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.
is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Zaragoza. Among his recent publications: A Short History of the Spanish Civil War (I.B. Tauris, 2012). Further publications include La historia social y los historiadores (Crítica, Barcelona, 1991); De la calle al frente. El anarcosindicalismo en España, 1931-1939 (Crítica, Barcelona, 1997, English edition Anarchism, the Republic and Civil War in Spain: 1931-1939, Routledge, London and New York, 2005); República y guerra civil (Crítica, Barcelona, 2007; English edition, The Spanish Republic and Civil War, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010); with Carlos Gil, Historia de España en el siglo XX (Ariel, Barcelona, 2009; published as Twentieth Century Spain: A History, Cambridge University Press, 2014); and Europa contra Europa, 1914-1945 (Crítica, Barcelona, 2011).
Spain's new reckoning with the dictatorship and Civil War
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.