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The Red and the Black The end of the myth of the Spanish Civil War
Weekly Standard ^ | July 16, 2001 | Stephen Schwartz

Posted on 01/12/2005 10:52:22 AM PST by robowombat

July 16, 2001/Vol 6, Number 41 The Red and the Black The end of the myth of the Spanish Civil War By Stephen Schwartz

The Spanish Civil War—the conflict from 1936 to 1939 between the mainly socialist and anarchist militias defending the Spanish Republic, and the right-wing forces headed by General Francisco Franco—is often described as the last purely idealistic cause of the twentieth century. Certainly this is how the intellectual tradition of the Left remembers it. For radical writers, theorists, and activists in America and England, nothing looms larger than those days when pure-hearted idealists from around the world went to Spain to help the leftist Spanish government resist the forces of Fascism and oppression.

Which means there's something almost sad, like shaking a child awake from a pleasant dream, about the appearance of Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War, the latest entry in Yale University Press's extraordinary Annals of Communism series. Edited with commentary by Ronald Radosh, Mary R. Habeck, and Grigory Sevostyanov, the volume consists of over five hundred pages of documents discovered in Russian archives. It will effect a complete overturn in historical perceptions of the twentieth-century Left. With the appearance of Spain Betrayed, the last undefiled temple of the Marxists and their admirers has been permanently undermined.

On March 2, 1938, Ernest Hemingway wrote a letter to fellow novelist John Dos Passos that for pure mean-spiritedness would be hard to exceed. In it, Hemingway accused Dos Passos of selling out, for money, the Spanish cause they had both embraced: "When people start in being crooked they usually end up being crooked about everything. . . . Honest Jack Passos'll knife you three times in the back for fifteen cents and sing Giovanezza [the fascist anthem] free. . . . There's always work . . . for anyone who thinks as you do."

The cause of Hemingway's polemic was a series of articles Dos Passos had published after returning from the territory controlled by the Republican forces, in which he exposed the extent of Soviet domination—and betrayal—of the Spanish Republic. The prime example for Dos Passos was the disappearance of his Spanish translator, José Robles, a professor at Johns Hopkins who had gone to Spain, like Dos Passos, to serve the Republic. In a sequence of events still unelucidated today, Robles fell afoul of Soviet agents and vanished, never to be seen again.

Dos Passos had gone to Spain as a valued literary asset, but while he searched for clues to the Robles case, he met a Soviet commander known as "Walter." He reported on this encounter in Partisan Review, the New York organ of the dissident left intellect, and Hemingway lambasted him for referring to the officer as a "Russian general." Hemingway wrote, "The only trouble about this, Dos, is that Walter is a Pole. . . . You didn't meet any Russian generals."

This exchange between a pair of American authors is relatively unimportant, of course, but it stands as a microcosm of the historical controversy that has surrounded the Spanish Civil War since it ended more than sixty years ago. One remarkable feature of this debate is that it has been fought exclusively on the Left; almost no intellectuals outside Spain have come forward to defend Franco, who won the war and ruled the country as a dictator for some thirty-five years. To Hemingway, the war involved resistance to the interventionist forces of Hitler and Mussolini, in which the Soviets were heroes and the Spanish people were bystanders, rather like extras in a film. Hemingway would eventually denounce the Communists, but he could not admit his own complicity in promoting them.

For Dos Passos, the fate of the Spanish, particularly the non-Communist Left, was paramount. The distortion of their struggle by the Communists, as well as the political murders the latter committed freely in Spain, marked a personal watershed: He would never again trust radical ideology.

Each of these interpretations had active partisans in the decades that followed. They included foreign volunteers who had gone to Spain to fight rather than, like Hemingway and Dos Passos, to write, but who broke into bitterly opposed factions. A group of Americans, overwhelmingly drawn from the Communist party and its fronts, had enlisted in the Moscow-controlled detachments in the Spanish Republican army, known as the International Brigades, and defended a Soviet-line mythology about the war. They had served in a separate unit, the Abraham Lincoln Battalion (whose name, inflated enough in its identification with an American president, they would in memory further inflate by calling their battalion a "brigade"). They insisted the Communists had been the best, if not the only, fighters; that nearly all others (especially the numerous anarchists and the members of a small, anti-Stalin Marxist group, the POUM or Workers' Party of Marxist Unity) were ineffective, cowardly, or traitorous; and that the conflict involved purely "liberal" goals. The Republicans, they claimed, defended an "elected, legitimate government," which was not even leftist, against a German and Italian invasion.

On the other side of the debate were those like George Orwell who fought alongside the Spanish rank and file, in a militia column of the execrated POUM. To Orwell and those like him, the Communists were sinister opportunists who sought to divert the conflict from its original, social-revolutionary aims. Indeed, Orwell saw in the war the end of the historic, high-minded tradition of European socialism and the triumph of Soviet totalitarianism within the international Left.

