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


Bernhardt - a German businessman living in Spanish Morocco at the time and a member of the Auslandsorganization (AO - the Foreign Organization of the Nazi Party). Franco convinced Bernhardt to try to persuade the German government to send the Nationalists ten transport aircraft and then sent Bernhardt to Bayreuth, where Hitler was attending the annual Wagner festival. Using his AO contacts, Bernhardt was able to win an audience with Hitler, where he pleaded Franco's case to the Fuehrer and gave him a letter written by Franco himself (in Spanish, no less - Hitler had to have it translated). After spending some time deliberating and going over the latest reports on the Spanish situation, Hitler concluded that because of the danger that would ensue if a Communist government prevailed in Spain, Germany should aid the Nationalists, and promptly sent Franco twice the requested number of transport aircraft.5

Germany soon became much more involved in the Spanish conflict. It proceeded to set up HISMA (Compañía Hispama-Marroqui de Transportes) soon after the July 1936 decision to send aid to Franco. HISMA was a company based in Spanish Morocco, set up as a cover for Germany to give arms to Spain in exchange for Spanish goods and raw materials. Although such economic support proved important, Germany made a more lasting impression when it committed 3,786 men, 37 officers, and 92 planes to what became known as the "Condor Legion." The Condor Legion was sent to fight in Spain in November 1936 and did not return to Germany until after the fall of Madrid, leading to the end of the Spanish Civil War in March 1939.6 The Condor Legion had a decisive

5. Monteath, "Hitler and the Spanish Civil War," 431-436.
6. Robert H. Whealey, Hitler and Spain: The Nazi Role in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1989), 8.
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