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Course Description
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Spanish History - 20th Century
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
Barcelona, Spain

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
History 300 English 3 45 N/A

Students learn about the huge social transformation and the changes that have occurred in Spain since the old political regime created after the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). This course studies the transition to a Spanish democracy, -which will be compared with that of other countries-, the political parties, and the function of different institutions such as the Crown, the Courts, judicial power, and the Comunidades Autónomas. The class also studies Spain and its international relations, for example with the European Union, and the economy, and customs and daily life in Spain today. Students are also briefly exposed to Spanish art and cinema to trace some common threads of Spanish culture and how changes in society are depicted in those forms of expression.


1. Old and New Traumas, 1898-1931

1.1 The Background: a century of civil wars, political instability with the lack of a "civic culture"

1.2 Spain ceases to be a transoceanic state (1898): the need for a new perspective, in the face of contradictory politics of "identity"

1.3 The search for "Regeneration": political and cultural pessimism and literary recovery

1.4 Spanish expansionism in Morocco as a substitute for participation in World War I: the social cost of a low intensity war as against the economic benefits of neutrality

1.5 Parliamentary collapse and the challenge of new political alternatives

1.6 Militarism wins out: developmental dictatorship as a short-term working synthesis

2. The Great Local Spanish Debate surrounding legitimacy: Monarchy or Republic?, 1931-1939

2.2 The high point of Spanish cultural expansion in literature and the arts

2.3 The II Republic and its many contradictions

2.4 The increased rhythm of instability: right and left coups

2.5 Counter mobilizations: Popular front, conservative unity and the last failed coup, which means war

2.6 A private Spanish affair becomes an international issue: the symbolic dimensions of the Spanish Civil War as a collective psychological wound

2.7 The ideologization of culture, with the result of ongoing stasis

2.8 The unexpected "solution" to the socio-political debate: a seemingly fascist dictatorship which wins the internal war

3. The Franco "régime", 1939-1975

3.1 Spain's devastated economy and a bastard political system, impossible to define: the hidden battle for the future

3.2 Franco and Hitlerian Europe, Franco and the Allies

3.3 The "régime" is saved by Allied contradictions, then by Perón, then by the Cold War and U.S. strategic needs

3.4 From backward agrarian society to consumer economy

     3.5 Preparing for the end: factional struggles inside the "régime"

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