In general, the split between Stalin's supporters and opponents reflected a division between cynics and idealists. As depicted in a devastating memoir by the left-wing writer Josephine Herbst, The Starched Blue Sky of Spain, Hemingway shrugged off the liquidation of Dos Passos's friend Robles, while reveling in his supplies of food and other luxuries in Madrid, a city under siege in which a slice of dry bread was the typical daily ration. Herbst described herself and Dos Passos sharing the meager fare of Spanish militiamen, and virtuously declining when Hemingway leaned over the banister in his hotel and called them to breakfast, the odors of bacon, eggs, and hot coffee wafting around him.

For Hemingway, Stalinism was a form of masculine affirmation, comparable to bull-fighting, big-game hunting, or deep-sea fishing. The American veterans of the Lincoln Battalion shared this hard-shell outlook, which they have maintained as they die off, a dwindling band who denounce Orwell, not Franco, as their enemy.

By Franco's death in 1975, however, the battle of historical memory within Spain had clearly been won by the anti-Stalinists. The Muscovite claim that the war was a pure and simple struggle between democracy and international fascist aggression is largely absent from the contemporary Spanish historical discourse, in which the conflict of the 1930s is typically referred to as "la revolución." While a (right-wing) Spanish government recently granted citizenship, in a complicated bureaucratic process, to surviving International volunteers, that action was as perfunctory as it was sentimental. Much more illustrative of post-Franco Spanish reality was the election in 1984 of Ramón Fernandez Jurado to the Catalan regional parliament; forty-six years before, he had been the victim of Communist attacks as a POUM militia leader.

Neither Hemingway, nor the Lincoln Battalion combatants, nor Dos Passos, nor Orwell, would have been likely to predict such outcomes; for them, the Stalinist vision of the Spanish war, whether they loved it or hated it, seemed destined to prevail. And certainly, that picture—the dominant myth, outside Spain, for decades—answered the need of foreigners for a simplistic account, and it remained. It is difficult to imagine them anticipating that, sooner or later, at least some part of the Soviet archives would be opened—much less that it would be opened to non-Communists, and that a volume like Spain Betrayed would be the result.

It turns out that Dos Passos, not Hemingway, was right after all—as demonstrated by a report from the Pole "Walter," whose real name was Karol Swierczewski, and who, regardless of his nationality, was indeed a Soviet general. The vindication of the anti-Stalinist position on Spain does not end there. As presented in these documents, the role of the Communists, both foreign and domestic, and their role in the Spanish Republic, is appalling.

The aim of Moscow from the beginning proves to have been to take the Republic out of the hands of the non-Communist Spaniards, whether socialist or anarchist, and deposit it with Stalinist cadres. As it happens, the Communists, who had almost no following in Spain's labor movement, never gained the backing of the Spanish masses, even in the heat of the war. The Russians and their agents, notwithstanding their arrests, assassinations, and other, subtler means, never succeeded in completely suppressing their leftist critics, among either anarchists or the POUM.

As late as November 1938, Erno Gero, a sinister Hungarian sent to Spain to coordinate Soviet transformation of the Spanish regime into a "people's republic," complained that anti-Soviet socialists and anarchists, along with the "Trotskyists" of the POUM, had launched "a strong offensive . . . against the Communist Party" and its influence over the government. In one of many extraordinary admissions, Gero noted the "fear of Communists that exists in the various parties and institutions . . . owing to the growth of the Communist party's influence . . . especially in the army." The Russians' effort to destroy their left-wing rivals and gain advantage for their Spanish pawns had failed.

The character of the International Brigades, including their American participants, is equally discredited from the mouths of the Soviet functionaries. General Walter—the same one Dos Passos had met—pointed out that the fifteenth brigade, which included the Americans, was top-heavy with command staff, adding dryly, "one of the most important concerns of the command must be finding useful work for this platoon of officers." The English-speaking volunteers (including British and Canadians) seemed to have thrown away their bayonets, apparently on the assumption they would not have to do any real fighting, and did not know how to keep their rifles clean. "There was only a handful of cleaning rags in the brigade," Walter commented.

But the most shocking element of the picture, especially for those who for sixty years have witnessed the Lincoln veterans preening themselves for their antifascist virtue, consists of the marked discrimination practiced by the foreign volunteers among themselves, as well as against the Spaniards. A Soviet officer of worldwide fame in his time, under the combat alias "Kléber," commented that the "international" officers treated the Spanish troops "as the officers of the imperialist armies related to the soldiers in the colonial armies."

According to Walter, the International Brigades, inspired by slogans of worldwide unity against Fascism, were plagued by a "petty, disgusting, foul squabble about the superiority of one nationality over another. . . . Everyone was superior to the French, but even they were superior to the Spanish, who were receiving our aid and allowing us to fight against our own national and class enemies on their soil." Anti-Semitism was a serious problem among these "progressive" fighters. Above all, the International Brigades possessed transport, food, and other supplies far in excess of their Spanish counterparts, with whom they resolutely refused to "share their wealth." Walter observed "mountains of ammunition thrown out as unwanted, although that same materiel would have met the needs of Spanish brigades."

