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THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR A DRESS REHEARSAL FOR WORLD WAR TWO In June 1931 the Republicans called for a parliamentary election to be held and the Cortes elected Niceto Alcola Zamora a leading liberal as the first president of the Republic a Republican government was formed in Spain However political unrest still existed in the country because some Spaniards still favored monarchy In 1936 Spanish army units stationed in Morocco raised a revolution against Spains government The rebels hoped to overthrow the government and restore order in Spain In October 1936 the rebel leaders chose General Francisco Franco as their commander in chief The revolt developed into a full civil war and Francos forces become known as Nationalists and were supported by Spains Fascist Political Party The forces that fought to save the Republic were called the Republicans Although the Spanish civil war drew international attention no one intervened until the Spaniards themselves asked for help France had selected a socialist government and was torn by political opportunism England had a weak government memories of the general strike were still glowing and thus hoped for all of Europes problems to vanish without her intervention Italy had been the first country of Europe to embrace Fascism under Benito Mussolini after a huge effort to overthrow the previous government In Germany the despair defeat the hysteria of militarism and the hopelessness of the Depression had combined to bring Hitler to power The Russians under the leadership of Joseph Stalin were concentrating on industrialization preparation for a war and the huge purges The Comintern a Russian communist organization had started cooperating with the Western democratic governments due to Fascisms threat of a war against the Soviet Union On the night of July 19 the Prime Minister of the Republic Jose Girald telegraphed the Socialist Premier of France Leon Blum asking for arms and airplanes immediately Great Britain feared that Frances help to the Republicans might bring a
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