Spanish History: 79 Years Ago Today, Fascists Launched A Coup

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In 1931, Spain became a republic. This was followed by a military revolt by Nationalists against the Popular Front, an elected coalition government of Republicans, Socialists and Communists on 17th July 1936.

With General Francisco Franco as the leader, this "Nationalist" rebellion received much support from Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. 

The government of Great Britain, along with other western governments, agreed on a policy of "non intervention", however many anti-fascist volunteers joined the International Brigades. These included British socialists and communists, Italian and German refugees and were led by Comintern, the international communist organisation.

With its own distinct language and culture, the Basque Country "El Pais Vasco" in Spain was heavily targeted by the Nationalist's violence, the latter's forces mainly being professional soldiers and experienced mercenaries, aided by large numbers of Nazi German and Fascist Italian military.

The whole of Spain was under Ultra-Nationalist control by 1939 leading Franco to declare a victory.

More than half a million people had been killed in the war, and over the next few years, tens of thousands more were executed as "Reds". Franco led a series of violent politically motivated acts, including concentration camps, forced labour and executions.

Franco's military regime was in power until his death in 1975. He pre-designated a successor, Prince Juan Carlos.

Prince Juan Carlos became King of Spain and the first ruling monarch since 1931. He began to reform Spain and dismantle the Francoist regime, transitioning Spain to democracy.

In 1981, King Juan played a major role, preventing another coup that attempted to change Spain back to a Francoist government in the King's name.