Recent Changes - Search:


<< 1935 CE | 1931-1940 CE | 1937 CE >>

1936 was a year of great labor disputes around the world. The terrible economic condition, worsened by the Great Dust Bowl make like difficult in the U.S. Midwest.


§East Africa

May 5 – Italian forces occupy Addis Ababa.

May 7 – Italy annexes Ethiopia. Victor Emmanuel assumed the crown of the Emperor of Ethiopia. His decision to do this was not universally accepted. Victor Emmanuel was only able to assume the crown after the Italian Royal Army invaded Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and had overthrown Emperor Haile Selassie during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.

May 9 – Italian East Africa is formed from the Italian territories of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland.



December 12 – Xi'an Incident: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China is kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang.


February 26 – The Imperial Way Faction engineers a failed coup against the Japanese government; some politicians are killed.

February 29 – Emperor Hirohito orders the Japanese army to arrest 123 conspirators in Tokyo government offices; 19 of them are executed in July.

March 9 – Pro-democratic militarist Keisuke Okada steps down as Prime Minister of Japan and is replaced by radical militarist Koki Hirota.

November 26 – The Anti-Comintern Pact is signed by Germany and Japan.



June 7 - The general strike in France is ended by the Matignon Agreements.


February 6 – The IV Olympic Winter Games open in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

March 7 – In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Nazi Germany reoccupies the Rhineland.

August 1 – The 1936 Summer Olympics open in Berlin, Germany, and mark the first live television coverage of a sports event in world history.

August 3 – African-American athlete Jesse Owens wins the 100-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics.

August 30 – Ernest Nash flees Germany for Rome. Nash first went to Italy with a goal of documenting in photographs the ancient ruins of Rome, Ostia, and Pompeii. The main reason for fleaing Potsdam was the institution of the racial laws by Adolf Hitler. He emigrated to the United States in 1939, but returned to Italy in 1952 to continue his work. He established the Fototeca Unione archive at the American Academy in Rome in 1957 and served as its director.

November 26 – The Anti-Comintern Pact is signed by Germany and Japan.

December 1 – Hitler makes it Mandatory that Boys 10 to 18 join Hitler Youth

§Great Britain

January 20 – King George V of the United Kingdom dies. His eldest son succeeds to the throne, becoming Edward VIII. The title Prince of Wales is not used for another 22 years.

May 27 - British luxury liner RMS Queen Mary leaves Southampton on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic

December 10-11 – King Edward VIII signs an instrument of abdication at Fort Belvedere in the presence of his three brothers, The Duke of York, The Duke of Gloucester and The Duke of Kent.

December 11

  • The British Parliament passes His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 on behalf of the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
  • The King performs his last act as sovereign by giving royal assent to the Act.
  • Prince Albert, Duke of York, becomes King, ruling as King George VI.
  • The abdicated King Edward VIII, now HRH Prince Edward, makes a broadcast to the nation explaining his decision to abdicate. He leaves the country for Austria.


May 27 - The first flight by the Irish airline Aer Lingus takes place.

December 12 – The Irish Free State passes the External Relations Act to legislate for Edward VIII's abdication in that realm.


October 25 – Rome-Berlin Axis is formed. The Axis powers (also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis) comprised the countries that were opposed to the Allies during World War II. The three major Axis powers - Germany, Italy, and Japan - were part of a military alliance on the signing of the Tripartite Pact in September 1940, which officially founded the Axis powers.


July 17, beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

In the 1936 Elections a new coalition of Socialists (Socialist Workers Party of Spain, PSOE), liberals (Republican Left and the Republican Union Party), Communists, and various regional nationalist groups won the extremely tight election. The results gave 34 percent of the popular vote to the Popular Front and 33 percent to the incumbent government of the CEDA. This result, when coupled with the Socialists' refusal to participate in the new government, led to a general fear of revolution. This was made only more apparent when Largo Caballero, hailed as "the Spanish Lenin" by Pravda, announced that the country was on the cusp of revolution. However these statements were meant only to remove any moderates from his coalition. Moderate Socialist Indalecio Prieto condemned the rhetoric and marches as provocative.

