Section Civil war. Source A Source A

Section 1: Identification and evaluation of sources

 

This
investigation focuses on The Spanish Civil War (July 17, 1936 –
Apr 1, 1939) Specifically, the extent to which Franco’s leadership
secured Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War. The investigation will
include, how Franco managed to unify the political groups of the
Nationalists, both politically and ideologically. Keeping in mind the needed
help he received from his brother in law Serrano Suner in terms of the making
of the political movement FET.  Source A is a primary source, a speech given
by Franco. It was chosen due to its description of the wishes Franco had for
Spain in terms of his ideal country, where religion is put high and hierarchies
rule. Source B is a secondary source provided by Paul Preston. It was chosen
due to its description of Franco’s rise to power with the nationalists in the
years of The Spanish Civil war.

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Source A

 

Source
A is a speech addressed to Nationalists, given by Francisco Franco, a Spanish general,
who had immense power because of his position as a military dictator. Source A
is a primary source.  This speech was
given on July 18th 1938. The speech was given due to the right wing
military officers uprising against Franco. (Kenwood, 1993, s.
56-58).
This speech was given a year after the Decree of Unification in April 1937,
that unified political groups of Nationalists. The purpose of the source is to
inform Nationalist citizens of Spain of all the wrong the Reds have done
(Republicans), in terms of killing Nationalists. Francisco Franco however also
makes it clear that in order to fight the Reds, it is vital for them to unite
as a nation. The origin makes the source valuable, because it was a speech
given at the time of the Spanish Civil War. Keeping in mind the fact that
Franco an established leader many nationalists look up to, was delivering this
message. He possesses the ability to appeal to the Nationalists emotions, by
reminding them of their responsibility towards their motherland to protect her
from the enemies. He does this by mentioning “..those in the ranks of the Army and Navy who have made a profession of
faith in the service of the Motherland, all those who swore to defend her to
the death against her enemies”. (Kenwood,
1993, s. 56-58). The source is valuable to
the investigation, because it takes into account Franco’s political leadership,
in terms of his ability as an authority to invoke the Nationalists. This
contributes to the overall research question. 

What
limits the content is that this speech is purely Franco’s point of view,
meaning he could have altered and changed the information given. Such as the
amount of Nationalists the Reds assassinated, to appeal more to the audience in
terms of their emotions. This form of propaganda can be misleading.

 

 

 

Source B

 

Source B is a biography on Franco
written by Paul Preston an acclaimed academic and expert in the field, in 1993.
(Preston, 1995) It is a secondary
source. This book focuses on Franco’s rise to power throughout the Spanish
Civil War. Also giving information on the nationalists’ support for Franco. The
purpose of this book is to give an insight into Franco’s life in terms of his
rise to power along with the Nationalists, and bringing into order his wishes
of an “Old Spain”. The value of the origin is that the Paul Preston was able to
write the book from an objective perspective Another value of the content is
that it provides a more detailed description of the course from 1933 and until
his death. A limitation of the content however, is the extent to which Paul
Preston actually understands the mind of Franco. He does not, since he is
writing all of the content, based on the secondary sources he has gathered.

 

Section 2: Investigation

 

The Spanish civil war lasted from Jul 17, 1936 – Apr 1, 1939. The war was a military and political
revolt from Franco’s side (Nationalists’) against the Republican government,
formed in 1936 by Caballero. The end of the Spanish civil war, marked an
important change in Spain. Franco s ok over as the Generalisimo and the ruler
of Spain, due to the death of a couple of leading generals. He ruled Spain
until his death in 1975. Francisco Franco and his brother in law Ramon Serrano
Suner managed to unify the political groups of the Nationalists into a
political movement called FET, right after the Decree of Unification in 1937
April 19th. They managed to avoid internal conflict among the
Nationalists. This facilitated unity of purpose- a contrast to the Republicans
who were divided.  Keeping in mind the
research question: What is the extent to which Franco’s political leadership
secured Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil war? This essay will focus on
how Franco managed to unify the political groups of the Nationalists, both
politically and ideologically. Keeping in mind the needed help he received from
his brother in law Serrano Suner in terms of the making of the political
movement FET/Moviemento.  

 

The
Nationalists were made up of the Catholic Church, Carlists, Falange and
Alfonsins. The Nationalists were quite split before Franco decided to sign the
Decree of Unification in 1937 April 19th. The purpose of this
signing was to unify the political groups of Nationalists. Franco had
traditionalist and nationalist viewpoints. He wanted an old Spain, where the
church and hierarchies ruled. Everyone had their place/status in terms of the
social order. Therefore, he decided to write the Decree of Unification. This
was his first step towards a traditional and nationalist Spain. The
Nationalists were fully against the Caballero forming a government in September
1936, when the civil war had started with the socialists, communists and
leftist Republicans. Therefore, writing a Decree of Unification, where both the
Nationalists and Franco had the same ideas for a future Spain, meant they were
more unified and joined. Paul
Preston mentions in his book Franco: A biography “The idea of uniting the various political forces had been in the air for
sometime in the Nationalist zone” (Preston, 1995). This would
merge the divided Nationalists into a unified force, that would defeat the
Republicans and their communist ideas from spreading. Franco
with the help of his brother in law Serrano Suner, merged the different
political groups of Nationalists into a political movement known as Falange Española Tradicionalista y de
las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista. Shortly, FET. Serrano Suner was
the one to tell Franco to gather all the Falange, to create this movement. Franco
expresses in his speech: “The Nationalist movement has ousted the old political intrigues
and is guiding the nation to greatness and prosperity”. (Kenwood,
1993, s. 56-58).
Meaning the unity of the Nationalists will make
sure Spain prospers. Franco uses words as greatness and prosperity to describe
that this will only be possible if traditionalist, conservative and nationalist
viewpoints are accepted and followed. This
unified movement, had a traditionalist, conservative and nationalist idea of
Spain like Franco. However, Franco might have worked cleverly in terms of
unifying these political groups. The Falange were the revolutionary ones. They
were anti-monarchy, their views contradicted Franco’s. They wanted a republic,
that was aiming towards fascist ideas, just like Mussolini’s fascist country. (Ramon
Serrano Suner , u.d.)

