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The Spanish Civil War: An Overview
unknown ^ | unknown | Cary Nelson

Posted on 11/19/2002 8:19:55 PM PST by Sparta


In a longer historical perspective the Spanish Civil War amounts to the opening battle of World War II, perhaps the only time in living memory when the world confronted—in fascism and Nazism—something like unqualified evil. The men and women who understood this early on and who chose of their own free will to stand against fascism have thus earned a special status in history. Viewed internally, on the other hand, the Spanish Civil War was the culmination of a prolonged period of national political unrest—unrest in a country that was increasingly polarized and repeatedly unable to ameliorate the conditions of terrible poverty in which millions of its citizens lived. Spain was a country in which landless peasants cobbled together a bare subsistence living by following the harvests on vast, wealthy agricultural estates. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church, identifying more with wealthy landowners than with the Spanish people, was in full control of secondary education; education for women seemed to them unnecessary and universal literacy a danger rather than a goal. Divorce was illegal. The military, meanwhile, had come to see itself, rather melodramatically, as the only bulwark against civil disorder and as the ultimate guarantor of the core values of Spanish society.

When a progressive Popular Front government was elected in February 1936, with the promise of realistic land reform one of its key planks, conservative forces immediately gathered to plan resistance. The Spanish Left, meanwhile, celebrated the elections in a way that made conservative capitalists, military officers, and churchmen worried that much broader reform might begin. Rumors of plotting for a military coup led leaders of the Republic to transfer several high-ranking military officers to remote postings, the aim being to make communication and coordination between them more difficult. But it was not enough. The planning for a military rising continued.

The military rebellion took place on July 18, with the officers who organized it expecting a quick victory and a rapid takeover of the entire country. What the military did not anticipate was the determination of the Spanish people, who broke into barracks, took up arms, and crushed the rebellion in key areas like the cities of Madrid and Barcelona. It was at that point that the character of the struggle changed, for the military realized they were not going to win by fiat. Instead they faced a prolonged struggle against their own people and an uncertain outcome. They appealed to fascist dictatorships in Italy, Germany, and Portugal for assistance, and they soon began receiving both men and supplies from Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Antonio Salazar.

The 1936 Spanish election had already been widely celebrated as a great victory in progressive publications in Britain, France, and the United States. In the midst of a worldwide depression, the military rising was thus immediately seen as an assault against working people's interests everywhere. But the rapid intervention of German and Italian troops gave what might otherwise have remained a civil war a dramatic international character. Almost from the outset, then, the Spanish Civil War became a literal and symbolic instance of the growing worldwide struggle between fascism and democracy. Indeed, the Republic, the elected government, perceived the country as being invaded by foreign troops. By the time the pilots of Hitler's Condor Legion reduced the Basque's holy city of Guernica to rubble the following April, many in the rest of the world had come to share that opinion as well.

It is important to remember in this context the curiously contradictory character of life during the Great Depression. Hand in hand with widespread poverty and suffering went a certain fervent hope for change and a belief in the possibility of finding collective solutions to common economic problems. The government elected in Spain in 1936 seemed like it would contribute materially to those solutions.

Fascism, on the other hand, presented the forces of reaction in their most violent form. Its territorial ambitions became apparent when Japan invaded Manchuria in the winter of 1931-32 and when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. Meanwhile, Hitler elevated religious and racial hatred to national policy almost immediately after establishing his dictatorship in 1933. A relentless series of anti-Semitic campaigns, beginning with a 1933 boycott of Jewish firms and followed by the formal liquidation of Jewish businesses and a prohibition against Jewish doctors continuing their medical practices, culminated in 1935 when Jews were stripped of all rights of citizenship. When Hitler and Mussolini immediately allied themselves with Franco, and when Franco himself began to make pronouncements about conducting a holy war against a progressive conspiracy—rhetoric with long-standing anti-Semitic connotations—the cultural and political status of the Republic's enemies became clear.

In retrospect, it seems possible that world history might have proceeded differently had the democracies taken a strong stand against fascism in Spain in 1936. But they did not. Despite almost universal support for the Republic amongst British intellectuals and widespread support amongst the working classes, the British government preferred not to act. It was not only that they feared anything that might lead to a wider war in Europe, a fear that would eventually lead to the infamous Munich appeasement policy of 1938, but also that British businessmen and a majority of the British Cabinet felt more sympathetic with Franco. Large corporations in America also worked on Franco's behalf. In France, the government's sympathies were with the Republic, but the government was weak and feared not only a wider war but also any acts that might alienate its own military.

After providing the Loyalist government with a score of planes, France decided instead to propose an international policy of Non-Intervention that would bar all foreign aid to Spain. In fact, if Franco and the rebellious generals had been denied Italy's and Germany's aid in the early days of the war, the rebellion might well have collapsed. But Hitler and Mussolini simply ignored the Non-Intervention agreement. Meanwhile, Mexico responded by shipping rifles to the Republic, and the Soviet Union sold the Spanish government arms in exchange for Spain's gold reserves. But it was not enough over time to counter-balance the men and supplies Franco received. Over and over again throughout the war government campaigns would be overwhelmed by superior arms. And just as frequently in the letters that follow you will hear the hope that non-intervention will be overturned. For the Americans this was not an abstract matter. Better machine guns would have kept some of them alive at Jarama. More planes and artillery would have made a difference at the Ebro.

