Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – Spain Strategy Guide

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Spain is one of the most interesting countries in Hearts of Iron 4. Though most of the major countries intervened in their Civil War, expecting them to join their faction in the future, Spain managed to end up doing nothing in WW2.

Hearts of Iron 4 allows players to change history, since players already know what will happen and they can play around with the fate of Spain as much as they want.

Recommended Read: Hearts of Iron 4 – Ideology Guide

The beauty with Spain is that the player has the liberty to follow any path they want and history will change either way, since nobody will likely just want to win the Civil War and not do anything afterward.

In this guide we will show you how to play as Spain, no matter what path you go down, take part in WW2, and win it all in Hearts of Iron 4.

Table of Contents

General Strategy for Spain in HOI4

Generally, the strategy is the same for most of the factions: Republicans and Nationalists play the same, while the Carlists and Anarchists are similar.

The only difference is that the Nationalists get a large number of Volunteers from the rest of the world, which gives them a huge advantage.

Generally, the most boring path is Franco’s path where the Fascists and the Monarchists work together and Spain doesn’t really do anything independently.

As the Nationalists and Republicans, your main goal will be to weaken the other side and keep control of as much territory and equipment as possible when the Civil War starts.

As the Carlists or Anarchists, you will need to make sure that both sides are weak and you can come and take over everything. This means that you can’t make the country you are controlling too powerful, since they will be your enemy in around a year after the start of the Civil War.

There will be two huge problems during the whole game as Spain: the Unplanned Offensive and Recovering From Civil War debuffs.

The first one will bring the Civil War to a standstill, and the second one will make your economy after the war worse than it was during it.

Winning as Nationalist or Republican Spain will be relatively easy, and you should be able to do it 9 times out of 10. However, Carlist and Anarchist Spain are a different animal that depends a lot on RNG.

How to Start as Spain in HOI4

The first thing you need to do is decide which path you want to go. There are 6 paths, which first start by selecting to control either Nationalist or Republican Spain in the Civil War.

Nationalist Spain has three paths: Fascist, Nationalist, and Carlist. The Fascist and the Carlist one end up fighting one another if you don’t choose the Nationalist path that unites them.

Republican Spain has three paths as well: Anarchist, Communist, or Republican. As opposed to the Nationalist branch, the rupture between the Anarchists and the Republicans/Communists is inevitable.

Though Nationalist Spain gets more Volunteers, it’s easier to win the Civil War as Republican Spain.

The focus tree allows the Republicans to get 80% of the equipment and force the Nationalists to only get 20% of the army, though this will result in you losing all your army that didn’t spawn with the Civil War.

The hardest choices are Anarchist and Carlist Spain since they need the war to be a constant three-way to survive. If any of the sides (Republican or Nationalist) defeat the other, the smaller revolution will likely lose.

So, decide which Spain you want to win it all and start planning accordingly.

National Focuses

Nationalist Spain only has two important focus choices. First, start off with A Great Spain, and then you’ll have to choose between Sin Paquito or Con Paquito.

Sin Paquito will force you to choose between the Fascists or the Carlists in the upcoming split. Con Paquito will give you the choice between unity, with Franco on top, or a Carlist uprising.

After that, you can choose whatever you want, since there aren’t many branching choices and you’ll have to chase the focuses that help you fix the country.

Republican Spain will start the game with The Popular Front. After that, they’ll have a choice between 5 large divisions or 10 smaller divisions, Nationalist Spain getting the other divisions based on this decision. Always choose Secure the Guardia Civil, which gives you the 10 divisions.

After that, the only bigger choice in the focus tree comes for Communist Spain, which has to choose between Soviet aid or being completely independent from them.

The Hinder NKVD Interference is the better choice since you don’t risk becoming a puppet of the USSR by getting too much aid from them.


Spain starts HOI4 with 7 Military Factories and 16 Civilian Factories, out of which 8 will be available for Construction. This generally does not matter since you will quickly lose it all in the upcoming Civil War.


Don’t think about building anything but Military Factories, since the war will start very early and you won’t have the capacity to think about anything else.

What you should be thinking about is where you will base your country from. In those provinces, start building Military Factories.

So, as Nationalist Spain, start building Military Factories in Galicia, Leon, Valladolid, Burgos, Western Aragon, Navarra, and Salamanca. These are guaranteed provinces that will join your side no matter what.

Carlist Spain can take over 90% of Nationalist Spain’s territories, so build in the same provinces.

If you are going to play Republican Spain, start building Mils in Madrid, Ciudad Real, Cordoba, Granada, and Murcia. During the pre-Civil War minigame, make sure to keep an eye on these provinces since you can lose them if you’re not careful.

Never build in the provinces that Nationalist Spain will 100% get, and in Eastern Aragon and Cataluna, since the Anarchists will get those two provinces.

As Anarchist Spain, build in Cataluna and Eastern Aragon. You’re likely to get many of Republican Spain’s provinces, so build on the coast if you somehow finish building in those two provinces. Valencia is a good choice to follow up.


Infantry Equipment and Artillery, that’s all you should care about. Planes aren’t a choice and the boats you have at the start are all you get.


Bring all the divisions and set a fallback line at the border of the upcoming Civil War. Nationalist Spain will always get most of the northern part of the country, so set up a line based on your allegiance.

Assign generals with the right allegiance. All of them will have a bias toward one of the two sides. Choose the ones that will help you in the upcoming war.

Unfortunately, there are no tricks or ways that you can cheese the Civil War. All you can do is to wait for it to start, since you can’t train or disband divisions.

What you should do, however, is to avoid researching anything related to the military until the Civil War starts.

Otherwise, the opposition will also learn that tech and we can generally rely on the AI to choose the wrong things to research, as opposed to the player.

