What would the effects of the Spanish Civil War ending in 1937 be on WW2?

So here is a short timeline of this alternate-Spanish civil war:
In July 1936, the Nationalists rose up, seizing control of much of the Spanish countryside. Germany and Italy start to actively support the Nationalists while the Soviet Union offers to ship war materials to the Republicans in exchange for the gold in the Spanish treasury. However, when Soviets vessels came to take the gold, the Republican Navy saw them charging gold and shot the Soviet ships. When the public hears of it, President Azana is ousted from power. Taking profit from the chaos, Franco launches an offensive towards Madrid and capture the city by late December 1937. The Republicans refuse to surrender but France and Great Britain recognize as the leader of Spain by January 1937. The Northern Front collapses in spring and the bulk of the republican forces are defeated soon after. At the same time, the Italians successfully make a breakthrough at Guadalajara despite taking heavy casualties. In the end, the Republican government crosses the Pyrenees into France in June and by August 1937 Franco has taken over all of Spain. Soon after Franco signs the Anti-Comintern Pact together with Italy, Germany, and Japan (Just like he did in OTL when the civil war ended).

Now, what would this mean for TTL WW2?
Italy would surely be perceived as stronger without Guadalajara and would be actually stronger thanks to being able to spend more than in OTL on defense. Maybe mechanization happens on a greater scale or maybe both Littorio-class battleships are ready before the start of the war?
The Soviets would be financially weaker without the gold of the Spanish treasury but would this mean that Moscow and/or Leningrad fall ITTL?
Would Spain join the war ITTL or will they stay neutral just like in OTL?
Would the Western Allies start to rearm faster or will they proceed on a path similar to OTL?

I hope to hear from you soon!
 

thaddeus

Donor
the consensus is Spain would not enter WWII with Franco as leader? a Spain with their treasury intact, less devasted than historical, is a much more plausible candidate to enter WWII though.

France would certainly have to consider their shared border with Spain more than historically, even though it is readily defensible. Spain could adopt the German aircraft types, not sure if Italy could supply them with much in volume?

just IMO, this could have a pretty big impact, for one reason Germany could operate from Spain easier than they did from North Africa, not easily but easier.
 
Interesting POD.

However, when Soviets vessels came to take the gold, the Republican Navy saw them charging gold and shot the Soviet ships.

That means that the event takes place by October 22-25th. Charging the vessels took 3 nights, so its possible they are discovered. The only thing I don't understand is why the Navy will shot. Is truth that they are in a secret mission, but they have permission from the government.
IMHO is more plausible that because of a missunderstanding identifying the transporter (they have false ID) the military staff of the Cartagena's port try to stop them and violence scalate. The secret mission is exposed and many, specially the anarchist, takes it as a traison and revolt in some cities. In Madrid there is an assault to the 5th regiment headquarter and the russian troops, advisors and tanks (arrived just une week ago to the capital) fight to defend their ideological camarads. The chaos doesn't allow a correct Republican counterattack at Seseña on October 27th, so Yagüe continue his advance and secures the Getafe airbase one week earlier. The government evacuates to Valencia rapidly and this add confussion to the situation in Madrid.

Franco launches an offensive towards Madrid and capture the city by late December 1937

I think you mean December 1936, but the city could be captured even before if the nationalist forces use the momentum to their favour. With a diversion attack on Vallecas (S-E of Madrid) while the main force goes N-W to the University Campus you may put a foot on Madrid by mid-November and secure the city by the first week of December. I can imagine the symbolism if the rebels can celebrate December the 8th on the Almudena cathedral.
After taking Madrid central Spain will be on francoist hands.

The Republicans refuse to surrender but France and Great Britain recognize as the leader of Spain by January 1937.

Who will be on charge after Azaña demission? Did you though about an unilateral independence of Catalonia under Companys?

At the same time, the Italians successfully make a breakthrough at Guadalajara despite taking heavy casualties.

I don't understand why they will fight at Guadalajara if Madrid is already in nationalist hands. This battle may not exist. Instead you can inagine an italian victory elsewhere: Valencia? Barcelona? Malaga?

Now, what would this mean for TTL WW2?

All depends on Franco now. The main problem will be the unification of the differents factions of the nationalists as the Unification Decree of FET de las JONS may never take place. The executive of Falange might be more succesful in their contacts with NSDAP and PNF and try to bypass Franco. On the other side, the carlists might keep developping their parallel state apparatus in Navarra. So you have to choose: a falangist, carlist or francoist Spain?
The first will be clearly on the axis side, the second being ultracatholic will be against the nazi's neopaganism so they might side with the allies or be neutral (like Portugal) and, finally, Franco is a wildcard.
I think that a falangist Spain with someone like Dionisio Ridruejo at the head of the state could be very interesting...