Aims of the Popular Front

From the Comintern's point of view the increasingly powerful, if fragmented, left and the weak right were an optimum situation. Their goal was to use a veil of legitimate democratic institutions to outlaw the right and to convert the state into the Soviet vision of a "people's republic" with total leftist domination, a goal which was repeatedly voiced not only in Comintern instructions but also in the public statements of the PCE (Communist Party of Spain).

Azaña becomes president

Without the Socialists, Prime Minister Manuel Azaña, a liberal who favored gradual reform while respecting the democratic process, led a minority government. In April, parliament replaced President Niceto Alcalá-Zamora, a moderate who had alienated virtually all the parties[citation needed], with Azaña. The removal of Zamora was made on specious grounds and in violation of the constitution. Although the right also voted for Zamora's removal, this was a watershed event which inspired many conservatives to give up on parliamentary politics. Azaña was the object of intense hatred by Spanish rightists, who remembered how he had pushed a reform agenda through a recalcitrant parliament in 1931–33. Joaquín Arrarás, a friend of Francisco Franco, called him "a repulsive caterpillar of red Spain." The Spanish generals particularly disliked Azaña because he had cut the army's budget and closed the military academy while war minister (1931). CEDA turned its campaign chest over to army plotter Emilio Mola. Monarchist José Calvo Sotelo replaced CEDA's Gil Robles as the right's leading spokesman in parliament.

Rising tensions and political violence

This was a period of rising tensions. Radicals became more aggressive, while conservatives turned to paramilitary and vigilante actions. According to official sources, 330 people were assassinated and 1,511 were wounded in politically-related violence; records show 213 failed assassination attempts, 113 general strikes, and the destruction (typically by arson) of 160 religious buildings.

Deaths of Castillo and Calvo Sotelo

On July 12, 1936, in Madrid, a far right group murdered Lieutenant José Castillo of the Assault Guards, a special police corps created to deal with urban violence, and a Socialist. The next day, leftist gunman Luis Cuenca killed José Calvo Sotelo, a leader of the conservative opposition in the Cortes (Spanish parliament), in revenge. Cuenca was operating in a commando unit of the Assault Guard led by Captain Fernando Condés Romero. Condés was close to the Socialist leader Indalecio Prieto, but there is no indication that Prieto was complicit in Cuenca's assassination of Calvo Sotelo. However, the murder of such a prominent member of parliament, with involvement of the police, aroused suspicions and strong reactions amongst the Center and the Right.[18] Calvo Sotelo was the leading Spanish monarchist. He protested against what he viewed as escalating anti-religious terror, expropriations, and hasty agricultural reforms, which he considered Bolshevist and anarchist. He instead advocated the creation of a corporative state and declared that if such a state was fascist, he was also a fascist.

He also declared that Spanish soldiers would be mad to not rise for Spain against Anarchy. In turn, the leader of the communists, Dolores Ibarruri, known as La Pasionaria, allegedly vowed that Calvo Sotelo's speech would be his last speech in the Cortes. Although the Nationalist generals were already at advanced stages of planning an uprising, the event is seen by some as a catalyst for what followed.

Outbreak of the war

Nationalist military revolt

On July 17, 1936, the nationalist-traditionalist rebellion long feared by some in the Popular Front government began. Its beginning was signaled by the phrase "Over all of Spain, the sky is clear" that was broadcast on the radio. Casares Quiroga, who had succeeded Azaña as prime minister, had in the previous weeks exiled the military officers suspected of conspiracy against the Republic, including Puerto Rico-born General Manuel Goded Llopis and General Francisco Franco, sent to the Balearic Islands and to the Canary Islands, respectively. Both generals immediately took control of these islands. A British MI6 intelligence agent, Major Hugh Pollard, then flew Franco to Spanish Morocco in a de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide to see Juan March Ordinas, where the Spanish Army of Africa, led by Nationalist ranks, were almost unopposed in assuming control.

