Tom Goldstein,"Nazi Germany and the Spanish Civil War:
Continuity in Hitler's Foreign Policy"


the war did this, I will first will explore the background of the Spanish Civil War as well as present a general survey of the progression of the war, highlighting the role that foreign nations - and particularly Germany - played. Then I will consider the larger background of Europe in the 1930s in relation to Hitler's broad foreign policy goals. Finally, with the context thus set, I will discuss the implications of the Spanish Civil War as a component of Hitler's broad foreign policy goals and its ramifications for the peace of Europe.

The Spanish Civil War

Understanding the Spanish Civil War in regard to its place in a larger European context requires first understanding the war itself. The war, after all, was caused mainly by internal forces, not external ones, although external forces certainly played a part. Spain since the nineteenth century had been struggling with its fall as a great power and the ensuing social tension that this fall had caused. In the early twentieth century it was economically backward and in many ways highly traditional.1 Spain remained neutral in World War I, causing many both inside the former world power and abroad to see the state as internationally insignificant. Furthermore, the war exacerbated social and political division within the country, and despite modernizing efforts during the reign of Dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923-30), in the words of historian Tom Buchanan, "Spain was an anachronism."2

In 1931 King Alfonso XIII, along with the entire Spanish monarchy was overthrown and a Republic was installed. Yet political tensions reemerged as liberal

1. Monteath, "Hitler and the Spanish Civil War," 430.
2. Buchanan, Tom. Britain and the Spanish Civil War (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 14.
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