Bombing of Barcelona

The Bombing of Barcelona was a series of Nationalist airstrikes which took place from 16 to 18 March 1938, during the Spanish Civil War. Up to 1,300 people were killed and at least 2,000 wounded.[1]

Bombing of Barcelona
Part of the Spanish Civil War
Barcelona bombing (1938)

Bombing in Barcelona, 1938.
DateMarch 16–19, 1938
Result Barcelona severely damaged
 Spanish Republic  Nationalist Spain
Kingdom of Italy Aviazione Legionaria
Commanders and leaders
Second Spanish Republic Andrés García Calle Unknown
Anti-aircraft artillery He-51 fighters
Sa-79 and Sa-81 Italian bombers
Casualties and losses
1,000–1,300 civilians dead None


On March 1938, the Nationalists started an offensive in Aragon, after the Battle of Teruel, and Germany occupied Austria. On 15 March, the French government, led by Léon Blum, decided to reopen the Spanish frontier[1] and Russian supplies began to pass to Barcelona.[2] Then, Mussolini decided to carry out massive air bombings against Barcelona in order to "weaken the morale of the Reds".[3] Mussolini thought, like the Italian general Giulio Douhet, that aircraft could win a war with terror.[1]

The bombing

Between 16 and 18 March 1938, Barcelona was bombed by bombers of the Italian Aviazione Legionaria, the branch of the Italian Air Force fighting in the Spanish Civil War[4] These bombers flew from Mallorca with Spanish markings.[5] The first raid came at 22:00 of 16 March by German Heinkel He 51s. After that, there were 17 air raids by the Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 and Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 bombers at three hour intervals until 15:00 of 18 March. Barcelona had little anti-aircraft artillery and no fighter cover. The Spanish Republican Air Force (FARE) didn't send fighters to Barcelona until the morning of 17 March.[3]

The repeated wave of attacks carried out by the Italians would render irrelevant the air-raid alarm system since it would no longer be clear if the sirens were announcing the beginning or the end of an attack.[5] Furthermore, they used delayed-fuse bombs designed to pass through the roof and then explode inside the building and a new type of bomb which exploded with a strong lateral force, so as to destroy things and persons within a few inches of the ground.[2] The bombings affected all the city and the bombers didn't attempt to destroy military targets.[1] On the night of 18 the working class districts were badly hit. The Italian bombers dropped 44 tons of bombs,[6] and there were more than 1,000 civilians dead (Beevor: 1,000 dead and 2,000 wounded;[3] Preston: around 1,000 dead;[5] and Thomas: 1,300 dead and 2,000 wounded).[1]


The attack was condemned by Western democracies all around the world.[1] The American Secretary of State, Cordell Hull said: "No theory of war can justify such conduct. . . . I feel that I am speaking for the whole American people!".[7] And on 19 March, Franco asked for the suspension of the bombings, for fear of "complications abroad".[8] Mussolini, on the other hand, was very pleased with the bombings. Italian Foreign Minister and Mussolini's son-in-law Galeazzo Ciano said that: "He was pleased by the fact that the Italians have managed to provoke horror, by their aggression instead of complacency with their mandolins. This will send up our stock in Germany, where they love total and ruthless war."[3]

Later in the year, the British journalist John Langdon-Davies - who had been present in Barcelona at the time - published an account of the attacks. He reported that the bombers had glided in at high altitude to avoid being detected by the (pre-radar) acoustic aircraft detection means available, and only restarted their engines after releasing their bomb loads, which he termed the "silent approach" method. The effect of this was that the aircraft were not detected and the alert sounded until after their bombs had exploded on target. Along with the variance of the times between each individual attack, this had a demoralizing effect on the civilian population, which suffered prolonged anxiety quite out of proportion to the number of bombs dropped over a long period of time. Coupled with the fact that there was little discernible military value in the choice of targets within the city, and the cessation of the attacks for no apparent reason, Langdon-Davies determined that the raids constituted a deliberate experiment in the use of such tactics in preparation for their application in any subsequent conflict by the Germans and Italians against the United Kingdom.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f 1931-2017., Thomas, Hugh, (2003). The Spanish Civil War (4th ed.). London: Penguin. ISBN 9780141011615. OCLC 53806663.
  2. ^ a b Gabriel,, Jackson, (2012). The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691007571. OCLC 794663577.
  3. ^ a b c d 1946-, Beevor, Antony, (2006). The battle for Spain : the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Beevor, Antony, 1946-. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780143037651. OCLC 70158540.
  4. ^ 1959-, Graham, Helen, (2005). The Spanish Civil War : a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192803778. OCLC 57243230.
  5. ^ a b c 1946-, Preston, Paul, (2006). The Spanish Civil War : reaction, revolution and revenge. London: Harper Perennial. ISBN 9780007232079. OCLC 316574785.
  6. ^ "Massacre in Barcelona". theARXXIDUC. 2008-03-16. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  7. ^ Foreign News: Barcelona Horrors Time Magazine, 28 March 1938
  8. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.785
  9. ^ 1897-1971., Langdon-Davies, John, (1975). Air raid; the technique of silent approach, high explosive, panic. New York,: Haskell House Publishers. ISBN 0838318398. OCLC 1031193.

