DOCUMENTARY - Spanish Civil War

Spanish Civil War anarchist libertarian documentary by Penny Post Productions


Our youtube channel features plenty of free, non-profit original content, but also some of our favourite libertarian films, audio and documentaries. 


This week we are uploading a fascinating series of documentaries about the SPANISH REVOLUTION also known as the SPANISH CIVIL WAR 1936-1939. The series was filmed by Granada TV and shown on British television during the 1970s. As a consequence it is now of more historical relevance than ever as it contains heaps of first hand, eye witness accounts of many of the original protagonists: the republicans, the anarchists, the communists and even some fascist sympathizers.


The documentary traces the build-up to the revolution and shows the economic and political setting that gave rise to the war.



The Spanish Civil War took place in Spain between 1936 and 1939.

How did it begin?

In 1936, Manuel Azaña, a democratically elected Republican, was serving as the president of Spain when a group of the most influential generals from the part of the Spanish army based in Morocco carried out a coup d'etat led by General Francisco Franco.

Who were the main protagonists?

The peoples’ side, known as the Republicans, was formed by (at times) the Spanish government as well as unions, communists, anarchists, workers, and peasants.

On the other side were the Nationalists, the rebel part of the army, the bourgeoisie, the landlords, and, generally, the upper classes and ruling elites. Although it was a civil war, several foreign entities also joined the conflict. For different reasons closely linked to the European context of the time, the Republican side was supported by the Soviet Union and the European democracies, while the Nationalist side had the support of fascist Germany and Italy, which meant that the latter was far better armed than the raggle-taggle people’s army defending the main Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona.

Who won? (Spoiler alert!)

After General Franco’s Nationalist victory, in 1939 Spain became a dictatorship and stayed that way for almost 40 years, from 1939 to 1975, when the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died.

What happened after the civil war?

In the immediate aftermath, occurred one of the world’s most brutal holocausts as the Franco regime executed, en masse, the anarchists and communists who had tried to defend the democratic republic against the coup d’etat. Not only that, but they had all recently surrendered. The subsequent slaughter (sometimes known as the ‘White Terror’) produced more peace-time deaths than had occurred during the civil war itself. The number usually cited sets the figure between 60,00 and 400,000.  

The holocaust was seldom spoken about, first because of the Francoist repression, but also later after Spain became a democracy in 1975, when the government passed the Pacto del Olvido (the Pact of Forgetting) which forbade any public discussion, supposedly to help ease the country’s transition to democracy. Paul Preston has done some impeccable work into exposing the atrocities. ___________________________________________________

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What is anarchism?


Anarchism (or libertarianism) is the idea that relationships should be based on mutual associations and not violence and coercion. Anarchists reject slave-master relationships and usually oppose hierarchical top-down political structures, the military, particularly the state-run military industrial complex economic model and also state-run authoritarian schools and education. Anarchists view as highly suspect, patriarchal family structures. Likewise, anarchists oppose dictatorial religious leaders and groups who ostensibly promote religion while really practicing politics. In fact, one of the most famous anarchist slogans is ‘No Gods, No Masters’. The ‘No Gods’ part is generally considered to refer to anti-clericalism, that is, opposing religious-based political, hierarchical power structures.


The key to understanding anarchism is to understand that social organisation should be done bottom-up, where people have control over their lives, rather than top-down governance enforced by violence or threats.


Anarchism is social order, not political order.


We are also especially proud to introduce you to possibly the world’s only libertarian language learning methodology for students of English: 


Anarchist and libertarian journal and documentary channel

Here is the video:

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Language is, of course, humanity's greatist anarchist invention. It's made by the people, decentralised, democratic and non-authoritarian.

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