In 1931, Spanish King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. Alfonso subsequently went into exile, and the Second Republic, was proclaimed. During the first five years of the Republic, organized labor and leftist radicals forced widespread liberal reforms, and the independence-minded Spanish regions of Catalonia and the Basque provinces achieved virtual autonomy.
The landed aristocracy, the church, and a large military clique increasingly employed violence in their opposition to the Second Republic, and in July 1936 General Francisco Franco led a right-wing army revolt in Morocco, which prompted the division of Spain into two key camps: the fascists and the Republicans. Franco’s fascist forces rapidly overran much of the Republican-controlled areas in central and northern Spain, but Catalonia became a key Republican stronghold.
During 1937, Franco unified his forces under the command of the Falange, Spain’s fascist party, with the aid of Nazi Germany and Italy who supplied them with an abundance of planes, tanks, and arms, while radical men and women took up arms to defend Spanish democracy against the right-wing uprising, rallying to the Republican cause forming what is known as the International Brigades.The most significant contribution of these foreign units was the successful defense of Madrid until the end of the war.
In June 1938, however the fascists managed to cut the Republican territory in two, and later in the year, Franco mounted a major offensive against Catalonia. In January 1939, its capital, Barcelona, was captured, and soon after the rest of Catalonia fell. With the Republican cause all but lost, its leaders attempted to negotiate a peace, but Franco refused. On March 28, 1939, the fascists entered Madrid in triumph, and the Spanish Civil War came to an end. Sadly many members of the International Brigades were lost fighting for the noble cause they believed in.
The music above though is not lost and hopefully still inspires and resonates deeply within, still capable of igniting passion, enduring flames in our continuous battle against the dark forces of fascism. A companion piece to a few earlier posts, that are also sources of constant inspiration.To this day, generations later, these songs of the Spanish Civil War are still sung across the world, and are no less urgent, as we continue to follow liberty's breath and stand up to the enemies of freedom that are no less dangerous.