The Spanish Civil War

During the first decade of the XX century Spain suffered a period of political, social and economical instability.

General Franco
General Franco

Miguel Primo de Rivera brought a military dictatorship backed by the King Alfonso XIII, the Catholic Church and the conservative groups in 1923. In January 1930, he offered his resignation therefore the dictatorship fell. One year later, the King allowed calling elections to constitute a new government. People chose to abolish the monarchy. The King Alfonso XIII went into exile. On April 15th 1931, it was proclaimed The Second Republic of Spain.

Republicans came to power and were the first democratic government. However, Republicans found a vulnerable and unstable Spain with a deep imbalances in the social structure (big difference between rich and poor people), recession, considerable political tension, the important role of the Church in the society and complicated international situation (The Great Depression, German and Italian fascist dictatorships by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, respectively, and Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin).

MD34. MADRID, 15/05/08.- Fotografía del Archivo Histórico de Efe, tomada el 21 de julio de 1936 en la azotea del hotel Colón de Barcelona, de la miliciana Marina Ginestá, afiliada a las juventudes comunistas, fusil al hombro, mirando a la cámara. Ginestá tenía 17 años cuando el fotógrafo Juan Guzmán la inmortalizó en una de esas imágenes que, varias décadas después, se convertirían en un símbolo de la contienda y que forman parte del Archivo Histórico de Efe. De Marina Ginestá nunca más se volvió a saber. Hasta que el empeño de un documentalista de Efe, Julio García Bilbao, permitió hallarla en París y que rememora aquel instante con una lucidez extraordinaria a sus 89 años. EFE/ARCHIVO HISTORICO/JUAN GUZMAN  ESPAÑA-ESPAÑA-FOTOGRAFIA
MD34. MADRID, 15/05/08.- Fotografía del Archivo Histórico de Efe, tomada el 21 de julio de 1936 en la azotea del hotel Colón de Barcelona, de la miliciana Marina Ginestá, afiliada a las juventudes comunistas, fusil al hombro, mirando a la cámara. Ginestá tenía 17 años cuando el fotógrafo Juan Guzmán la inmortalizó en una de esas imágenes que, varias décadas después, se convertirían en un símbolo de la contienda y que forman parte del Archivo Histórico de Efe. De Marina Ginestá nunca más se volvió a saber. Hasta que el empeño de un documentalista de Efe, Julio García Bilbao, permitió hallarla en París y que rememora aquel instante con una lucidez extraordinaria a sus 89 años. EFE/ARCHIVO HISTORICO/JUAN GUZMAN
ESPAÑA-ESPAÑA-FOTOGRAFIA

After the elections, the Spanish population were even more divided. There were two groups: the Republicans and the Nationalists. The Republicans, supported by the communists, anarchists, socialists, members of trade unions and separatist groups. And the insurgents, the Nationalist group, which was supported by a number of conservative groups, including Monarchists, Carlists,  Falangists and a large segment from the church.

The Nationalist were determined returning to power. In July 1936, The Spanish Army of Africa was the first radical anti-republican group rising up against the government. The most representative members were Francisco Franco and generals Mola and Sanjurjo. In three days, they were able to control many Spanish regions and they wanted to seize the capital but they failed thanks to popular mobilizations. On the death of General Sanjurjo, Franco became the nationalist leader. Furthermore, Léon Blum, governor of France, proposed every European country a non intervention agreement on the Spanish Civil War. Germany and Italy did not respect the agreement and helped Nationalists and Soviet Union helped Republicans.

After three years long war and with the support of his allies, Franco´s army was successful in fighting the republicans. On first of April 1939, Francisco Franco was proclaimed head of state until 1975 when he died.

The country was devastated by war. It is estimated that 500.000 people died during the war an post-war. Around 400.000 people went into exile and demographic rate fell dramatically. Spain suffered huge losses: physical and intangible. Many cities were completely destroyed and artistic heritage were seriously affected. For example The bombing of Guernica in April 1937, an aerial attack by German aviation (allies from the Nationalist) had bombed on this Basque town. Guernica was destroyed. The well-known Spanish painter Pablo Picasso represented the horror of the war in his masterpiece “ El Guernica”. After the war, Spain was devastated: the hunger and diseases, the fear and the inequalities between population and the censorship were some of the consequence of the blackest period in the history of Spain.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso
Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Intangible cultural heritage

  • My name is Ana del Valle Duque. I am from A Coruña, a nice city located in the North-West of Spain. I am 26 years old and studied Tourism in A Coruña. In 2009 I was doing an internship as a Tourguide for school children and tourist in The Tower of Hercules (is the only fully preserved Roman lighthouse that is still in used) and since that year has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For 4 years I lived in Berlin where I finish my studies and I was working in several jobs, as in a Startup working for a app for public transportation around the world and learning German and in an International Tourist Office Turespaña in Berlin planning and organisazing travels for German and Spanish tourist . At the moment I am doing a course of Ecological Tourism. Next year I would like to study a master in Cottbus called “World Heritage Studies”. Every time I can, I like travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and being in contact with local people. I think that is the best way to know a new place. My last trip was on August, I travelled with 3 friends with a van to the Balkans for 15 days. We were visiting many countries and it was a very nice experience. On my free time, I have fun hiking, climbing and surfing. Another hobbies that I have are ceramic and sewing. I enjoy helping another people. In 2007, I was doing a volunter in an International Project Workcamp in Czech Republic for a project in Křivoklátsko in a protected natural area in Czech Republic . One year later, I jointed another Workcamp in Iceland, the project was about renovation and conservation of an Icelandic Art Museum in Ísafjörður . I was also doing a volunteering in an Organisation called Ainde A Coruña that is organizing activities for disabled people. I think that the conservation of the Heritage of our forbears is very important, not only for all the cultures, but also for the current and future societies. This heritage shows us the evolution and the cultural steps that the humanity has improved along the history to become what we are nowadays. It is essential to know and preserve our past art and culture to be able to understand the present and future. For this reason, I consider fascinating to have the opportunity to participate in The GoUNESCO Internship Program.

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