No Spanish Civil War in 1936 (my new Timeline)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Dr. Strangelove, Mar 11, 2008.

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  1. Goldstein By the way, it is Goldstein. Banned

    Jul 25, 2006
    St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, Anglo-Spanish Empire
    Certainly, I didn't see that coming. The idea of having an "anarchist party" in the Popular Front sounds very strange... but plausible actually, given the circumstances: As the anarchists reached important achievements that relied on the government, some of them shifted to a more pragmatical position. It's a logic result.
    Besides, the opportunity of giving a seat of government to the good old Durruti is just too awesome to miss it :D
  2. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    Yes, that's a lot of a stretch, and I think any anarchists in this forum will ask for my banning, :p, but in TTL's circumstances, it is the most reasonable thing they can do. Plus, Minister Durruti sounds awesome indeed.
  3. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    New update, with an exercise on style parody :D :
    From The second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …During 1936, it seemed that the young Spanish Republic would not survive the year, and that it would not be long until it became the People’s Spanish Republic. During that spring, communist agitators and agents had infiltrated the government and seemed ready to take over the government and start the same process of terror that had shattered Russia twenty years before. Fortunately for that heroic country, communists spent the second half of the year squabbling between each other, while the fascist menace of Mussolini tried to turn Spain into its puppet.

    …However, with the communist menace fading, another one grew. Anarchism, with its hate for authority and extreme individualism, has always been an attractive ideology for the Spanish mind, and the prestige anarchist organizations took from defeating the falangists in November 1936 only cemented this attractive. During 1936 and early 1937, I saw with growing worries the developments of the “spontaneous” land collectivizations by anarchist peasants in rural Spain. It was only with greater worrying that I saw the government’s tolerance with such behaviour. The day anarchist ministers (how absurd sounded that in the day!), one of them a former alleged robber of the Bank of Spain[1], obtained a seat at the Madrid government, I was convinced that Spain was in the brink of more threats against property and security. Time would prove me wrong, but at a reception at the Czech embassy in April 1937 (little knew the Czechs about what dark future awaited them!), I politely commented with the Spanish ambassador on His Majesty’s court about our government’s preoccupation with the events in Spain. He promised me that the situation would be dealt with and that the proprietaries would get a compensation in due time. As far as I know, few have ever received their money: few years later, the Spanish government would have more pressing concerns. It is only fair to admit that most of my concerns would prove baseless, and that I would end up sharing many important meetings with that robber, who in the end proved to be an able leader for his people.

    …Another concern for his majesty’s government, and one which hurt us a lot, was the loss of our oldest and most faithful ally: Portugal. United to England since the Middle Ages by countless bonds of friendship, loyalty and common interest, it only took three years and the menace of a revolutionary and hostile Spain to turn Portugal to the axis side. Despite Salazar’s dislike for mussolinian fascism, which he saw as opposed to his traditionalist views, he was afraid of the Spanish meddling on Portugal’s affairs, and grew desperate for a help that Britain denied to him for fear of alienating France. I always told that letting Salazar into the Italian sphere was a grave mistake that Britain would regret (how many did we commit in those dark years?); and despite Portugal’s heroic performance on our side for most of the war, I still think that a Salazarian Portugal on the allied or neutral camp since 1937 would have saved lots of lives, both to them an to their Spanish neighbours. But the current government insisted that the French government, now with stronger ties to Spain, would not like such an alignment of His Majesty with a fascist regime and with Mussolini’s Italy. I still think that by late 1937 Salazar would be willing to cut his ties with Mussolini and beg for british help without upsetting Spain, but the opportunity went away, and when the day came, we had to ignore past allegiances and side with our allies of the day.

    Excerpt from A Contemporary History of Spain (1808-2002), by Gabriel Burnsdale, Palgrave Ed. London, 2004.

    …the Empoli incident was decisive in creating a growing tension between Italy and Spain and in convincing the Spanish government that a war against Italy was a real possibility in the future.

    …In December 1937, the Italian cargo Empoli en route from La Spezia to Lisbon, had to make an emergency stop at Cádiz after suffering an accident crossing the Gibraltar Strait. When Spanish officials registered the ship, they found crates full of Italian weapons and parts of tanks and artillery pieces with destination Portugal, despite the ship’s manifesto claiming that its cargo was automobiles. The Spaniards seized the ship and sent an enraged protest to both the Italian and Portuguese governments. Only british mediation prevented a breakup in relations, but it was this incident that convinced the Spanish government to approve a greater defense funding and preparing the navy for a war in the Mediterranean against the much stronger Regia Marina. The next obvious step, was to forget neutrality and seek a stronger alliance with France.

    …The Agrarian Commune Act of October 1937 legitimised the land occupations by peasants and in fact turned large extensions of Spanish land into self governing communes, while providing for the paying of indemnities to proprietaries. It was a symptom of the right’s internal problems and the army’s submission that this radical measure didn’t cause as much anger as the much more modest proposal for Land Reform in 1931.

    …The communist Party of Spain had suffered setbacks during 1936, but none was as tough as the ascension of both the anarchists and the POUM in 1937. The POUM was a true rara avis in the European politics of the moment: a successful Trotskyite party; an heretical abomination for all the Stalinist parties in Europe. But the truth was that the POUM got half as many seats as the PCE in the 1937 election, and this atomization of the extreme left was enough to damage it and prevent the communists from holding a lot of influence in the government. Only the admired general Líster and Aviation Minister Hidalgo de Cisneros would stay as the communist party’s agents near the Spanish government.

    …1937 was also the year of the first five year plan to make Spain a truly industrialized country. Altough WWII prevented its completion due to the passing of the Total War Act in 1940, it was the first step in Spain’s vertiginous industrial development during the late 40’s and 50’s.


    Japan has declared war on China, and situation there goes as in OTL: rapid Japanese advance, the Rape of Nanjing, the Panay Incident, etc. But without a Spanish War to fight on, hundreds of idealists from Europe and the Americas will go to China to both help Mao’s communists and the Chinese people against the Japanese, including people like Ernest Hemingway or Robert Capa.