External links

Coordinates: 41°23′13″N 2°10′12″E / 41.3870°N 2.1700°E

1938 in Spain

Events from the year 1938 in Spain.

Autumn Journal

Autumn Journal is an autobiographical long poem in twenty-four sections by Louis MacNeice. It was written between August and December 1938, and published as a single volume by Faber and Faber in May 1939. Written in a discursive form, it sets out to record the author’s state of mind as the approaching World War 2 seems more and more inevitable.

Barcelona City History Museum

The Barcelona City History Museum (Catalan: Museu d'Història de Barcelona, Spanish: Museo de Historia de Barcelona, acronym MUHBA) is a city museum that conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the historical heritage of the city of Barcelona, from its origins in Roman times until the present day; it is funded by the Barcelona municipality. The museum's headquarters are located on Plaça del Rei, in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic). It also manages several historic sites all around the city, most of them archaeological sites displaying remains of the ancient Roman city, called Barcino in Latin. Some others date to medieval times, including the Jewish quarter and the medieval royal palace called the Palau Reial Major. The rest are contemporary, among them old industrial buildings and sites related to Antoni Gaudí and the Spanish Civil War. The museum was inaugurated on 14 April 1943; its principal promoter and first director was the historian Agustí Duran i Sanpere.

Barcelona attack

Barcelona attack may refer to:

1938: Bombing of Barcelona, a series of airstrikes in the Spanish Civil War

1987: Hipercor bombing, during the ETA's warring campaign against the Spanish state

1987: Bar Iruna attack, attack on Americans by Catalans

1990: Sabadell attack, during the ETA's warring campaign against the Spanish state

1991: Vic bombing, during the ETA's warring campaign against the Spanish state

2015: Barcelona school killing by a 13-year-old boy

2017: Barcelona attack, a van-ramming attack into people on La Rambla by jihadists


Catalonia (; Catalan: Catalunya [kətəˈluɲə]; Aranese: Catalonha [kataˈluɲɔ]; Spanish: Cataluña [kataˈluɲa];) is an autonomous community in Spain on the northeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second-most populated municipality in Spain and the core of the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union. It comprises most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia (with the remainder Roussillon now part of France's Pyrénées-Orientales, Occitanie). It is bordered by France (Occitanie) and Andorra (Andorra la Vella, Encamp, Escaldes-Engordany, La Massana and Sant Julià de Lòria) to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and Valencia to the south. The official languages are Catalan, Spanish, and the Aranese dialect of Occitan.In the late 8th century, the counties of the March of Gothia and the Hispanic March were established by the Frankish kingdom as feudal vassals across and near the eastern Pyrenees as a defensive barrier against Muslim invasions. The eastern counties of these marches were united under the rule of the Frankish vassal, the count of Barcelona, and were later called Catalonia. In the 10th century the County of Barcelona became independent de facto. In 1137, the lineages of the rulers of Catalonia and rulers of the Kingdom of Aragon were united by marriage under the Crown of Aragon, when the King of Aragon married his daughter to the Count of Barcelona. The de jure end of Frankish rule was ratified by French and Aragonese rulers in the Treaty of Corbeil in 1258. The Principality of Catalonia developed its own institutional system, such as courts (parliament), and constitutions, becoming the base for the Crown of Aragon's naval power, trade and expansionism in the Mediterranean. In the later Middle Ages, Catalan literature flourished. During the last Medieval centuries natural disasters, social turmoils and military conflicts affected the Principality. Between 1469 and 1516, the king of Aragon and the queen of Castile married and ruled their kingdoms together, retaining all of their distinct institutions and legislation.

