January 26 - 1939 - The Fall of Barcelona
The Spanish Civil War was a complex conflict, featuring the right-wing Nationalists fighting against the left-wing Republicans. The conservatives were the rebels, the socialists were fighting for the legitimate government, and both sides were hodge-podge groups of various loyalties. Yet the war was also one featuring back and forth fighting in its early years. In 1938, everything changed. Under Francisco Franco and the backing of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the Nationalists won the Battle of the Ebro and cut the Republican territory in two. At that point, Franco targeted Catalonia, the autonomous, distinct region around Barcelona, which was a Republican stronghold. From Christmas 1938 to late January 1939, the Nationalist forces pushed back Republicans in Catalonia, collapsing the Republican government. After the city was abandoned, Nationalists rolled into the city, effectively ending serious opposition by Republican forces and allowing Francisco Franco to take control of the entire nation.