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Chronology of Boxed Section March 1936 Rhineland  July 1936 - 39 Spain  PowerPoint Presentation
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Chronology of Boxed Section March 1936 Rhineland  July 1936 - 39 Spain  - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Chronology of Boxed Section March 1936 Rhineland  July 1936 - 39 Spain  March 1938 Anschluss October 1938 Munich 1920s – 1939 Overview (8 marker) Issues: Factors shaping Government reaction to events i.e. the use of appeasement - political - economic - military

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Chronology of Boxed Section March 1936 Rhineland  July 1936 - 39 Spain 

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Chronology of Boxed Section

March 1936 Rhineland 

July 1936 - 39 Spain 

March 1938 Anschluss

October 1938 Munich

1920s – 1939 Overview (8 marker)

Issues: Factors shaping Government reaction to events i.e. the use of appeasement

- political

- economic

- military

- public opinion

- dilemmas (public and private concerns of the government at the time which influenced how they dealt with issues at the time


Spanish Civil War 1936-39

What happened?

Government reaction

Public opinion

  • Public opinion divided; Labour opposition split.
  • For Intervention:
  • If the Fascists won, then the peace in Europe would be threatened
  • Fascists were trying to overthrow a democratically elected Government.
  • 2700 joined
  • International Brigade
  • Against Intervention:
  • It is a Spanish affair; better to stay neutral.
  • Against spread of Communism
  • Civil War started as a result of an army rebellion against the Popular Front Government
  • The sides polarised between those who supported elected Govt. (Republicans) and those who supported the army rebels (Nationalists).
  • The War lasted 3 years and the Nationalists won.
  • Germany and Italy intervened on Nationalist side; Russia on Republican side
  • Br. Policy was non-intervention
  • Government wanted to minimise foreign intervention and to avoid the civil war spreading into a European war
  • Conservative-dominated government were more sympathetic to Franco than ‘Communist’ Republicans
  • Feared for Britain’s commercial interests if Republican side won.
  • Aware of Ger./Italian breaches of non-intervention
  • Took realistic view: ‘better a leaky dam than no dam at all’ (Eden)

Source B: extract from 'Homage to Catalonia' written by George Orwell – 1938

Source B

When I came to Spain, and for some time afterwards, I was not only uninterested in the political situation but unaware of it. I knew there was a war on, but I had no notion what kind of war. If you had asked me why I had joined the militia I should have answered: "To fight against Fascism", and if you had asked me what I was fighting for, I should have answered: common decency.

To understand the alignment on the Government side, one has got to remember how the war started. When the fighting broke out on 18th July it is probable that every anti-Fascist in Europe felt a thrill of hope. For here at last, apparently, was democracy standing up to Fascism. For years past, the so-called democratic countries had been surrendering to Fascism at every step. But when Franco tried to overthrow a mildly Left-wing Government the Spanish people, against all expectation, had risen against him. It seemed - possibly it was - the turning of the tide.

2. How typical of British opinion at the time were the views of Source B? 5


2. How typical of British opinion at the time were the views of Source B?

  • In reaching a conclusion you should refer to:
        • the origin and possible purpose of the source
        • the content of the source
        • recalled knowledge

What is the Q asking you to do?

  • Set immediate context - give a few sentences to put issue/event in context with our Paper 2 course
  • Identify the views of the author in a nutshell i.e. the big picture - what is his overall view!!
  • Make a judgement as to how far it was typical of views at the time i.e. was what he is saying shared by people at the time -make a statement
  • Back this up by selecting points from the source (the bones) then putting flesh on them by using recall
  • This will allow you to 'evaluate/assess' how typical they are i.e. by saying things like ‘Point X by the author is typical and does highlight issues considered by the Government/public at the time on this issue for the following reasons ...or does not because... ‘
  • Then use 'additional' recall to develop your argument with balance of recall e.g. views which agree and those who were not in agreement at the time.

Step 1 –The Immediate Context

  • Source refers to the issues in debate during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 during which the legitimate Government of Spain - a coalition or Popular Front of democratic political parties and left wing groups - were challenged by a right wing coup led by army General Franco who wanted to halt the popular front reforms
  • The attempted coup backfired and turned into a civil war.
  • It became an international issue when military aid from Germany and Italy to Franco threatened to escalate the conflict. The British Government were alarmed by the potential 'powder keg' of the situation in Spain and regarded the war as a fascist struggle with the communist/socialist Popular Front and refused to become involved.
  • The Spanish Civil War was an issue which divided public opinion in the UK and historians continue to debate the role of the UK, some arguing that we were blind to the role/effects/gains for Hitler.

