The first Republican government came to power in 1931 replacing the Bourbon monarchy. During its first three years both the workers and peasants as well as the ruling class realised that bourgeois democracy could not guarantee their interests. When the masses began to take matters into their own hands the ruling class defended their system with fascism.
Franco declared a coup in July 1936. The workers rallied to organise and arm themselves to run the economy and effectively confront the fascist rebellion. The Republican bourgeois government were more afraid of the workers than they were of the fascists. They tried to prevent any movement of the workers which emptied the struggle of any real meaning.
The Spanish working class lacked a genuinely revolutionary party and leadership. Their leaders entered the bourgeois popular front government and became the main obstacle in the path of the revolution. The deep wounds of the conflict are still keenly felt today as the contradictions remain unresolved in Spanish society.