In later years, the Lincoln veterans always seemed to refer to a Spanish war completely separate from that experienced by the Spanish people. General Walter's reporting confirms that this was so: "We internationalists live our own isolated life," he wrote. International Brigade officers accounted exactly for the numbers of foreigners killed and wounded in battle, but "never knew of the casualties of the Spanish personnel."

British and American volunteers, receiving plentiful food and cigarettes from home, paid no attention to the fact that Spanish troops went for long periods of time without tobacco—a demoralizing factor in any war. It is perhaps characteristic that, in recent years, the surviving Lincoln veterans have exulted in the Spanish government's offer of recognition to the remaining International Brigaders, but ignore the fact that no veteran's benefits have been awarded to the thousands of Spanish survivors of the Republican Army.

The well-equipped foreigners, Hemingway with his food hoard and the Lincoln volunteers with their Lucky Strikes, could not win the Spanish war, no matter what their intoxication with police powers and ideological control. Agents and accomplices of Russian imperialism seeking to colonize Spain, they prevented a victory by the starving, self-sacrificing Spanish militias, who held out for three years. These forgotten, ordinary, Spanish heroes—thanks in very great part to Radosh and his team of collaborators, Yale Russian translator Mary R. Habeck and Moscow archivist Grigory Sevostyanov—may now attain, outside Spain, their rightful place in history.

By Stephen Schwartz


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: spain; spanishcivilwar
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first 1-5051-57 next last
A very interesting footnote to a conflict about which more lies have been told by the left than any other, even Viet-Nam. Fascinating and enlightening reading.
1 posted on 01/12/2005 10:52:25 AM PST by robowombat
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To: robowombat

bump


2 posted on 01/12/2005 10:57:10 AM PST by bubman
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To: robowombat

Good article. I was so disgusted by the honorary citizenship extended to these poseurs.

But somethng else should be added: "The Myth of the End of the Spanish Civil War." It's being revived right now by Zapatero, who is doing almost precisely the things that the left did prior to the Civil War, which essentially provoked it. I think we're going to see it again in our day, further complicated by the designs of the Muslims upon that country (ZP is already running around building mosques, so I guess we know who's side they'll be on). And, then as now, he has the support of all the literary twits out there, both Spanish and foreign.


3 posted on 01/12/2005 11:01:37 AM PST by livius
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To: robowombat

FWIW Orwell touched on some of these themes in his non-fiction, mainly in letters.

He grew disillusioned by the rampant corruption and the seeming betrayal of whatever ideals these fighters were supposed to have.

IIRC though it was not ideological reasons that finally took him off the line, but being shot in the throat.


4 posted on 01/12/2005 11:02:45 AM PST by Gefreiter (When seconds count, the police are minutes away.)
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To: robowombat

bump


5 posted on 01/12/2005 11:03:05 AM PST by RippleFire ("It was just a scratch")
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To: robowombat
One remarkable feature of this debate is that it has been fought exclusively on the Left; almost no intellectuals outside Spain have come forward to defend Franco, who won the war and ruled the country as a dictator for some thirty-five years.

I proudly defend Franco, who defeated the communists in Spain, and then declined to join the Axis in WW2.

6 posted on 01/12/2005 11:03:40 AM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: robowombat

Years ago, when in college, I proposed to do a research paper on the Spanish Civil War. The professor gently tried steering me towards some other subject, because, as he insisted, "There were never so many lies about any event [in Europe during the mid-20th century] than that event, and you'll be going around in circles. Everything about that war, on both sides, was lied about. There's nothing to 'research' but lies."

I did the paper anyway, and the professor was right. I came to the weak conclusion that it was a good thing Francisco Franco had won--the milder of two evils--but man, even 40 years after the event, the purely factual material was sparse, if not nonexistent.


7 posted on 01/12/2005 11:03:45 AM PST by franksolich (a fronte praecipitum, a tergo lupus)
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To: robowombat

Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia" is one of the great owrks of modern writing. It tells the story of the Communist betrayal of their "allies" and marks Orwell's loss of faith in socialism. Highly recommended. Spain is a terrific country (I have been their twice) and the Spaniards will get past their current government, no less than we outlasted the Clintons.


8 posted on 01/12/2005 11:05:22 AM PST by RKV ( He who has the guns, makes the rules.)
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To: robowombat

Bump for later reading. It's interesting how so much of the rhetoric of the Left never changes, and how so much of what passes for contemporary leftist thought can be traced right back to the world's most prolific mass murderer - Josef Stalin.


9 posted on 01/12/2005 11:05:29 AM PST by bassmaner (Let's take the word "liberal" back from the commies!!)
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To: Stingray51

bump


10 posted on 01/12/2005 11:05:32 AM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: RKV

works - yikes!


11 posted on 01/12/2005 11:05:40 AM PST by RKV ( He who has the guns, makes the rules.)
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To: franksolich; robowombat

Nothing the leftists complain about concerning Franco compares to what the communists did in Spain. They desecrated graves, killed people for being Catholic, and generally plundered the countryside.


