Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 






The World Wars and Interwar Period 

1914-1945


 


The first half of the 20th century saw the world entangled in two global wars, conducted with an unprecedented brutality. The First World War developed from a purely European affair into a conflict involving the colonies and the United States. It altered Europe's political landscape and shifted the power balance worldwide. In World War II, the nations of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa were drawn into the conflict through the aggressive policies of an ambitious Nazi Germany. The war was conducted with the most up-to-date weapons technology and cost the lives of more than 55 million people. The Holocaust, the systematic annihilation of the European Jews, represented an unparalleled moral catastrophe for modern civilization.


 



Pablo Picasso "Weeping Woman", 1937

 

 

 


Spain and Portugal 
 


1914-1945
 

 

In Portugal and Spain, strong right-wing authoritarian movements gained influence in the 1930s. While a dictatorial system was quickly established in Portugal, a bloody and devastating civil war with international involvement raged in Spain between leftist and rightist forces from 1936 to 1939. The victorious General Franco erected a brutal and long-lasting military dictatorship in Spain.

 


Spain: Civil War and the Franco Dictatorship
 

Domestic tensions in Spain erupted in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. This led to a fascist dictatorship under Francisco Franco in 1939.

 

Spain was shaken by political unrest for more than 20 years following World War I. Corruption, separatist aspirations—for example, in Catalonia- -and the long struggle to pacify the protectorate in the northern part of Morocco against Abdel Krim, leader of the independence movement, weakened the parliamentary monarchy and led to a military coup by General Miguel Primo de Rivera in 1923. He installed a personal dictatorship that was tolerated by King Alfonso XIII. Despite the successful conclusion of the Moroccan war, however, he had to step down in 1930 due to unresolved social problems and the overstretching of the economy in the boom years of the twenties.

In the San Sebastian pact of 1930, republican political parties, as well as 11 intellectuals such as Jose Ortega ó Gasset, resolved to overthrow the monarchy.

In 1931, they were successful and the king was forced to leave the country. The Second Republic was founded, but quickly came under fire from radical political forces on both the left and right.

Violent 10 uprisings and revolts for social reform by the unionized workers occurred in 1933, as did a strengthening of the fascist movement.

In 1933, the antidemocratic 9 Falange party was formed; it later became a decisive instrument of Franco's dictatorial government.


11 Students call for the Republic, 1931


10 Insurgents burn churches and
monasteries, 1931


9 Young Spaniards learn to march
in the manner of the Falangists, 1935

General strikes and political murders further widened the gulf between the conservative-nationalist forces and the republicans and radical socialists.

General Franco's right-wing revolt against the leftist Peoples' Front government in 1936 ignited a three-year 12 civil war that aroused international attention and was waged with foreign military support on both sides.

The republic broke up in January 1939 following the capture of Barcelona by 8 Franco's troops.

Franco built a dictatorial regime in devastated Spain, outlawed the formation of political parties, and suppressed all opposition. More than 350,000 opponents were executed and hundreds of thousands incarcerated.

Franco's regime remained largely neutral in World War II, despite joining the Anti-Comintern Pact. Combat units dispatched to fight Bolshevism on the Eastern Front were sent back in 1944. As the defeat of the Axis powers loomed. Franco approached the Allies and curbed the persecution of Communists.


12 Spanish refugees on the border to France, 1939


8 Francisco Franco, 1935

 

 

Spanish Civil War


Republican posters

Spanish history
Main
(1936–39), military revolt against the Republican government of Spain, supported by conservative elements within the country. When an initial military coup failed to win control of the entire country, a bloody civil war ensued, fought with great ferocity on both sides. The Nationalists, as the rebels were called, received aid from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The Republicans received aid from the Soviet Union, as well as from International Brigades, composed of volunteers from Europe and the United States.

The war was an outcome of a polarization of Spanish life and politics that had developed over previous decades. On one side, the Nationalist, were most Roman Catholics, important elements of the military, most landowners, and many businessmen. On the other side, the Republican, were urban workers, most agricultural labourers, and many of the educated middle class. Politically, their differences often found extreme and vehement expression in parties such as the Fascist-oriented Falange and the militant anarchists. Between these extremes were other groups covering the political spectrum from monarchism and conservatism through liberalism to socialism, including a small communist movement divided among followers of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his archrival, Leon Trotsky. In 1934 there was widespread labour conflict and a bloody uprising by miners in Asturias that was suppressed by troops led by General Francisco Franco. A succession of governmental crises culminated in the elections of February 16, 1936, which brought to power a Popular Front government supported by most of the parties of the left and opposed by the parties of the right and what remained of the centre.