    In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his paranoia, sending millions of people to the gulags and starting a massive purgue at the Red Army; perhaps taking an inspiration from the purgues at the Spanish army the latter year. With the 1937 purgue gone are many talented officers like Tujachevsky and Zhukov; along with many advanced theories about modern warfare that placed a great importance in the use of mobile forces and paratroopers. These theories will survive in the new Spanish army, but the extremely limited resources the Spaniards have will prevent them from having a great influence.

    In 1937, most politicians in France, Britain, Germany and Italy are starting to see war as unavoidable. Hitler is preparing for the Anschluss, while Mussolini is eyeing his convulsed neighbour Spain. France, with León Blum still in charge, is watching the developments in Germany with great concern. He does not want to go to war, but in his condition of jew and socialist, he can only despise Hitler’s politics. By 1937, France is already starting a timid buildup of forces.
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  4. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    Well, thanks for reading and appreciating it. In fact, in his time it was voted by the members as one of the site's top ten Timelines, but I reread it now and feel a lot of schadenfreunde for my 2005 self who wrote something so poorly written and researched.

    Awesome blitzkrieg territory, I'd say. But he won't be the only great WWII commander to

    Thank you, I enjoyed a lot writing that Timeline and it is nice to know that it is still being read.

    This was finally fixed, albeit in a somewhat twisted, although still plausible manner. Stay tuned...

    Exams+ writer's blockade are making 1938 a little slow to write, but I'll see if I can pull an update tomorrow or friday.
  5. Susano Banned

    Feb 9, 2004
    Königstein im Taunus
    Niotpick: Those are sideeffects, not butterfly effects ;)

    Butterfly effects are "random" incidents in the tineline that account for all the effects of changes to small to detail them out in the timeline.
  6. boynamedsue Banned

    Mar 19, 2008
    Hy Breasil
    Excellent stuff. I loved the parsley timeline, though perhaps a bit of hispaniwank crept in at the end.....

    How do you see the confrontation between Socialism, Anarchism, Bourgeois nationalism and left nationalism panning out in Catalonia?

    M'agradaria molt si es disapareix totalment el nacionalisme, si's plau ;)
  7. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    Actually, I think that real butterfly effects are those side effects that are not obvious to a first glance. Otherwise, butterflies risk to become "after sufficient time has passed since the POD I put random stuff in my TL and justify it by the butterfly effect".

    In Catalonia? That confrontation has now expanded to all of Spain, and become a cold war of sorts. The bourgueois left is in power playing constant political games to appease their radical companions without giving too much into them, while the communists are too busy watching how Andreu Nin's Trotskyites, the CNT anarchists and Del Vayo Radical-socialists-but-not-commies-yet erode their domination of the revolutionary left. The anarchists, on the other hand, find themselves the third political force in Spain after Besteiro's now moderate socialists and Azaña's party and they still don't know how to deal with that.

    Catalonian nationalists, OTOH, are too scared with the rise of the anarchists in catalonia (anarchism doesn't bode well with nationalism :p) to try anything stupid.

    National identity in this alternate Spain will be very different than OTL's, that's for sure.
  8. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005

    From A military history of Iberia: volume 7, 1898-1945. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1987.

    …In 1938, the Spanish command was already working under the assumption that sooner or later, Mussolini’s Italy would try to seize the Baleares. While an invasion of Spain would prove costly and difficult, the Regia Marina’s four powerful battleships –with three more on its way- and their complement of heavy cruisers and naval aviation were far superior to anything Spain could field, even counting on French help. With the creation of a powerful surface fleet being out of the question, investment concentrated in two areas: submarine warfare and naval aviation. The first D class submarines would be put to sea in June 1938: unlike their B and C class predecessors, they wore state of the art equipment, and only the latest models of german u-boats could be considered superior. Prior to the start of the World War, the Spanish submarine force would go from 12 to 37 submarines.

    …training and tests for the new Spanish naval bombers based in modified Polikarpov planes purchased to the Soviet Union[1] started in January 1938. At the same time, the building of airbases and naval stations at the islands of Mallorca and Menorca made clear the new intentions of the Spanish government. With the ascension of innovative officials like Líster, Rojo or Asensio, the new doctrine of the Spanish army focused a lot into innovative tactics that were being overlooked in other countries to make up for the scarce resources. Already in March 1939, at an exercise conducted in Cádiz bay presenced by French and british observers, Spanish naval bombers staged a torpedo attack on an anchored fleet without any naval support.

    …The first Spanish paratrooper regiment started training in September 1938, based at Figueirido near Pontevedra, in Galicia. As war plans against Portugal turned out to be, this was not coincidental.

    [1]I searched for which planes made up the republican aviation prior to July 1936, but was unable to find anything but mentions to soviet models that were obviously purchased after the war started. So I am going to assume the republican government somehow has bought soviet planes despite no civil war. The Aviation Minister is a commie, after all.

    From Official Guide to the 1994 Yugoslavia World Cup

    …Spain gets its revenge from the 1934 scam[1] 4 years later in Paris. Despite not having anymore their famed goalkeeper Zamora; the Spaniards surprised everyone by their offensive and fast football, by knocking down the Dutch Indies in first round and Romania in cuarter finals. Mussolini’s Italy awaited in the semifinal. It is reported that the Italian dictator sent a telegram to his players saying that their only options were “win or die”`[2]. The game was heated, and the French spectators clearly favoured the Spanish team. Finally, and after an extended time, Spain won 3-2 to go to the finals, where it would beat a surprising Sweden by 4-1 to become World Champion. [3]

    [1]In OTL Spain didn’t even inscribe for the 1938 world cup due to having more pressing matters at hand, like a fratricide war. In the 1934 world cup celebrated in Italy, Mussolini’s regime had rigged the entire competition to ensure Italy would win. Italy and Spain met in quarter finals and Italy won 1-0 despite the Spanish superiority thanks to two legal Spanish goals anullated and an Italian goal that was declared valid despite the Italian player literally kicking the shit out of the Spanish goalkeeper.
    [3]And this Timeline is now ASB :D

    From Trotsky, Stalin, Durruti: an eternal red braid, by George Orwell. Secker & Wartburg, London, 1953[1]

    …I came to Spain in 1937 to witness with my own eyes the amazing and almost peaceful social revolution that was going on in the countryside. The same day I arrived to Gijón, I was met by a joyous crowd. They were not awaiting me, but Leon Trotsky, who was to arrive from Norway in a special ship to continue fleeing Stalin’s minions in the only country where his ideas had found some approval.

