By February 1939 Barcelona had fallen and the Nationalists dominated 70 per cent of Spain, except for a tiny strip of land north of Gerona and central-eastern Spain around Madrid. By February, the loss of Republican forces on several fronts and the two-year Siege of Madrid (where Republicans repeatedly repulsed Franco’s forces, despite enduring aerial bombardments and several major battles) left the Republicans severely depleted by the loss of life and the financial cost of the war. It seemed that the Republican cause was lost. An attempt to negotiate a peace deal in March 1939 with Francisco Franco’s dictatorship failed and, on 26 March, Franco advanced on Madrid. It was an easy victory. On 27 March the Republican front collapsed, with many of the troops throwing down their weapons and walking away. Large numbers of Republicans were captured and imprisoned, with up to 200,000 executed between 1939–43.
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