This Week in HistoryThis Week in History: Week 29 (17 July 1936)

Spanish Civil War Begins

Pro-fascist forces revolt against the government of Spain, and civil war ensues.

In 1936, pro-fascist elements of the Spanish army, with support from the Catholic Church and monarchists, staged a violent revolt and brought down the democratically-elected government. Supporters of the government began a resistance which led to civil war. The conflict continued until 1939 when the fascists, under General Francisco Franco, took control. Franco remained in power until 1975.

civil war (noun): a war within a nation; fighting between people of the same country
pro-fascist (adjective): supportive of a system of extreme right-wing authoritarian government
revolt (verb): rebel; fight against the leaders or authorities
monarchists (noun): people who support a system of ruling by a royal family (king, queen)
stage (verb): organize and participate in
resistance (noun): opposition, usually by force; an organization that resists or fights

Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War)
This 1936 painting by famous Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali shows a grimacing dismembered body at once grasping upwards at itself and holding itself down underfoot - symbolic of the Spanish nation in civil war. Although Dali was a supporter of General Franco, he was vehemently opposed to war, and he used this painting to show it.

Mini Quiz

1. The Spanish Civil War began after the democratically-elected government was
a) supported by Christians and monarchists
b) violently overthrown by pro-fascist forces
c) defeated in a free and fair election

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2. The war continued until the people fighting for democracy were defeated by those fighting for
a) General Franco's fascist forces
b) the Spanish army
c) the Catholic Church

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3. A civil war is a conflict between armed forces from
a) many different countries
b) two different countries
c) the same country

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Contributor: Matt Errey creator of Word Up