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Barcelona Travel Guide

Barcelona Feud with Italy Over 70-Year Old Bombing

Posted: Feb. 4th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Bombing of Barcelona

When was the last time you brought up a 70-year old fight? Well, oddly enough, Barcelona did just that as they are pressing Italy for an apology for a bomb run they did while Spain’s civil war went on. Benito Mussolini’s bombers helped Spanish General Francisco Franco defeat his counterpart during the war.  

His fellow eyewitnesses are dying off, but Alfonso Cánovas, 95, remembers Barcelona becoming one of the first major cities in the world to be subjected to a campaign of aerial bombardment.

"I wasn't even there for the worst of it," he said. "But I saw bombs fall, and I was told about how they bombed the Gran Vía, leaving the street littered with body parts, which also hung from the trees."

In 1938 Savoia bombers from Benito Mussolini's Italian air force rained bombs on the Spanish city as they broke non-intervention treaties to support General Francisco Franco's rightwing rebels in the Spanish civil war. The use of attacks from the air was designed to provoke panic, kill civilians and destroy morale. Within a few years, the technique would spread through war-torn Europe as cities such as Coventry, Hamburg and Dresden were subjected to blanket bombing.


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