Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Catholic persecution in the Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War is Exhibit A of why inter-tribal and inter-sectarian violence and the destruction of the places of worship, sacred artifacts, historic monuments and landmarks of other sects and tribes is ALWAYS a bad idea. Also, see France, Russia, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.


The trouble had been brewing a long time, and in mid-July, it finally boiled over. Units of the army in Spanish Morocco rose up in rebellion. The Spanish Civil War had begun.

Seventy-five years later, the bloody struggle that followed from 1936 to 1939 stands as one of the traumatic events of the 20th century. Historians see it as setting the stage for World War II. As many as a million people, civilians included, might have died in a conflict that pitted class against class, ideology against ideology, unbelief against faith and left a shattered nation.

The Catholic Church was one of the main sufferers. Thousands of priests, religious and laypeople died for the faith in execution-style killings. British historian Michael Burleigh called the killing of clergy and religious “the worst example of anticlerical violence in modern history,” surpassing even the French Revolution for that dubious distinction. Of claims that the Church brought it on itself, Burleigh said, “Even then it was fashionable to blame the victims.

Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and the communist Soviet Union each provided significant military aid — material and personnel — to the side it favored: Germany and Italy to the rebel Nationalists of the right, the Soviets to the communists who made up a major element of the Republican coalition on the left.

Thousands of volunteers from other countries flocked to Spain to fight for one side or the other. Some 900 Americans died in the war.


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