conservative citizens. The Popular Front had released many felons from prison to join the terrorizing mobs. They murdered sixteen citizens. And that's what they do when they win!

Spain rapidly deteriorated into anarchy, as the Popular Front openly urged its supporters to commit violence against conservative Christians. In June 1936, 269 political murders and 160 church burnings by godless leftists rocked the country. An avalanche of sacrilege and public blasphemy demonstrated how hatred for Christ had reached a frenzied pitch.

The Popular Front wanted a civil war to vanquish its enemies once and for all and usher in a totalitarian communist utopia. General Franco, a devout Christian, rode to the rescue. His mission was to restore order, peace, and prosperity. The Communists would put up quite a fight.

Scroll to Continue
Comintern Flag

Comintern Flag

Civil War Sunders Spain

General Franco had repeatedly urged restraint in dealing with the Communists. He finally ran out of patience. It had become apparent the anti-Christians would accept nothing less than absolute, total rule over every aspect of the lives of all Spaniards. When Franco announced it was time to act, about half the military joined each side.

In the battles to come, gruesome violence ruled the day not only between combatants but also against civilians. Both sides executed over 50,000 ordinary citizens. The Communists massacred almost 7,000 priests, monks, and nuns, including 13 bishops. This represented the most murderous campaign against Christians since the French Revolution, outside the Soviet Union. Perhaps 20,000 Catholics were killed solely because of their faith.

A renowned expert on the Spanish Civil War, Hugh Thomas, wrote, “At no time in the history of Europe or even perhaps the world has so passionate a hatred of religion and all its works been shown.” The cruelty of the Communist knows no bounds. In some areas they ruled, 88% of the clergy were exterminated. Nearly half the 42,000 chapels and churches in Spain were destroyed or damaged.

Julio de la Cueva reported in the Journal of Contemporary History, “More than 100 villages whose names began with ‘Sant’ or ‘Santa’ were renamed. Teachers could be found erasing the words ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ from textbooks.”

Because the Communists made it clear their fight was against Jesus, the bishops of Spain published a "letter to the world" in May 1937. It announced their support for Generalissimo Franco as the war was “a decisive struggle for or against the religion of Christ and Christian civilization.”

The Commie claim that they were "fighting Fascism" was diabolical. Only one Fascist had ever held any government office in all of Spain. The threat of totalitarian Communism was real. The leader of the Socialists Workers Party described himself as "the Spanish Lenin." He stated plainly, "We have always intended to forge a united party that adopts as its standard the armed insurrection for the conquest of power and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. We are determined to do in Spain what was done in Russia. The plan of Spanish Socialism and Russian Communism is the same."

That same Socialist Workers Party holds power in Spain today. They desecrated General Franco's grave as part of an effort to destroy every memorial and statue that honors the winners of the Spanish Civil War.

During the war, the Soviet Union trained the army of the Communists, and they supplied it with mountains of Soviet weapons and ammunition. All officers were members of the Communist Party. In return, the Communists shipped 2/3 of Spain's gold to Josef Stalin. Stalin also sent his secret police to Spain to hunt down and murder prominent dissenters.

Communists from other countries joined the fight. They were called the International Brigades. Five hundred of them were executed by their fellow travelers for “ideological deviations.” The Brigades operated concentration camps, patterned after the Gulags of the Soviet Union.

George Orwell witnessed Communist atrocities. It made him sick, even though he was on their side. He wrote 1984 and Animal Farm in response.

General Francisco Franco

General Francisco Franco

The Post War Decades

The Spanish Civil War ended on April 1, 1939, when the Communists surrendered. General Franco was appointed Dictator by the victors, known today as the Nationalists. He would remain at his post for the rest of his life, 36 years. Christians could worship again and openly display their crucifixes. Peace and stability followed.

Spain's former leaders had tried and failed to modernize the nation for centuries. Francisco Franco got the job done. His dictatorship transformed Spain, preparing it for a smooth transition into representative democracy.

During the civil war, the Communists had let it be known the horrible and savage vengeance it planned to exact on its opponents afterward. The total annihilation of every Christian in Spain was not out of the question. Of course, vengeance is in the DNA of leftists everywhere. Conservative Christians are not of that sort. General Franco made sure no revenge would be visited on the losing Communists. He invited every Spaniard to participate in all aspects of the country as full citizens during the "Democratic Transition.”

In 1978, for the first time in Spain's history, a constitution was ratified democratically. It was a success, praised around the world. Franco got Spaniards of all political points of view to agree not to see each other as enemies and not to use the past as a weapon, not to nurse grievances in their hearts. All political groups, including Communists, agreed to universal amnesty to all for whatever crimes they committed during the war.

You gotta love those communists

You gotta love those communists

Spain Today

In 2018, Spain elected its current Socialist government. During the decades since Franco died in 1975, the Socialists had taken control of education and the media in Spain, as they have in the United States. They have indoctrinated a couple of generations of Spaniards that Big Government is the answer to all their problems. Along with this, Christianity, biblical morality, and traditional family values had to be denounced as out of step with the modern world. And most of all, General Franco had to be demonized in the history textbooks and culture, as he is the man who defeated the Communists.

Through the universities, schools, and media, the Communist side of the Civil War has become celebrated as a cult of victimhood. Even though the Communists were the ones who subverted democracy, freedom, the rule of law, elections, and justice, they are presented as without stain.

The party running the country now is the same party that slaughtered their opposition willy nilly and committed mass atrocities and executions in the name of Soviet Communism. But most Spaniards do not know that. The history has been rewritten. The winners of the Spanish Civil War have been dehumanized.

The Spanish Socialists have their own term for this indoctrination: Exclusive Thought. If anyone speaks out against Socialism, they are denounced as a "Fascist" and hounded from the public square. The current regime has made it a Thought Crime to tell the truth about Spain’s past. A Truth Commission will prosecute and punish anyone who says the wrong thing.

The latest salvo is a “Law of Historical and Democratic Memory” to criminalize free speech. An organ of the state is being created that will be staffed by Socialist “experts” on history. They will form a “Council of Memory” to promote only the Marxist view of the Spanish Civil war. It would proclaim as "victims," even mass murderers, if they were leftists. Anyone in Spain who utters or writes words expressing approval of General Franco shall be punished by the state. Thus history is weaponized, and dissent is silenced, always the goal of the Left. As Spain’s religious and cultural heritage is destroyed, the Antichrist marches on toward Armageddon.

Related Articles