Step 2 - Big Picture

  • Writing at the time of the actual war, Orwell gives a fairly untypical view that Britain should get involved to stop the spread of fascism.
  • His book was published in 1938 and was regarded as the efforts
  • of a radical idealist.
  • Orwell was a Labour/socialist supporter. His book was a 'homage' to the courage of the Catalans.
  • In the source Orwell suggest the reasons for his views...

Step 3 – Select relevant points from the source and use recall to evaluate each point

  • Recall evaluating point from source
  • This is fairly untypical. Most people did not regard the war as an issue of their concern and the Popular Front were regarded as unlawfu1 and communist i.e. not decent.

Point one from source

Fighting against fascism & for common decency


Point two from source

Every anti-fascist felt a thrill of hope

  • Recall evaluating point from source
  • This is untypical. Many felt it was a potential 'powder keg' which could explode and damage/few agreed with him.

Point three from source

Here at last, democracy standing up to Fascism

  • Recall evaluating point from source
  • This is untypical. Only those in Labour/left wing groups who joined the International Brigades saw it like this.
  • Most believed it was communism versus fascism and that the Popular Front were merely puppets of Stalin.
  • Crimes against the church and the acts of damage to property/industry
  • Rear of Big Business in the UK over nationalisation of their Spanish assets.

Point four from source

Years past, so-called democratic countries surrendering

  • Recall evaluating point from source
  • Orwell referring to Japanese aggression in Manchuria (1931), Italian action over Abyssinia (1935), German actions from 1933 (Rhineland/ Conscription / rearmament/ Dictatorship/ persecution of Jews)
  • Whereas the majority view is of appeasing is for peace and not surrendering as Orwell accuses UK and France of doing
  • Only Churchill/Fletcher/ Duchess of Atholl (Red Kitty) agreed

Point five from source

Franco resisted; this was possibly the turning of the tide

  • Recall evaluating point from source
  • This is not typical. Many did not agree with any sort of intervention and did not share Orwell's view.
  • The stalemate of 1937 was not turned by the role of the Non-Intervention Committee, which was ignored

Link back to the question

How typical of British opinion at the time were the views of Source B?

So Orwell offers a fairly untypical view of the British opinion during the Spanish Civil War.

However, a significant minority supported Orwell’s views e.g. David Low in his cartoons, individual trade unionists, idealists, left wing supporters like Jack Jones, Donald Renton and J. Gurney whose letters and books reflect their passionate opposition to the role of fascist help for Franco from Italy and Germany.

General opinion in the UK was divided (some were moved by plight of the children of Spain who came over as refugees) but the majority did not share the sentiments of the author for a variety of reasons.


Additional recall giving the majority view e.g. the vast majority viewed the Spanish Civil War in different ways to Orwell...

  • 1.
  • The outbreak of the war in Spain was a real dilemma for the British Government.
  • Opinion in the nation was divided.
  • Government ministers did not like the Popular Front and believed the propaganda from the Right in Spain (Popular Front attacks on church /landed classes etc; communists in disguise!)
  • Many British business interests looked under threat
  • Right from the outset there was a determination to stay out of a potential political mess
  • When the Germans and Italians became involved, this complicated matters but made the Government even more determined to resist pressures to intervene.


  • Britain feared the escalation that might occur if any side intervened and for the same economic/political/military reasons which influenced lack of action over the Rhineland
  • The Government did not wish to be dragged into a war
  • The Government faced many other domestic concerns e.g. the abdication crisis
  • While the issue created emotion reactions, the head ruled the options/methods of reaction of the Government.
  • 3.
  • The course of action was the non-intervention policy dreamed up by French leader Leon Blum.
  • We grasped at this enthusiastically as a means of showing the public that we were being fair and moral in our involvement.
  • Despite evidence of this agreement being undermined by both Italy and Germany, we stuck to it throughout the conflict
  • Eden, our Foreign Secretary, agreed it was tragic but not an issue in which we should become involved.


As it was, the Popular Front lost the civil war a year after the publication of the book by Orwell. The tide was sadly not turned as Orwell had hoped and the fascist-backed regime of Franco won and was to remain in power until 1975.

Orwell’s views were in the minority and untypical of how most people viewed the issues underlying the war in Spain.


1-2 Selects some relevant evidence from the source and/or recalled knowledge but without making the required evaluation.

3-4 Selects relevant evidence from the source and uses limited recall to inform a basic evaluation in terms of the question.

5 Establishes the main points in the source and uses recalled knowledge to evaluate these and reach an appropriate conclusion.