I have yet again read one of the ‘A Very Short Introduction’ series, but they are always well written and informative. Due to my life plan to move to Spain in the near future I wanted to educate myself a little about Spanish history, having only really known small bits and pieces. This book has helped me tremendously by succinctly outlining the causes, politics and effects of the Spanish Civil War. The book also outlines the effects of the civil war on Spanish society, including the manner in which later generations are commemorating the dead.
Helen Graham is an expert on this period of Spanish history and it shows through with her explanations. I’m still not one hundred percent sure I understand the whole situation, but I feel a lot more confident in my knowledge. One of the things that has been most interesting is the idea that this war was almost a test run for the Second World War, with Hitler and Mussolini helping Franco; the bombing of Republican cities was described as being very similar to the Blitzkrieg. On the other hand, the Republicans were supported by the Soviet Union, and as such one of the most westerly countries in Europe was a microcosm of the later Eastern Front. The manner in which Graham explains these points, as well as the inaction of other European nations is eyeopening yet effective. I really felt I learned a lot, even if not totally understanding.