Government reaction

The rising was intended to be a swift coup d'état, but was botched in certain areas allowing the government to retain control of parts of the country. At this first stage, the rebels failed to take any major cities — in Madrid they were hemmed into the Montaña barracks. The barracks fell the next day with much bloodshed. In Barcelona, anarchists armed themselves and defeated the rebels. General Goded, who arrived from the Balearic islands, was captured and later executed. However, the turmoil facilitated anarchist control over Barcelona and much of the surrounding Aragonese and Catalan countryside, effectively breaking away from the Republican government. The Republicans held on to Valencia and controlled almost all of the Eastern Spanish coast and central area around Madrid. Except for Asturias, Cantabria and part of the Basque Country, the Nationals took most of northern and northwestern Spain and also a southern area in central and western Andalusia including Seville.

The combatants

Republicans (also known as Spanish loyalists) received weapons and volunteers from the Soviet Union, Mexico, the international Socialist movement and the International Brigades. The Republicans ranged from centrists who supported a moderately capitalist liberal democracy to revolutionary anarchists and communists; their power base was primarily secular and urban, but also included landless peasants, and it was particularly strong in industrial regions like Asturias and Catalonia. This faction was called variously the "loyalists" by its supporters, the "Republicans", "the Popular Front" or "the Government" by all parties, and "the reds" by its enemies.

The conservative, strongly Catholic Basque country, along with Galicia and the more left-leaning Catalonia, sought autonomy or even independence from the central government of Madrid. This option was left open by the Republican government.[24] All these forces were gathered under the "Ejército Popular Republicano" (EPR) or Republican Popular Army.

Scholar Stanley G. Payne claimed that by the time of the outbreak of war Republicans had abandoned constitutional republicanism for leftist revolution:

The leftist zone has been variously designated "Republican," "loyalist," and "Popular Front." Of those terms, the adjective "loyalist" is somewhat misleading, for there was no attempt to remain loyal to the constitutional Republican regime. If that had been the scrupulous policy of the left, there would have been no revolt and civil war in the first place. Thus after July 1936 what remained of the constitutional Republic gave way to the "revolutionary Republican confederation" of 1936–1937.

The Nationalists

The Nationalists on the contrary opposed the separatist movements, but were chiefly defined by their anti-communism and their fear of Spain breaking up, which served as the galvanizing agent of diverse or even opposed movements like falangists or monarchists. This side was called the "Nationalists", the "rebels", or the "insurgents". Their opponents referred to them as the Fascists or Francoists.

Their leaders had a generally wealthier, more conservative, monarchist, landowning background, and they favoured the centralization of state power. In turn, their support for the Catholic Church, provided them with popular support.[citation needed] Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, as well as most Roman Catholic clergy, supported the Nationalists, while Portugal's Estado Novo provided logistical support. Their forces were gathered into the "Ejército Nacional" or National Army.

Other factions in the war

The active participants in the war covered the entire gamut of the political positions and ideologies of the time. The Nationalist (nacionales) side included the Carlists and Legitimist monarchists, Spanish nationalists, the Falange, Catholics, and most conservatives and monarchist liberals. On the Republican side were socialists, communists, liberals and anarchists. Catalan and Basque nationalists were not univocal. Left-wing Catalan nationalists were on the Republican side. Conservative Catalan nationalists were far less vocal supporting the Republican government due to the anti-clericalism and confiscations occurring in some areas controlled by the latter (some conservative Catalan nationalists like Francesc Cambó actually funded the rebel side). Basque nationalists, heralded by the conservative Basque nationalist party, were mildly supportive of the Republican government, even though Basque nationalists in Álava and Navarre sided with the uprising for the same reasons influencing Catalan conservative nationalists.

To view the political alignments from another perspective, the Nationals included the majority of the Catholic clergy and of practicing Catholics (outside of the Basque region), important elements of the army, most of the large landowners, and many businessmen. The Republicans included most urban workers, most peasants, and much of the educated middle class, especially those who were not entrepreneurs.

The genial monarchist General José Sanjurjo was the figurehead of the rebellion, while Emilio Mola was chief planner and second in command. Mola began serious planning in the spring, but General Francisco Franco hesitated until early July, inspiring other plotters to refer to him as "Miss Canary Islands 1936." Franco was a key player because of his prestige as a former director of the military academy and the man who suppressed the Socialist uprising of 1934. Warned that a military coup was imminent, leftists put barricades up on the roads on July 17. Franco avoided capture by taking a tugboat to the airport. From there he was flown to Morocco by British intelligence, where he took command of the battle-hardened colonial army in Spanish Morocco. Sanjurjo was killed in a plane crash on July 20, leaving effective command split between Mola in the north and Franco in the South. Franco was chosen overall commander at a meeting of ranking generals at Salamanca on September 21. He outranked Mola and by this point his Army of Africa had demonstrated its military superiority.

One of the Nationalist's principal claimed motives was to confront the anti-clericalism of the Republican regime and to defend the Roman Catholic Church, which had been the target of attacks, and which many on the Republican side blamed for the ills of the country. Even before the war religious buildings were burnt and clergy killed without action on the part of the Republican authorities to prevent it. As part of the social revolution taking place, others were turned into Houses of the People. Similarly, many of the massacres perpetrated by the Republican side targeted the Catholic clergy. Franco's Moroccan Muslim troops found this repulsive as well, and for the most part fought loyally and often ferociously for the Nationalists. Articles 24 and 26 of the Constitution of the Republic had banned the Jesuits, which deeply offended many within the conservatives. The revolution in the republican zone at the outset of the war, killing 7,000 clergy and thousands of lay people, constituted what Stanley Payne called the "most extensive and violent persecution of Catholicism in Western History, in some way even more intense than that of the French Revolution", driving Catholics, left then with little alternative, to the Nationalists even more than would have been expected. After the beginning of the Nationalist coup, anger flared anew at the Church and its role in Spanish politics. Notwithstanding these religious matters, the Basque nationalists, who nearly all sided with the Republic, were, for the most part, practicing Catholics.

Republican sympathizers proclaimed it as a struggle between "tyranny and democracy", or "fascism and liberty", and many non-Spanish youth, committed reformers and revolutionaries joined the International Brigades, believing that the Spanish Republic was the front line of the war against fascism. Franco's supporters, however, portrayed it as a battle between the "red hordes" of communism and anarchism on the one hand and "Christian civilization" on the other. They also stated that they were protecting the Establishment and bringing security and direction to what they felt was an ungoverned and lawless society.

The Republicans were also split among themselves. The left and Basque or Catalan nationalist conservatives had many conflicting ideas. The Cortes (Spanish Parliament) consisted of 16 parties in 1931. When autonomy was granted to Catalonia and the Basque Provinces in 1932, a nationalist coup was attempted but failed. An attempt by the communists to seize control resisted by anarchists resulted in the massacre of hundreds of rebels and intra civil war between anarchists and communists in Catalonia.


§U.S. Religion

June 29 - Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI, "ON THE MOTION PICTURE" VIGILANTI CURA

In August 1934, addressing Ourselves to a delegation of the International Federation of the Motion Picture Press, We pointed out the very great importance which the motion picture has acquired in our days and its vast influence alike in the promotion of good and in the insinuation of evil, and We called to mind that it is necessary to apply to the cinema the supreme rule which must direct and regulate the great gift of art in order that it may not find itself in continual conflict with Christian morality or even with simple human morality based upon the natural law. The essential purpose of art, its raison d'être, is to assist in the perfection of the moral personality, which is man, and for this reason it must itself be moral. And We concluded amidst the manifest approval of that elect body - the memory is still dear to Us - by recommending to them the necessity of making the motion picture "moral, an influence for good morals, an educator". ...Given at Rome, at St Peter's, the 29th day of June, Feast of SS Peter and Paul, in the year 1936, the fifteenth of Our Pontificate.

§Middle East


August 26 – Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 is signed. The treaty required the United Kingdom to withdraw all troops from Egypt except those necessary to protect the Suez Canal and its surroundings, 10,000 troops plus auxiliary personnel. The UK would also supply and train Egypt's army and assist in its defense in case of war. The treaty was signed on August 26 in Zaafarana palace and ratified on December 22 and was to last for 20 years.


April 19 – The 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine against the British government and opposition to Jewish immigration begins.


September – Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence (1936) is signed.

§North America


November 2 - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) begins radio in Canada.

§United States

January 16 – Serial killer Albert Fish is executed in Sing Sing Prison.

