German Involvement in the Spanish Civil War

World History teaching resources for the high school classroom: lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes and simulation games for KS3, IGCSE, IB and A-Level teachers.

German Involvement in the Spanish Civil War is the sourcework topic for the IGCSE Sourcework Paper in 2009.
Here is a complete scheme of work to ensure that students maximise their chances in the examination for this topic.

1. Causes of the Spanish Civil War [interactive]
Students use this interactive newsfeed to develop an understanding of the main events leading up to the Spanish Civil War, which they then categorise into social, economic, military and political factors. They produce a biased account from either a Republican or a Nationalist perspective, then consolidate their knowledge by producing a learning diagram using

2. Causes of the Spanish Civil War: Sourcework
A series of pictorial and written sources with questions about the causes of the Spanish Civil War designed to familiarise students with the format of the IGCSE Sourcework examination.

3. Which Party Would You Have Supported During the Spanish Civil War? [interactive]
An interactive simulation. Rank the problems facing Spain which are the most urgent, then select which policies you think are the most appropriate response for each. At the end of the simulation you will then be told which party most closely matched your own preferences. Complete with a detailed worksheet to help students compare and contrast the various parties on the eve of the Civil War.

4. What was the International Significance of the Spanish Civil War?
This worksheet outlines why the Spanish Civil War was so important in an international sense. The roles of the major powers are outlined and compared and cartoons relating to the non-intervention committee are analysed.

5. Why did Germany get involved in the Spanish Civil War?
Students analyse a series of written sources - primary and secondary - to develop an understanding of why Germany got involved in the Spanish Civil War. By comparing, contrasting, organising points under key headings and summarising their findings, students will end this lesson with a sound grasp of Germany's motives. Sourcework questions invite students to consider the reliability of the sources and expand on each with elements of background knowledge: key skills for the IGCSE sourcework paper. Students could also use this interactive Diamond 9 diagram at

6. What did Germany contribute to the Spanish Civil War?
A decision-making exercise. Students are asked a series of questions about how they think Hitler should have organised his help to Franco's Nationalists. The teacher then tells the students what actually happened in each case so that the class can discuss the merits and drawbacks of each policy. Sourcework questions round the exercise off.

7. Case study of German involvement: Guernica
The most notorious example of German involvement in the Spanish Civil War was when the Nazi Condor Legion bombed the Basque city of Guernica. This lesson investigates the event through a detailed analysis of Picasso's painting provided by Simon Schama's excellent documentary (available here).

8. What were the main events of the Spanish Civil War?
Students should be provided with this interactive newsfeed covering the main events of the Spanish Civil War and then divide these into "Good news for the Republic" and "Bad news for the Republic". They then have to use their own knowledge of international events in the 1930s to add a final column in the timeline placing each event in its international context: this "Play Your Dates Right" quiz could be used to help students with this. To round off, they precis two interesting sources: one from Dolores Ibarruri, and one from Ernest Hemingway, each giving their verdict on the role of the International Brigades. A second Play your Dates Right quiz tests knowledge of both the events leading up to the war and of the war itself and works particularly well when displayed on an interactive whiteboard with teams pitted against each other to get the best score.

9. What were the consequences of the Spanish Civil War for Spain and for the International Community?
Students are provided with a list of essential points relating to the international consequences of the Spanish Civil War. These are analysed in terms of what Hitler's objectives were, and what the actual results were - thereby keeping a close focus on the subject of the sourcework paper for 2009 (Germany Involvement in the Spanish Civil War). The class is then asked to consider how crucial German involvement in the Spanish Civil War was in terms of Franco's victory. Sourcework questions round the worksheet off.

10. Sourcework Examination Practice: German Involvement in the Spanish Civil War
A 90-minute sourcework exercise in the format of the IGCSE exam. There is a generic markscheme for this exercise which can be used by teachers.

11. Interactive Cartoon Analysis: German involvement in the Spanish Civil War
Five cartoons, 10 questions: students provide their own answers using the writing framework provided, then they can compare their answers alongside model answers which I have written to help them revise. A great way to develop sourcework skills.


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