12 posted on 01/12/2005 11:06:45 AM PST by Pyro7480 ("All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady." - Tolkien)
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To: robowombat

bump for later


13 posted on 01/12/2005 11:11:57 AM PST by ken5050
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To: Rodney King
>>>>I proudly defend Franco, who defeated the communists in Spain, and then declined to join the Axis in WW2.<<<<<

Agreed! Franco also modernized Spain's economy while preserving her morality. Arriba Espana! Viva Franco!

14 posted on 01/12/2005 11:13:34 AM PST by Thorin ("I won't be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.")
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To: Thorin; Stingray51

15 posted on 01/12/2005 11:23:04 AM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: robowombat
Anti-Semitism was a serious problem among these "progressive" fighters.

Things don't change.

16 posted on 01/12/2005 11:27:25 AM PST by skeeter (OBL "Americans" won't honor any law that interferes with their pocketbooks)
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To: bassmaner

At that time Stalin considered those on the left who did not support him a bigger threat to the Soviet Union than any fascist. He was much more worried about Trotsky than Hitler.


17 posted on 01/12/2005 11:29:16 AM PST by mainepatsfan
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To: Rodney King

I highly recommend the following book on the Spanish Civil War:

The Last Crusade: Spain: 1936

by Warren H. Carroll


18 posted on 01/12/2005 11:39:17 AM PST by Stingray51
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To: mainepatsfan
Also, Stalin appears to me to have had no interest in a communist regime in a country that didn't have a common border with the USSR. Such a regime would eventually be beyond the Man of Steel's complete control. What the Spanish Civil War was useful for was to provide a perfect cause for the newly launched Popular Front to use to provide entry for Soviet agents and stooges into various left liberal organizations and as in France government agencies. It also helped keep the 'capitalist' camp divided into a fascist and democratic wings thus reducing chances that all the 'capitalists' would sink their differences and line up against the USSR. So Stalin provided just enough military equipment to keep the Republic on its feet (at top dollar prices) and set the COMINTERN to recruiting a foreign legion (the International Brigades) to shore up the Republic on the battlefield. The goal was always to drag the war out for maximum soviet advantage never to realistically assist the Republic in winning.

Stalin's diplomacy is one of such studied duplicity that even the Borgias must salute him in Hades as being the master of the hidden maneuver and the unanticipated backstab.
19 posted on 01/12/2005 11:41:08 AM PST by robowombat
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To: mainepatsfan
Also, Stalin appears to me to have had no interest in a communist regime in a country that didn't have a common border with the USSR. Such a regime would eventually be beyond the Man of Steel's complete control. What the Spanish Civil War was useful for was to provide a perfect cause for the newly launched Popular Front to use to provide entry for Soviet agents and stooges into various left liberal organizations and as in France government agencies. It also helped keep the 'capitalist' camp divided into a fascist and democratic wings thus reducing chances that all the 'capitalists' would sink their differences and line up against the USSR. So Stalin provided just enough military equipment to keep the Republic on its feet (at top dollar prices) and set the COMINTERN to recruiting a foreign legion (the International Brigades) to shore up the Republic on the battlefield. The goal was always to drag the war out for maximum soviet advantage never to realistically assist the Republic in winning.

Stalin's diplomacy is one of such studied duplicity that even the Borgias must salute him in Hades as being the master of the hidden maneuver and the unanticipated backstab.
20 posted on 01/12/2005 11:41:37 AM PST by robowombat
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To: Stingray51

Not available on Amazon, let me know if you know where I can get one!


21 posted on 01/12/2005 11:41:49 AM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: robowombat; baseball_fan; Cincinatus' Wife; Arkancide Victim; joanie-f; snopercod
I get a chill from today’s trend toward diversity indoctrination. The course title reads: “Awareness, manners, respect and tolerance.” Great. But the class syllabus reads: “How to make a political tool, a loyal following, a cultural pipe-bomb to get what you want or get even.” And then oops! Spark! Hand gone. Country gone. Just like that.

There is an excellent book on The Spanish Civil War, by Hugh Thomas, available from Simon & Schuster. This work is a comprehensive study of the many internal forces which rendered that country asunder, sixty years ago.

While some liberal teachers have popularized the notion that the Spanish Civil War was simply fought between democratic, socialist republicans and “fascist” militarists, in fact this is a limited romantic view, born of that era, with which the world attempted to clarify the conflict in order to deal with it, and hence reinforced it.

Nearer the on-scene truth is that heroes, villains, assassins, perpetrators of miniature holocausts, and a potpourri of conflicting political powers were at work during the war --- wrestling in a tangle of alliances forged and then broken.

For within Spain, in the years leading up to the July 1936 breakout of war, powerful idealistic political factions had built upon every conceivable culturally diverse heritage . There was little East vs. West, or North vs. South, or Left vs. Right. There was mostly You or Them vs. Us, in a land of Here vs. There -- quarrels rooted in the centuries.

Every group fermented under any perceived slight and allegedly oppressive action taken by some other group. In all, these groups existed as explosive ingredients, any combination of which could ignite the whole of them by mere friction at any seemingly minor event.

Add Melting Pot vs. Balkanization to the list of Guns vs. Butter...

