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Adhesive Propaganda Stamps of the Spanish Civil War from Special Collections & Archives

The Home Front

From the very outset of the conflict, Spanish society was confronted with the grim toll of total war. The groupings that follow are meant to capture a sense of the situation. The cities became home to growing populations of displaced persons, the wounded, militia organizers, orphaned children, and others. In addition to publicizing these groups, in some cases the stamps below served as fundraising tools to provide sources of aid.


Wounded soldiers were sent to Spain's larger cities from frontline field hospitals. Those who were badly wounded and were unable to return to the front continued to grow in number and became an increasingly visible reminder of war in the streets.

Children and Orphans

The experience of total war was a new challenge for Spanish children. Rushed evacuations from advancing Nationalist forces and bombardment of civilian areas created a new swell of orphans. An interesting set of green stamps above appears to advertise a meeting on the status of children.

Militia Groups

Though not civilian in nature, militias organized along political lines maintained a significant presence behind the front, where they assisted with civil order, recruited new volunteers, and organized protection from aerial and naval bombardment. One interesting stamp in this collection commemorates the Battle of El Bruc (1808), a Spanish victory over Napoleonic forces during the Peninsular War.

The Rearguard

Use of the term “rearguard” to refer to the general civilian population was designed to stress the significant role of those not directly fighting in the war had to play on the outcome of the conflict. The idea here is most closely associated with women and children, but, in some cases, use of the term was extended to factory workers and other individuals.


Fear of violent reprisals in areas captured by the Nationalists forced an growing number of war refugees into the shrinking territory of the Republican zone. The close ties of fascist Portugal to the Nationalist government and a sealed border with France complicated efforts to leave the country.

Social Assistance

The victory of the Popular Front at the polls in early 1936 was seen to herald a revived commitment toward the creation of modern welfare programs in Spain. Though seriously derailed by the exigencies of wartime planning, concern for the general well-being was still an important theme during the war


Solidarity amongst Spaniards of differing political viewpoints and with leftist brethren abroad provided an important rallying theme for much of the war. The stamps above advertise a domestic group formed around this notion and a South American group organized around a similar premise.