During the Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659), Catalonia revolted (1640–1652) against a large and burdensome presence of the royal army in its territory, being briefly proclaimed a republic under French protection. Within a brief period France took full control of Catalonia, until it was largely reconquered by the Spanish army. Under the terms of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, the Spanish Crown ceded the northern parts of Catalonia, mostly the County of Roussillon, to France. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), the Crown of Aragon sided against the Bourbon Philip V of Spain; following Catalan defeat on 11 September 1714, Philip V, inspired by the model of France imposed a unifying administration across Spain, enacting the Nueva Planta decrees, suppressing the main Catalan institutions and rights like in the other realms of the Crown of Aragon. This led to the eclipse of Catalan as a language of government and literature, replaced by Spanish. Along the 18th century, Catalonia experienced economic growth, reinforced in the late quarter of the century when the Castile's trade monopoly with American colonies ended.

In the 19th century, Catalonia was severely affected by the Napoleonic and Carlist Wars. In the second half of the century, Catalonia experienced significant industrialisation. As wealth from the industrial expansion grew, Catalonia saw a cultural renaissance coupled with incipient nationalism while several workers movements appeared. In 1914, the four Catalan provinces formed a commonwealth, and with the return of democracy during the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939), the Generalitat of Catalonia was restored as an autonomous government. After the Spanish Civil War, the Francoist dictatorship enacted repressive measures, abolishing Catalan self-government and banning the official use of the Catalan language again. After a first period of autarky, from the late 1950s through to the 1970s Catalonia saw rapid economic growth, drawing many workers from across Spain, making Barcelona one of Europe's largest industrial metropolitan areas and turning Catalonia into a major tourist destination. Since the Spanish transition to democracy (1975–1982), Catalonia has regained considerable autonomy in political, educational, environmental, and cultural affairs and is now one of the most economically dynamic communities of Spain. In the 2010s there has been growing support for Catalan independence.

On 27 October 2017, the Catalan Parliament declared independence from Spain following a disputed referendum. The Spanish Senate voted in favour of enforcing direct rule by removing the entire Catalan government and calling a snap regional election for 21 December. On 2 November of the same year, the Spanish Supreme Court imprisoned 7 former ministers of the Catalan government on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds, while several others, including President Carles Puigdemont, fled to other European countries.

Civil defense siren

A civil defense siren (also known as an air-raid siren or tornado siren) is a siren used to provide emergency population warning of approaching danger and sometimes to indicate when the danger has passed. Some (that are mostly located in small towns) are also used to call the volunteer fire department to go fight a fire. Initially designed to warn city dwellers of air raids in World War II, they were adapted to warn of nuclear attack and of natural destructive weather patterns such as tornadoes. The generalized nature of the siren led to many of them being replaced with more specialized warnings, such as the Emergency Alert System.

A mechanical siren generates sound by spinning a slotted chopper wheel to interrupt a stream of air at a regular rate. Modern sirens can develop a sound level of up to 135 decibels at 100 feet (30 m). The Chrysler air raid siren, driven by a 331-cubic-inch Chrysler Hemi gasoline engine, generates 138 dB at 100 feet away.By use of varying tones or on/off patterns of sound, different alert conditions can be signaled. Electronic sirens can transmit voice announcements in addition to alert tone signals. Siren systems may be electronically controlled and integrated into other warning systems.

Civilian casualties of strategic bombing

Strategic bombing is the use of airpower to destroy industrial and economic infrastructure—such as factories, oil refineries, railroads, or nuclear power plants—rather than just directly targeting military bases, supply depots, or enemy combatants. Strategic bombing may also include the intent to dehouse, demoralize, or inflict civilian casualties, and thus hinders them from supporting the enemy's war effort. The bombing can be utilized by strategic bombers or missiles, and may use general-purpose bombs, guided bombs, incendiary devices, chemical weapons, biological weapons, or nuclear weapons.

This article lists the strategic bombing of cities and towns, and their human death tolls throughout history, starting from before World War II.

History of Catalonia

The territory that now constitutes the nationality and autonomous community of Catalonia was first settled during the Middle Palaeolithic era. Like the rest of the Mediterranean side of the Iberian Peninsula, the area was occupied by the Iberians and several Greek colonies were established on the coast before the Roman conquest. It was the first area of Hispania conquered by the Romans. It then came under Visigothic rule after the collapse of the western part of the Roman Empire. In 718, the area was occupied by the Umayyad Caliphate and became a part of Muslim ruled al-Andalus. The Frankish Empire conquered the area from the Muslims, ending with the conquest of Barcelona in 801, as part of the creation of a larger buffer zone of Christian counties against Islamic rule known as the Marca Hispanica. In the 10th century the County of Barcelona became independent de facto.

In 1137, Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona accepted King Ramiro II of Aragon's proposal to marry Queen Petronila, establishing the dynastic union of the County of Barcelona with the Kingdom of Aragon, creating the Crown of Aragon, while the County of Barcelona and the other Catalan counties adopted a common political entity known as Principality of Catalonia, which developed an institutional system (Courts, constitutions, Generalitat) that limited the power of the kings. Catalonia contributed to the expansion of the Crown's trade and military, most significantly their navy. The Catalan language flourished and expanded as more territories were added to the Crown of Aragon, including Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, and Athens. The crisis of the 14th century, the end of the reign of House of Barcelona and a civil war (1462–1472) weakened the role of the Principality in Crown and international affairs.

The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1469 created a dynastic union between the Crowns of Aragon and Castile, and both realms kept their own laws, institutions, borders and currency. In 1492 the Spanish colonization of the Americas began, political power began to shift away towards Castile. Tensions between Catalan institutions and the Monarchy, alongside the economic crisis and the peasants' revolts, caused the Reapers' War (1640–1652), being briefly proclaimed a Catalan Republic. The Principality of Catalonia retained its political status, but this came to an end after the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714), in which the Crown of Aragon supported the claim of the Archduke Charles of Habsburg. Following Catalan surrender on 11 September 1714, the king Philip V of Bourbon, inspired by the model of France imposed a unifying administration across Spain, suppressing the Crown of Aragon and enacted the Nueva Planta decrees, banning the main Catalan political institutions and rights and merged into Castile as a province. These led to the eclipse of Catalan as a language of government and literature. Catalonia experienced economic growth, reinforced in the late 18th century when Cádiz's trade monopoly with American colonies ended.

In the 19th century Catalonia was severely affected by the Napoleonic and Carlist Wars. The Napoleonic occupation and subsequent war in Spain began a period of political and economic turmoil. In the second third of the century, Catalonia became a center of industrialization. As wealth from the industrial expansion grew, Catalonia saw a cultural renaissance coupled with incipient nationalism while several workers movements (particularly anarchism) appeared.

In the 20th century, Catalonia enjoyed and lost varying degrees of autonomy. The Second Spanish Republic established Catalan self-governance and the official use of the Catalan language. Like much of Spain, Catalonia fought to defend the Republic in the Civil War of 1936–1939. The Republican defeat established the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which unleashed a harsh repression and suppressed the autonomy. With Spain devastated and cut off from international trade and the autarkic politics of the regime, Catalonia, as an industrial center, suffered severely; the economic recovery was slow. Between 1959 and 1974 Spain experienced the second fastest economic expansion in the world known as the Spanish Miracle, and Catalonia prospered as Spain's most important industrial and tourist destination. In 1975 Franco died, bringing his regime to an end, and the new democratic Spanish constitution of 1978 recognised Catalonia's autonomy and language. It regained considerable self-government in internal affairs and is now one of the most economically dynamic communities of Spain. In the 2010s there have been growing calls for Catalan independence.

Italian war crimes

Italian war crimes have mainly been associated with Fascist Italy in the Pacification of Libya, the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, and World War II.

List of wars involving Spain

This is a list of wars fought by the Kingdom of Spain or on Spanish territory.

Lorenzo Domínguez

Lorenzo Domínguez (Santiago de Chile 1901-Mendoza, Argentina 1963) was a prolific Latin American sculptor whose art is a deliberate and personal synthesis of pre-Columbian and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) aesthetics with a European artistic formation.

Outline of Barcelona

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Barcelona:

Barcelona –

Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War (Spanish: Guerra Civil Española) took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, a Falangist, Carlist, Catholic, and largely aristocratic group led by General Francisco Franco. The war was known as a struggle between democracy and fascism, particularly due to the international political climate. The Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.

The war began after a pronunciamiento (a declaration of military opposition) against the Republican government by a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces, originally under the leadership of José Sanjurjo. The government at the time was a moderate, liberal coalition of Republicans, supported in the Cortes by communist and socialist parties, under the leadership of centre-left President Manuel Azaña. The Nationalist group was supported by a number of conservative groups, including the Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Right-wing Groups (Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas, or CEDA), monarchists such as the religious conservative (Roman Catholic) Carlists, and the Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (FE y de las JONS), a fascist political party. Sanjurjo was killed in an aircraft accident while attempting to return from exile in Portugal, whereupon Franco emerged as the leader of the Nationalists.