    …In early 1938 I left the commune near Lérida I had been cooperating with for the past months. Once it has been done, social revolution becomes a very boring thing. These people had taken their own lands, organized in a completely egalitarian way without giving to the aristocracy or the church, set up healthcare and education for the children, turned the fabric of their society upside down with their sexual revolution. Now that the most difficult part was done, it was boring: in the end, revolution might be everybody behaving like bourgeois, not only the bourgeois themselves . I needed to see the big city again, and moved to Barcelona together with Eileen.

    …I was finally admitted into Trotsky’s house after months of lobbying, sometimes in the most literal meaning. He lived in a modernist house near the works of the Sagrada Familia – like me, he loathed those towers that looked like Rhine wine bottles. The day I arrived, I was thoroughly registered by some POUM thugs that Andreu Nin had designated to protect Trotsky. The Spanish Stalinists were in an ecstasy of rage since he lived in Spain, and he had already suffered some attempts on his life. But it was a symptom of the disarray in which the Communist Party of Spain that, not only Trotsky was allowed to live there, but that Stalin seemed to have given up on Spanish communism and preferred to send his own assassins towards Trotsky.

    [1]Credits to boynamedsue for the idea.

    Leon Trotsky at his house in Barcelona


    A squadron of spanish naval bombers training in harbor attack in 1938
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
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  9. boynamedsue Banned

    Mar 19, 2008
    Hy Breasil
    Cool as. :D
  10. Susano Banned

    Feb 9, 2004
    Königstein im Taunus
    Actually, yeah, that IS the butterfly effect, and its fully justified, because there ARE changes to small to detail in a TL (what happens to every small town, or even to every individual person) - but those changes build up in time (every dievrgence elads to new divergences, after all), and then have effects that appear totally randomly because after you couldnt have detailed the causal chain - and are totally random from the literary point of view - but justifiedly so.
    After all, teh term does come from chaos theory ;)

    Sideffects are just that - sideffects.
  11. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    Not a very inspired update; but 1938 ends, and with 1939 the fun starts:
    From The second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …1938 was the year where our abject appeasement of Hitler would reach its highest peaks with the Munich Conference. The free nation of Czechoslovakia was betrayed, mutilated, and finally destroyed so the western nations, which had solemnly compromised to protect it, could enjoy one more year of peace. Only the brave León Blum tried to stand against Hitler’s demonic designs; only to be backstabbed by his own parliament and forced to resign. His successor Daladier, despite being also an outspoken opponent of Hitler, had no time to prepare, and Hitler got the Sudetenland. It was only a matter of time before he got the rest of Czechoslovakia too.

    …In another, less joyous, reception at the finnish embassy in the Christmas of 1938, I met the Spanish ambassador again. He talked to me about his government’s concern about the recent events in Czechoslovakia, and mentioned Mussolini’s recent designs on the Mediterranean. I was sincere to him: as long as that dreaded state of mind where a war to oust Hitler was seen as undesirable; Spain would have to go on its own against Mussolini.

    From Charles de Gaulle, by Ian Mitnick; Random House, New York, 1992

    …His theories on armoured warfare, that had found little support during the early 30’s, would be paid more attention to after his ascension to colonelship, and the new rearmament program that the Blum government was starting. [1]

    …In 1938, popular opinion in Europe was that war was near to imminent. León Blum’s government, despite its reluctance to drag France into yet another war as catastrophic as the 1914 one, saw Hitler as a great menace[2], and by 1938 the Popular Front had approved a massive program of rearmament, although lack of funds and political meddling would prevent it from fully developing.

    …By the summer of 1938, and via political intriguing and press lobbying, De Gaulle had managed to expose his ideas on mechanized warfare to important government members, pointing that german and Spanish officials were working in similar theories.

    …Daladier’s election as prime minister after Blum was forced to resign during the Munich Crisis put De Gaulle’s ambitions during the winter of 1939 to a halt. Due to his personal opposition to Daladier, and to his new enmity with generals like Gamelin, he was sent to Tunis, where he arrived in January 1939. There he would meet other famed French officers of WWII, like Philippe Hauteclocque; the famed Desert Fox.

    From “Time”, November 1938

    …For centuries the Catholic Church’s most beloved daughter, Spain is now becoming at an accelerated pace the most un-catholic state in Europe, save for the atheist Soviet Union. Should the terrible Torquemada raise his head, he would cry in horror to see what his Spain has become.

    …Although the constant incidents of church assaulting, convent burning and priest murdering that haunted the newborn Spanish Republic’s first years have somewhat remitted, President Azaña’s infamous speech in 1931, declaring that “Spain is catholic no more” has proven to be right.

    …prohibited by law from teaching and with the Jesuits having been expelled in 1932, priests have now lost a great deal of their influence above the average Spanish peasant. In some villages, they are only allowed to remain if they agree to participate in everyday work.

    …There are places in rural Catalonia and Andalusia where the traditional bonds of family have been broken. Free love –as unnatural as it may sound- is widespread, and children are usually cared for the community, not the parents.

    …all in all, Spain’s social experiment is now entering its third year. Only time will tell how and if it will survive in the eve of Europe’s rising tensions.

    1938 IN THE WORLD
    Hitler has annexed Austria and almost caused WWII with his claim of the Sudetenland. Only Chamberlain’s pressure has averted war, at the prize of Czechoslovakia, and the downfall of Blum’s government.