The altar of cultural heritage is like nuclear power --- works both ways. I’d rather have government built with Lincoln Logs than with cultural match sticks.

Mike

__

Some links to previous articles posted at Free Republic, mentioning the Spanish Civl War, or sounding like, in effect, the Spanish Civil War:

Robert D. Kaplan on global media danger, admirable character of US troops, role of American power, Robert D. Kaplan interviewed by Tucker Carlson, Dec. 11, 2004, posted to Free Republic, Dec. 12, 2004, by baseball_fan.

"Kaplan: If you go back to the 1920's and 1930's, the communist international stood for a lot of good things on paper. A lot of artists and writers went to Spain to fight against the regime there. If you ask them, they were fighting for workers' right, civil liberties, etc. It was all great sanctimonious commentary, but when you look behind the scenes, there wasn't much there and what was there was very bad. What I'm suggesting is if you look at the global media, not just America and Europe, but the Middle East and other third-world medias, you get a conglomerate, a wet blanket of sanctimony about peace, harmony, love, demilitarization. When you add it all up, will allow the worst thugocracies to emerge."

Second Officer Blasts Chavez Amid Protests--Country on "cliff's edge", by Pascal Fletcher, Feb. 8, 2002, posted to Free Republic, Feb. 8, 2002, by Cincinatus' Wife.

"CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Another Venezuelan military officer blasted President Hugo Chavez on Friday as a threat to democracy as the president's supporters and opponents staged rival protests for a second day.

A day after Air Force Colonel Pedro Soto lambasted Chavez as a "tyrant" and demanded that he resign, National Guard Captain Pedro Flores accused the president of endangering the country's democratic system through corruption and attacks on the Catholic Church, the media and "the rule of law".

"All this is carrying us to the cliff edge," Flores told reporters.

The overt discontent from inside the armed forces posed a headache for Chavez, a firebrand ex-paratrooper who is facing falling popularity, a crisis of economic confidence in his oil-rich nation and widespread criticism from home and abroad.

In a square in eastern Caracas on Friday, a small crowd of supporters of Soto and Flores held a noisy anti-government protest for a second day. At the other end of the city, followers of the president gathered outside the Miraflores palace to stage a counter-demonstration in favor of Chavez... [snip]

Flores, like Soto, accused Chavez of dragging the armed forces into politics and of trying to imitate Cuban president Fidel Castro. "At any moment, the president might try to become an exact copy of Fidel Castro, who is not exactly an object of devotion for us Venezuelans," the National Guard captain said.

Flores said he would present a written denunciation against Chavez to a human rights rapporteur from the Organization of American States (OAS) who was visiting Venezuela.

Chavez, who has stayed out of public sight since Soto's surprise outburst on Thursday, remained closeted on Friday in meetings with his ministers in the presidential palace.

In their criticism of the president, Soto and Flores echoed arguments used by Chavez' hard-line political opponents, who accuse him of trying to install a Cuban-style, authoritarian, leftist regime in Venezuela, the world's No. 4 oil exporter..." [snip]

New Hampshire to Honor Stalinists?, by William Norman Grigg, Feb. 20, 2001, The New American, posted to Free Republic, Feb. 20, 2001, by Arkancide Victim. The complete article:

"I thought the Cold War was over," protested New Hampshire state Senator Burton Cohen on February 12th after a ceremony intended to honor Granite State veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (ALB) was postponed pending a legislative hearing. Cohen and his associates apparently believed that Marxist assumptions have become so deeply embedded in our culture that an unabashedly pro-Communist display could be erected in the capitol building of the "Live Free or Die" state.

Last year the state legislature’s Joint Historical Committee voted to purchase a plaque displaying the names of 12 New Hampshire residents who enlisted in the Communist-controlled Brigade during the 1930s. The plaque contains a depiction of the Communist clenched-fist salute and an inscription that reads, in part: "You Are History, You Are Legend. 40,000 international volunteers came to the defense of the Spanish Republic when Franco, Hitler and Mussolini attacked. Among them were some 3,000 young Americans, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and nearly half of them lie buried in Spanish soil. Their dedication to freedom and democracy is an inspiration to future generations."

The plaque was to be unveiled on February 12th, to coincide with Lincoln’s birthday. However, after the Manchester Union-Leader publicized the planned event, "a coalition of legislators and veterans formed quickly, leading to the postponement announcement," reported the paper on February 19th. "The legislative leadership ordered the ceremony to be held up until a hearing could be held."

Cohen insisted that Brigade volunteers were motivated by "idealism" rather than "ideology." Ralph Rosen, a World War II Navy fighter pilot who referred to Senator Cohen as "Comrade Cohen" in a news conference, riposted that while some non-Communists enlisted out of a sense of perverted idealism, "the Abraham Lincoln Brigade was, from start to finish, a communist organization." Among the 12 New Hampshire ALB veterans whose names are listed on the plaque are Homer and Van Chase, whose mother Elba served as president of the state’s Communist Party.

