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


Had the stone bridge been the sole target, then incendiary bombs would not have been used, nor would the machine gunning have take place . . . And had the bridge, which survived the attack unscathed, been the only target, then [the German commanding officers] would hardly have described the rwaid as a complete success.19

This incident lives in infamy, and although not terribly symbolic of German foreign policy up until this point, it began to foreshadow the civilian terror bombing that became a staple of World War II. The Guernica incident was also indicative of a radicalization in German policy in Spain that saw a parallel in Hitler's decision that year to prepare for the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, as revealed in the Hossbach memorandum.20

The Nationalist campaign of 1937 was successful. By Spring of 1938, the Nationalists had split Republican Spain in half, reaching the Mediterranean on April 15. Yet victory was elusive for the exhausted Nationalists due to a temporary regrouping of Republican forces in the summer of 1938. With German and Italian support in hand, Franco slowly began driving the remaining Republican armies into France in what quickly became a bloody war of attrition. On March 5, 1939 the Republican government fled Madrid, and after an intense battle for the city, Spain's capital fell on March 28, effectively ending the Spanish Civil War.21 In order to understand what place the war had in Hitler's overall foreign policy goals, I will now explore what those goals were.

19. Monteath, "Guernica Reconsidered," 95.
20. Whealey, "Nazi Propagandist Joseph Goebbels Looks at the Spanish Civil War," 353.
21. Gerhard L. Weinberg. The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany: Starting World War II, 1937-1939 (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1980), 159-161.
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