    However, Chamberlain, instead of the joyous receivement he had in OTL, has lost a lot of political credit. Despite british opinion being still against the war, he has just caused a rift with France, and that united to his concessions to Hitler mean that Chamberlain will not survive another crisis…

    Stalin keeps being paranoid, purguing the army, perhaps more than it should be necessary, while the Japanese are starting to stall into China.
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  12. whaleofashrimp Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2008
    on anarchism

    I know I'm biased but I'm so happy that someone other then myself recognises the moral superiorty of "syndalcalism" over stalinism or many other other authoritarian philosiphys that proported to "free" the people from that threat or another while terrorizeing them in there everyday lives...while i'll admit I dont see it haveing much use in our post-industrial socity here in america (exhipt as a community building mecanism) I belive it was one of the best political philosiphys for it's era when it came to balencing equality and still has use in africa,parts of latin america in much of the third world i belive
    I have some first hand experiance working on communes in northern california two and three years's not perfect there are kinks but compared to other ways of life and liveing it's very rewarding, working for a community,liveing in community, understanding and enjoying the fruits ofyour labor....far more rewadin then working a solitary night shift at 7-11 for minimum wage then doing a day shift in record keeping for slightly more then minimum wage even though in effect we were "paid' slightly less then minimum wage
  13. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    Don't make too many illusions, it all will change when Spain enters the war. Anarchism will have a greater influence in the postwar, but it will be a very changed version of OTL anarchism.

    But anyway, it's not like Spain has beome a bunch of anarchist communes. These are limited to the countryside, and only in places such as Andalucia or Catalonia where anarchists have a large support. There are other rural zones like Galicia where agrarian reforms are being slowly done. Anyway, as the government needs more industrial power and less agriculture, they will lose importance.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  14. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    Behold, an update with non-spanish politics:


    from A Contemporary History of Spain (1808-2002), by Gabriel Burnsdale, Palgrave Ed. London, 2004.

    …After Munich, Spain started adopting an even more hostile instance against Italy and Portugal. The anarchist movement was weak in Portugal, but communists enjoyed a lot of support, specially in the Alentejo and Algarve. In December 1938 the government approved an operation to give “moral and material support” to the Portuguese communists. This had little effect, besides scaring Salazar even more than he was and asking Mussolini for greater help. During the rest of 1939, Italy would send even more money and weapons to Portugal; while the Spaniards smuggled weapons and supplies to Portuguese communists.

    …Portugal’s fall into the Italian side was cemented during Chamberlain’s visit to Mussolini in January 1939. Chamberlain, desperate for Italian help, conceded the new Italian influence on Portugal in exchange of vague promises. Churchill would condemn him in a heated discourse, and this took almost all the little credit Chamberlain still had.

    …The communist party of Spain would complete its demise in 1939, when both General Lister and Aviation Minister Cisneros defected to the POUM. This was presented by the right as a proof that communist takeover, this time by trotskyists, was imminent. However, POUM was too small to attempt anything; but used its new influence to pass some vital measures in the industrialization plan. Meanwhile, Trotsky’s position as a guest of the Spanish government would cement; while the Soviet Union lost whatever little interest it still had on Spain.

    …In January 1939, the Popular Front would suffer its greatest crisis since 1936 when the socialist party, already the left’s biggest party, pressured Azaña for a greater presence in the government. The crisis was averted with a new government on January 28, when the socialist leader Julián Besteiro became the new Prime Minister. Casares Quiroga, after serving for three very difficult years, would become the new Foreign Affairs Minister. In an apparently innocuous movement, since his new charge was largely ceremonial; minister Durruti would become President of the Congress: it was almost a symbol of the Spanish revolution; to see an anarchist presiding over the house of the bourgeois institutions.

    …Despite the new French government being of center-right, the new French Prime Minister kept France’s past agreements with Spain: now that Italy and Germany had signed the Pact of Steel[1], Spanish support for France and Britain seemed vital against Italy. This led to the Casares-Delbos treaty signed in April 1, 1939[2]. The public articles were the usual diplomatic babble about mutual understanding and cooperation. The secret articles, in practice, made Spain a member of the Allies if Italy entered the war. It also gave the Spanish government free hand in Portugal, much to Churchill’s concern.

    [1]A couple of months before OTL, due to the greater allied hostility to Italy in TTL.
    [2]The day the Civil War ended in OTL. It’s named after the two foreign affairs ministers who signed it in Paris.

    From Charles de Gaulle, by Ian Mitnick; Random House, New York, 1992

    …In February 1939 Daladier’s government fell and elections were called for early march. The Popular Front had suffered a lot of political pressures; and the voters’ abstention meant a narrow victory for liberal and center parties. Paul Reynaud became the new Prime Minister.[1]

    …Reynaud favored rearmament and had looked at De Gaulle’s theories with sympathy. In April 1939, De Gaulle was called back to Paris and made a general. For the next year, the French army would experiment with the use of large armoured formations, that would see its first successes during Hauteclocque’s campaign in Libya.

    [1]1 year before OTL. Reynaud is not only an outspoken opposer of Hitler, but also a friend of De Gaulle very sympathetic to his theories.

    From The second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …my criticism of chamberlain after his visit to Mussolini in January 1939 seemed too harsh to many; but it meant the definitive loss of Portugal in exchange for… nothing. For the next month and a half, opposition to Chamberlain’s policies became as sharp as appraisal to those same policies had been the past autumn.

    …In an emergency meeting of the Parliament the next day the germans entered Prague, Chamberlain signed his demise. After trying to justify his inaction with technicisms, such as that the Czechoslovak state he had compromised to protect didn’t exist when the germans entered Czech territory; the parliament withdrew him his support. Chamberlain resigned the afternoon of March 15.

