History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 1991: Q.8

History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 1991: Q.8

Q.8 Show how the Spanish Civil War was a prelude to World War II.


The Spanish civil war is described as a prelude to World War II because of the following reasons:

(1) Use of Modern technology and tactics

The Spanish civil war saw the use of new weapons as well as of new tactics, with the first examples of Blitzkrieg (swift military offensive), carpet bombing, new tank warfare tactics. It was the first war where air power played a significant part and this included bombing of towns and other civilian targets.

All these features of the Spanish war played a significant part in the Second World War.

(2) Ideological Warfare

The Spanish Civil War was also an ideological war, with both sides motivated by passionate attachment to their ideologies. This reflected the multi-racial armies used in the Second World War.

The War was fought between the fascist Franco and his supporters and the already-established republic, which was a left-leaning government. The fascists and conservatives were funded with cash and supplies by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy while the republic was supported by the USSR and also France, USA.

This reflected the ideological warfare fought in the Second World War which included different ideologies like Fascism, Communism, Capitalism.

(3) Involvement of multiple countries

The Spanish civil war is also unique in the sense that a very large numbers of the highest contingents of foreign forces intervened on both sides.

Franco was helped with men and arms sent by the two fascist powers of the time— Germany and Italy. There were also some minor contingents of volunteers of other nationalities, such as Irish, Portuguese and White Russians.

On the other side, the Republicans were mainly helped by the U.S.S.R but also were flooded with volunteers from every continent, from all stages of life who opposed fascism and any form of dictatorship.

This was prelude to the World War which also involved mutiple countries and where multinational and multiracial military was used.

(4) Other facrors

Britain and France led a political alliance of 27 nations that promised an embargo on all arms to Spain. Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union also signed on officially, but blatantly ignored the embargo. The clandestine actions of the various European powers were, at the time, considered to be risking another World War.

Thanks to the spirit of appeasement by the democracies like Britain, Fascist forces succeeded. This success gave boost to Fascist forces leading to the Second World War.

The Spanish Civil War was a message to the world, a warning of perils and events to come. The war increased international tensions in Europe in the lead-up to World War II.

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