Spanish Civil War in Joe SteeleEdit
Spanish Civil War in The War That Came EarlyEdit
The Spanish Civil War that had begun in July 1936 was still being waged with ferocious intensity two years later when the Second World War broke out over the Sudetenland crisis in October 1938. The Civil War was pulled into the larger World War in a rather peculiar fashion.
With the outbreak of the war, the Spanish Nationalists under Marshal José Sanjurjo were able to make tremendous gains. By 1938, Sanjurjo's forces held roughly half the country. This did not include Madrid, and so the Republic and the Nationalists were in a stalemate. And while Sanjurjo received support from Germany and Italy, the Republic received solid support from the Soviet Union, and less fervent support from Britain and France. When the Second World War broke out in October 1938, Sanjurjo declared war on Britain and France.who, in response, began supplying the Republic more aggressively, gaining them a short-term advantage and eventual victory on the Battle of the Ebro, after which the coastal town of Vinaroz was reconquered and the previously divided Republican-held territory was unified again. However, the Nationalists exacted a price from the Allies, when Sanjurjo personally led the siege of Gibraltar, with the aid of German and Italian forces, and oversaw its fall in early 1939.
After this, however, foreign aid to both sides dried up, as Germany and the Allies were concentrating all their efforts on the fighting in France. Nonetheless, in March, 1939, Sanjurjo decided to concentrate on taking Madrid.
Initially, the Nationalists gained some momentum, taking the University City District within a few weeks. However, they could not get into Madrid proper. The Republicans succeeded in pushing the Nationalists out of University City by the middle of the summer.
The Nationalists maintained the offensive on Madrid for the remainder of the year, and into the next, but the line outside Madrid continued to hold on into 1940. Things looked particularly bleak for the Republic after the "big switch" of Summer of 1940 saw Britain and France align with Germany and go to war with the Soviet Union. They also ceased supplying the Spanish Republic; however Germany was not in a position to help the Nationalists much more than they had been. The Republic also gained one unexpected advantage: the arrival of a regiment of Czechoslovak troops who had been fighting in France, and refused to join the war against the Soviet Union.
As fighting dragged on into 1941, the Spanish Civil War was once again a stalemate. Gradually, things began to turn in favor the Republic 1941. The British military launched a coup that deposed the appeasement-minded government of Horace Wilson in the spring. Britain promptly withdrew from the Soviet Union, and began bombing German territory while fighting Italy in North Africa. While France continued its alliance with Germany for the time being, the French government also began supplying weapons to the Republic. And in December, Czech sniper Vaclav Jezek killed Francisco Franco, one of Sanjurjo's most talented generals. France withdrew from the Soviet Union and went back to war with Germany in the closing days of 1941.
The Nationalists managed to hold their positions throughout 1942 and into early 1943. Vaclav Jezek actively pursued Sanjurjo, but for the longest time, Sanjurjo didn't oblige him. Finally, on a rainy day in the Fall of 1943, Sanjurjo visited the front, and Jezek shot him in the face.
Republican President Manuel Azaña had Jezek brought to Barcelona where he publicly thanked Jezek for not "despairing of the Republic". He also made Jezek a Spanish citizen, captain in the Army of the Republic, and paid Jezek the bounty that had been placed on Sanjurjo's head.
The Nationalists fell to infighting almost immediately upon Sajurjo's death, allowing the Republicans to rapidly retake the country. Several Nationalist officers fled to Portugal. Others were caught by the Republicans and summarily tried and executed. Finally, in early 1944, José Millán Astray became the last overall commander of the Nationalists just long enough to formally surrender and end the war.
The remainder of 1944 saw the Republic reasserting itself throughout Spain. This led to reprisals against Nationalist soldiers, who were sent to re-education camps. Civilians who'd been too friendly with the Nationalists were also subject to acts of vengeance. Various foreign fighters left Spain. Some continued the war against Germany until that ended in April 1944. Others, such as the Czechoslovakians, no longer had a country, and found themselves uncertain as to their futures.