In what ways and to what extent did social and religious divisions lead to war in Spain in 1936?

Essay by macarena966High School, 12th gradeA-, November 2014

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Macarena Costa

In what ways and to what extent did social and religious divisions lead to civil war in Spain in 1936?

Social and religious divisions had long existed in Spain before the civil war broke out in 1936. It had failed to modernise and industrialise like its European neighbours, leading to countless military defeats. Its backwardness also meant that its farming methods were very primitive, making Spain a poor country in which most of the population consisted of landless labourers and most of the land was owned by rich landowners. This social injustice often meant people going taking extremes. People who lived in Catalonia and the Basque Provinces also sought to obtain independence from Spain, further contributing to the divisions in the country. Moreover, the church had tremendous influence in Spain, and while there where still many people loyal to it, they were many who wanted to diminish its influences.

However, it was ultimately the political instability that ruled in the country, and the inability to let one government be in power long enough to accomplish anything, which made these divisions explode, and finally, led to war.

On the one hand, social and religious divisions did lead to civil war in 1936. In the social aspect, Spain's backwardness meant that old farming methods were still being used and land was not distributed equally. Around 2,500,000 people in Spain were braceros, landless labourers who lived under terrible conditions. Revolts by braceros became common and civil guards often had to repress them. Industry was limited in Spain- and working conditions were harsh. Workers received low wages, lived in bad conditions and worked long hours. This is why anarchism, an example of a radical group created because of social injustice, grew in Spain. Trade unions like CNT and FIA were created and...