Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean 20 July 1936 (Outbreak of the Spanish Civil War): In Spain, tensions had been rising between the reformist republican government (Second Spanish Republic) and conservative nationalist elements. In July 1936, the Nationalists rose up (Spanish coup of July 1936), seizing control of much of the Spanish countryside. In the ensuing Civil War (Spanish Civil War), Germany and Italy would be able to test their new armaments by supporting the Nationalists while the Soviet Union supported the Republicans.