This Day In History


7 Things You May Not Know About the Spanish Civil War


A life-sized tapestry based on Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” on display at the United Nations. (Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

On July 18, 1936, Spanish military units rose up against the democratically elected Second Republic, precipitating a bloody civil war that would rage for three years. Considered essentially a dress rehearsal for World War II, it pitted the right-wing forces of General Francisco Franco, aided by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, against a Soviet-backed coalition of socialists, anarchists, communists, regional separatists and democrats. Explore some fascinating facts about this ideologically fraught conflict, which resulted in a decades-long Franco dictatorship…………..

Texaco’s CEO personally assisted Franco.

No more than a handful of Americans fought with the Nationalists. But Franco did gain the vital support of Texaco chief executive Torkild Rieber, a Norwegian-born American who admired Hitler and allegedly preferred doing business with autocrats. From his office high atop New York City’s Chrysler Building, Rieber illegally sold the Nationalists discounted oil on credit and illegally transported the fuel in his company’s own tankers. His worldwide network of employees passed along the whereabouts of Republican-bound oil shipments, thereby leaving them open to attack. For these blatant violations of U.S. neutrality acts, Texaco (now part of Chevron Corp.) received only a small fine……………

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