Tag Archives: Italy

Abyssinia Crisis 1935-6

If You Tolerate This poster

German involvement in the Spanish Civil War

This revision podcast was originally created for IGCSE History students completing a Paper 2 (sources) exam based on the Spanish Civil War.  However, it is appropriate for other students who wish to gain an overview of Germany’s involvement as it looks at three key issues.  Firstly a quick background to the Civil War itself, secondly a consideration of why Germany got involved, and finally a discussion of what Germany contributed to the Spanish Civil War.

The first part of the podcast presents an overview of General Franco’s nationalist uprising with reference to the republican government, the forces on each side in the conflict, and the Non-Intervention Committee.

The second section looks at reasons for why Germany got involved in the Spanish Civil War.  The causes assessed in the revision podcast are Hitler’s hatred of communism, the opportunity to test new equipment, the possibility of developing an alliance with Italy, and access to Spanish raw materials.

The final part of the episode considers the impact of German involvement.  Particular attention is given to the impact of the Condor Legion at Guernica.

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Germany and Italy support Franco

Why did Germany and Italy agree to support Franco?

On the 26th July 1936, Adolf Hitler informed General Francisco Franco that Germany would support his Nationalist rebellion in Spain.

Benito Mussolini, the leader of Italy, also agreed to intervene in the war on the Nationalist side after being encouraged to do so by Hitler. Although both countries later signed the Non-Intervention Agreement, they continued to send troops and equipment to support Franco’s forces.

The Spanish Civil War broke out on the 17th July, when an army uprising against the Spanish Second Republic that began in Morocco spread to the mainland. In the face of early rebel gains, the Republican government sought assistance from France and the USSR. Meanwhile the Nationalists turned to the right-wing governments of Germany and Italy.

Hitler in particular had a number of reasons for getting involved. As well as giving him the opportunity to take action against what he called “communist barbarism”, assisting Franco would win Germany an important ally and access to Spain’s natural resources. Militarily, German involvement also provided an opportunity to test the new equipment developed since the Nazi rearmament programme began in 1933.

Both Hitler and Mussolini were concerned about the risk of the Spanish Civil War escalating into a European-wide conflict, so at first their support for the Nationalists was small-scale and consisted mainly of transporting existing Spanish troops from Morocco to the mainland. However, as the war progessed their involvement grew. The German Condor Legion in particular began to take an active role in the aerial bombing of Republican areas, most notably the Basque town of Guernica, on the 26th April 1937.

Germany in the Spanish Civil War

Spanish Civil War – intervention and non-intervention

These two clips present the reasons for international intervention and non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War.

PART 1

PART 2

Europes-military-alliances-in-World-War-I-1914

Causes of the First World War – the ‘Alliance System’

An overview of the Alliance System before the outbreak of the First World War including archive footage from the time.

The changing balance of power: Germany 1849-59

This revision podcast considers the reasons for the changing balance of power between Austria and Prussia following the revolutions of 1848-9.  Beginning with the Erfurt Union and the subsequent Declaration of Olmutz, the podcast goes on to consider the impact of key international events including the Crimean War and Austria’s war against Italy.  It also assesses the impact of events in the German States themselves, paying particular attention to Austria’s failed attempt to join the Zollverein and the effect of Prussia’s economic boom.

          

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Causes of the First World War

An explanation of the causes of the First World War…sheer brilliance.

Why Italy joined WW1 on the side of the Triple Entente

On the 23rd May 1915, Italy entered the First World War on the side of the Triple Entente and declared war on Austria-Hungary.

Italy was actually Austria-Hungary’s ally under the terms of the Triple Alliance, but the Italian government had initially opted for neutrality before being persuaded to join with its theoretical opposition.  Under the terms of the Triple Alliance, Italy was well within its rights not to provide military assistance to Germany and Austria-Hungary since the treaty was entirely defensive.  Since Austria-Hungary had instigated hostilities against Serbia, Italy argued that the alliance was void.

Italy therefore remained neutral for the first nine months of the war.  However, behind the scenes Prime Minister Antonio Salandra and his minister of Foreign Affairs, Sidney Sonnino, were investigating which side would be the best to join.  In a secret agreement signed on 26th April in London, Italy agreed to leave the Triple Alliance, join the Triple Entente, and declare war on Austria-Hungary and Germany.  Assuming they won, Italy would in return receive large areas of territory from the Central Powers such as Italian-populated areas of Austria-Hungary and in the region of the Adriatic Sea.

Italy duly entered the war against Austria-Hungary on 23rd May 1915.  Despite superior numbers, the Italians struggled against Austria-Hungarians.  However, they did emerge victorious and so Premier Vittorio Emanuele Orlando went as the Italian representative to the Paris Peace Conference.  However, the offers of land were not as much as Italy had hoped for and so he left the Conference in a boycott.