Even though his brother- in-law
Serrano Suner, was a huge help in forming the movement FET. The FET was a huge
success, and the support from the Falange despite contradictions in viewpoints,
contributed to the success of the FET. In the book Spain’s civil war, the guidelines of the Falange was published in
1934, which stated the following. “..but
that does not mean that any interference from the Church will be tolerated nor
any activity likely to undermine the dignity of the state or the integrity of
nation” (Browne, 1983, s. 91). Even though the
Falange were reluctant supporter of Franco- and his contradicting visions, they
still stayed loyal to him as supporters. This kept the Nationalists unified.

 

Franco
and the Nationalists often made use of the ideological word “crusade”. (Margaret J. a., 2013) This was used as
propaganda to justify their killings of communists, leftists and socialists. A
bishop mentions in his letter: “Crusade for religion, for the fatherland, for
civilisation … a Crusade against communism in order to save religion” (Margaret J. G., 2009) Franco and the Nationalists use religion as an
excuse for their crusade. Which is bound to sound appealing to supporters, and
a rather good excuse. The fact that Franco uses crusade instead justifies the
situation from the Nationalists side, and their approach to getting rid of
communists. The crusade was justified as religious and sacred. And Franco’s
approach to all of this using religion as an excuse, did make it seem less
brutal. As, in the passage above, Franco would be seen as a guardian and a hero
saving Spain from its enemy, the communists. Franco uses his traditionalist and
conservative way of thinking, which also includes religion. The next passage is
taken from Franco’s speech in 1938 “Spaniards must adopt the military and religious
virtues of discipline and austerity All elements of discord must be removed”. (Kenwood,
1993).
Franco mentions at the end of his speech, the
importance of religion, in terms of discipline and manners. Franco wanted
wished for a Spain where the hierarchy was put above, and everyone were aware
of their status. Franco makes use of propaganda in his speech, to deliver the
message of religion. As having religion will mean, everyone would stay in their
place, according to the social order. (Margaret J. a., 2013)

 

In conclusion, keeping in mind the research question that
states: To what extent did Franco’s political leadership secure Nationalist
victory in the Spanish Civil War? Franco was lucky in terms of the support he
got from the Nationalist’s, and the fact that he was able to unify them. Both
he and the Nationalist’s shared traditionalist, conservative and nationalist
viewpoints, and wished for the same for Spain. The Catholic Church and Monarchy
already had a high status in Spain, therefore Franco was both lucky, but also
clever in terms of who he sided with. His brother in law Serrano’s help, meant
that he was able to form the movement FET, and perhaps was the biggest
contribution towards Franco securing Nationalist victory, along with the support
from the Nationalists. He gained all of the support through, ideology and
political leadership.

Section 3: Reflection

 

During this I encountered quite a
few obstacles, but also methods on how find limitations and values, in order to
be critical of a source, as used by historians. Along with this I also gained a
lot of knowledge about the importance of finding the right primary or secondary
source. For an investigation like this, where both the historical events were
important, and the historical figure was important, both a primary source and
secondary source was valid.

 

I was able to access the reliability
of a source, by accessing limitations and values. It taught me how to evaluate
a source. Especially a secondary source, where the historian is often
objective. Accessing these limitations and values taught me that a source can
be used even if it includes limitations, however it is important to remain
critical of the given limitations when using them as evidence for discussing an
event or historical figure.

 

When giving a detailed description
of an historical event, it made me realize that it can be difficult not to be
slightly biased. As historians, such as Paul Preston have been studying
historical events, specifically the Spanish Civil war for over 30 years, it can
be difficult to remain completely unbiased. A historian could have a certain
ideology or political opinion, which might influence one’s analysis of an
historical event. Therefore, biographies can include be objective. Unlike other
disciplines such as natural sciences and mathematics, it is not easy to provide
proof in history. That does not mean that all interpretations by a historian of
an event are all equivalent. I therefore learned the importance of accessing
these limitations and values, as not all interpretations can be perfectly
correct, and considered the truth. Specializing in a certain area like the Spanish
Civil war, which includes a significant historical figure: Franco Francisco,
made me realize that secondary sources such as biographies are not enough to
give an insight into his political leadership. Primary sources such as a speech
given by Franco himself during the war, is extremely significant for the
investigation, as it is subjective. Along with this it gives an insight into
his personality and mentality, which was vital for this investigation. This
makes a speech given by a significant historical figure valuable.