THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR – Reaction, Revolution, and Revenge

The Spanish Civil War

Photo Credit: Debbie Blackmore

Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Italian heavy bomber du...

Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Italian heavy bomber during a bombing raid in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The black crosses distinctives in the tails are Saint Andrew’s Cross, the insignia of the Spanish Nationalist Air Force (Franco side). Small planes are FIAT CR.32 of the Italian XVI Gruppo Autonomo Cucaracha. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The definitive work on the Spanish Civil War, a classic of twentieth-century historical scholarship and a masterful narrative.

Paul Preston is on eof the world’s foremost historians of Spain.  This surging history recounts the struggles of the 1936 war in which more than 3,000 Americans took up arms.  Tracking the emergence of Francisco Franco‘s brutal, fascist dictatorship, Preston shows how the conflict was burned into the American consciousness by the revolutionary war reporting of Ernest Hemingway and Jon Dos Passos, and he assesses the ways in which the Spanish Civil War presaged the Second World War that ensued so rapidly after it.  Completely revised, including previously unseen material on Franco’s treatment of women in wartime prisons, The Spanish Civil War is a classic work on this pivotal epoch in the twentieth century.

Excerpts:

“The horrors of the military repression in Seville and the rest of western Andalusia in 1936 were gradually extended to the rest of Spain as Franco captured ever more territory.  Considerable cruelty – rape, confiscation of goods, execution because of the politics of a son or husband – was carried out against women in the name of the Francoist concept of redemption. “‘

“Daily life in the Nationalist zone was rather more agreeable than in the Republican half of the country, provided you had money and were in agreement with the prevailing atmosphere.  Food was plentiful, restaurants brightly lit and crowded.  …It will be recalled that Ansaldo was the pilot at the controls when Sanjurjo died.  His arduous day of combat went as follows:

8.30  Breakfast with the family.

9.30  Takeoff for the front; bombard enemy batteries’; machine-gun convoys and trenches.

11.00 Rudimentary golf in the club at Lasarte, next to the airport and partially usable.

12.30 Sunbathing on the Ondarreta beach and quick splash in the calm sea.

13.30 Shellfish, beer and a chat in a café in the Avenue.

14.00 Lunch at home.

15.00 Short siesta.

16.00 Second sortie, similar to this morning’s.

18.30 Cinema.  Old, but wonderful, movie with Katharine Hepburn.

21.00 Aperitif in the Bar Basque.  Good ‘Scotch’, animated atmosphere.

22.15 Dinner at the Nicolasa Restaurant, war songs, camaraderie, enthusiasm.

It was a far cry from the daily rations of ‘Dr Negrin’s victory pills’. the lentils on which the bulk of the Madrid population had to depend. ”

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Spanish Civil War veterans remember a hero

Spanish Civil War veterans remember a hero (Photo credit: The Workers’ Party of Ireland)

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