1st Edition

The Spanish Civil War A Military History

By Charles J Esdaile Copyright 2019
    406 Pages
    by Routledge

    406 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Spanish Civil War: A Military History takes a new, military approach to the conflict that tore Spain apart from 1936 to 1939.

    In many histories, the war has been treated as a primarily political event with the military narrative subsumed into a much broader picture of the Spain of 1936–9 in which the chief themes are revolution and counter-revolution. While remaining conscious of the politics of the struggle, this book looks at the war as above all a military event, and as one in whose outbreak specifically military issues – particularly the split in the armed forces produced by the long struggle in Morocco (1909–27) – were fundamental. Across nine chapters that consider the war from beginning to endgame, Charles J. Esdaile revisits traditional themes from a new perspective, deconstructs many epics and puts received ideas to the test, as well as introducing readers to foreign-language historiography that has previously been largely inaccessible to an anglophone audience.

    In taking this new approach, The Spanish Civil War: A Military History is essential reading for all students of twentieth-century Spain.

    List of Maps Preface Chapter 1: Beginnings Chapter 2: Spain is divided Chapter 3: First campaigns Chapter 4: The battle of Madrid Chapter 5: Winter battles Chapter 6: The war in Euzkadi Chapter 7: Diversions and disasters Chapter 8: Collapse in Aragón Chapter 9: Endgame Appendix 1: Organization of the Spanish Home Army, 1936 Appendix 2: Organization of the Army of Africa, 1936 Appendix 3: Spanish military and naval aviation, 1936 Appendix 4: Spanish Navy, 1936 Appendix 5: Weapons in service with the Spanish Army, 1936  Appendix 6: Obsolete weapons brought back into service, 1936 Appendix 7: Aircraft, tanks and other weapons supplied to Nationalist Spain Appendix 8: Aircraft, tanks and other weapons supplied to Republican Spain Appendix 9: Machine-guns and rifles supplied to the Republic Appendix 10: Foreign aid in the Spanish Civil War Appendix 11: The International Brigades Appendix 12: Nationalist forces engaged in the Assault on Madrid, November 1936 Appendix 13: Nationalist order of battle, campaign in Vizcaya, April 1937 Appendix 14: The Republican Army at the Battle of Brunete Bibliography Index


    Charles J. Esdaile has been a member of staff in the Department of History at the University of Liverpool since 1989 and was awarded a personal chair in 2004. He is the author of numerous works on Spanish history including Spain, 1808–1939: From Constitution to Civil War (Blackwell, 2000).

    'The Spanish Civil War, for all its social, political and cultural dimensions, was also in essence a military conflict. The military nature, which is often overlooked by historians, is centrepiece in Charles Esdaile’s fascinating new study. Based on an extensive range of old and new sources and lavishly furnished with first-hand accounts throughout, this highly readable history debunks many hallowed myths surrounding the conflict and stresses the role of the Moroccan wars in the divisions within the Spanish army which in 1936 made civil war possible. Our understanding of the Spanish Civil War and Spain’s fateful modern history more broadly will be enriched by this comprehensive work.' ​

    Mark Lawrence, Lecturer in Military History, University of Kent, UK

    'Professor Esdaile brings to this military study of the Spanish Civil War the forensic skills of an accomplished historian and a profound knowledge of Spanish politics and culture as it has been honed during his distinguished career as a scholar of contemporary Iberian politics and society. The scope of this volume includes a close analysis of the sequence of battles and an assessment of the military prowess and preparedness of the Republican and the Nationalist adversaries. Military events in the field are deftly set within their particular political contexts and include as well the daily wartime experiences of soldiers and civilians. This fine volume makes a considerable contribution to Hispanic scholarship. Equally it will appeal to the general reader with an interest in twentieth-century war and as it was played out in the specific conditions of the civil war in Spain.'

    Judith Keene, University of Sydney, Australia, and author of Fighting for Franco: International Volunteers in Nationalist Spain during the Spanish Civil War (2007) and, with Elizabeth Rechniewski, Seeking Meaning Seeking Justice in a Post Cold War World (2018).