    …the King told me: “I guess you don’t know what I called you here for”. Following his game, I answered: “Sire, I certainly have no idea”. Laughing, he told me: “I want to ask you to form a government”. I answered him that I would, without doubt. [1]

    …the new government started with the idea that, no matter how many mistakes had been committed in the past, we could at least fix some of them before Hitler tried to subdue another helpless country. During the six months that went until the outbreak of the war, Britain stated clearly to Hitler that there would be no more appeasing, no more contemporizing, no more nice words. The term has now gained a wider usage in another context; but in July 1939, I read an article at the Times where it analyzed the “cold war” that was going on already between Germany and the Allies. That is the better idea that can be given from those months.

    [1]Yes, at this moment Churchill holds no position of government since he would only be named First Lord of the Admiralty in September, but since Munich, his belligerent stance against Chamberlain’s appeasement has made him very popular in the Parliament, so he is the natural election after Chamberlain resigns.

    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    From left to right: Churchill addresses the Parliament as Prime Minister in march 1939, the new french PM Paul Reynaud; Philippe de Hauteclocque,the Desert Fox: the man known in OTL as Philippe Leclerc
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  15. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    1939 ends, shit hits the fan:

    From A war to be won, history of the second World War, by Alan Millett; Harvard University Press, 2000

    …Even before the finnish debacle, the Red Army already showed the damage the Great Purgues had made to its official corps and how soviet military doctrine had been put twenty years back; in a series of skirmishes and battles with the Kwantung Army in Mongolia and Manchuria known as the Soviet-Japanese Border War. In the escalating battle of the war, fought around the Khalkin River between May and September 1939, a soviet force was unable to dislodge a Japanese force half its size from its position. Commanded by Dimitri Pavlov, the soviets were unable to profit from their superior tanks, and their tactics of mass infantry assaults with little or no combined arms coordination proved useless against the strong Japanese-manchukuo resistance.

    …in late 1939 the border war had stagnated into stalemate, since the Japanese did not wish to risk another soviet attack and the soviets were concentrating in Finland. This was instrumental in the Japanese not signing the Neutrality Pact proposal Stalin outlined in April 1941.

    Excerpt from Buenaventura Durruti and the rise of Spanish anarchism, by Joseph Billings, Oxford University Press. 1976.

    …In 1939 the CNT and the Iberian Workers’ Party awoke to the fundamental contradiction that Spanish anarchism was harbouring since the 1937 election. How could an organization devoted to ending the state cooperate with said state to the extent that one of his main leaders would be able to succeed the president, should he die in office?

    …It was true that the anarchists had transformed Spanish society in two years to an extent unthinkable in other countries, ending quasifeudal practices in the countryside, undermining the church’s power and starting a sexual revolution that predated other European countries by 30 years. Durruti’s term as minister had been moderately successful, while Federica Montseny had built the tenets of a succesful national healthcare system. But this still didn’t address the hypocrisy many base members felt at preaching the destruction of the state while being a part of it. Furthermore, moderate republicans and stalinists were now united in their dislike of the new power the anarchists had.

    …The extraordinary Congress of the CNT in May 1939 to address these important points was again one of those pivotal points in the history of the republic. It was also the base of the postwar anarchism that would help shaping Spanish society after WWII; although many radicals even today claim that is not anarchism, but some weird mashup of libertarianism and socialdemocracy. But the truth is that the 1939 congress confirmed the CNT’s cooperation with the government to unknown extents. While not renouncing to the necessity of “direct action” to end with the state, the congress admitted that “revolution from the inside” was also a viable path towards revolution, especially at a time in which revolutionaries and bourgeois had to be together against the fascist menace. Some historians also say that Durruti changed the timing of the congress to make it at the same time of the joint maneuvers the Portuguese and Italian fleets made in the Atlantic between May 15 and 21; but it is more likely that it was just a coincidence.

    …Failure at the 1939 congress would have meant, in the words of some counterfactual historians, the breakup of Spanish anarchism and perhaps the return of political violence, which could have led to a civil war.

    …It was never very clear what “revolution from the inside” actually meant, and there was almost no time to take any important measure before the start of the war. The most radical change was in the CNT itself when members of the police and military were admitted into the syndicate. It was officially to expand the anarchist ideas among the “repressive forces” themselves, but in the end it proved to be one decisive step turning the CNT into a mainstream force.


    During World War II, "réduit" referred to the concept of a heavily defended, "untakeable" region of a country which provided a last hard spot of resistance, and hopefully a base for a counter-attack, should a large part of a country be invaded.
    In France, when it became clear that the Battle of France could not be won against the Nazis, the idea of a "réduit" in Brittany was suggested as an alternative to letting the whole mainland France at the hands of the invaders and to divert german forces in their advance towards Spain. The Breton reduit would resist for two months before falling.
    For Switzerland, a neutral country then surrounded by a Nazi-occupied Europe and fascist Italy, defence was quickly re-designed and articulated over the idea over a réduit in the Swiss Alps.
    In Spain, War Plan 13 featuring a invasion from French territory was drafted in February 1939 and included two reduits; one at the Asturian mountains and another protecting Andalucia behind the Sierra Morena mountains. Fortification works started in September 1939, and would be vital in the Spanish defense during World War II.

    From My War: reminiscences of the Great Independence War, by Enríque Líster, Ed. Espasa, Madrid, 1969

    …I am often credited as being the first western general to use effective blitzkrieg tactics. That is simply not true, but at least it flatters me. What I would like to be credited of, though, is with having contributed with a new focus to the Spanish army during the late 30’s. We were forced by circumstances: we had few friends, no money, little resources, and we had to prepare for a total war against enemies that would not stop until they annihilated our nation. We had to think differently, try new tactics, because tanks and planes were expensive, but ideas are for free, and we had plenty of those.

    …The 1st of September of 1939, I was awoken by a phone call early in the morning. It was the Minister of Defense, General Miaja. He told me: “It has started, The germans have invaded Poland”. The next day, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany and the worst war mankind has ever experienced started. Italy was of course, our greatest concern. The Italians had spent the past year sending help to the Portuguese, and the joint maneuvers of the Italian and Portuguese fleets in spring had concerned us a lot. But Italy declared neutrality, and we breathed alleviated. Little it would last.