On July 18, 1936, a carefully coordinated series of military uprisings were staged all across Spain. Success or failure sometimes depended on accident or clever strategy. In one small city the military commander pretended to support the Republic, armed the workers, and sent them to help secure Madrid; he then took over for the rebels. In Barcelona, on the other hand, anarchist workers seized arms and put down the rebellion with violent street fighting. After a few days, the rebels held about a third of the country, though there were large stretches of Spain under no real military control. Meanwhile, the government kept control of most of the navy when ships' crews rose up and threw their rebellious officers overboard. That left the rebel generals in serious difficulty, for their best troops, the Army of Africa, were in Morocco with no means of transport to the mainland. At that point Hitler and Mussolini provided support that proved critical—planes to move the Army of Africa, now under command of General Francisco Franco, to Seville. It would be the first major air-lift of troops in military history. Hitler would later observe that "Franco ought to erect a monument to the glory of the Junkers 52. It is this aircraft that the Spanish revolution has to thank for its victory" (Thomas, 370).

The first battles in the field, still in mid-July, took place over the mountain passes that would have given the rebels access to the capital city of Madrid. The people of Madrid had organized into militias based on political affiliation, and these untrained troops paid dearly to defend the passes through the Guadarrama mountains to the city's north. In any case, the battles resulted in a stalemate. The rebels, now calling themselves the Nationalists, began to organize to attack Madrid from the southwest. Four columns moved across the Spanish countryside, systematically murdering government supporters in each town they captured. On October 1 Franco took overall command of the rebel armies. Meanwhile, in the major cities a period of chaos was coming to an end. For a time the militias had carried out summary executions against their enemies, but gradually more centralized control prevailed.

As the rebel columns approached Madrid there was widespread expectation that the city would fall. The government fled to Valencia, leaving the city's defense to General Miaja. Then several remarkable events occurred. On November 7 Madrid's defenders found a highly detailed plan for the conquest of the city on the body of a fascist officer. The plan was so specific that the Loyalists concluded it could not be changed even if the rebels guessed it might have been captured, and it enabled the city to position its best forces exactly where they would do the most good. The following day the first International Brigades marched through the city, signalling world support for the city's defenders and placing a number of people with battlefield experience at key points. That night Fernando Valera, a Republican deputy, read this statement over the air:

Here in Madrid is the universal frontier that separates liberty and slavery. It is here in Madrid that two incompatible civilizations undertake their great struggle: love against hate, peace against war, the fraternity of Christ against the tyranny of the Church . . . . This is Madrid. It is fighting for Spain, for humanity, for justice, and, with the mantle of its blood, it shelters all human beings! Madrid! Madrid!

The Spanish capital had come to stand for something much more than itself; it was now the heart of the world. For a time, indeed, international volunteers often declared themselves off to defend Madrid.

The first volunteers came spontaneously, though their individual decisions were often based in antifascism. A number of foreign nationals were in Barcelona for the "Peoples' Olympiad," scheduled in protest against the 1936 Olympics to be held in Berlin. When the Olympiad was cancelled by the outbreak of war, some of these men and women stayed on to fight. British painter Felicia Brown joined the street fighting in Barcelona and was killed in August. Two British cyclists in France crossed the border and volunteered. André Malraux, the French novelist, organized a squadron of a dozen pilots, the "Escuadrilla España," based first in Barcelona and then in Madrid. Before long, American volunteers were in the skies over Madrid as well.

But perhaps most telling of all decisions to volunteer were those by German and Italian exiles from fascism, some of them escapees from Nazi concentration camps. Some were already living in Barcelona; others made their way to Spain from elsewhere in Europe. It was thus in Spain that German and Italian antifascists in significant numbers took up arms against the fascist powers they could not fight at home. German volunteers formed the Thaelmann Centuria; Italians organized themselves into the Gastone-Sozzi Battalion and the Giustizia e Libertà Column. In all, perhaps 1,000-1,500 foreign volunteers fought in the Barcelona area in the opening two months of the war. Not many lived to see the war's end. Two years later, in September of 1938, other German volunteers, now members of the Thaelmann Battalion in the International Brigades, were occupying a hill of unforgiving rock in the Sierra Pandols west of the Ebro river. They faced a vastly superior fascist force in full counterattack and were ordered to retreat. Their reply came back, saying, in effect, "Sorry, we've retreated before fascism too many times. We're staying." Shortly thereafter their positions were overrun.