The coup was supported by military units in the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, Pamplona, Burgos, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Cádiz, Córdoba, and Seville. However, rebelling units in some important cities—such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, and Málaga—did not gain control, and those cities remained under the control of the government. Spain was thus left militarily and politically divided. The Nationalists and the Republican government fought for control of the country. The Nationalist forces received munitions, soldiers, and air support from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, while the Republican (Loyalist) side received support from the Soviet Union and Mexico. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, continued to recognize the Republican government, but followed an official policy of non-intervention. Notwithstanding this policy, tens of thousands of citizens from non-interventionist countries directly participated in the conflict. They fought mostly in the pro-Republican International Brigades, which also included several thousand exiles from pro-Nationalist regimes.

The Nationalists advanced from their strongholds in the south and west, capturing most of Spain's northern coastline in 1937. They also besieged Madrid and the area to its south and west for much of the war. After much of Catalonia was captured in 1938 and 1939, and Madrid cut off from Barcelona, the Republican military position became hopeless. Madrid and Barcelona were occupied without resistance, Franco declared victory and his regime received diplomatic recognition from all non-interventionist governments. Thousands of leftist Spaniards fled to refugee camps in southern France. Those associated with the losing Republicans were persecuted by the victorious Nationalists. With the establishment of a dictatorship led by General Franco in the aftermath of the war, all right-wing parties were fused into the structure of the Franco regime.The war became notable for the passion and political division it inspired and for the many atrocities that occurred, on both sides. Organized purges occurred in territory captured by Franco's forces so they could consolidate their future regime. A significant number of killings also took place in areas controlled by the Republicans. The extent to which Republican authorities took part in killings in Republican territory varied.

The Blitz

The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against Britain in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and is the German word for 'lightning'.The Germans conducted mass air attacks against industrial targets, towns, and cities, beginning with raids on London towards the end of the Battle of Britain in 1940, a battle for daylight air superiority between the Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force over the United Kingdom. By September 1940, the Luftwaffe had failed and the German air fleets (Luftflotten) were ordered to attack London, to draw RAF Fighter Command into a battle of annihilation. Adolf Hitler and Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, ordered the new policy on 6 September 1940. From 7 September 1940, London was systematically bombed by the Luftwaffe for 56 out of the following 57 days and nights. Most notable was a large daylight attack against London on 15 September.

The Luftwaffe gradually decreased daylight operations in favour of night attacks to evade attack by the RAF, and the Blitz became a night bombing campaign after October 1940. The Luftwaffe attacked the main Atlantic sea port of Liverpool in the Liverpool Blitz and the North Sea port of Hull, a convenient and easily found target or secondary target for bombers unable to locate their primary targets, suffered the Hull Blitz. Bristol, Cardiff, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Southampton and Swansea were also bombed, as were the industrial cities of Birmingham, Belfast, Coventry, Glasgow, Manchester and Sheffield. More than 40,000 civilians were killed by Luftwaffe bombing during the war, almost half of them in the capital, where more than a million houses were destroyed or damaged.In early July 1940, the German High Command began planning Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Bombing failed to demoralise the British into surrender or do much damage to the war economy; eight months of bombing never seriously hampered British war production, which continued to increase. The greatest effect was to force the British to disperse the production of aircraft and spare parts. British wartime studies concluded that cities generally took 10 to 15 days to recover when hit severely, but exceptions like Birmingham took three months.The German air offensive failed because the Luftwaffe High Command (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, OKL) did not develop a methodical strategy for destroying British war industry. Poor intelligence about British industry and economic efficiency led to OKL concentrating on tactics rather than strategy. The bombing effort was diluted by attacks against several sets of industries instead of constant pressure on the most vital.

Timeline of Barcelona

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Turó de la Rovira

Turó de la Rovira is a hill overlooking Barcelona with an altitude of 262m. It has been continually occupied, in one form or another, from the Iberian era (4th century B.C) to present.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) the Republican anti-air defence authority (DECA) found that the hill was the most suitable place to build its anti-aircraft battery, which was instrumental in republican efforts to defend Barcelona. Post Spanish Civil-War the then abandoned military structures were used as shelters and the shanty town of Els Canons, which survived into the ‘90s, sprung up around them. Also during this time, water tanks and communication towers were installed, some of which can still be seen to this day.

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