    …during that autumn, and while our northern neighbours seemingly forgot they were at war with each other, we kept our rearmament and industrialization program. With the anarchists kept at bay, and the Stalinists having lost all their credit[1], the government was able to pass measures that would otherwise have found little support. I kept training our new tank forces, while plans for a defense of the coast were drafted and refined.

    …I was able to meet Franco a lot during my tenure as Chairman of the National Defense Council between October and December 1939. At first we did not go along very well due to our opposed political ideas and backgrounds, but both of us were of Galician origin and in the end we ended up respecting each other. He was at least a competent commander, and his gallant fight and valorous death are the hallmark of what a Spanish soldier should be.

    …Italy had been provoking us for years; but when we found out about the Guimaraes Treaty, we knew that both Mussolini and Salazar had gone too far. This must have been around December 17. The next day, the Prime Minister ordered us to start preparations for mobilization.

    [1]Due to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the soviet invasion of Finland, which have finished of finishing up the PCE.

    From A military history of Iberia: volume 7, 1898-1945. Harvard UniversityCambridge, Mass, 1987.

    …Although Spain had declared neutrality at the beginning of the Second World War, anti german and Italian sentiment grew during late 1939 as Spanish merchants were sank by german U-boats. An incident where a Spanish submarine and a german u-boat fired at each other 500 miles north of Finisterre in October was hidden to the public by fear of forcing a breakup on relationships with Germany

    …In December 1939 the Italian and Portuguese governments signed the Coimbra Treaty, allowing Mussolini’s Italy to establish a permanent naval and air presence in Portuguese territory. This was both a provocation to the Spanish government and an active action of Mussolini to enlarge his empire.

    …During the rest of December, the Spaniards tried to negotiate with both governments, while anti-italian and antigerman demonstrations stormed the entire country. The Spanish navy started mobilization the 26th, while Spanish divisions were being moved towards the Portuguese border.

    …While Britain was less than happy with the Spanish attitude,[1] France promised spain support in the terms of the Casares-Delbos Treaty.

    …the 27th, Italian ships loaded with planes and supporting troops crossed the Straits of Gibraltar. The Spaniards, believing that a negotiated solution could be still achieved, let them pass; but negotiations broke out in New Year. That day, the Spanish president issued an ultimatum by which every Italian military personnel should abandon Portuguese territory in 10 days, or “Spain reserved the right to respond with whatever means available to these threats to Spain’s national security”. There was little celebration in the streets of Spain in New Year of 1940, as war was thought to be imminent and the army started its full mobilization.

    [1]Churchill still hopes Portugal rejects Mussolini and doesn't view very well Spain's meddling with a traditional english ally.


    It’s Christmas day, 1939, and 3 and a half years after the POD have now caused enough butterflies to make significant changes to the lives of important people:

    FRANCISCO FRANCO is at his family house in Ferrol, enjoying holidays after another year directing the Zaragoza’s officers academy. Although he still dislikes the Frente Popular government, specially since anarchists are in power positions, he still agrees that most of his fears had no basis. He is also worried about the latest developments regarding the Portuguese question. He is not confident that Spain can win in a war against Italy.

    JOSÉ ANTONIO PRIMO DE RIVERA is spending his third year in exile in Rome. He is quite unhappy with his role as Mussolini’s guest, but is confident that things will change for the better with the new decade. Maybe, someday and with Italian and german help, he will be able to make real his dream of a national-syndicalist spain.

    FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA has decided to take a break from poetry –where he is already seen as one of Spain’s greatest alive poets- to write his first long novel, a family saga about an andalusian family during the 19th century.

    ERNEST HEMINGWAY has just returned to Havana after his second year as a war correspondent in China, reporting about the Chinese resistance to the Japanese. He is considering writing a novel based on his experiences with the Abraham Lincoln brigade of American volunteers fighting in China.

    GEORGY ZHUKOV’s corpse has spent the past two years rotting at Lubyanka’s basement. He has no plans to change that for the foreseeable future.

    PHILIPPE HAUTECLOCQUE is celebrating Christmas at Tunis after a visit to border positions in the Libyan border and to his new B1 tanks squadrons. With the growing tension between Spain and Italy, war in north Africa seems imminent.

    LEON TROTSKY doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but is experiencing a serious intellectual dilemma. During the past two years he has witnessed the Spanish quiet revolution, and his faith in Marxism-leninism is shaking. What if the separation of communists and anarchists at the 1874 congress was a mistake? At his house in Barcelona, Trotsky starts writing his most influential work.

    ADMIRAL ANGELO IACHINO of the Regia Marina is inspecting his five[1] battleships at La Spezia. The Duce has warned that war with Spain is imminent, and the fleet must be in perfect order. The Spanish fleet will be an easy prey, and French meddling is unlikely; although the two new british carriers that have been deployed to Alexandria are haunting him.

    [1]The Italians have had more money to spend in the navy in TTL, so by early 1940 one of the three battleships they would complete in mid-1940 in OTL is already finished. The French have also invested more heavily in their navy, with their carrier Beárn fully operative by Christmas 1939. In general, with 6 extra months of war preparation, the allies are in a much stronger position than in OTL, specially in the air and in North Africa.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
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  16. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005

    WWII started three months ago, but both sides haven’t done much since then. The germans occupied Poland in a month with soviet help, but nothing has moved in the western front since, besides a foiled French attack on Saarbrucken and a british attack on the Kriegsmarine. Other than that, the only actual combat has been on the sea between the allied navies and the german U-boats.
    The new flashpoint is in Iberia, where the Spanish Republic, fearing encirclement by Mussolini’s Italy is mobilizing in case the Portuguese government does not answer to Azaña’s ultimatum to withdraw Italian troops from Portuguese territory. Mussolini is joyous: his provocation has had effect and Spain is about to enter a war that cannot win on its own. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t know of the secret clauses of the Hispano-french treaty, nor that the French, instead of forgetting about a second front in the Mediterranean, hope that a decisive strike can take Italy out of the war before the germans can act.