Cohen and other supporters of the plaque dutifully recited the Soviet party line that the ALB was established to fight fascism, rather than to promote Communism. "The issue of ‘anti-Fascism’ proved to be a bonanza for the Comintern [Communist International] and for the Communist Party of the United States," Francis X. Gannon points out in his definitive Biographical Dictionary of the Left. "The strategy of fighting fascism through a united front naturally attracted the dedicated Communists and their inveterate fellow travellers. It also served as a magnet to attract the support of hundreds and even thousands of individuals who had never before joined – or joined with such enthusiasm – in Communist fronts."

New Hampshire state representative Tony Soltani points out that Americans who joined the Brigade "violated U.S. law and directly contravened U.S. foreign policy." While they defied U.S. law, they eagerly complied with the Kremlin’s mandates and readily submitted to Soviet discipline. "The ALB, as all other International Brigades in Spain, functioned under the domination and control of the Comintern [Communist International," reported the Subversive Activities Control Board in 1955. "Its members were subject to, and the recipients of, Communist discipline for political dissidence; a Political Commissar system organized under the leadership of Comintern agents Andre Marty and Luigi Longo, and dominated by Communists, functioned throughout the International Brigades, including the ALB, for the purpose of maintaining the political reliability of troops from the Communist viewpoint and of dispensing Communist indoctrination.... ALB members recruited Americans in Spain to be Soviet agents and were trained by Soviet personnel there and so functioned."

Celebrating Red Atrocities

According to Cohen, the plaque would provide a "history lesson" and offer inspiration for young people: "The courage demonstrated by these brave Americans should stand as a role model for young generations to come." A brief history lesson regarding the Spanish "civil war" – in fact, a Soviet-led effort to communize the Iberian peninsula – is certainly called for, and it would of necessity highlight the unfathomable anti-Christian atrocities committed by the "Republicans," with the ALG’s enthusiastic involvement.

In 1934, the Spanish left, under the leadership of Francisco Largo Caballero (who called himself the "Spanish Lenin"), decided to forsake "evolutionary" progress in favor of a violent rebellion. Within two years Spain’s political culture had disintegrated into near-anarchy, and a Soviet-constructed "Popular Front" was preparing to conduct a reign of terror. It was at this point – with the nation in mortal peril of descending into Communism – that Franco mounted the coup. For the Left, support for the "Republican" – that is, Communist – faction in the conflict became a grand crusade, one that was motivated not by a desire to establish "democracy" or freedom in Spain but rather to annihilate that nation’s Christian institutions and culture.

The Spanish "Republicans," like Communist insurrectionaries everywhere, focused their wrath on "soft targets." Under Communist leadership, writes British historian Alan Lloyd, "gangs of revolutionaries roamed the country burning churches, torturing and murdering clerics, [and] wantonly terrorizing the bourgeoisie and the upper classes. In a little over a month, an estimated 75,000 people would [meet] a senseless death at the hands of promiscuous and ignorant killers...." Historian Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn reports that Spanish Communists butchered at least 6,000 priests, friars, and nuns. Some of the nuns, he recalls, were "publicly undressed, raped, slaughtered, and exhibited on a butcher’s hook."

Kuehnelt-Leddihn, a war correspondent assigned to Spain during the "civil war," recalls a visit he made to the city of Huesca, which endured a two-year siege conducted by the Communists. Since the "forces of progress, democracy, and enlightenment could not take Huesca, they vented their spleen on the dead," he wrote. "The vulgarities, the obscenities — the corpses torn out of their graves and assembled in obscene postures — left an unforgettable impression; they were appalling witness to the noble spirit so enthusiastically supported by the American and British left" – and which Cohen seeks to commend as an example to New Hampshire’s youth.

It is also worth noting that during World War II, Franco frustrated the efforts of Hitler to seize Gibraltar, which would have made it possible for the Axis to seal off the Mediterranean. While he rebuffed Hitler’s efforts to entice Spain into joining with the Axis, Franco’s government issued tens of thousands of passports to European Jews. While FDR’s government was turning away Jewish refugees, "whole trainloads of [Jews] were welcome in Spain," observes Kuhneldt-Leddihn, making Franco’s government "the greatest protector of Jews" during World War II.

By way of contrast, Josef Stalin’s government, which organized, equipped, and directed the Abraham Lincoln brigade, entered into the infamous non-aggression pact with Hitler in 1939 – and the same international "anti-fascist" Popular Front suddenly became "isolationists" and allies of Hitler. The Soviet-Nazi gang rape of Poland essentially made the Holocaust possible. In 1944, while Franco was saving Jews, the Soviets (who had deployed the Red Army outside of Warsaw) were allowing their erstwhile Nazi co-conspirators to mop up potential Jewish resistance in Poland.

Such is the legacy of the "idealists" Cohen and his associates seek to celebrate in Concord’s State House.


22 posted on 01/12/2005 11:43:14 AM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: robowombat

Orwell saw this and that's why he has been hated by leftists even since.


23 posted on 01/12/2005 11:48:26 AM PST by mainepatsfan
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To: OHelix

bookmarked to read later


24 posted on 01/12/2005 11:49:59 AM PST by OHelix
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To: Rodney King

http://www.isi.org/books/bookdetail.aspx?id=f488432f-e90f-4b1e-a0ed-38b5b4a6ea6c

ISI Books has lots of other great titles as well.


