SPANISH CIVIL WAR
- The Spanish Civil War was a civil war in Spain fought from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal tothe eft-leaning Second Spanish Republic,fought against a revolt bythe Nationalists ed by a military group among whom General Francisco Franco soon achieved a preponderant role.
- The Nationalists won the war, which ended in early 1939, and ruled Spain until Franco’s death in November 1975.
- Guernica, 30 kilometres east of Bilbao, has long been a centre of great significance.At the time of the bombing, the population of Guernica was 7,000 people,and the battlefront was 30 kilometres away.
- Advances by Nationalist troops led by Francisco Franco had eaten into the territory controlled by the Republican Government.
- The Basque Government, an autonomous regional administrative body formed by Basque nationalists.
- At the time of the raid, Guernica represented a focal strategic point for the Republican forces. It stood between the Nationalists and capture of Bilbao Bilbao was seen as key to bringing the war to a conclusion in the north of Spain.
- Monday 26 April was market day; there were more than 10,000 people in the former Basque capital.Market days consisted of local farmers bringing in their crops to sell to the village people. They would bring the crops of the week’s labour to the main square, which is where the market was held.
BOMBINGS IN GUERNICA
- The Luftwaffe and its Blitzkrieg operations was that it had a doctrine of terror bombing, in which civilians were deliberately targeted in order to break the will or aid the collapse of an enemy.
- On 26 april the bombings began. The first wave arrived over Guernica around 16:30. A Dornier Do 17, coming from the south, dropped approximately twelve 50 kg (110 lb) bombs.
- Seen as a war crime by some historians, and argued as a legitimate attack by others, it was one of the first aerial bombings to capture global attention.
- The number of victims is still disputed; the Basque government reported 1,654 people killed at the time, while local historians identified 126 victims(later revised by the authors of the study to 153).
- A British source used by the Air War College claims 400 civilians died. Soviet archives claim 800 deaths.