    From A military history of Iberia: volume 7, 1898-1945. Harvard UniversityCambridge, Mass, 1987.

    On January 10, 1940, the Spanish congress held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the Portuguese question. Neither Salazar or Mussolini had answered the Spanish ultimatum, and in the last days, Portuguese troops had been mobilizing in response to the Spanish deployments.

    …At the time, observers from other countries were surprised by the joyous support the Spanish people gave to the war. Spain hadn’t been through the nightmare of the Great War, and that, combined with a heavy ideological pressure to destroy fascism and spread the Revolution (whatever said Revolution actually meant) gave the prowar movement a huge popular support, even among the anarchists. The morning of the 10th, a large crowd had gathered in front of the Congress to witness the most important session it would host for years.

    …The debate was short, but disputed, but soon before noon, a resolution was approved by 398 to 82 votes, authorising the government to “take all measures, including war” to deal with Portugal.

    …At 1 PM, President Azaña, in special speech, announced that Spain was at war with Portugal. All over Spain, joyous crowds gathered in the streets to celebrate. Unknown to most, dozens of Spanish warplanes were already in the air.

    … At 5 PM, the Italian ambassador to Spain delivered a declaration of war to the Spanish Republic.

    …The French Assembly, also in an emergency season, answered to PM Reynaud’s call for help to Spain according to past treaties, and declared war on Italy and Portugal, while formally suggesting Britain to do the same in January 13.

    …Spain was not formally a member of the Western Allies until the morning of January 15, when Joachim von Ribbentrop announced that the German Reich was at war with the Spanish Republic. All the Western Europe powers were now embroiled in World War Two.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2008
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  17. boynamedsue Banned

    Mar 19, 2008
    Hy Breasil

    A very long border with minimal natural defence....

    Tank country perhaps? ;)

    Italian tanks were not reknowned for their usefulness (having 3 reverse gears but only 1 going forward :D)

    Mallorca landings by Mussolini?
  18. boynamedsue Banned

    Mar 19, 2008
    Hy Breasil
    Marxist Sindicalism = A more Totskyite POUM
    Anarcho Sindicalism = CNT
    National Sindicalism = JONS?

    Has there been any development of the National Sindicalist tendency in Spain during the republic? You mention Carlism and Falangism in the failed Coup of 36, did the JONS join in with this? Their ideology was a clear development from an anarchist base, and many of the founders were former Anarchists (albeit of the street fighting rather than the theorising variety.

    Will Spain become the land of the three Sindicalisms?
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2008
  19. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    That's interesting. Postwar Spain will have a heavy anarchist influence, but tainted with nationalism, communism and allied pressure to remain a democracy. I had forgotten about JONS, I guess most of their members joined the November Uprising and ended up dead, exiled or in jail; but since Falange and the carlists got most of the flak, maybe a fringe JONS may still exist.

    Who knows, in the same way we have Líster praising Franco as a hero, we may have Ramiro Ledesma (if he has survived) supporting Durruti, Nin and Besteiro in a crazy postwar spanish politics. :D
  20. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    Well, this update is a bit of spainwank, but I promise the next ones will feature French and British Empire asskicking. Maybe I'll make a map with my l33t MS Paint skills because the entire thing is a little confusing. Or perhaps make a succesfull Sealion to get SOME feedback, even if it is only "You ·$%""$$% noob, that is impossible!". ;)

    From The Second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …I was most unhappy with the spanish invasion of Portugal, but when Italy and France intervened we had no other option but to join our French allies. I recommended the Parliament to declare war on Portugal and Italy, and the declaration was official in the morning of January 14. In the following days, the Dominions would join the war too. When informed, the Italian ambassador replied to me pitifully: “this is not what we wanted”. In the moment, I thought it was the Italians reproaching us to declare war on them when we didn’t have to. I now think the ambassador actually meant his disappointment with having to fight three allied fleets instead of only the Spanish one.

    …As Spanish troops penetrated deeply into Portuguese territory, my fears of a communist takeover of Portugal grew. I had to apply a lot of pressure into the Spanish government for allowing a truly democratic Portugal after the end of the campaign. This caused some rifts between our countries, that would heal swiftly when the situation forced us to stand together.

    From A military history of Iberia: volume 7, 1898-1945. Harvard UniversityCambridge, Mass, 1987.

    …War Plan B.7 was drafted in October 1939 and it acted as the main guideline in the Spanish invasion of Portugal. In January 1940 Portugal had mobilized 10 divisions armed with Italian and british equipment; together with half an Italian division that had been deployed in Lisbon in late December. Spain, on the other hand could deploy nineteen divisions, three of them with armoured complement, and the Spanish B1 tanks had no match in the enemy field.

    …B.7 called for three main axis of advance: Army Group Miño, under the command of General Asensio would cross the lower Miño in Valença and advance through the coast towards Oporto, and after seizing the city would continue its advance south. Army Group south, divided into the Tajo and Guadiana fronts was under the command of General Rojo Lluch, with generals Batet Mestre and Líster leading each subgroup. Army group south would advance in two columns, north and south of the Tajo, trying to break through the Portuguese border defenses and forcing the main bulk of the Portuguese army to either retreat towards the Algarve or risk being encircled by the Spanish spearheads. This would leave open the road to Lisbon. Three more divisions were tasked with guarding the Galician and northern Castilian borders against any Portuguese incursion.

    …Combats started in the afternoon of January 10 as the Spanish airforce bombed Portuguese airstrips and border positions. The small Portuguese airforce was not much of a match against the more modern Spanish aircraft, but the small Italian detachement that had been the cause of the war put up a gallant fight, inflicting serious losses to the Spaniards in the first days. However, they were too few to have a significant impact in the air campaign.