The International Brigades themselves became a reality when the Moscow-based Comintern (Communist International) decided to act on Spain's behalf. Negotiations with the Spanish government took place in late October. Stalin's motivations, no doubt, were pragmatic. He probably hoped, for example, to use an alliance to help the Spanish Republic as a way of building a general antifascist alliance with the Western democracies. But it was too soon. That alliance would come, but only after Munich, after Spain had fallen, and after the West tried every imaginable means of appeasing Hitler. In any case, early in November, about the time the attack on Madrid commenced, word reached New York to begin recruiting Americans for service in Spain.

Although the task had to be carried out in secret, it was less difficult than one might think, for antifascism was already intense among the American Left. Indeed, future Lincoln Battalion members were already taking public stands. Poet and journalist Edwin Rolfe began publishing newspaper articles attacking Nazism in 1934. In Philadelphia, Ben Gardner was arrested for disorderly conduct at a demonstration at the German consulate. A pro-German judge sentenced him to a year in the county jail. And in New York harbor in 1935 seaman Bill Bailey scaled the mast of a German passenger ship, the Bremen, that was flying the swastika. With the enraged crew shouting beneath him, Bailey cut the black flag loose and flung it into the water. Two years later these men would all be in Spain.

Despite the diversity of their backgrounds, one may make some generalizations about the Americans who volunteered. The youngest were three eighteen-year-olds, the oldest were fifty-nine and sixty. Over eighty of the volunteers were African Americans, and the International Brigades were entirely integrated. In fact, the Lincoln Battalion was commanded for a time by Oliver Law, an African-American volunteer from Chicago, until he died in battle. It was the first time in American history that an integrated military force was led by an African American officer. Most of the American volunteers were unmarried, although, as their letters reveal, many had relationships back home they tried to sustain by correspondence. Their median age was twenty-seven, their median birth date 1910. About eighteen percent came from New York and most of the rest came from other cities. Perhaps a third were Jews.

By the time large numbers of American volunteers began to arrive in Spain early in 1937, the flamboyant early days of the militias were over. The militias had been reorganized into Mixed Brigades more firmly under government control. In those first months untrained and lightly trained men and women had held the fascist advance at the very outskirts of the capital. Barricades had been thrown up across Madrid's streets in anticipation of fighting in the city itself. As the front stabilized, the University campus overlooking the wooded Casa de Campo on the city's western edge was heavily entrenched, with both sides holding some of the shattered buildings. Mount Garibitas, the highest point in the area, was taken by the fascists and provided a good site from which to shell the city. But the Republic's fully organized People's Army was yet a dream; it would take the bloodletting at Jarama, described in Chapter 3, to persuade many of its necessity. Meanwhile, most Americans passed through the massive fort at Figueras near the border and headed on to Albacete, a provincial capital midway between Madrid and Valencia that was the administrative center for the International Brigades. From there they moved to one of several nearby villages where individual battalions trained.

In March an overconfident Italian-Spanish force commanded by one of Mussolini's Generals, Mario Roatta, suffered an embarrassing defeat at the battle of Guadalajara, northeast of Madrid. That, for all practical purposes, put an end to major assaults on the capital, though it continued to be shelled throughout the war. The next important battles took place in northern Spain, as Franco set out to overrun the isolated Basque provinces loyal to the Republic. On April 26 Hitler's Condor Legions firebombed the ancient Basque town of Guernica, a place of no military importance, and reduced it to rubble. It was the single most telling indication of fascist ruthlessness toward civilians to date, a lesson residents of cities in Europe and England would themselves learn in time. It led Picasso to produce his massive painting "Guernica," perhaps the most famous work of graphic art to come out of the war. Meanwhile, the Spanish government attempted to take pressure off the north with a major offensive west of Madrid in the summer of 1937. It was called the battle of Brunete. Though Franco's northern campaign was delayed, it did not stop. After eighty days of fighting, Bilbao was taken on June 19th, Santander on August 26th.

Meanwhile, the Popular Front government (a coalition of middle-class republicans, moderate socialists, and communists) had endured a civil war within the civil war in Catalonia. The government was about to integrate the remaining Catalan militias into the People's Army, a step the radical Left regarded as "a euphemism for disarmament and repression of the class-conscious revolutionary workers" (Jackson, 119). Believing that the government was exclusively concerned with defeating Franco and indifferent or antagonistic toward the major social revolution needed in Spain, an anti-Stalinist Marxist group, the POUM, provoked several days of rioting and sporadic fighting in early May of 1937 in Barcelona. They were joined by the more radical contingents of Catalonian anarchists. This gave the Spanish communists—a rather small party at the outset of the war that had gained membership and prestige in the months since—the excuse they needed to crush the POUM, a group they reviled beyond reason. In the ensuing crackdown the POUM leader Andrés Nin was taken prisoner and murdered, and other enemies of the Communist Party were tortured. By mid-June the POUM had been declared illegal. For some, this meant the betrayal of all the more utopian aims of the Spanish Left and a certain disillusionment with the cause of the Republic. For others, a crackdown seemed essential because a unified leadership focused on winning the war was indeed necessary; a full social revolution would have to wait until fascism was defeated. What is clear is that the internal dissension on the Left damaged the spirit of resistance in Catalonia. Negotiation and compromise, rather than violence, would have served all parties better in the face of Franco's armies.

