Myth Of The 20th Century – Episode 56: Spanish Civil War – Collapse Of The Left

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

— Brought to you by —

Hans Lander, Nick Mason, and Adam Smith


By 1937 and the bombing of Guernica, Spanish Republican forces were seeing the beginning of the end of their struggle against Franco’s fascists. As the nationalists cut off Catalonia and effectively isolated Madrid from the French and Portuguese borders in 1938, infighting amongst the anarchist, communist and Republican coalition compounded their situation. By April, 1939, Franco’s forces had won. After a war that had lasted a little over two and a half years, approximately 500,000 people lay dead, or about 2% of Spain’s total population.


March, 1937 – Basque Offensive: with no more than 40,000 infantry, fewer than their Basque opponents but able to concentrate on the points of attack (providing local superiority), supported by nearly 200 planes and 200 pieces of artillery.
1937–1938 – Northern Campaigns: first appearance in Europe of World War II-style combined arms (but with only very limited use of light tanks) and the first systematic air-to-ground support, although such tactics had to some extent been essayed on the Western front in 1917–18
August-September 1937 – Saragosa Offensive(s):
Spanish Foreign Legion instrumental in devastating Republican offensive
Republicans attempt to utilize Soviet and Spanish armor alongside waves of communist volunteers; ends with almost no ground held and huge loses/lack of coordination
Molotov cocktail developed, Republican armor strategies thrown out the window
September 1st – October 24th – Asturias captured, Santander captured: the loss of the northern zone was a strategic disaster to the Republicans
Spring of 1938 – Franco conquers Aragon
July, 1938 – Battle of Brunette: failed Republican attempt at counterassault in Center-Spain
April 1938 – Franco conquers Aragon: pushes all the way to the Mediterranean, slicing Republican forces in half; chooses to avoid invoking French retaliation over Catalonia and invades Valencia
1938 – invasion of Catalonia, completely securing the border with France and isolating the Republican regime
April, 1939 – Spanish Civil War ends with fascist victory


– What is Spanish Falangism?, Evola (1937) –
– Spanish Civil War, BBC (1983)
– The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936–1939, Beevor (2006)
– The Victorious Counterrevolution: The Nationalist Effort in the Spanish Civil War, Seidman (2011)
– The Spanish Civil War, Payne (2012)
– Spain & the Failure of Reaction, Hood (2014) –
– Remembering José Antonio Primo de Rivera: April 24, 1903–November 20, 1936, Morgan (2017) –

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One Comment

  1. When I ask anarchists if there’s ever been a functioning anarchist society in the real world, they cite Republican Spain as an example.

    Why anarchism failed in Spain, and was (briefly, thanks to Franco) replaced by communism:

    An economist explains why anarcho-syndicalism is even more unworkable than communism:


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