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Spain 1936

Year Zero

Raanan Rein is the Elías Sourasky Professor of Latin American and Spanish History and Vice President of Tel Aviv University. He is the author and editor of more than thirty books. In 2016 he won the Reimar Lust Research Award (co-sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation/Fritz Thyssen Foundation)

Joan Maria Thomàs is professor at the University Rovira I Virgili, ICREA researcher, member of the Royal Academy of History of Spain, and member of the editorial board of Journal of Contemporary History. He has written eleven books as a sole author, and twenty in collaboration. His most recent book is José Antonio. Realidad y Mito (2017).

In the Series

Studies in Spanish History 

Marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, this volume takes a close look at the initial political moves, military actions and consequences of the fratricidal conflict and their impact on both Spaniards and contemporary European powers. The contributors re-examine the crystallization of the political alliances formed in the Republican and the Nationalist zones; the support mobilized by the two warring camps; and the different attitudes and policies adopted by neighbouring and far away countries.

Spain 1936: Year Zero goes beyond and against commonly held assumptions as to the supposed unity of the Nationalist camp vis-à-vis the fragmentation of the Republican one; and likewise brings to the fore the complexities of initial support of the military rebellion by Nazi Germany and Soviet support of the beleaguered Republic. Situating the Iberian conflict in the larger international context, senior and junior scholars from various countries challenge the multitude of hitherto accepted ideas about the beginnings of the Spanish Civil War.

A primary aim of the editors is to enable discussion on the Spanish Civil War from lesser known or realized perspectives by investigating the civil war’s impact on countries such as Argentina, Japan, and Jewish Palestine; and from lesser heard voices at the time of women, intellectuals, and athletes. Original contributions are devoted to the Popular Olympiad organized in Barcelona in July 1936, Japanese perceptions of the Spanish conflict in light of the 1931 invasion to Manchuria, and international volunteers in the International Brigades.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-892-3
Hardback Price: £60.00 / $69.95
Release Date: April 2018
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-952-4
Paperback Price: £27.50 / $39.95
Release Date: October 2018
Page Extent / Format: 320 pp. / 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: Yes

The Editors and Contributors


Raanan Rein and Joan Maria Thomàs

1. 1936: The Eruption of Revolutionary Antifascism in Spain
Michael Seidman

2. The Pioneers of International Defense of the Republic: The Athletes of Barcelona’s Popular Olympiad
Raanan Rein

3. The Political Evolution of the Nationalist Zone in 1936: The Construction of the Francoist State
Joan Maria Thomàs

4. Spanish Fascists and Nazi Germany, 1931-1940: From Fascination to Intervention
Xosé M. Núñez Seixas

5. Women and the Spanish Civil War: The Radical Months
Inbal Ofer

6. Taking sides: Salazar’s Estado Novo, the Nationalist uprising and the Spanish Civil War
Pedro Aires Oliveira

7. Italy 1936: From Consensus to First Doubts about the Regime
Luciano Casali

8. From Marginalization to Mobilization: The Soviet Union and the Spanish Republic
Daniel Kowalsky

9. An Engagé in 1936 Spain: Commitment and its Discontents in Rafael Alberti’s Philo-Sovietism
Silvina Schammah Gesser and Alexandra Cheveleva Dergacheva

10. Solidarity and Non-intervention: France and the Spanish Civil War
David A. Messenger

11. Chimerical Thoughts? Winston Churchill and Spain
Emilio Sáenz-Francés San Baldomero

12. The Impact of the Spanish Civil War on Imperial Japan, 1936-1940
Haruo Tohmatsu

13. Argentina’s Diplomatic and Naval Asylum Policy in the Spanish Civil War
Leonardo Senkman

14. Spanish Destiny: Renzo Giua and Giustizia e Libertà
Manuela Consonni


The book reevaluates long-held assumptions about the conflict, such as the unity of the Nationalist camp or the different trajectories of women in the two camps. Particular attention is paid to the international dimension of the war, the book tackling not just well-known players such as Germany, Italy, France and the USSR, but also those that have received short shrift, such as Argentina, Japan and Portugal. In short, Spain 1936: Year Zero offers new research, new topics and new ideas on the early months of the Civil War, revealing in the process that, despite the profusion of books on the subject, Spain’s paramount tragedy of the 20th century continues to merit further research and reflection.
Nigel Townson, Series Editor

As Rein and Thomàs point out in their introduction, written in December 2017, the Spanish Civil War remains a “source of contention of controversy” (1), with debate still swirling around the Valley of the Fallen and the callejero of Madrid. Much has happened in the subsequent two years, including the dramatic/anticlimactic exhumation of Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen broadcast live over many hours on October 24, 2019. Whether this will lead to the repurposing of this Francoist monument is, in the extremely complex current political situation, very much an open question. What is beyond doubt is that the production of scholarship devoted to this seminal event in Spain’s — and Europe’s — twentieth-century history will not slacken any time soon.
Adrian Shubert, York University. Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies: Vol. 44 : Iss. 1 , Article 22. Available at:

International contributors consider political and military aspects of the origins of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and the revolutionary anti-fascism movement in Spain. Some subjects explored are Barcelona’s Popular Olympiad, Spanish fascists and Nazi Germany, women and the Spanish Civil War, the role of Italy, Churchill and Spain, and the impact of the war on imperial Japan.

Reviewed by Marco Puppini, in Italian, in Spagna contemporanea (Spring 2019)

The summer of 1936… saw nothing short of a detonation of political activism in which passions, fears, opportunities, and threats were constantly juxtaposed. Such is the phenomenon that this interesting edited collection, containing a significant amount of new research, sets out to explore.
Reviewed by Tom Buchanan in the Mediterranean Historical Review (Summer 2020) To cite this article: Tom Buchanan (2020) Spain 1936: year zero, Mediterranean Historical Review, 35:1, 107-109, DOI: 10.1080/09518967.2020.1739836 To link to this article: 

 Spain 1936 is perhaps most useful in its bringing together research undertaken by historians of the Spanish Civil War in recent years and providing succinct accounts of the domestic and international contexts of the conflict within a single volume.
Scott Ramsay, University of Leeds, War in History 27(4), 2020

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