A well-planned military uprising began on July 17, 1936, in garrison towns throughout Spain. By July 21 the rebels had achieved control in Spanish Morocco, the Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands (except Minorca) and in the part of Spain north of the Guadarrama mountains and the Ebro River, except for Asturias, Santander, and the Basque provinces along the north coast and the region of Catalonia in the northeast. The Republican forces had put down the uprising in other areas, except for some of the larger Andalusian cities, including Sevilla (Seville), Granada, and Córdoba. The Nationalists and Republicans proceeded to organize their respective territories and to repress opposition or suspected opposition. Republican violence occurred primarily during the early stages of the war before the rule of law was restored, but the Nationalist violence was part of a conscious policy of terror. The matter of how many were killed remains highly contentious; however, it is generally believed that the toll of Nationalist violence was higher. In any event, the proliferation of executions, murders, and assassinations on both sides reflects the great passions that the Civil War unleashed.

The captaincy of the Nationalists was gradually assumed by General Franco, leading forces he had brought from Morocco. On October 1, 1936, he was named head of state and set up a government in Burgos. The Republican government, beginning in September 1936, was headed by the socialist leader Francisco Largo Caballero. He was followed in May 1937 by Juan Negrín, also a socialist, who remained premier throughout the remainder of the war and served as premier in exile until 1945. The president of the Spanish Republic until nearly the end of the war was Manuel Azaña, an anticlerical liberal. Internecine conflict compromised the Republican effort from the outset. On one side were the anarchists and militant socialists, who viewed the war as a revolutionary struggle and spearheaded widespread collectivization of agriculture, industry, and services; on the other were the more moderate socialists and republicans, whose objective was the preservation of the Republic. Seeking allies against the threat of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union had embraced a Popular Front strategy, and, as a result, the Comintern directed Spanish communists to support the Republicans.

Both the Nationalist and Republican sides, seeing themselves as too weak to win a quick victory, turned abroad for help. Germany and Italy sent troops, tanks, and planes to aid the Nationalists. The Soviet Union contributed equipment and supplies to the Republicans, who also received help from the Mexican government. During the first weeks of the war, the Popular Front government of France also supported the Republicans, but internal opposition forced a change of policy. In August 1936, France joined Britain, the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy in signing a nonintervention agreement that would be ignored by the Germans, Italians, and Soviets. About 40,000 foreigners fought on the Republican side in the International Brigades largely under the command of the Comintern, and 20,000 others served in medical or auxiliary units.

By November 1936 the Nationalists had advanced to the outskirts of Madrid. They laid siege to it but were unable to get beyond the University City area. They captured the Basque northern provinces in the summer of 1937 and then Asturias, so that by October they held the whole northern coast. A war of attrition began. The Nationalists drove a salient eastward through Teruel, reaching the Mediterranean and splitting the republic in two in April 1938. In December 1938 they moved upon Catalonia in the northeast, forcing the Republican armies there northward toward France. By February 1939, 250,000 Republican soldiers, together with an equal number of civilians, had fled across the border into France. On March 5 the Republican government flew to exile in France. On March 7 a civil war broke out in Madrid between communist and anticommunist factions. By March 28 all of the Republican armies had begun to disband and surrender, and Nationalist forces entered Madrid on that day.

The number of persons killed in the Spanish Civil War can be only roughly estimated. Nationalist forces put the figure at 1,000,000, including not only those killed in battle but also the victims of bombardment, execution, and assassination. More recent estimates have been closer to 500,000 or less. This does not include all those who died from malnutrition, starvation, and war-engendered disease.

The political and emotional reverberations of the war far transcended those of a national conflict, for many in other countries saw the Spanish Civil War as part of an international conflict between—depending on their point of view—tyranny and democracy, or fascism and freedom, or communism and civilization. For Germany and Italy, Spain was a testing ground for new methods of tank and air warfare. For Britain and France, the conflict represented a new threat to the international equilibrium that they were struggling to preserve, which in 1939 collapsed into World War II. The war also had mobilized many artists and intellectuals to take up arms. Among the most notable artistic responses to the war were the novels Man’s Hope (1938) by André Malraux, Homage to Catalonia (1938) by George Orwell, The Adventures of a Young Man (1939) by John Dos Passos, and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) by Ernest Hemingway, as well as Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica (1937) and Robert Capa’s photograph Death of a Loyalist Soldier, Spain (1936).

Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

 


Soft Construction with Boiled Beans - Premonition of Civil War
1936
Salvador Dali
 

 
 

 

 
 

International Brigade

Many left-wing idealists, including artists from throughout the world, fought in the International Brigade against Franco's troops.

ANDRE GIDE, GEORGE ORWELL, and ERNEST HEMINGWAY, among others, came from France, Great Britain, Germany, and the United States as fighters or reporters for the republic.





ANDRE GIDE, GEORGE ORWELL, ERNEST HEMINGWAY

 

 

 

International Brigades

military force
Main
groups of foreign volunteers who fought on the Republican side against the Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). So called because their members (initially) came from some 50 countries, the International Brigades were recruited, organized, and directed by the Comintern (Communist International), with headquarters in Paris. A large number of the mostly young recruits were Communists before they became involved in the conflict; more joined the party during the course of the war. The French were the largest single foreign group (some 28,000); Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Canada, Hungary, and Belgium were also represented by significant numbers of volunteers.

The first group of 500 trainees arrived in Albacete, Spain, on October 14, 1936. As other trainees and Soviet arms arrived, they were placed under the command of representatives of the Comintern. There were seven brigades in all, and each one was divided into battalions by nationality (e.g., the French-Belgian Commune de Paris Battalion, the American Abraham Lincoln Battalion, the British Battalion). The number of volunteers probably never exceeded 20,000 at any one time, but the total number of volunteers, including a small number of women, reached about 60,000.

From 1936 to 1938 the brigades, despite some difficulties, operated effectively on the Republican side, and their organization was imitated by other units of the Republican army. From 1937 on, recruits for the brigades diminished, and men lost in action or by desertion were replaced mainly by Spanish Communists. The brigades were formally withdrawn from Spain late in 1938 as part of Prime Minister Juan Negrín’s attempt to win British and French support for his government. The last battle in which they participated was that of the Ebro. A farewell parade was held for the volunteers in Barcelona, Spain, on November 15, 1938.

Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

 

Guernica

The total destruction of the small Basque city of Guernica by the German Luftwaffe on April 26, 1937, during the Spanish civil war, offered a foretaste of the bombing raids of World War II.

The attacks were directed exclusively at the civilian population in order to break the morale of the Republican troops. Picasso's famous oil painting "Guernica" was meant to condemn this terrible act of destruction to the world.



Guernica, 1937


see also:

War, Art and "Guernica"

by Pablo Picasso

 

 

see also: Federico Garcia Lorca


collection: Salvador Dali

collection: Pablo Picasso
 

 

 

Francisco Franco


Francisco Franco

ruler of Spain
in full Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco Bahamonde, byname El Caudillo (“The Leader”)

born December 4, 1892, El Ferrol, Spain
died November 20, 1975, Madrid

Main
general and leader of the Nationalist forces that overthrew the Spanish democratic republic in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39); thereafter he was the head of the government of Spain until 1973 and head of state until his death in 1975.

Life
Franco was born at the coastal city and naval centre of El Ferrol in Galicia (northwestern Spain). His family life was not entirely happy, for Franco’s father, an officer in the Spanish Naval Administrative Corps, was eccentric, wasteful, and somewhat dissolute. More disciplined and serious than other boys his age, Franco was close to his mother, a pious and conservative upper middle-class Roman Catholic. Like four generations and his elder brother before him, Franco was originally destined for a career as a naval officer, but reduction of admissions to the Naval Academy forced him to choose the army. In 1907, only 14 years old, he entered the Infantry Academy at Toledo, graduating three years later.

