The Second Spanish Republic survived unchallenged for a mere five years, its fall plunging Spain into a bitter civil war. The brief political history of the republic was characterized by the rapid polarization of right and left - a process in which religion played a crucial role. Many of theordinary faithful came to feel excluded from the new Republic, whilst those who aspired to lead them insisted that to be Catholic was to be anti-Republican.Mary Vincent examines this crucial period in Spanish history, focusing on Salamaca, the home province of the leader of the principal confessional party. Jose Maria Gil Robles, and the place where the right mobilized earlier than anywhere else in Spain. The author demonstrates how political choicewas eroded under the Second Republic, and reveals how popular religiosity came to be the right's most potent weapon.This original and important new analysis throws new light on the origins of the Spanish Civil War and on the controversies over who bore ultimate responsibility for the conflict.