Although International Brigade members did not have fully detailed knowledge of events in Barcelona, their letters show consistent antagonism toward the POUM. Moreover, since they were being bombed, strafed, and shot at by Franco's troops, they certainly considered winning the war the first priority. And their own experience confirmed the need for a unified military command that could train recruits; coordinate troop movements with aircraft, artillery, and tanks; and supply food, ammunition, and medical services, tasks that were quite beyond the Catalonian militias.

In any case the ensuing months were taken up for the Lincolns not in intrigue but in battle. Like the perspective of Spanish soldiers in the field, the Lincolns' view of the war was thus quite different from that of those Spanish nationals who were occupied with political struggles in Madrid and Barcelona. The battle of Brunete in the unbelievable heat of July of 1937 was followed by Quinto and Belchite in August and Fuentes de Ebro in October. Then, after a brief period of training, the Lincolns faced the snows of Teruel in January and February of 1938. Taken by the Republic for a time, Teruel was recaptured by a massive Nationalist counterattack in February.

Franco followed up that victory with a major offensive aimed toward the Levante and Catalonia. Launched on March 9, 1938, it involved 100,000 men and over six hundred Italian and German planes. In the histories of the American role in Spain the events are known as "The Great Retreats," for that is what the Republic's forces had to do. They were faced with continuous bombing from the air and a Panzer-style massed tank assault at key points. At the end of the month El Campesino's division made a last stand before the city of Lérida, but Franco's offensive continued. It was to prove the single worst blow against the Republic in nearly two years of war, for on April 15 the rebels reached the Mediterranean and cut the Republic in two. By the end of the month Franco held a fifty-mile stretch of coast. Some felt the war was over, but the Republic held on, buoyed by a brief resupply of arms and by the hope that the democracies would surely now repeal the Non-Intervention policy, for Germany had invaded Austria on March 12. Did the world need still more evidence of fascism's ambitions?

To resist, to hold on, was in part to buy enough time for the world to confront reality. Unfortunately, the British commitment to an appeasement policy was already in place. The Republic now had enough arms for one last great campaign, training and planning for which began immediately. It was to be a crossing of the Ebro in July of 1938, into territory lost in March and April. Initially successful, the Republic's forces were gradually pressed back by the rebel counter-offensive. Even in August or September, arms might have made a difference, but the watershed event of the fall of 1938 was not to be the resupply of Spain's democracy. It was to be Munich.

At the end of September, British and French representatives met with Hitler and Mussolini and granted Hitler Czechoslovakia. Shamefully, Czech representatives were not invited. Meanwhile, with that agreement another unrepresented nation's fate was effectively sealed, for with the signing of the Munich Accord it was clear that the democracies would not stand against fascism in Spain. The Internationals were withdrawn, and Spain fought on alone for several more months. In late November Hitler resupplied the Nationalists with arms. Franco started his final offensive, taking Barcelona in January. At the end of March, Madrid fell. On April 1, 1939, the Spanish Civil War officially came to an end.

For many, however, the suffering was not over. It was not to be a civil war ending in reconciliation, for Franco began a reign of terror aimed at the physical liquidation of all his potential enemies. Concentration camps were set up. Tens of thousands were shot. Mass executions would continue until 1944. Meanwhile, World War II was under way, and many of the volunteers took up arms against fascism again.

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Free Republic
KEYWORDS: communism; fascism; franco; spain
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This war I'm convinced had bad guys on both sides. Neither side exactly endorsed freedom, but I believe the loyalist were more right than the fascists.
1 posted on 11/19/2002 8:19:55 PM PST by Sparta
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To: Sparta
Franco was hero to Spain, just like Pinochet in Chile. The Socialists were completely under the control of the Soviet Union. Without Franco, Spain would have fallen under Communism.
2 posted on 11/19/2002 8:24:37 PM PST by Mister Magoo
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To: sphinx; Toirdhealbheach Beucail; curmudgeonII; roderick; Notforprophet; river rat; csvset; ...
Western Civilization Military History ping!!!!
3 posted on 11/19/2002 8:29:07 PM PST by Sparta
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To: All
If you want on or off the Western Civilization Military History ping list, please let me know.
4 posted on 11/19/2002 8:30:25 PM PST by Sparta
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To: Sparta
To the contrary. You voice the traditional leftist view. The Republicans were Communists from the beginning. They took over the country and started shooting priests and nuns. Catholic Spaniards were appalled, and Franco led the resistence.

Franco is usually known as a fascist. But note that during the Second World War, unlike Mussolini, Franco managed to keep Spain out of the war and unlike the French he managed to keep Hitler out of Spain. It was a remarkable feat of diplomacy and strength.

The Jews living in Italy were shipped to the death camps, except for those who were hidden by the Church. The Jews in Spain were protected by Franco.

