Lead: On July 18, 1936 a group of conservative Spanish generals, among them Francisco Franco, concerned about the chaotic conditions into which Spain was descending and the increasingly left-ward drift of the fledgling Spanish Republic, initiated a coup d'etat.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

To their surprise, the disparate factions that backed the Republic, mostly middle-class liberals, socialists, and Communists, aided by working class enthusiasm, vigorously united to resist the dismemberment of the constitutionally elected Republican government. The anticipated quick campaign turned into a civil war that lasted three bloody years and would later seem a full-blown dress rehearsal for World War II.

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