The Civil War (1936–39)
The garrisons of Spanish Morocco rose on 17 July 1936, a day earlier than planned. In the early hours of 18 July, Franco sent a telegram from Las Palmas to the eight regional headquarters of the army in mainland Spain and to thirty-one other garrisons. ‘Glory to the Army of Africa’, it began. It went on:
As in his letter of 23 June to Santiago Casares Quiroga, there was a certain ambiguity in this message, such that, had the rising failed, Franco might have argued that it was a gesture of solidarity towards the defenders of the Republic. Similarly, a manifesto issued by Franco and broadcast later that day by the local radio in Las Palmas left some room for manoeuvre, should it prove useful. Certainly, it justified the rebellion as a military duty, necessary to save the Fatherland from anarchy; but it did not say that the objective was the overthrow of the Republic.