April 1, 1939: The Spanish Civil War ends.
On March 28, 1939, Spanish Republican forces surrendered Madrid to Francisco Franco and his Nationalist army, which had besieged the capital for, by then, nearly three years. Madrid was one of the last Republican strongholds left standing in Spain after the Catalonia Offensive and the subsequent capture of Barcelona, and shortly after the fall of the capital city, the Francoists completed their total conquest of all of Spain.
Franco declared over the radio on April 1 the Nationalist victory and an end to a conflict that had cost half a million lives - and yet was still only the beginning, as the Spanish Civil War was in some ways a precursor to World War II, mostly with regard to early usage of tactics and equipment (like terror bombing and the Luftwaffe’s Stukas)that would be used throughout the later conflict. Shortly after the end of the war, the new Francoist government set out to purge and punish the new regime’s enemies, a continuation of the ongoing “White Terror”. Tens of thousands of Franco’s wartime enemies were executed or sent to labor camps or deported to Nazi concentration camps, and even those who had fled to France were soon targeted by the Vichy government, rounded up, and interned. Trade unions and all political parties except the Falange were suppressed. The end of the Spanish Civil War marked the beginning of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship (which was nominally neutral throughout World War II, though it remained friendly toward the Axis powers), a not-quite fascist regime that lasted until Franco’s death in 1975.