25 posted on 01/12/2005 11:51:36 AM PST by Stingray51
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To: robowombat
I've heard various stories about how Stalin stole hugh amounts of gold from Spain. Any truth or just urban myth?
26 posted on 01/12/2005 11:51:43 AM PST by investigateworld ((now I need a shower after that trip to memory lane ! ))
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To: robowombat

I read the article with interest but was disappointed to see Schwartz end his piece by waxing poetic about the Spaniards who fought for the Republic. To this day, no one in western intellectual circles will admit that the REAL heroes of "La Revolucion" were FRANCO and his people, who put a stop to the sweeping tide of Communism and ended the killing spree of the Republicans who were indiscriminately slaughtering Royalists and Catholics in huge numbers, young and old alike. He was, and is now, relentlessly vilified because he accepted the assistance of Hitler and Mussolini in this enterprise, only after Britain and the US refused to aid his efforts. Even though he never participated in any act of aggression beyond Spanish borders after he secured victory, leftist western intellectuals could never forgive the fact that he actually prevailed against their nefarious Communist designs.

But I guess his efforts were only a holding action, given that the Spanish people of today are no better than the worst stinkpots of other skunks of Socialist Europe. Exhibit A is Zapatero and his ilk.


27 posted on 01/12/2005 11:52:12 AM PST by bowzer313
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To: First_Salute

Poland never had a chance in 1939. I flipped through by little cousin's high school history book and among many things they leave out was the Soviet invasion of Poland after the Nazis had overrun the western half of the country.


28 posted on 01/12/2005 11:52:49 AM PST by mainepatsfan
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To: Stingray51

just ordered, thanks.


29 posted on 01/12/2005 11:53:57 AM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: joanie-f; snopercod
Somewhere in the small notes of the Hugh Thomas' book, The Spanish Civil War, is mention of one of, what I call, the "match sticks."

It was the telephone.

.After World War I, ITT "descended upon" Spain and wired the country, thus connecting people in a manner that most had never known, as part of their way of life.

.The inter-networking, that resulted, brought together various portions of the country, that, until then, remained apart and thus, so-generally small, they had to be homogeneous in order to survive.

The telephone ended much of that isolation, and so, the people did not have to be so agreeable ... they began to network and find allies in their beliefs, and so some polarization began.

Sound familiar?

BTW, I loved your article about your experience with Civil War museums. I have been very, extremely busy, and I have not had time to write to anybody, nor call anybody.

I hope to catch up on my thanks you's, soon.

Thanks,

Mike

30 posted on 01/12/2005 11:57:32 AM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: bowzer313

The only good guys in the Spanish Civil War were elements of the Republicans early on...however being moderates they essentially ended up sidelined as the Anarcho-Syndicalist nutjobs and then of course the Stalinists took over the Republican movement.

Franco is no hero or someone to be admired. Keep in mind he imported Moroccan troops to commit atrocities (the sort of thing that would send FR into a fit of rage today.)

That said, Spain was better off suffering under his dictatorship for decades than under some Communist dictatorship for decades. Doesn't make Franco admirable or right.


31 posted on 01/12/2005 11:58:41 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: joanie-f; snopercod

The two sentences beginning with periods? I did not type those periods (he said). I go eat now; rest now. Adios.


32 posted on 01/12/2005 12:00:01 PM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: Rodney King

Thanks!


33 posted on 01/12/2005 12:00:31 PM PST by Thorin ("I won't be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.")
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To: investigateworld
The Spanish Republic's specie holdings were shipped to the Soviet Union for 'safekeeping' and to pay for the'socialist support' coming from Moscow. I think the book Swartz notes in this article covers this interesting chapter in European diplomatic history. Stalin ran the Soviet operations in this war in a very thrifty, one could even say capitalist manner, getting foreign 'comrades' to do the fighting and dying and the Republic to hand over its national gold holdings for some limited military aid.No wonder Franco is reported to have been convulsed with rage when these facts were presented to him shortly after the Nationalists won in 1939. 'Not only were the Republicans reds', he is reputed to have said, 'but they were monumentally stupid at the same time.'
34 posted on 01/12/2005 12:15:40 PM PST by robowombat
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To: Strategerist

"The only good guys in the Spanish Civil War were elements of the Republicans early on...however being moderates they essentially ended up sidelined as the Anarcho-Syndicalist nutjobs and then of course the Stalinists took over the Republican movement."

Bulls**t. The Spanish Republicans were ALWAYS leftists from the large cities (Barcelona, Madrid, etc.) who were guilty of persecuting conservative Spanish Catholics. Their leftist vision included banning the Church and forcibly ending the Monarchy, against the wishes of the greater majority of the Spanish people. The Spanish Republic was always in the grip of radical leftist intellectuals. In fact, the first western government in modern times to legalize abortion and euthanasia was the Spanish Republic.

