During the early hours of 18 July 1936, General Francisco Franco declared a state of war and his opposition to the Second Spanish Republic. In undermining the Republican government’s ability to keep order, the ensuing coup d’état precipitated unprecedented open violence. Thus began the Spanish Civil War.
The death throes of Franco
Spain’s Amnesty Act of 1977 ensured that, during the first two decades of democracy, the memory of the Civil War and the human rights violations of the Franco dictatorship remained taboo. Initiatives by the Zapatero government to redress historic injustices signal a new era, yet there is a way to go before Spanish society is unanimous about its past, writes historian Julián Casanova.