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The sad and painful news from Spain: Vatican relations with the Second Spanish Republic at the start of the Spanish Civil War, 1936

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This article explores the relationship between the Holy See and the Second Spanish Republic during the first year of the Spanish Civil War - 1936. By exploring sources from the Secret Vatican Archives, a more complete understanding of this tenuous diplomatic relationship can be established. The Holy See remained neutral during the conflict, but Republicans and Nationalists wanted to gain Vatican recognition to garner greater international support. The problem for the Republic was, however, that its unofficial militias lashed out against symbols of conservatism, especially members of the Catholic Church. The Republic was angered that some Spanish Catholic clergymen had become outspoken supporters for the Nationalist rebellion against the government. The more radical actions of some followers helped to exacerbate the environment of confusion between the two states. This article works to highlight locations where this confusion prevented the two states from understanding each other's opinions and actions.

Keywords: Catholic Church; Diplomacy; Holy See; Second Republic; Spanish Civil War; Spanish insurgency

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Connecticut

Publication date: January 12, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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