Yes, there was violence on both sides, as is only to be expected in a bitter civil war. But on the whole Franco emerged as a hero who saved his country from a terrible fate and did NOT join in Hitler's conquests. The people who went over to kill Spaniards with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade should be ashamed of what they did.
5 posted on 11/19/2002 8:35:33 PM PST by Cicero
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To: Cicero
I'm no expert in the Spanish Civil War, but from what I know of the Spanish Loyalists is that they were divided into various factions and only some of the more Communist-sympathetic elements were involved in the attacks on the church. Also, many of the foreign volunteers went to fight the Fascists, and for democracy. Like I said, neither side was in the right.
6 posted on 11/19/2002 8:42:45 PM PST by Sparta
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To: Cicero
Also, on A&E's Biography on Franco, when he met Hitler in 1940 I think, Franco offered to seize Gibraltar and send Spanish troops to help invade Britain. Hitler refused him and Franco, as noted by former aides, appeared dejected. What is known is that he committed the Azul Divison to fight the Soviets in 1941. When he saw the Allies were winning, he began to show sympathy for the Allies.
7 posted on 11/19/2002 8:49:29 PM PST by Sparta
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To: Cicero
Thank you for bringing some facts about the true nature of communist involvement in the Spanish Civil War. I believe that Franco was a true Spanish hero. The transfer of power at his death to a monarch and democratic parliement was remarkable and is a true testament to his genuine love for his country and people. Could you picture a communist doing that? The writer of the article may be a dupe, but he does portray the normal version of the war. Hopefully over time the true facts will become more readily available and taught.
8 posted on 11/19/2002 8:53:19 PM PST by Scipio
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To: Sparta
9 posted on 11/19/2002 8:55:57 PM PST by Rebelbase
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To: Rebelbase
We have a bunch of Franco idoliters on the thread so be careful.
10 posted on 11/19/2002 8:57:08 PM PST by Sparta
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To: Sparta
They're the same ones who love Pinochet, no doubt.
11 posted on 11/19/2002 9:06:05 PM PST by Rebelbase
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To: Sparta
Put me on your list, please. Thanks!
12 posted on 11/19/2002 9:08:22 PM PST by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: Sparta
You must be kidding.

The "Loyalists", Commies really, murdered tens of thousands of priests and nuns as part of their war, including crucifying them by nailing them to the doors of their Churches and Convents and Monasteries. They wanted to make Spain into a new Soviet Puppet State.

There is absolutely no moral equivalence between Franco's forces and those of the Spanish Communists.

13 posted on 11/19/2002 9:25:35 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Sparta
First Air Force
Region 1931-1939

14 posted on 11/19/2002 9:32:27 PM PST by Consort
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To: Jimer
Spanish Phalanx
Falange Española de las JONS
(Nationalsocialistic Party)

15 posted on 11/19/2002 9:44:03 PM PST by Consort
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To: Sparta
"...perhaps the only time in living memory when the world confronted—in fascism and Nazism—something like unqualified evil"

Pu-leeze! Spare us the left wing cant! Fascism and Nazism pale as evil in comparison with Communism.

16 posted on 11/19/2002 9:54:29 PM PST by sailor4321
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To: Sparta
VIVA GENERALISSIMO FRANCO! Yeah, the "popular front" was COMMUNIST! Moscow had ordered all communist movements to support the "bourgeios (sp)" parties in order to gain influence. Pretty much every single member of the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade" were American Communists. There are a few still living here in New York.

Franco had his faults, but let us never forget that it was no less than Dwight Eisenhower who insisted that the European Governments recognized Franco as a legitimate leader after the war. Ike even visited Spain in the 50s, much to the consternation of the Left, here and abroad.

On another note, several thousand Jews escaped Europe through Spain and Portugal. You will rarely see this, unless its a book of interest to Jewish scholars.

17 posted on 11/19/2002 9:56:54 PM PST by Clemenza
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To: Rebelbase
If Pinochet hadn't seized power, God knows how many people the Communists under Allende would have killed. The 2-3 thousand people killed under Pinochet's regime are a small fraction of the number who would have died if the Communists had managed to hold on to power.
18 posted on 11/19/2002 9:58:05 PM PST by sailor4321
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To: Clemenza
Remeber, too, that the Communists were "anti-fascist" only up to the point at which Russian signed the "non-aggression" pact wtih Germany. From that point until Germany attacked Russia, the Reds seem to have forgotten their great crusade against fascism. Even to the point of having invaded Poland right along with Germany, thus being partners in starting World War II.

Such "idealsim" (smirk)!

19 posted on 11/19/2002 10:02:54 PM PST by sailor4321
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To: Sparta
Actually, it was the reverse. Franco REFUSED to allow Hitler to use Spain as a base for the Luftwaffe. He played Hitler along at the beginning of the war in order to receive aid (Spain was destroyed at the end of the Civil War). Following 1940, Franco had NO use for Hitler.

