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Starting WWII two years early....

In quite the oddest tale dredged up from any national archive in a long time, I have discovered that "According to the newspaper El Pais, the Spanish government was considering declaring war on Germany in 1937". Source . Odder still, it also refers to 'plans...for a possible invasion'.

it was the de jure government of Spain, the Republicans, rather than Franco's lot that wanted to unleash the dogs of war on Hitler's Germany and a bit of rooting around suggests that the navy and the air force were, initially at least, loyal to the Republic. Consequently the government would have had the ability to project force of sorts, although the rather sizeable problem of France would have prevented any march across the German frontier. I have not been able to discover what manner of warships the Republic had at its command, but they had fairly bleeding edge bombers in the Tupolev SB-2.

The idea was spiked becuase 'it transpired that they could not rely on support from Russia. Madrid was also unsure of the extent they could depend on help from European democracies like Great Britain or France'.

Lots more here for anyone who has anything better than my 'bar Spanish'.

Being unable to resist the temptation to speculate wildly, I imagine a war that started two years earlier would have led to Soviet domination of the entire continent.

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Blogger Jonny Mac said... 4:45 pm

'Madrid was also unsure of the extent they could depend on help from European democracies like Great Britain or France'.

Heh. I'd humbly suggest Madrid was wise to be so unsure. There's no way either Government would have joined in or assisted an attack on Germany by the leftist Spanish Republic in 1937.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:22 pm

JM - I'm inclined to agree. Intriguing story though, eh?  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 8:17 pm

If, they had...and the Comrades joined in...and after Berlin fell into the hands of ordinary working people...Rome?, Paris? London? Dublin?...

A far better world.

First we take Berlin, then we take

One Day soon now.

Tiocfaidh an La.


Anonymous Anonymous said... 8:28 pm

By 1937, even the then Kreigsmarine Surface Fleet would have cut up the Spanish Fleet. Spain's two most modern warships were the British Designed 8" Gun Heavy Cruisers "Canarias" and Baleriares" while the Boxheads had the Pocket Battleships "Graf Spee, Scheeer and Deutschland all with 6 x 11" Guns. Germany had also four modern light cruisers and some twenty destroyers as well as a small submarine fleet. Spain had some destroyers and some three to four effective submarines.

This is a complete no brainer. Seems like the revolutionary fervour of the hardline Communists was being fed by el vino. Actually the story is so stupid its almost certainly true  

Blogger Antony said... 8:45 pm

Geopolitically I am totally unsure how Spain would have launched this attack; on a note of common-sense, 1937 was the year when the Franco rebels were ensuring dominance. What on earth could Cabrello have been thinking this would have achieved? I echo the fact that neither Britain nor France would have stepped in on Spains behalf.  

Blogger rewinn said... 5:56 am

Well, anybody can plan anything. If, as the article says, the idea would have been to provoke France into acting, it might have been worth studying. One thing we know for sure, in hindsight, is that what the Loyalist did, didn't work.

Certainly actually occupying Germany wouldn't work, considering that the Loyalist were losing at home. But since the Germans were supplying the Facists in Spain, there's some logic to striking at their sources of supply ... the Fascists would have a harder time going after the Russkys.

On the whole, it'd be a desperate plan but if the Loyalists were losing anyway, what else did they have?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:14 am

Parvus, nice bit of (almost) Laughing Len there, but can't say I share your sentiments, and I doubt that your day will come...

Ian - Thanks for the military detail. I imagine it would have been a replay of the Russian Baltic fleet debacle at Tsushima.  

Blogger Guthrum said... 1:28 pm

Bizarre- never heard this one before despite spending two years at Uni studying the Spanish Civil War, before and after.

I seem to remember a 50's comedy film about some tiny european country wanting to invade the USA, so it could be overwhelmed amd get Marshall Aid- similar storyline here methinks  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:43 pm

G - I believe this tale has only just broken from cover, so there's no shame in not having known it.

'The Mouse That Roared'?  

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