    …In the first major airborne operation in history, Spanish paratroopers took the vital fortress of Valença during the night of January 11. this fortress guarded the International Bridge, which was the only major road bridge to cross the Lower Miño and was of major importance for Army Group Miño. Despite the initial failure of the operation (many paratroopers fell too scattered or far away from the fortress; some fell on the river and drowned), surprise effect was enough for the spaniards to seize the fortress and prevent the portuguese from destroying the bridge. The next morning, Army Group Miño started crossing the river by the international bridge and via landing barges, while every Portuguese attempt to evict them from Valença met with failure due to the Spanish air and number superiority

    …In the South, Portuguese resistance was able to slow the Spanish advance during the first three days, until Líster’s tanks were able to break through in a wide front between Elvas and the Sao Mamede Mountains. The city of Elvas itself, with his powerful fortress that had resisted countless sieges since the Middle Ages, resisted the Spanish attacks during ten more days.

    ..North of the Sao Mamede mountains, Army Group Tajo drove through the Tajo valley finding heavy resistance and advancing only through the sheer force of numbers.

    …Two often repeated myths about the 1940 portuguese campaign are that Líster’s breakthrough in January 14 was the first instance of blitzkrieg in the western front, and that the B1 tanks Spain had purchased to the French were the bulk of the Spanish force. These two statements are false: in no moment did the spanish’ armoured spearheads separate from the infantry, due to the bad state of Portuguese roads and the low speed of the Spanish tanks. On the other hand, the B1 didn’t form more than 40% of the spaniards’ armoured force, and most of them were concentrated with Líster’s forces. Asensio’s swift advance towards Oporto, for example, was supported exclusively by old Renault FT17 tanks that were really lucky that almost all the Portuguese antitank defenses had been deployed in the south. It is true, however, that the French B1, despite their design flaws and difficult maintenance, became a nightmare for the Portuguese and Italian forces due to its high firepower and thick armour, that even the most powerful Italian AT guns could not penetrate. Not a single B1 would be reported lost in combat during the entire campaign.

    …In January 14, Líster’s vanguard had flanked through the Portuguese positions around Elvas and was driving towards Estremoz and Évora. The Portuguese could have at least enlarged the campaign by withdrawing towards Lisbon, but they made a fatal mistake by resisting at their border positions. When they realized their mistake, Líster’s force was reaching Évora and had cut them off. In January 16, while vanguard units of Army Group Tajo reached Abrantes –almost halfway to Lisbon-, there was a huge gap in the Portuguese position, between Portalegre and Elvas where the Spaniards were able to break through. By this moment, the Portuguese had lost the campaign in the south, despite the heavy resistance they still offered in isolated strongpoints, but the bulk of the Portuguese army was in risk of getting trapped in the Alentejo while Batet and Líster raced towards Lisbon.

    …In the north, Army group Miño advanced south without finding heavy resistance in two columns, one by the coast from Caminha towards Viana do Castelo, an other by the countryside from Valença towards Ponte da Lima and Braga. In January 14, the Spaniards crossed the Lima river north of Viana do Castelo and took the Portuguese position by surprise, taking the city and getting a valuable port for resupplying. Portuguese resistance in the north by this point was largely nominal, and by the 21, Asensio was at the outskirts of Oporto.

    …The Portuguese tried to divert Spanish forces from the south by trying an attack towards Ciudad Rodrigo and Salamanca, but were stopped and beaten back between January 17 and 19.

    …By January 20, and as the Spanish advance slowed down due to the supplying complications, the Portuguese attempted to break through and withdraw towards the Tajo river, but failed to do so and were forced to withdraw south towards the Algarve, or north of the river towards Castelo Branco and the Zézere mountains. The Spaniards had achieved their objective of splitting in half the Portuguese position, and now the campaign in the south had become a matter of cleaning up rear Portuguese positions, and advancing as fast as possible without getting unsupplied.

    …The Portuguese army’s morale had never been very high, and these continuous and swift defeats did little to improve it. Even worse, from the first days communist and socialist militias had arisen in the entire country and harassed the Portuguese rear positions, while riots broke out in Lisbon and other cities.

    …Between January 17 and 23 french and british ships would shell Oporto, Estoril and other important cities, after disposing of the small Portuguese navy.

    …In January 24, Líster’s vanguard units had reached the Sado river north of Alcácer do Sal, effectively cutting Portugal in half; while Batet kept fighting his way through the Tajo valley. That day, Oporto fell after three days of bloody street battle and Army group Miño kept its advance south.

    …In January 25, Batet was able to cross the Tajo south of Santarém. Meanwhile, Líster was engaging in battle against two Portuguese divisions that were desperately trying to to set up a defense line to Lisbon between Alcochete and Setúbal. On the 26th, Líster’s forces entered Alcochete, reaching the Tajo estuary. The Spaniards had Lisbon already on sight.

    …Lisbon had suffered aerial bombings since day one, that had been almost constant since the Spaniards achieved air supremacy around the 15. But panic broke out when the Spanish artillery started attacking the city from the Montijo heights in the other side of the bay, even though Líster had no way to cross the river until Batet finished his advance. Batet, on the other side, convinced that Lisbon didn’t hold much strategic value yet, took Santarém and stopped his advance through the Tajo valley by ordering secondary forces to advance towards Óbidos and Peniche. These forces reached the sea in January 28, cutting Portugal in three and isolating Lisbon.

    …In January 31, while the Spanish approached Lisbon, and while Asensio’s forces reached Aveiro, the Lisbon garrison rebelled. After some hours of confuse street fighting, Salazar had fled to Estoril, where he would take a ship and hand himself over to the British. That afternoon, the general Craveiro Lopes [who would be puppet President of Portugal between 1951 and 1958 in OTL] announced that he had formed a new government and that he asked for an armistice with the allied forces. The armistice was signed the next day at Vicente Rojo’s headquarters in Évora, and in February 2, Spanish troops entered Lisbon without firing a single shot.


    Enrique Líster watching the portuguese border positions in January 10, 1940


    Spanish troops near Évora, mid January 1940. Observe the destroyed italian tanks in the background.

    Portuguese civilians look for shelter during a spanish raid on Lisbon

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