Check out the following books: Hitler Stopped by Franco. Check out any of Professor Stanley Payne's (University of Wisconsin) works on the Franco regime as well.

20 posted on 11/19/2002 10:06:48 PM PST by Clemenza
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To: sailor4321; Scipio; Clemenza
Franco and Pinochet should be hailed as hero's. They saved both of their respective countries from the clutches of communism, and transformed them for the better. As Scipio said, I really doubt the communists/nationalists would have given up their power peacefully if they had won the Civil War. Sometimes it take a single man to save his country. VIVA ESPANA.
21 posted on 11/19/2002 10:06:54 PM PST by JohnnyRidden
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To: Sparta
Also The Mezuzah in the Madonna's Foot by Trudi Alexi.
22 posted on 11/19/2002 10:08:21 PM PST by Clemenza
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To: Scipio; Cicero; Mr_Magoo
Thanks for bringing some facts and reality to this thread,it's quite scary to see "The Spanish Civil War:An Overview"and read it to find that it should have been entitled "The Spanish Civil War:The Communist Perspective.".

Is it possible that this writer thought that this was a war to establish democracy in Spain?Or did he stumble on the "communist/democracy" and report on it without realizing that he had inadvertantly disclosed the truth of the connection,at least for the case in point.

23 posted on 11/19/2002 10:17:13 PM PST by saradippity
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To: saradippity
Or did he stumble on the "communist/democracy" and report on it without realizing that he had inadvertantly disclosed the truth of the connection,at least for the case in point.

Very good point.

24 posted on 11/19/2002 11:01:03 PM PST by Prodigal Son
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To: saradippity
This was written by a leftist poetry professor:

Here is a list of his books:

25 posted on 11/20/2002 12:44:15 AM PST by DoorGunner
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To: JohnnyRidden
>>Franco and Pinochet should be hailed as hero's. They saved both of their respective countries from the clutches of communism, and transformed them for the better.

Regarding Pinochet and Chile, just look next door at how happy and successful all those Argentines are, with their socialist government causing total economic collapse.
26 posted on 11/20/2002 3:11:11 AM PST by FreedomPoster
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To: Sparta
Summary: Nazis vs. Commies.
27 posted on 11/20/2002 3:22:33 AM PST by Junior
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To: Sparta
Put me on the list.
28 posted on 11/20/2002 4:03:51 AM PST by weikel
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To: Sparta
Franco was no saint but he was better than the alternative( the "Loyalist" were all commies) and he kept Hitler from getting Gibraltar.
29 posted on 11/20/2002 4:05:30 AM PST by weikel
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To: Junior
Couldn't agree more.
30 posted on 11/20/2002 4:53:13 AM PST by Sparta
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To: Sparta
You posted an article written by a man who doesn't know much about the Nationalist politics.

No discussion of the Spanish Civil War is complete with discussing the Falange, its views regarding social justice (which were as "progressive" as the Socialists, Antonio Primo de Rivera, the Carlists, Franco's difficulties with dealing with his political rivals in the military (Mola, Yagüe), the conflicting views within the nationalists between Republicanism and a return to Monarchy, and the intense dislike the Nationalists had of the Italian military volunteers.

I'd go further, but it's better to recommend to read up on it.
31 posted on 11/20/2002 5:43:19 AM PST by lavrenti
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: Junior; Sparta
Summary: Nazis vs. Commies.

A classic case of Bad vs. Worse.

Actually, arguably, the Basques were the only good guys as they were pretty much a thorn in both sides hoping for independence in the end.

33 posted on 11/20/2002 9:02:43 AM PST by facedown
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To: Sparta
The Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade of Canadian Communist volunteers has a memorial near the Commonwealth Airmen's Memorial in Ottawa--dedicated by the Governor General, no less.

It disgusts me to see these Stalinist mercenaries honoured virtually alongside men who made the supreme sacrifice for a nobler cause.

34 posted on 11/20/2002 9:12:46 AM PST by Loyalist
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To: Sparta
In one of his volumes of the history of WWII, Churchill gives a brief overview of the Spanish Civil War.

Churchill stated there were atrocities committed by both sides but that the Communists were the worse. He also said that if he lived in Spain he would have sided with Franco.

35 posted on 11/20/2002 9:27:03 AM PST by yarddog
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To: Sparta
Actually, bad as the commnist "Loyalists" were, their anarchist allies were even worse. Warren Carroll covers this war well in his "Last Crusade."

Franco was very much in the right and restored, until his death, Spanish civilization. The "Loyalists" raped and murdered entire convents of nuns, killed half the priests and burned half the Churches. In spite of all that, Franco had the self-restraint not to conduct merited mass executions of "Loyalists" who, after all, were primarily loyal to Stalin particularly the maroons of such as the "American" Abraham Lincoln Brigade". Instead, Franco created a national cemetery in which to bury all who died on all sides in the "civil war" and decreed that the graves not be identified by the cause in which the deceased fell because "This war is over and these are all our honored dead." Franco was a Catholic and not some petty fascist. As an actual Catholic, he was more thoroughly despised by Moscow and by "progressive" elements in the West than were the actual fascists, to say nothing of the lionized Communists.