"Franco is no hero or someone to be admired. Keep in mind he imported Moroccan troops to commit atrocities (the sort of thing that would send FR into a fit of rage today.)"

Franco and his Moroccan troops behaved no differently than the Spanish Republicans. In fact, the greatest slaughters were perpetrated by the Spanish Republicans, who created veritable killing fields out of city neighborhoods (El Alcazar, et.al.) and rural towns which refused to cooperate with their Communist takeover. There were many village bullrings filled to the brim with the bodies of murdered Catholics, women and children included.

I swear, it is dumbfounding to see how leftists all over the world, of every stripe, at any time, are constitutionally incapable of acknowledging the magnitude of their murderous and bloody crimes, under any circumstances. The argument over the Spanish Revolution is no different.

Viva Franco!


35 posted on 01/12/2005 12:16:32 PM PST by bowzer313
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To: bowzer313; Stingray51

Good post!


36 posted on 01/12/2005 12:20:00 PM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: robowombat

The Spanish Civil War is probably the most misrepresented event of the 20th century. It is usually portrayed as a conflict between "democracy" and "fascism," but it was in fact a conflict between authoritarian, conservative Catholic monarchism and totalitarian communism (notwithstanding the anarchist presence).


37 posted on 01/12/2005 12:26:05 PM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: bowzer313
One history that tells it straight is Paul Johnson's Modern Times. When it wasn't in vogue to portray the Franco forces as the saviors they were, he had the courage to tell the story as it really occured.
38 posted on 01/12/2005 12:26:12 PM PST by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free....)
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To: Rodney King
Do you know the story of Colonel Jose Moscardo who commanded the defense of the Alcazar fortress in Toledo? Here is a random internet account:

The Alcazar in Toledo has suffered many sieges over the centuries but one of great importance was that of 1936. The Republicans were fighting to gain control of Conservative, Catholic Toledo. Franco's rebel troops were controlled by Col. Jose Moscardo whose troops were inside the Alcazar, along with women and children. The Alcazar withstood 70 days of heavy bombardment. On July 23rd a Republican officer reached Moscardo by telephone within the Alcazar and the Colonel was informed that Republican forces had kidnapped his 16 year old son, Luis and unless he surrended immediately, Luis would be executed.

To prove that they had his son, he was put to the phone to speak to his father. 'Surrender or they will shoot me' he said. His father replied 'then commend your soul to God, shout 'Viva Espana' and die like a hero.' The Republicans then shot Luis in the head. The fortress held out until it was relieved by Franco's forces in September 1936.

In the Alcazar today, the telephone still remains on display.

I think that Luis may have been shot by the Reds some months (?) later, rather than right on the spot, but that is the essence of it.

39 posted on 01/12/2005 12:39:29 PM PST by Stingray51
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To: Rodney King

Justice will be served when Franco is recognized as the man who saved Spain from both "idealist" Trotskyites and Stalinists.

Sadly, the Spanish parliament tried to demolish remaining monuments to Franco. Don't know if they succeeded yet.


40 posted on 01/12/2005 12:40:05 PM PST by annalex
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To: robowombat

bump


41 posted on 01/12/2005 12:40:20 PM PST by blackeagle
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To: Rodney King
I proudly defend Franco, who defeated the communists in Spain, and then declined to join the Axis in WW2.

Franco was a Nationalist and not a fascist and did what he thought was best for Spain.

42 posted on 01/12/2005 12:43:10 PM PST by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: Stingray51

Wow, great story.


43 posted on 01/12/2005 12:45:47 PM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: KC Burke

bttt


44 posted on 01/12/2005 12:57:43 PM PST by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: Steve_Seattle
>>>>>>The Spanish Civil War is probably the most misrepresented event of the 20th century. It is usually portrayed as a conflict between "democracy" and "fascism," but it was in fact a conflict between authoritarian, conservative Catholic monarchism and totalitarian communism (notwithstanding the anarchist presence).<<<<<<

You are exactly right. And the good guys won!

45 posted on 01/12/2005 1:29:01 PM PST by Thorin ("I won't be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.")
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To: First_Salute
The two sentences beginning with periods?

I guess you must be having your period. ba-dum-dum-dump!

46 posted on 01/12/2005 1:32:47 PM PST by snopercod (Due to the graphic nature of this tagline, viewer discretion is advised.)
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To: robowombat
For Hemingway, Stalinism was a form of masculine affirmation, comparable to bull-fighting, big-game hunting, or deep-sea fishing.

meanwhile the peasants endure the fashions of their leaders and "intellectuals".

47 posted on 01/12/2005 1:36:28 PM PST by ken21 (buenos mucus!)
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To: Rodney King

Thank you for that graphic. It is exquisite.


48 posted on 01/12/2005 1:42:58 PM PST by 3AngelaD
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To: robowombat
I've read his stuff, but the more I learn about Hemingway the more I can't stand the phony, posing SOB.

Let's start a rumor he was gay.

49 posted on 01/12/2005 3:22:55 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: robowombat

ping for later


50 posted on 01/13/2005 11:38:29 AM PST by nina0113
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