Before the Spanish Civil War, there were several issues that caused tension and division in Spain. The main ones appeared because the government tried to attack those that had too many privileges in society. But in doing this, it angered those sectors of society that had the potential to fight back (the military, industrialists, land owners and the Roman Catholic Church). These four, very powerful bodies, were unwilling to support the republican government. They were also aware that there were countries in Europe that would be willing to give support to their plight as many nations in Europe were scared of communism and Stalin's Russia. Fascist Italy under Mussolini would be an obvious ally as would Germany once Hitler had got power in January 1933. There were also economic, political and regional causes that led to the war.
The weakness of the government was a major factor in the instability of Spain, causing as a long- term cause, the war. From 1871 Spain had been a constitutional monarchy, with a king (Alfonso XIII) and a prime minister. However, the government was inefficient and corrupt. Even though the courts (parliament) was elected by the male population, the ones that actually controlled it were the wealthy oligarchs. King Afonso XIII wasn't a modernizer, and after the defeat in Morocco, the post- World War I, and the Depression, the king was being pressured. In 1923, the King Afonso XIII didn't resist the coup of general Primo de Rivera, who ruled as a military dictator until 1930. Rivera introduced public works schemes building roads and irrigating the land. Industrial production increased by three times from 1923 to 1930. Rivera also ended the rebellion in Morocco in 1925. However, the Wall Street Crash of the 1930's hit Spain hard. Unemployment rose and Rivera did not have the ability to sort out Spain's financial mess. The army withdrew its support and Rivera had to resign.