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Spain (Spanish: España), officially the Spanish Republic (Spanish: República Española), is a sovereign state largely located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, with archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, and several small territories on and near the north African coast.
Spain became engulfed in a civil war between Republicans led by President Manuel Azaña and the Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco. The war ended in 1939 with a victory for the Nationalists with Franco as Head of State.
Following Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Francisco Franco supported the Germans in their invasion and declared war on Britain and France. Spain was instrumental in the invasion of France as well as the North Africa campaign. Despite these early successes, the tides began to turn once the United States joined the war in favor of the Allies. Spain was effectively cut off from its Axis allies following the Allied invasion of Italy and Operation Overlord.
Francisco Franco, much like Benito Mussolini in Italy, was overthrown by his fellow Spaniards in September 1944. Franco managed to avoid capture with the help of loyal party members. Franco was eventually captured in April of 1945 by Allied troops with help from the Provisional Spanish Government. After being put on trial with many other Axis leaders, Franco was found guilty for crimes against humanity and was sentenced to death.
The new Spanish government soon held a referendum on whether to re-institute of the monarchy or to establish a republic. An overwhelming majority of Spaniards voted in favor of establishing a republic.