One of the most interesting and informative tours I went on during my stay in Madrid had to be our guest lecture on the Spanish Civil war. The Spanish civil war started in 1936, but tensions rose much earlier. In the Republic of Spain, politicians were elected to represent the people every two years. The Republic also had a king and queen yet they lacked any real authority. In 1923, the king and queen decided to install a dictator to rule over Spain. However, after six years with poor leadership, the king decided to replace this dictator with a new leader. This leader allowed elections to occur and soon, there was no republic anymore. This meant that there were no longer kings and queens. In 1933, Spain’s political party to the right (the Nationalists) took power and the country remained a republic. Things start to change because in 1936, the next election was held and the left political party (the Republicans) won and changed laws and legislation. On July 12th, 1936, the Nationalists had enough of the left being in charge and killed a guard that worked for the Republicans. The left retaliated and the fascists used this as an excuse to attack. After the guide told us this context, she took us to Temple of Debod. This temple is an Egyptian temple dating back thousands of years. I noticed how it was small yet quite fascinating. It reminded me of our previous trip to the aqueducts due to its age and scale. Unfortunately, the line to see inside was quite long so we stopped by some shade that had a gorgeous view. Our tour guide informed us that this was the location where the 1936 coup against the government was started. Members of the army were inside the Temple expected help but the coup failed. The men attempted to surrender but were immediately shot and killed
During the beginning of the war, General Franco (assisted by Mussolini and Hitler) crossed from mMorocco and moved to the south of Spain. Franco’s main objective to capture Madrid and close the city off from Valencia and Barcelona. Doing this would cut off port access for Madrid and isolate the city. When Franco was about to enter Madrid, there was a military city called Toledo. Franco heard they were having problems so he entered with his troops. By helping this city, he became famous & the highest military official. This was strategic and got him more power. During this conflict, most countries would not help the Republicans (the Left Party). Many nations saw this conflict as fascists vs communists and didn’t want to help communists. In reality, it was people who voted for an election vs fascists. In November of 1936, the siege of Madrid was conducted. The Nationalists (the party on the right) flew to Valencia, Barcelona, and Paris. The military took control of city. bombs flown to Madrid from Caso de Campo. This was apparently the first time officials threw bombs out of airplanes. While our tour guide told us this story, we stood in front of the opera house. Apparently, the bombs were stored inside of this ginormous opera house. The War continued on and eventually, the Nationalists took Barcelona and Madrid. When the Nationalists took the city, they he residents were starving. It was then the Nationalists threw bread from planes. Franco took power and the Republicans had to flee to exile. This led to Franco’s dictatorship and the abolishment of the monarchy for over 30 years.
While I found this session quite informative, I also completed more than just that during my day. I went to a restaurant called Taberna Txacoli. While there, I ordered a tortilla with cheese and grilled onions. It also came with a side of hot sauce which added the much needed extra flavoring. In the evening, I went to this restaurant and bar in Sol. This restaurant had a unique theme- dragons. There were dragons on the wall and even one hanging in the ceiling. Their specialty drink (which I did not order) was served in a dragon mug with dry ice. When they put the dry ice in, it looked like steam was coming out of the dragon. I thought this theme was certainly unique. There were also fake cacti and busses inside that served the food. I thought it was a bizarre yet captivating theme and I certainly won’t forget it anytime soon. If you decided to go to madrid, I highly recommend you learn about it’s unbelievable history.