Module Catalogue 2019/20

HIS3229 : The Spanish Second Republic and Civil War, 1931-1939

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alejandro Quiroga
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



In April 1931 Spain became a democratic republic; in April 1939, after almost three years of civil war, it succumbed to a vengeful authoritarian dictatorship. The first half of this special subject examines the origins and course of this violent denouement, and whether the republic failed or was made to fail, including the nature of the forces which headed it and hoped to benefit from it, the character of the political and economic context in which it had to operate, the extent of the reforms that it introduced, and the response both of the forces opposed to it and of Spain's traditional institutions. The second half of this special subject begins with the failed anti-Republican military coup of July 1936, exploring the reasons for its failure, and the civil war it unleashed which ended in the overthrow of the Republic by the Nationalists under General Franco in 1939. The second half examines the military, political and social history of the Nationalist and Republican zones during the civil war.

The aims of this module are:
•To enable students to study the period of the Spanish Second Republic and Civil War (1931-1939) in depth and to engage with both primary sources from the period and the major historiographical debates concerning it.
•To give students the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of this short period of Spanish history.
•To introduce students to historical research and to guide them in the analysis of primary documents and texts.
•Thereby to enable students to develop their own interpretation of the period.
•To provide an opportunity of investigating in some depth selected problems, including the appraisal of elected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.
•To provide an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it and to develop the capacity for independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following is a guide only. Actual subjects may differ from those listed.

1. The Republic Implanted: The Reformist Bienio, 1931-33
2. The Bienio Negro, 1933-1935
3. The Left and the Republic
4. Catholicism, Conservatism and the CEDA, 1931-36
5. The Army, Conspiracy, Crisis and Rebellion, 1931-36.
6. The Spanish Revolution
7. Repression, Counter-Revolution and the Rise of Franco
8. The Civil War and the World
9. The Post-Revolutionary period in the Republican Zone, 1937-1939
10. Nationalist Spain, 1937-1939

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

- In-depth knowledge of the period 1931-1939 in Spanish and World history.
- Knowledge of different aspects of this period (military, political, social, economic etc.) and an understanding of the interrelationship between them.
- Detailed knowledge of, and ability to engage with, the key historiographical debates concerning this period.
- Sense of the significance of this period in Spanish and World history.

Intended Skill Outcomes

• Students are expected to improve their ability to read quickly and with an eye for the distinction between the particular and the general (in taking notes on the material they read to prepare themselves for seminars and the examination).
• To argue clearly and succinctly both on paper (in their essay and examination) and orally (in their contributions to seminars)
• To manage their time (in order to prepare for the seminars and the examination.)
• Students will thus develop their capacity for independent study and critical judgement and the ability to respond promptly, cogently and clearly to new and unexpected question arising from this study.
• They will also develop associated skills in research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained discussion and appropriate presentation of the results.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching123:0036:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem solving skills and adaptability.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1801A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M25Essay/doc.commentary of 1,500 to 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essays test students’ ability to conduct independent research, relate primary source documents to broader problem, ability to formulate an interpretation of evidence in response to a question, and academic writing skills.

Exams test students’ general knowledge, as well as their ability to quickly analyse a problem and formulate a clearly written answer, drawing broadly on the material covered by the course

The form of the resit is no different from the above, i.e. no marks are carried over from the sit to the resit. Students are not allowed to submit for the resit any work that they have previously submitted.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.
All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.