The Vatican ought to begin a cause for Franco's sainthood, and canonize him. AND Queen Isabella. AND the Empress Zita. AND Pius XII.

Viva Christo Rey!

36 posted on 11/20/2002 9:56:22 AM PST by BlackElk
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To: Sparta
Ummmmm, you have little excuse for posting this thoroughly used steer food as coming from an unknown site or suggesting that site's neutrality. I have just accessed the accessed the site by clicking on the underlined "unknown." The publication is a misnomer: "Modern Poetry" and is apparently recycled 1930s communist propaganda for an historically illiterate modern generation. Included are such gems as (the infamous Dolores Iabburri's) La Passionara's Farewell to the International Brigades (non-Spanish communist goons and leftist butterfly chasers, together with the usual gang of those who wake up on cold sweats convinced that the Vatican is hunting them). La Passionara is Spanish for Hillary, Gloria Steinem and Joseph Stalin all rolled into one. We also have George Orwell in his dizzy youth before tuberculosis focused his imagination and peeled him off of communist enthusiasms long enough for him to write 1984 and Animal Farm before he died. We also have the ever gullible Papa Hemingway in full fantasy imagining himself a savior of Spaniards from the awful clutches of the international Catholic conspiracy, many years before engaging in the sincerest form of self-criticism by using a shotgun to forcibly remove that most degenerate and offensive portion of him that had resided between his ears.

I very much encourage anyone with a strong stomach and a stronger mind to access the "unknown" website, root around in there a bit as I have and make your own decision.

We report, you decide, as they say.

37 posted on 11/20/2002 10:14:46 AM PST by BlackElk
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To: Rebelbase
You preferred Allende to Pinochet? Why?
38 posted on 11/20/2002 10:18:10 AM PST by BlackElk
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To: BlackElk
Franco was also one of the few world leaders who could claim to have had a face-to-face with Hitler and left Hitler dazed and confused. Hitler said, after he met with FF to ask FF to join the German side in WW2, he would "rather have several teeth drawn" than do it again. Franco also flatly refused to pass anti-Jewish laws or hand Spanish Jews over to the Nazis ... very much unlike his Italian counterpart, il Duce.

39 posted on 11/20/2002 10:22:33 AM PST by Campion
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To: Sparta; Rebelbase
But, but, but you admit being no expert on the Spnnish Civil War [by which you only stated the obvious in light of your dishonest suggestion that there were bad guys among those who performed the forcible extraction of communists and anarchists from Spanish government after the slaughter of priests and rape/murder of nuns and arsons of Churches had become the "Loyalist" trademarks].

This being a website for conservatives, your claim to be a conservative rests on: (beliefs and accomplishments: specifics, please!!!!)??????

Rebelbase is apparently on a similar wavelength to yours and he is invited to respond as well.

40 posted on 11/20/2002 10:24:20 AM PST by BlackElk
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
Those who are into the slaughter of innocent babies as a supportable cause, should have no trouble with the murder of priests, the rape/murder of nuns and the arson destruction of Catholic Churches and institutions, right, Emperor Darkside???
41 posted on 11/20/2002 10:27:44 AM PST by BlackElk
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To: weikel
He was most certainly far better than the available communist/anarchist alternative. Gently: Should you not leave sainthood decisions to believers?
42 posted on 11/20/2002 10:31:11 AM PST by BlackElk
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To: BlackElk
Franco not only protected Spainish Jews from Hitler, he renounced the legal act of Ferdinand and Isabella in expelling the Jews, and decreed that Greek Jews whose ancestors were expelled from Spain 450 years before were still Spainish citizens, which allowed them to travel to Spain and live.

Franco tried to call WWII three wars -- one between The Axis powers and the West, which he was netral in -- one between the Axis powers and the Soviet Union, in which he backed the Axis -- and one between the Western powers and Japan, in which he backed the West. He never succeded, but his point is not without merit.

If the Western powers had saved Communism in Spain it would have done nothing but allow Hitler to invade it and take the whole peninsula, either directly or by the type forced "alliance" he used on Balkan powers. Put Nazi U-Boats and Condors at El Ferrol, Lisbon and Cadiz and the English problem of sea brone supply is probably impossible. The Med and North Africa look even worse for England.

It was a happy coincidence that WWII saw Spain in the hands of a strong man who was never (quite) friendly enough to join Hitler, but who was never (quite) unfriendly enough for Hitler to invade.

43 posted on 11/20/2002 10:46:03 AM PST by Pilsner
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To: Sparta
Two books that treat the relationship between Franco and Hitler quite well are Anthony Beevor's "The Spanish Civil War" and Ian Kershaw's splendid two volume biography of Hitler, titled "Hubris" and "Nemesis", respectively.

