The Spanish Republic and Arab Culture

Published 26 Dec 2016

The Growing Tensions and the Political and Social Situations in Spain right before the civil war

The growing tensions in Spain before the civil war erupted in 1936-1939 had been inspired by the Russian revolution in 1917 as both the “two Spain” looks to the Bolshevik upheaval as model in their call for revolution, as both sides compared Madrid to the Petrograd Revolutionary, which provoked both the left and the right to anticipate each other’s possible take over, by grabbing the power themselves.

During this time, the military image was despised and avoided by the majority and was viewed as neither a means of social advancement nor an achievement, although in the video of the soldiers entering Madrid in 1939, it showed some people welcoming and clapping their hands as the soldiers march their way to the city. The reason for this was that the political and social condition in Spain was in turmoil despite general Franco’s Nationalist’s victory, due to the struggle between the forces of “fascism” and the forces of “democracy.” The fascist forces had wide support among the officer in the army, and with sophisticated armaments acquired from Italy and Germany, initiated a conflict which led to the Spanish civil war from 1936-1939 that claimed millions of lives.

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In my opinion, the circumstances that led to the revolution were General Franco’s desire to put back Spain in her glory by taking control of the government under the fascist ideals and principles amidst the resistance of the millions of peasants and workers supporting the democratic principle of governance. I am quite convinced that the Spanish civil war was not indeed a political conflict between democracy and fascism but a deeply rooted socio-economic difference between the workers and peasants of Spain and the aristocratic classes from the landowning grandees and clerical overlords.

The Expansion of General Franco’s Army from southern Spain and the reactions from different regions

With little support coming from European democracies, the Republican side was supported by the Soviet Union and volunteer international organizations spearheaded by the communist parties of other nations. The Spanish civil war came to be known as the “first Battle of the Second World War.” As Franco’s armies emerge victoriously, the regions that had been demanding autonomy such as Basque, Catalonia, and Galicia employed guerilla warfare in the countryside.

In my opinion, the main points about these facts was that the defeat of the democratic side was not because of the enormous support coming from fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, but the inability of the European democracies to help the struggling democracy for fear that the communist will take advantage of the situation once the civil war is over. Indeed, the civil war took three years before the proponents of democracy were finally subdued. According to one observer, the republican forces could have crushed the nationalist had there was some help from democratic countries.

It was quite apparent the armies belonging to the nationalists led by General Francisco Franco as per the video is the concern, was not large enough against millions of peasants and workers who had taken up arms to defend democracy. Had they been aided significantly, the millions of lives that had been lost could have been avoided. The Republic that was established in the southern regions had endured a failed military coup d’etat, which subsequently led to the Spanish civil war which was known as the first battle of the Second World War because of the countries involved in supporting their chosen sides.

The Two American in Spanish Civil War

The Americans, Don Hermy and Earnest Hemingway had different functions played in the Spanish civil war. In a letter of Don Hermy addressed to a certain Ed, he mentioned that he was a soldier trainee and bound to be sent to Madrid when the training is over. Don Hermy’s letter was a personal letter perhaps to his friend expressing his feelings about the condition in Spain particularly his difficulty in some areas that he was accustomed to, that was not available in Spain such as tooth brushing and razor for shaving. The letter expressed the writer’s sentiment about the impact of war on ordinary citizens, which were the helpless victims of war and the difficulty that the war has brought not only among the civilians but also to soldiers like him.

The letter also expressed confidence that the war would soon be over. Ernest Hemingway, on the other hand, was a war correspondent in Spain. Earnest was a strong supporter of the loyalist cause and work hard to raise funds through speeches on behalf of the republican government in the United States. He also uses his war experiences to produce literary works that tackle the condition of the Spanish civil war

Hemingway’s Spanish earth was a film about the Spanish civil war in which Hemingway saw action. The film was a propaganda film shot by a Dutchman named Joris Ivens, which called the film “Spanish Earth.” The film displayed the face of Spain amidst the horrible destruction of war and the proud faces of its people until the first wave of destruction caused by the war they may not have anticipated.