Italy would surely be perceived as stronger without Guadalajara and would be actually stronger thanks to being able to spend more than in OTL on defense. Maybe mechanization happens on a greater scale or maybe both Littorio-class battleships are ready before the start of the war?

Italy is not Italy, is Benito. His micromanagement obsession makes everything depends on his personal will. You can make him financing the GUFO project of the italian scientist Ugo Tiberio so the radar tech is developped by Italy at the beginning of the war. The battles of cape Matapan or Tarento might be favourable to Italy.
Other thing that could happened is an early Easter Agreement with the UK and that might improve the italo-british relations changing the attitude of Benito towards Hitler, specially after the Anschluss.

The Soviets would be financially weaker without the gold of the Spanish treasury but would this mean that Moscow and/or Leningrad fall ITTL?

No. Without gold a country has to reduce the purchases on international, but USSR was almost an autarchy. And after 1941 they have the Lend & Lease.

Would Spain join the war ITTL or will they stay neutral just like in OTL?

As said before it depends on Who rules Spain. If you keep Franco in charge and Spain has a closer collaboration with the axis powers rebuilding Spain from 1937 to 1939, then maybe he joins. But I think that Franco was conscient of the vulnerability of Spain because of its long coastline and because of Portugal. So if Franco agrees to participate on the war it has to be done with the following conditions:
-Inmediate annexation of Andorra and the Pheasans Island after the fall of France.
-The Axis powers help Spain to conquer Portugal.
-After the war Gibraltar will be returned to Spain.
-The Portuguese colonies will be offered to Spain, and the Pink Map will be accomplished.
That's a lot, I know, but the attitude of Franco is: "I'm not saying NO to a friend, but asking for my piece of the cake" while hoping that Adolph refuses the deal.

Would the Western Allies start to rearm faster or will they proceed on a path similar to OTL?

Probably the same path of OTL. Spain is a minor actor and for UK is preferable an anti communist Spain that a commie one. In addition UK has a "divide and rule" strategy over continental Europe, so they might try to attract Spain and Italy against Germany before the Steel Pact.

Will you start a AH?
I would watch it!
Bye. Saludos.
 

Garrison

Donor
the consensus is Spain would not enter WWII with Franco as leader? a Spain with their treasury intact, less devasted than historical, is a much more plausible candidate to enter WWII though.

France would certainly have to consider their shared border with Spain more than historically, even though it is readily defensible. Spain could adopt the German aircraft types, not sure if Italy could supply them with much in volume?

just IMO, this could have a pretty big impact, for one reason Germany could operate from Spain easier than they did from North Africa, not easily but easier.
The problem is that the treasury isn't much use if the Allies blockade essential supplies of food and oil, and I doubt that treasury will last long even if the Axis is willing to supply them regardless of whatever price Spain is willing to pay. Also joining the Axis risks reopening the wounds of the Civil War and the Canaries are gone as soon as the Allies get round to taking them. Also Spain was probably more useful as a pro-Axis neutral, acting as a pipeline for resources that the Axis couldn't access otherwise. Overall Spain staying out of the Axis is the smart move, and whatever else he may have been Franco wasn't stupid, at least no compared to Hitler and Mussolini.
 
The problem is that the treasury isn't much use if the Allies blockade essential supplies of food and oil...
I'm looking (unsuccessfully) for my source with exact data. However, the stats I recall having read were that the US and Canada supplied +90% of Spain's oil imports and a staggeringly large percent of its food imports. And food that didn't come from US and Canada came from Latin America, but was [mostly?] funded via US banks. But even if Spain comes out in this ATL in a better position than the OTL, Spain still needs imported oil and neither Germany nor Italy have much to spare. Also, even if Spain's agriculture is better off (or has rebounded quicker), it seems that Spain would still need to import a lot food.
 
Spain would have been starved in any scenario if it joined the Axis, and Franco understood the writings on the wall, so no.
 
