CONCENTRATION camps, bloody massacres and a country torn apart, 80 years ago on July 18, 1936, Spain became engulfed by the vicious civil war that would ultimately kill more than half a million people, prefacing the Second World War and decades of fascism under Generalissimo Franco.
The first military uprising that heralded the beginning of war saw the Spanish Legion in Morocco rise up under Franco’s leadership on July 17, with the following day seeing Nationalist army generals launch a coup and a third of Spain fall to the rebels.
Spain was quickly divided into rival factions and territories, and the bloodshed would last almost three years, punctuated by atrocities on both sides, the entrance of international forces, and the rehearsal of a new modern warfare specifically targeting civilians that would soon be employed on a global scale.
Portrayed as a defence of Catholicism and traditional Spain against Bolshevism throughout the Francoist dictatorship, the Civil War has remained the wound that will not heal.
The transition to democracy was largely premised on the notion of moving on from historical tragedy, aiming for optimism over recrimination, yet, as time progresses, more Spanish towns have begun exhuming the dead, as a modern nation continues to come to terms with its violent past.