The Spanish Civil War which lasted from 1936-1939 is considered by historians as a revolt of the military against the Republican Government of the country.
The war was the upshot of a polarization of the Spanish society, which had evolved over earlier decades.
The rebels or Nationalists were Bourgeoisie, comprising mostly of key members of the military, aristocrat entrepreneurs, landlords and Roman Catholics. The Republicans included peasants, factory workers, cultivators, and a large section of the educated middle-class.
While the rebel forces received support from the conservative section of the country, Germany and Italy, the Republicans were supported by the USSR, and volunteers from the US and Europe.
The Republicans came into power in 1931 after monarchy was abolished in Spain and King Alfonso XIII gave his consent to hold elections in the country.
During the first five years of the Republican regime, organized labor and leftist fundamentalists forced extensive liberal reforms, and the independence-seeking Spanish regions of Basque and Catalonia provinces attained virtual sovereignty.
In July 1936, the Nationalist forces led by General Francisco Franco launched a military uprising in Morocco and speedily overran much of the Republican-controlled areas in central and northern Spain, and Catalonia became a key Republican stronghold.
In 1937, Franco unified the Nationalist forces while the Republicans fell under the influence of the communists. While Germany and Italy helped Franco with fighter planes and loads of arms and ammunition, the USSR provided military assistance to the Republicans.
Moreover, communists and radicals from the US, France and other nations created the International Brigades to help the Republican forces and the combined forces successfully defended Madrid till the end.
The Nationalists thronged to the Mediterranean Sea in June 1938 and cut the Republican terrain into two.
Later a major offense was launched against Catalonia.
After the capture of Barcelona, its capital in January 1939 the Republican resistance crumbled.
Republican leaders made endeavors to agree on peace with their cause all but lost, but Franco refused to relent.
The Spanish Civil War, the most devastating event in the history of the country came to an end after the triumphant Nationalist forces entered Madrid on March 28, 1939.