Interesting POD.
Thanks!
That means that the event takes place by October 22-25th. Charging the vessels took 3 nights, so its possible they are discovered. The only thing I don't understand is why the Navy will shot. Is truth that they are in a secret mission, but they have permission from the government.
IMHO is more plausible that because of a missunderstanding identifying the transporter (they have false ID) the military staff of the Cartagena's port try to stop them and violence scalate. The secret mission is exposed and many, specially the anarchist, takes it as a traison and revolt in some cities. In Madrid there is an assault to the 5th regiment headquarter and the russian troops, advisors and tanks (arrived just une week ago to the capital) fight to defend their ideological camarads. The chaos doesn't allow a correct Republican counterattack at Seseña on October 27th, so Yagüe continue his advance and secures the Getafe airbase one week earlier. The government evacuates to Valencia rapidly and this add confussion to the situation in Madrid.
Well, this is more reasonable. I was originally thinking that the Navy thought that the ships were stealing the gold, tried to bloc the ships and then things escalated.
I think you mean December 1936, but the city could be captured even before if the nationalist forces use the momentum to their favour. With a diversion attack on Vallecas (S-E of Madrid) while the main force goes N-W to the University Campus you may put a foot on Madrid by mid-November and secure the city by the first week of December. I can imagine the symbolism if the rebels can celebrate December the 8th on the Almudena cathedral.
After taking Madrid central Spain will be on francoist hands.
It's 1936, sorry. I don't understand one thing, however: are you implying that the Nationalists could have captured Madrid in 1936 even without the "Gold Incident"? If yes could you please elaborate a little bit more?
Who will be on charge after Azaña demission? Did you though about an unilateral independence of Catalonia under Companys?
Again really sorry for the typo. I intended to write "The Republicans refuse to surrender but France and Great Britain recognize Franco as the leader of Spain by January 1937." I envisioned Central Spain falling first with remaining forces escapinp to Catalonia and then either surrendering to the Nationalists or escaping to France.
I don't understand why they will fight at Guadalajara if Madrid is already in nationalist hands. This battle may not exist. Instead you can inagine an italian victory elsewhere: Valencia? Barcelona? Malaga?
Well, I made some additional research and found out that in OTL the Italians decided to commit ground forces only after the initial nationalist offensive against Madrid failed in OTL December 1936; so it is possible that the CTV is not sent at all in TTL. What do you think?
Probably the same path of OTL. Spain is a minor actor and for UK is preferable an anti communist Spain that a commie one. In addition UK has a "divide and rule" strategy over continental Europe, so they might try to attract Spain and Italy against Germany before the Steel Pact.
I didn't think about that.
Will you start a AH?
I would watch it!
Bye. Saludos.
I can't make any promises. Will see in future!
 
Hi again.
My question about who rules republican Spain after the gold event is because of these sentence on your first post:
President Azana is ousted from power.
So, any idea of who will be the president of the republic and the president of the governement?
are you implying that the Nationalists could have captured Madrid in 1936 even without the "Gold Incident"?
No, no. The gold incident remains, but I mean that the nationalists could have take advantage of the Madrid's infighting among the anarchists, communists and other republican factions...
Well, I made some additional research and found out that in OTL the Italians decided to commit ground forces only after the initial nationalist offensive against Madrid failed in OTL December 1936; so it is possible that the CTV is not sent at all in TTL. What do you think?
Not fully exact. The first 9000 CTV soldiers arrived to Cadiz on October 1936 under the comand of Mario Roatta, IIRC. After the unsuccesful offensive over Madrid, Rome decided to send reinforcements.
 
If the Nationalists end up with the Spanish treasury I've long felt that Italy and Germany will be claiming that the military aid provided to Nationalist Spain was actually loans rather than gifts.

The Germans and Italians will want the money which they will use to purchase things on the international market or rather any German share will probably be used to borrow less internationally (loans which ended up not being paid).
 
So, any idea of who will be the president of the republic and the president of the governement?
Well I was thinking mainly of three people:
Indalecio Prieto; socialist minister of War, Navy and Air (in my opinion the most plausible option)
Julián Zugazagoitia; socialist minister of Interior.
Vicente Rojo; Chief of the General Staff of the Spanish Armed Forces.

I excluded Francisco Caballero and Juan Negrín since they were too close to Azana and in part responsible (expecially Negrin) for the "Moscow Gold" affair.
No, no. The gold incident remains, but I mean that the nationalists could have take advantage of the Madrid's infighting among the anarchists, communists and other republican factions...
Understood.
Not fully exact. The first 9000 CTV soldiers arrived to Cadiz on October 1936 under the comand of Mario Roatta, IIRC. After the unsuccesful offensive over Madrid, Rome decided to send reinforcements.
Noted.
 
If the Nationalists end up with the Spanish treasury I've long felt that Italy and Germany will be claiming that the military aid provided to Nationalist Spain was actually loans rather than gifts.

The Germans and Italians will want the money which they will use to purchase things on the international market or rather any German share will probably be used to borrow less internationally (loans which ended up not being paid).
They were never gift, they were loan and both nations wanted they money back.
Germany got a lot of economic concession, especially regarding mineral extraction
Italy was more 'understanding' and Benny forgiven half of the debt and not pressed the argument too much if not after the war
 
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