Today in World History: July 26th

The Spanish Civil War turned into a center of European attention on this day in 1936, as Italy and Germany joined on the side of the Nationalists. The war, which ravaged Spain, lasted for three years, form 1936 to 1939, with the Republicans supported by the USSR and Mexico, and the Nationalist Party allied with Germany, Italy, and Portugal. As the two conflicting ideologies started a war, Spain became a sort of testing ground for the ensuing World War, as the Axis Powers began to flex their muscles and show the Allies what they were capable of. Massive human rights violations followed in the war, as both sides committed mass killings of their political opponents and civilians, all while disease ravaged the Iberian Peninsula. Due to the USSR and Mexico’s reluctance to send complete support to the Republican Army, while the Axis Powers were heavily involved, the war ended with a victory for Francisco Franco’s Nationalist Party, and the establishment of an Axis-backed regime, which would go on to support them in World War Two. This Franco Dictatorship of Spain would last until Franco’s death in 1975, where a new constitution was placed into effect and the regime ended. Estimates of the number of killings in the war are around 500,000 with another 450,000 citizens having fled the country.

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