The film also presents the emotions and moods of which build up a true picture for the first time of what war is actually like.

The Hemingway and pictures present historical photographs and art depicting the Spanish civil war and the some of the historical landmarks that may not, or may have had some contribution to the Spanish civil war. The first pictures were an artwork, which portrays a civilian holding a gun depicting the chaos in the society. The second picture was also an artwork featuring a Falange waving his hand while his other hand is holding a riffle. The picture depicts a man calling others to join him in his cause. The third picture was a man about to throw a grenade that has an intention to hurt and destroy or perhaps to attack his enemies. The pictures demonstrate the extent of war in both the Republican and the nationalist followers, which put their lives in the line of death just to obtain their particular objectives.

Spain’s Civil war: International Intervention

Two of the countries that had actively supported the nationalist war against the republican were Germany and Italy. Historically Germany and Italy have been on friendship alliance. It was quite obvious that Italy’s motive of sending military aid to Nationalist Spain was to promote fascist ideology and to strengthen fascist movements overseas. Since it was evident that Franco’s victory would mean the establishment of the authoritarian state pattern after Germany and Italy, It was quite logical to assume that the interest of these countries was to make Spain a loyal ally.

Meanwhile, According to Walter A. Musciano, Germany decided to help General Franco for two reasons: first, they were in common cause against communism, second, to test his armed forces in real action, and to establish trade relations with Spain’s raw materials. On the other hand, among the international organization that had directly or indirectly supported the Republican side was the communist organization in support of the revolutionary objectives of the peasants and workers. As the workers and peasants seized control of most of the republic’s institution abandoned by military and police forces, they formed their institution to manage the cities in republican Spain. America was one of the countries who sent troops to support these peasants against the extremist fascist to uphold democracy in Spain.

Arab Culture

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam may have conflict, but I would say that the conflict was with each other. The conflict between Islam and Judaism has to do with territorial dispute particularly the Muslim settlement in the Israeli occupied area. This conflict has been rooted in the Biblical history going back from the time of Abraham, between Isaac and Ishmael. The Moslems claimed that the Jews brought destruction on the descendants of Ishmael and they are hoping that the final day of retribution will finally come. According to Yassir Arafat’s declaration, the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinian people must and shall be avenged. This deeply engraved hatred and anger, which thirst for vengeance, will always be a cause conflict between Judaism and Islam. The conflict was not only between Jews and Islam, but also between Islam and Christianity, and between Christianity and Judaism. According to Ethan Foltz, the conflict between Islam and Christianity was generated by the religious conviction of the followers of Muhammad.

Foltz pointed out that Muhammad’s followers viewed Christians as infidels and had to be dealt with, as they were guilty of idolatry. Thus during the 7th century, the Muslims engaged the Christian’s defenses in the war with the aim of putting this infidel into submission to the Islamic faith. The loss of Christian Byzantium to the Muslims resulted in the occupation of Jerusalem and desecration of Christian places in Palestine. The Muslims committed atrocities such as rapes and tortures of the priest and Monks have lead Pope Urban to call for Christian unity against the Muslims which later came to be known as the crusaders, which regain Jerusalem in 1099 but lost it again shortly. Since then, however, this conflict was shifted to the Arab Israeli conflict that they continue to fight until now.

On the other hand, the conflict between Christians and Jews, which was started by King Edwards I, was caused by his huge national loans and its interest with the Jewish Merchants. The Jews being mostly merchants were expelled in England, and many of them were persecuted. This expulsion of the Jews was later known as the first European ethnic cleansing where many killed were killed. However, the conflict here may be one-sided as the Jews were totally under the realm of the king’s power, which I believed can hardly be called armed conflict.

Work Cited

  • Musciano, W. A. The Spanish Civil War: German Condor Legion’s Tactical Air Power
  • Foltz, E. Conflict between Christianity and Islam
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