24 Photographs from the Brutal Spanish Civil War

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The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. The Republicans, loyal to the democratic, leftist urban Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists, fought against the Nationalists, a Falangist totalitarian, aristocratic, conservative group lead by Francisco Franco.

The war began after a pronunciamiento, a declaration of opposition by a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces against to elected leftist government of the Second Spanish Republic. The Nationalist group gained the support of the right wing groups such as the conservative Catholic Carlists, the monarchists, and other conservative groups.

The Nationalist coup was supported by military units from the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, Pamplona, Burgos, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Cadiz, Cordoba, and Seville. The Nationalist forces received munitions and soldiers from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The Republican government was supported by the Communist Soviet Union and the leftist populist Mexico. The United Kingdom and France, among other nations, signed an agreement of non-intervention.

The war ended with a victory for the Nationalists. Thousands of leftist Spaniards were exiled, many of whom fled to refugee camps in southern France. Those associated with the losing Republicans were persecuted by the Nationist powers.

Nationalist atrocities, known as the White Terror, were characterized by the orders to eradicate any trace of leftism in Spain. It is estimated that 200,000 Republicans were executed. It is estimated that 55,000 civilians were executed in Republican-held territories. In total, half a million people died during the Spanish Civil war.

SPAIN. Spanish Civil War (1936-9) ICP 193. Madrid. Winter 1936/37. A building destroyed by Italo-German air raids. The Nationalist offensive on Madrid, which lasted from Nov. 1936 to Feb. 1937, was one of the fiercest of the Civil War. During this period Italy and Germany started helping the Nationalist forces, and the USSR the Popular Front government. Madrid. Hiver 1936-37.  Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. Madrid. November-December 1936. After the Italo-German air raids. The Nationalist offensive on Madrid, which lasted from November 1936 to February 1937, was one of the fiercest of the Civil War. During this period Italy and Germany started helping the Nationalist forces, and the USSR the Popular Front government. The civilians were severely affected by the bombings. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. Madrid. November-December, 1936. During the Italo-German air raids, many people took shelter in the subway stations. The Nationalist offensive on Madrid, which lasted from November 1936 to February 1937, was one of the fiercest of the Civil War. During this period Italy and Germany started helping the Nationalist forces, and the USSR the Popular Front government. The civilians were severely affected by the bombings. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. January 25-27th, 1939. On the road from Barcelona to the French border. After the fall of Barcelona, but also fascit rule over all of Spain clearly imminent, about 500 000 Spanish civilians sought refuge and political asylum in France. France set up camps along the borders in the PyrŽnŽes Orientales region. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. Córdoba front. Early September, 1936. Death of a loyalist militiaman.  Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
FRANCE. May 1939. Near Biarritz. Orphans of the Spanish Civil War under the care of the “Foster Parents’ Plan for Spanish Children”, which was largely financed by the United States. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. Andalucia. Cerro Muriano. Cordoba front. Republican soldiers. September 5th, 1936. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. Andalucia. September 1936. Cordoba front. An officer addressing the soldiers before an attack. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. August-September 1936. A checkpoint near Barcelona. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. Barcelona or its vicinity. August, 1936. Republican militiaman aiming a rifle. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
SPAIN. Barcelona. August 1936.Republican militiaman saying farewell before the departure of a troop train for the front. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography
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  • Kurlis

    What of leftist atrocities? The article is heavily biased.