Franco volunteered for active duty in the colonial campaigns in Spanish Morocco that had begun in 1909 and was transferred there in 1912 at age 19. The following year he was promoted to first lieutenant in an elite regiment of native Moroccan cavalry. At a time in which many Spanish officers were characterized by sloppiness and lack of professionalism, young Franco quickly showed his ability to command troops effectively and soon won a reputation for complete professional dedication. He devoted great care to the preparation of his unit’s actions and paid more attention than was common to the troops’ well-being. Reputed to be scrupulously honest, introverted, and a man of comparatively few intimate friends, he was known to shun all frivolous amusements. In 1915 he became the youngest captain in the Spanish army. The following year he was seriously wounded by a bullet in the abdomen and returned to Spain to recover. In 1920 he was chosen to be second in command of the newly organized Spanish Foreign Legion, succeeding to full command in 1923. That year he also married Carmen Polo, with whom he had a daughter. During crucial campaigns against the Moroccan rebels, the legion played a decisive role in bringing the revolt to an end. Franco became a national hero, and in 1926, at age 33, he was promoted to brigadier general. At the beginning of 1928, he was named director of the newly organized General Military Academy in Saragossa.

After the fall of the monarchy in 1931, the leaders of the new Spanish Republic undertook a major and much-needed military reform, and Franco’s career was temporarily halted. The General Military Academy was dissolved, and Franco was placed on the inactive list. Though he was an avowed monarchist and held the honour of being a gentleman of the king’s chamber, Franco accepted both the new regime and his temporary demotion with perfect discipline. When conservative forces gained control of the republic in 1933, Franco was restored to active command; in 1934 he was promoted to major general. In October 1934, during a bloody uprising of Asturian miners who opposed the admission of three conservative members to the government, Franco was called in to quell the revolt. His success in this operation brought him new prominence. In May 1935 he was appointed chief of the Spanish army’s general staff, and he began tightening discipline and strengthening military institutions, although he left many of the earlier reforms in place.

Following a number of scandals that weakened the Radicals, one of the parties of the governing coalition, parliament was dissolved, and new elections were announced for February 1936. By this time the Spanish political parties had split into two factions: the rightist National Bloc and the leftist Popular Front. The left proved victorious in the elections, but the new government was unable to prevent the accelerating dissolution of Spain’s social and economic structure. Although Franco had never been a member of a political party, the growing anarchy impelled him to appeal to the government to declare a state of emergency. His appeal was refused, and he was removed from the general staff and sent to an obscure command in the Canary Islands. For some time he refused to commit himself to a military conspiracy against the government, but, as the political system disintegrated, he finally decided to join the rebels.
 


Franco junto a Heinrich Himmler en 1940


Franco’s military rebellion
At dawn on July 18, 1936, Franco’s manifesto acclaiming the military rebellion was broadcast from the Canary Islands, and the same morning the rising began on the mainland. The following day he flew to Morocco and within 24 hours was firmly in control of the protectorate and the Spanish army garrisoning it. After landing in Spain, Franco and his army marched toward Madrid, which was held by the government. When the Nationalist advance came to a halt on the outskirts of the city, the military leaders, in preparation of what they believed was the final assault that would deliver Madrid and the country into their hands, decided to choose a commander in chief, or generalissimo, who would also head the rebel Nationalist government in opposition to the republic. Because of his military ability and prestige, a political record unmarred by sectarian politics and conspiracies, and his proven ability to gain military assistance from Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Benito Mussolini’s Italy, Franco was the obvious choice. In part because he was not a typical Spanish “political general,” Franco became head of state of the new Nationalist regime on October 1, 1936. The rebel government did not, however, gain complete control of the country for more than three years.

Franco presided over a government that was basically a military dictatorship, but he realized that it needed a regular civil structure to broaden its support; this was to be derived mainly from the antileftist middle classes. On April 19, 1937, he fused the Falange (the Spanish fascist party) with the Carlists and created the rebel regime’s official political movement. While expanding the Falange into a more pluralistic group, Franco made it clear that it was the government that used the party and not the other way around. Thus, his regime became an institutionalized authoritarian system, differing in this respect from the fascist party-states of the German and Italian models.

As commander in chief during the Civil War, Franco was a careful and systematic leader. He made no rash moves and suffered only a few temporary defeats as his forces advanced slowly but steadily; the only major criticism directed at him during the campaign was that his strategy was frequently unimaginative. Nevertheless, because of the relatively superior military quality of his army and the continuation of heavy German and Italian assistance, Franco won a complete and unconditional victory on April 1, 1939.

