Spain's Civil War and the Great Powers

January 26, 1939

Report Outline
Prospective Termination of Spanish War
Issues Underlying the Civil War in Spain
Contending Forces in the Spanish Conflict
Non—Intervention Policy of Foreign Powers
Spain and the Powers After the Civil War

Prospective Termination of Spanish War

With the capture of Barcelona effected by the Insurgent forces of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the civil war which has racked Spain for more than two and one-half years appears to be finally drawing to a close. Although Madrid and a considerable section of territory extending from the center of the country to the Mediterranean still remain in the hands of the Loyalists, it is not thought likely that they can hold out much longer now that the Nationalists have made themselves masters of almost the whole of the important industrial region of Catalonia.

Termination of the war is not likely to be followed by a period of internal repose for Spain. The deep cleavages in Spanish society which produced the republican revolution of 1931, and which led, after alternate periods of reform and reaction, to the uprising of 1936, remain and have been sharpened by many months of armed combat. The new regime will be faced by an inescapable task of social and economic reconstruction, complicated by the latent or active opposition not only of the defeated elements but of reactionaries who supported the military rebellion.

Spain as a Source of European Political Tension

Ever since its outbreak in July, 1936, the Spanish civil war has continually threatened to spread into a general conflict along ideological lines. While initiation of the nonintervention policy served to lessen that danger, the policy was not sufficiently effectual in practical application to keep the Spanish contest from imposing repeated strains on the European political situation. Only recently Italy, through its press, threatened France with war if the Paris government should yield to pressure for reopening of the Spanish frontier for provision of war supplies to the Loyalists. It has been clear that until the war in Spain ended, there could be no real progress toward settlement of French-Italian differences and no real improvement in Anglo-Italian relations. And attainment of the latter objectives is obviously necessary if there is to be any hope of a material change for the better in the European outlook as a whole.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 24, 1974  Threatened Spanish Succession
Sep. 18, 1968  Spain and the West
Aug. 12, 1959  Spain and the Free World
Dec. 22, 1951  Franco Spain and European Defense
Oct. 03, 1949  Relations with Spain
Apr. 20, 1945  Spain in Transition
Jan. 26, 1939  Spain's Civil War and the Great Powers
Civil Wars
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
War and Conflict