March 1 – Construction of Hoover Dam is completed.

March 17-18 – St. Patrick's Day Flood: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, suffers the worst flooding in its history.

April 3 – Bruno Richard Hauptmann, convicted of kidnapping and killing Charles Lindbergh III, is executed in New Jersey.

The Dust Bowl covered one hundred million acres in parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, and left thousands dead, diseased and destitute.

April 5 – A tornado hits Tupelo, Mississippi, killing 216 and injuring over 700 (the 4th deadliest tornado in U.S. history).

April 6 – Two tornadoes strike Gainesville, Georgia. The smaller tornado hits north Gainsville, the stronger tornado the west side of town. 203 die and 1,600 are injured in the 5th deadliest tornado in U.S. history.

June - A major heat wave strikes North America; high temperature records are set and thousands die.

June 30 – Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind is first published.

July 11 – Triborough Bridge in New York City is opened to traffic.

July 13 – 14 – Peak of July 1936 heat wave: The U.S. states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana all set new state records for high temperature. At Mio in northern Michigan, it soars to 113°F (45°C).

August 14 - Rainey Bethea is hung in Owensboro, Kentucky, in the last public execution in the United States. Bethea, who was black, confessed to the rape and murder of a 70-year-old white woman named Lischia Edwards, and after being convicted of her rape, he was publicly hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky. Mistakes in executing the hanging and the surrounding media circus contributed to the end of public executions in the United States. It was estimated that a crowd of 20,000 people gathered to watch the execution, with thousands coming from out of town expecting to see the hanging of a man by a woman. Arthur L. Hash, a former Louisville police officer, who offered his services free of charge to perform the execution. G. Phil Hanna placed the noose around Bethea's neck, adjusted it, and then signaled to Hash to pull the trigger. Instead, Hash, who was drunk, did nothing. Hanna shouted at Hash, "Do it!" and a deputy leaned onto the trigger which sprung the trap door. Many newspapers, having spent considerable sums of money to cover the first execution of a man by a woman, were disappointed and took liberties with their reporting, describing it as a "Roman Holiday," falsely reporting that the crowd rushed the gallows to claim souvenirs, some even falsely reporting Thompson fainted at the base of the scaffold. Afterwards, Hanna complained that Hash should not have been allowed to perform the execution in his drunken condition. Hanna further said it was the worst display he experienced in the 70 hangings he had supervised.

November 12 – In California, the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.

November 25 – The Abraham Lincoln Brigade sails from New York City on its way to the Spanish Civil War as volunteers in the war.

§U.S. Business

May 12 – The Santa Fe railroad in the United States inaugurates the all-Pullman Super Chief passenger train between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California.

May 25 – The Remington Rand strike of 1936–1937 begins, spawning the notorious "Mohawk Valley formula," a corporate plan for strikebreaking.

June 7 - The Steel Workers Organizing Committee is founded in the United States.

December 29 – The United Auto Workers begins the Flint Sit-Down Strike in Flint, Michigan.

§U.S. Entertainment

January 31 – The Green Hornet radio show debuts.

February 17 The first superhero to wear a skin-tight costume and mask, The Phantom, makes his first appearance in U.S. newspapers.

June 29 - President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented George M. Cohan with the Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to World War I morale, in particular the songs "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "Over There."

§U.S. Politics

November 3 – U.S. presidential election, 1936: Franklin D. Roosevelt is reelected to a second term in a landslide victory over Alf Landon. Farmers support Roosevelt.


§Soviet Union

May 2 – Peter and the Wolf, a Russian fairy tale of Sergei Prokofiev's composition, debuts at the Nezlobin Theater in Moscow, Soviet Union.

August 19 - The first of the Moscow Trials begins in the Soviet Union. The Moscow Trials were a series of trials of political opponents of Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge.

§South Pacific

§Tasmania (Australia)

September 7 – The last surviving Tasmanian Tiger dies in Hobart Zoo in Tasmania.


<< 1935 CE | 1931-1940 CE | 1937 CE >>

Edit - History - Print - Recent Changes - Search
Page last modified on June 13, 2016, at 12:07 AM