As Beevor makes clear, there was no lost love between the Nazis and Nationalists. Hitler did not aid Franco out of altruistic or ideological motives. Rather, the Germans demanded (and received) extortionate mineral concessions from the Nationalists. This did little to endear Hitler to Franco.

As Kershaw relates in his work, the relationship between Hitler and Franco remained frosty. Franco only agreed to help Germany in exchange for very generous territorial acquisitions. Germany refused. Skorzeny, Hitler's top commando, speculated that Canaris (head of the Abwehr) had told Franco that Hitler had embarked upon a war he could not win, and so Franco should steer clear of the whole mess.

However, Franco did seize one opportunity to help both Hitler and himself. Franco had seized control of the Falangist movement, but wanted to rid himself of its more vocal ideologues. Hitler's attack on Russia proved the perfect opportunity. Some 40,000 die-hard Falangists signed up for the "Azul" or Blue Division to see service in Russia. Even after Franco withdrew even this support, many Blue Division veterans were absorbed into the Waffen-SS.

44 posted on 11/20/2002 10:52:37 AM PST by Seydlitz
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To: Sparta
This re-telling of the Spanish Civil War is decidedly left-wing in its vantage point. It ignores the exceptionally close election results prior to the outbreak of hostilities. It ignores the increasingly violent radicalism of the Republican left. It ignores the fact that the Spanish army, with the exception of the troops fighting in Morocco, was split evenly between the two sides. It ignores the massive numerical and material superiority enjoyed by the Republic for most of the war. Only the incompetence of the Republican high command managed to squander that superiority and translate it into defeat. Finally, the increasing radicalism of the Republican left alienated it from its supporters, as they came to see the Communists as no better than the Nationalists.

That said, Franco was an unsympathetic character. Moreover, his repression of left-wing elements was quite bloody, with the final toll running into the hundreds of thousands of victims.

The Spanish Civil War is a sad tale all around.

45 posted on 11/20/2002 11:00:58 AM PST by Seydlitz
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To: Sparta
... German and Italian exiles from fascism, some of them escapees from Nazi concentration camps.

No matter how romantic it may read, I find it difficult to imagine that concentration camp escapees [especially from Nazi concentration camps] were present in sufficient numbers to have any influence whatever in this bloody fighting.

46 posted on 11/20/2002 12:24:40 PM PST by curmudgeonII
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To: Sparta
Count me in. Thanks.
47 posted on 11/20/2002 12:46:03 PM PST by gundog
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To: Sparta
Without arguing about the "rights" and 'wrongs" of the Spanish Civil War, I'd like to comment on my impressions of Spain. I travelled there several times and very much enjoyed the Costa Del Sol and Andalucia (the southern mountains). There is a great deal if historical interest there.

What struck me was that all of the older people then (early to mid-1980's) wore black. The men invariably wore black berets, some with insignias, and the older women wore black shawls. I was told by some of the Spaniards I worked with that these were people who had fought in the Civil War, or who had lost family - which meant just about everybody. It didn't matter which side you were on, you all wore black.

48 posted on 11/20/2002 1:50:05 PM PST by capitan_refugio
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To: BlackElk
1. I posted this source because it was the most complete source on the Spanish Civil War. I'll admit I didn't check for political leanings. If you have a link to anything supporting your point of view, either post it or FreepMail it to me.
2. I'm not exactly siding entirely with the Loyalists or the Nationalists, because I believe both sides were evil. Loyalists=socialists,communists; Nationalists=fascists. Both of which are equally evil, tyrannical philiosophies.
3. Just because I'm not a fascist, doesn't mean I'm not conservative. I don't feel I need to explain myself to you.

49 posted on 11/20/2002 3:14:24 PM PST by Sparta
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To: BlackElk
Here's from the website of your beloved Falange Party.


Below is the write-up on us from

American Falangist Party - The original Falangist Party has its roots in the fascist era in Spain. Early supporters of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, the Falangists have been staunchly anti-communist. They have also spurred the creation of fascist Falangist movements in other nations -- including war-torn Lebanon in the early 1980s where the Falangist candidate was elected President (and later assassinated). Their ideology trends towards historic national socialism -- i.e., hardcore social conservatism mixed with leftist economic programs and a general disdain for unfettered individual freedoms. The American Falangists (AFP) are a new movement that denounces abortion ("abortion is murder"), homosexuality ("a disgusting way of life") and privately owned banks ("the nation would be better served by State owned banks"). The AFP certainly espouse some very extremist views: "Any radical homosexual that disrupts a Religious service because they don't agree with what is being said or practiced by that church should be sentenced to a special labor camp for 20 years or in some cases executed." The party uses black shirts as its official uniform -- praise Benito Mussolini and Huey Long -- but denounce violence, anti-Semitism and racism. No candidates fielded to date, but an AFP official said they would like to start fielding a few local candidates by 2002. A Spanish language version of the site also exists.

Statism is evil, no matter how it is wrapped.
50 posted on 11/20/2002 3:40:56 PM PST by Sparta
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