So, research the basic things, and once the war starts, go for the Artillery and Infantry upgrades. Also, avoid researching the Radio, since this will give a decent advantage to the one that has it.

The Inevitable Civil War Minigame

After completing the first focus, players will get an event about the 1936 Election, which will add a whole bunch of decisions in the Decisions menu, all in the Inevitable Civil War category.

Under it, players will also see Opposition Civil War Preparation, which will show you what the other side is doing.

As you work on completing your national focus for your selected side in the war, the opposition will do the same.

So, if you are playing as Nationalist Spain, the opposition will work on completing the focuses that will make you only get 20% of the country’s equipment and also disband your whole army.

This means that Nationalist Spain will have to work on getting the Civil War started as soon as possible, while Republican Spain will do the opposite, since they get more advantages as time passes.

All the decisions for Nationalist Spain will lower the time for the Military Plot, while the ones for Republican Spain will add time. With both countries, you should attempt to use the decisions as often as possible.

For Nationalist Spain the best decisions are Political Assassination, since you will have 0% Stability for most of the game, and Sway Leader Loyalty.

For Republican Spain, the best decision is Secure Leader Loyalty, which will make sure that your side will also have some generals while increasing the time it will take for the Civil War to start.

However, this is just the first part of the minigame. The map will now have buttons that you can press to fight for control over provinces.

All the provinces at the start will be controlled by Republican Spain. Nationalist Spain will take control of 7 provinces in the north through the focus tree/decision timer.

As Nationalist Spain, your goal will be to extend your control to other provinces besides the ones you will get naturally. As Republican Spain, your goal will be to fight the control of the Nationalists.

Each green X in the province means you will get 1 division there. Getting at least 2 divisions in a province, which means 2 green X’s, will also give you control of the province in the Civil War.

The main challenge of this part of the game is deciding where you want to invest your Political Power. Getting the right balance between decisions and province control is the best way to win the Civil War.

How to Win the Civil War

The First Week

The first week is the most important part of the Civil War. During this time, you have to make sure to abuse the AI by encircling as many positions as possible and getting the closest ports of the opposition.

So, use the troops on the border to pin the divisions of traitors while using spare divisions to move around them and advance the frontline. Be careful since there is a high chance that there are hidden troops behind the frontlines that just spawned.

Select the troops that are moving and press Ctrl + B to make them lose Organization but move faster since you need to quickly reach the frontlines and trick the AI into getting encircled.

If you are too aggressive, there is a chance you’ll get encircled, so make sure to have troops to support the advance. Your main goal will be encirclements, getting Victory Points, and Supply Hubs.

If you want to play as Carlist or Anarchist Spain, always reject Volunteers since these troops will become your enemies in a year’s time.

Once 7 days have passed, the frontline will solidify, which means you’ll get 90% debuffs to Attack in all provinces in Spain.

Civil War Offensives

By opening the Decisions menu, players will start seeing buttons on the map again to prepare Offensives in the provinces.

So, after the first 7 days of the Civil War, players will get a horrible debuff that will basically stop the whole fighting in all provinces.

Players can then remove the debuff for two weeks, in which they will usually have to do all their fighting. The opposition will also have this ability, and both sides profit off of the decision.

So, let’s say you want to advance on Barcelona. This means you’ll have to open the Decisions menu and press on the Catalon Offensive button to prepare to attack. Then, you’ll have to wait 90 days for the Offensive to prepare.

After the 90 days have passed, the 90% Attack debuff will be removed from the state for 14 days, which will allow you to fight and advance as you normally would.

Both Spains will profit from this Offensive since the debuff is removed from the state, not from the Civil War participant.

In the Decisions menu, players will also see where the opposition is preparing Offensives, which will allow you to prepare to either defend or push there, using the AI against itself.

Triple Civil War

As all sides besides Carlist Spain, you will end up fighting a war on two fronts. When Anarchist Spain rises against Republican Spain, players will have to let the other two Spains fight each other.

So, stay on the defense, work on improving your economy, and let the other two fight each other. If you are Anarchist Spain, try to quickly take over the Republicans and then wait a bit to defeat the Nationalists.

The Anarchists are the easiest Spain to play as, since the Republicans are the most powerful and you can take most of their territories over.

Carlist Spain is in the worst situation since you’ll need to defeat the Nationalists quickly and prepare to defend against the other two enemies. If you plant enough cells and take over most of the Nationalists, it shouldn’t be hard to defeat them.

If Republican Spain defeats Anarchist Spain, you will always lose the Civil War, so, unfortunately, this part is RNG.

Once a single Spain remains standing, you will gain the Recovering From Civil War debuff, which will destroy your economy, which will last for 6 years.

What to Do After the Spanish Civil War

On all paths, your biggest priority will be to core your territories back and remove the Recovering From Civil War national spirit.

To do this, you will need to make sure you have a Garrison that helps with Compliance (either No Garrison, Local Autonomy, or Civilian Oversight).

Once provinces have more than 35% Compliance, you will need to press a decision to remove the Guerilla from the province for 2k Infantry Equipment, 3k Manpower, and 10 Army Experience. This will turn the province back into a Core, allowing you to get its full benefits.

Also, open the focus tree and search for “Recovering from Civil War” to find where in the focus path you can remove or alter the effects of the debuff, since you will have to wait 6 years for the horrible problem national spirit to disappear.

Once the debuff is completely gone, you can basically do whatever you want. The focus tree offers a lot of possibilities for all paths, so just have fun from this point onward.

That’s everything you need to know about how to play as Spain in Hearts of Iron 4!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

Adrian Oprea

Based in London, United Kingdom, Adrian Oprea is a Guides Writer. As a professional single-player RPG player, Adrian has often been stigmatized. He has decided to pour his frustration into writing guides!

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