In my continuing education about all things Spain, I am currently reading a fascinating history of the Basque nation, and finally got to the chapter on the bombing of Guernica.
What is very strange about this component of the Spanish Civil War is that the Basques were traditionally allies of the Church and the Right-wing Carlist forces (the same people who were Franco's base).
What Franco could not tolerate is the Basque people's desire for autonomy from Madrid. Even though they were ideologically similar, they had to be destroyed because they had the nerve to ally themselves with the equally independence-minded Catalonians.
Franco was, after all, a pragmatist.
In two months, we should be bicycling in Catalonia. Lots to do before then.
I hope to visit the Madrid museum where Picasso's Guernica resides. It's pretty close to our hotel (not an accident).
Of course, reading about Europe in the 30's brings up scary parallels with our current times. Don't say I didn't warn you.