Fall of Irun Isolates Republican Spain

Saturday 5th September 1936


The insurgents won a key battle against the Republicans in the north west of Spain when they captured the town of Irun, sitting on the frontier with France. This left the Spanish Basque country as isolated  enclave, cut off from the rest of Republican Spain and from from any possible help from the North: not that the French government was inclined to give any. Perhaps more important, it denied access to refuge in France to the Basque Republicans, whom Franco defeated the following year. About 8,000 Republicans from Irun were able to flee into France, of whom a quarter at least went back to Spain to continue the fight in Catalonia.

Irun was devastated. It had been shelled by insurgent warships as well as being bombed. The Republicans murdered four of the hostage they had been holding, but the rest escaped.


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