Friday 6 October 2017

Belchite A Spanish Civil War Town Left in Ruins

These eerie images show the decimated village of Belchite which was destroyed 80 years ago during the Spanish civil war and has remained untouched ever since, in memory of the 3,000 people who died there.
There are actually two villages named Belchite sitting side by side in the south of Spain. One is home to about 1,600 people - the other is a ghost town which was ruined during a bloody battle in 1939 and left untouched as a reminder of the destruction wreaked across the country.
It took just two weeks for Belchite to be destroyed in one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles in the summer of 1937, and it has stood as a monument to the theatre of war for almost 80 years.
At least 3,000 people died when loyalist Republicans stationed in the town launched an attack in a bid to stop General Franco's Nationalists forces advance further south in summer 1937. Although they won this particular battle, the ended up losing the war.

Monument to war: The abandoned town of Belchite, 300 kilometres west of Barcelona, has stood untouched for nearly 80 years as a monument to the battle that decimated it. It took two weeks for the town to be destroyed in one of the Spanish Civil War's bloodiest battles in 1937

Battle: At least 3,000 people died when loyalist Republicans launched an attack on the town in a bid to stop General Franco's nationalists forces advancing further south. Part of the Aragon offensive, the he battle for Belchite was led by Republican troops to seize Zaragoza, command of the river Ebro and link up with anti- Fascist forces in the north

Attack: The nationalists were supported by the International Brigade. Comprised of foreign fighters, the International Brigade volunteered to fight against the fascists. The American Lincoln Battalion made up a significant force of 3,500 fighters. Under sniper fire, the battalion was ordered to take the church in Belchite. In the first assault involving 22 men, only two survived

The Spanish Civil War was fought from 1936 to 1939 between the Republicans, who were loyal to the democratic, left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, and the Nationalists, a group led by General Francisco Franco.
The Nationalists won the war, which killed around half a million people, and Franco ruled Spain for the next 36 years, from April 1939 until his death in November 1975.
But before his victory in 1937 Nationalist forces mounted a campaign to conquer the northern provinces, a move which was fiercely resisted by the Republicans.

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