The first defence of Madrid July 1936

First Defence Madrid 1936

of aircraft to be dispatched. At the end of July, about 70 aircraft were sent across the border to Barcelona, including Potez 54 bombers and Dewoitine 371 fighters.

The Popular Front government in France was divided, and subjected to two quite different pressures. One was the desire to bolster another government that had come into office as the result of a Popular Front electoral victory, against a right-wing coup that would create a pro-fascist Spain. But the other was a fear of alienating France's most important diplomatic partner, Britain, whose Conservative government in 1936, with Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister and Anthony Eden as Foreign Secretary, was concerned above all to limit the conflict to Spain and prevent escalation.

Moreover, the accounts of revolution, expropriations and anti-clerical atrocities in Republican Spain frightened conservatives everywhere. Selling arms to a democratically elected government threatened by a military coup was one thing. Aiding an atheistic social revolution that killed priests and landlords was quite another. Internal and external pressures forced Blum to ban all exports of war material to Spain, even by private companies, from 9 August. Procuring arms was going to be a major, and crippling, problem for the Republic.

It was as obvious to Mola and to Franco as it was to Prime Minister Giral that external supplies could make a decisive difference. On 19 July Franco sent Luís Bolín on the next stage of his extraordinary trip in the Dragon Rapide that had already flown from Croydon to the Canary Islands and on to Morocco. The next destination was Rome, where on the 22nd Bolín saw Foreign Minister Ciano to ask for 12 bombers and three fighter-planes. Mussolini hesitated, but two factors swayed him. Leading Spanish monarchists, to whom he had promised support back in 1934, were sent to Rome by Mola to support Franco's request. And news of the French government's decision not to provide arms to

Foreign Fighters Spain 1936

MOROCCO

Piasen cía

Toledo

SIERRA Of GüAot Guadalupe

Ciceres

Ciudad Real

Badajoz;

Almendratejo

Córdoba

Granada s/erra

Ronda

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