The Spanish Civil War was fought from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939 between the Republicans, who were loyal to the established Spanish Republic, and the Nationalists, a rebel group led by General Francisco Franco. The Nationalists prevailed and Franco would rule Spain for the next 36 years.
The war began after a pronunciamiento (declaration of opposition) by a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces under the leadership of José Sanjurjo against the elected government of the Second Spanish Republic, at the time under the leadership of President Manuel Azaña. The rebel coup was supported by a number of conservative groups including the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right, monarchists such as the religious conservative Carlists, and the Fascist Falange.
The coup was supported by military units in Morocco, Pamplona, Burgos, Valladolid, Cádiz, Cordova, and Seville. However, rebelling units in important cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, Bilbao and Málaga were unable to capture their objectives, and those cities remained in control of the government. Spain was thus left militarily and politically divided. The rebels, led by General Franco, then embarked upon a war of attrition against the established government for the control of the country. The rebel forces received support from Nazi Germany, the Kingdom of Italy, and neighboring Portugal, while the Soviet Union and Mexico intervened in support of the "loyalist," or Republican, side. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom and France, operated an official policy of non-intervention.
Belchite is a village in the province of Zaragoza, Spain, about 40 km southeast of Zaragoza. It is the capital of Campo de Belchite comarca and is located in a plain surrounded by low hills, the highest of which is Lobo. The area around Belchite is one of the most arid places of Aragon.
In 1122 Alfonso the Battler founded the Confraternity of Belchite to defend the frontier.
On June 15, 1809, French and Spanish forces in the Peninsular War fought the Battle of María near Belchite.
Between August 24 and September 7, 1937, loyalist Spanish Republican and rebel General Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War fought the Battle of Belchite in and around the town. After 1939 a new village of Belchite was built adjacent to the ruins of the old, which remain a ghost town as a memorial to the war.
The remains of the old village have been used as filming locations in films including Terry Gilliam's 1988 film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth.