War is full of barbaric actions and atrocities. Even by the horrors of the time, the bombing of Guernica was particularly brutal. It came to symbolize the cruelty of the Spanish Civil War. The bombing was actually carried out by the German air force or Luftwaffe. Elements of the German airforce were sent by Hitler to help Franco and his fascist forces in order to help him to defeat the left-wing and democratically elected government. Hitler wanted to support Franco and his fascist forces. The bombing of Guernica was mainly carried out by the German air force. However, they had the support of some elements of the Italian Royal Air Force. Mussolini had sent some squadrons to help his fellow fascist in Spain– Franco.
The bombing devasted the small city and led to the death of many innocent people. Very few of the casualties were military. There were five waves of attacks and many of those killed had mistakenly left air-raid shelters believing that the enemy attacks had ceased.
The bombing of Guernica was a brutal and unprovoked attack on a civilian target. It was not defended by any aircraft and did not have any air defenses. It was considered an easy target. The bombing of Guernica was condemned around the world it was widely seen as a crime against humanity. However, the Italian and the German air forces and governments were unapologetic about their actions and expressed no regrets.
1. Why Franco Bombed the Basque Town?
Guernica is a town situated in the Basque Country. It is indeed one of the symbols of the Basque nation and was once the capital of the region. The Basques are a distinct ethnic group in Spain and at the time demanded greater autonomy within Spain. Some extreme Basque nationalists demanded outright independence. They had their own regional government and they had pledged allegiance to the left-wing government in Madrid. Franco and the fascists disliked the Basques. Franco is believed to have wanted the Basque town bombed as a way of punishing them for their separatist tendencies and their loyalty to the left-wing government.