Medieval Siege, Modern Propaganda

Friday 18th September 1936



The town of Toledo fell to government forces in Spain after a siege of 63 days, which had begun with the Civil War itself. This extended the government’s hold on central Spain. The insurgent forces holding the town had refused offers from the besieging Republicans to give quarter to women and children. Then as today, the propaganda value of civilian casualties was clearly recognised.


The Alcazar, the originally medieval fortress at the centre of the town, continued to hold out in a memory of the sieges of earlier times. The detonation of two massive mines in tunnels under the fortress failed to subdue the defenders, although they destroyed one tower. As armies were to learn over the next few years, ruins offered better defences than intact buildings.

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