The Civil War had been largely a sanguinary struggle of attrition, marked by atrocities on both sides. The tens of thousands of executions carried out by the Nationalist regime, which continued during the first years after the war ended, earned Franco more reproach than any other single aspect of his rule.


Franco’s dictatorship
Although Franco had visions of restoring Spanish grandeur after the Civil War, in reality he was the leader of an exhausted country still divided internally and impoverished by a long and costly war. The stability of his government was made more precarious by the outbreak of World War II only five months later. Despite his sympathy for the Axis powers’ “New Order,” Franco at first declared Spanish neutrality in the conflict. His policy changed after the fall of France in June 1940, when he approached the German leader Hitler; Franco indicated his willingness to bring Spain into the war on Germany’s side in exchange for extensive German military and economic assistance and the cession to Spain of most of France’s territorial holdings in northwest Africa. Hitler was unable or unwilling to meet this price, and, after meeting with Franco at Hendaye, France, in October 1940, Hitler remarked that he would “as soon have three or four teeth pulled out” as go through another bargaining session like that again. Franco’s government thenceforth remained relatively sympathetic to the Axis powers while carefully avoiding any direct diplomatic and military commitment to them. Spain’s return to a state of complete neutrality in 1943 came too late to gain favourable treatment from the ascendant Allies. Nevertheless, Franco’s wartime diplomacy, marked as it was by cold realism and careful timing, had kept his regime from being destroyed along with the Axis powers.

The most difficult period of Franco’s regime began in the aftermath of World War II, when his government was ostracized by the newly formed United Nations. He was labeled by hostile foreign opinion the “last surviving fascist dictator” and for a time appeared to be the most hated of Western heads of state; within his country, however, as many people supported him as opposed him. The period of ostracism finally came to an end with the worsening of relations between the Soviet world and the West at the height of the Cold War. Franco could now be viewed as one of the world’s leading anticommunist statesmen, and relations with other countries began to be regularized in 1948. His international rehabilitation was advanced further in 1953, when Spain signed a 10-year military assistance pact with the United States, which was later renewed in more limited form.

Franco’s domestic policies became somewhat more liberal during the 1950s and ’60s, and the continuity of his regime, together with its capacity for creative evolution, won him at least a limited degree of respect from some of his critics. Franco said that he did not find the burden of government particularly heavy, and, in fact, his rule was marked by absolute self-confidence and relative indifference to criticism. He demonstrated marked political ability in gauging the psychology of the diverse elements, ranging from moderate liberals to extreme reactionaries, whose support was necessary for his regime’s survival. He maintained a careful balance among them and largely left the execution of policy to his appointees, thereby placing himself as arbiter above the storm of ordinary political conflict. To a considerable degree, the opprobrium for unsuccessful or unpopular aspects of policy tended to fall on individual ministers rather than on Franco. The Falange state party, downgraded in the early 1940s, in later years became known merely as the “Movement” and lost much of its original quasi-fascist identity.

Unlike most rulers of rightist authoritarian regimes, Franco provided for the continuity of his government after his death through an official referendum in 1947 that made the Spanish state a monarchy and ratified Franco’s powers as a sort of regent for life. In 1967 he opened direct elections for a small minority of deputies to the parliament and in 1969 officially designated the then 32-year-old prince Juan Carlos, the eldest son of the nominal pretender to the Spanish throne, as his official successor upon his death. Franco resigned his position of premier in 1973 but retained his functions as head of state, commander in chief of the armed forces, and head of the “Movement.”

Franco was never a popular ruler and rarely tried to mobilize mass support. But after 1947 there was little direct or organized opposition to his rule. With the liberalization of his government and relaxation of some police powers, together with the country’s marked economic development during the 1960s, Franco’s image changed from that of the rigorous generalissimo to a more benign civilian elder statesman. Franco’s health declined markedly in the late 1960s, yet he professed to believe that he had left Spain’s affairs “tied and well-tied” and that after his death Prince Juan Carlos would maintain at least the basic structure of his regime. But after Franco’s death in 1975 following a long illness, Juan Carlos moved to dismantle the authoritarian institutions of Franco’s system and encouraged the revival of political parties. Spain had made great economic progress during the last two decades of Franco’s rule, and within three years of his death the country had become a democratic constitutional monarchy, with a prosperous economy and democratic institutions similar to those of the rest of western Europe.

Stanley G. Payne

Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

 

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