The Spanish Civil War created a conflict for Americans who preferred that the United States remain uninvolved in foreign affairs. Despite the country's isolationist tendencies, opposition to the rise of fascism across Europe convinced many Americans that they had to act in support of the Spanish Republic. While much has been written about the war itself and its international volunteers, little attention has been paid to those who coordinated these relief efforts at home.
American Relief Aid and the Spanish Civil War tells the story of the political campaigns to raise aid for the Spanish Republic as activists pushed the limits of isolationist thinking. Those concerned with Spain’s fate held a range of political convictions (including anarchists, socialists, liberals, and communists) with very different understandings of what fascism was. Yet they all agreed that fascism’s advance must be halted. With labor strikes, fund-raising parties, and ambulance tours, defenders of Spain in the United States sought to shift the political discussion away from isolation of Spain’s elected government and toward active assistance for the faltering Republic.
Examining the American political organizations affiliated with this relief effort and the political repression that resulted as many of Spain’s supporters faced the early incarnations of McCarthyism’s trials, Smith provides new understanding of American politics during the crucial years leading up to World War II. By also focusing on the impact the Spanish Civil War had on those of Spanish ethnicity in the United States, Smith shows how close to home the seemingly distant war really hit.
In 1937 thirty-six nervous young men dressed in ill-fitting blue suits, wearing berets, and carrying identical black valises, were given tickets for an American Export Lines ship. They were told to conduct themselves as ordinary tourists, to be "inconspicuous." They were volunteers for the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, traveling the French underground to join in the fight against Franco. Among them was Milt Felsen, a young New Yorker and radical antiwar activist on the University of Iowa campus who had decided that fascism had to be opposed. Some of these young men never made it to their destination. But Milt Felsen did, beginning a march across the Pyrenees which was only the first of his many battles and adventures.
Told with uncommon wit and verve, this memoir of war and resistance is a stirring account of Felsen's involvement in two decades of battle. Surprisingly, this is a spirited and even funny book, infused with Felsen's unbeatable personality. After the Spanish Civil War, Felsen helped form the O.S.S. in World War II. Taken prisoner of war, he escaped in his inimitable style during a 1,200-mile prisoner-of-war march and drove out of Nazi Germany in a Mercedes-Benz. He returned to the United States more convinced than ever of war's insanity and its extreme human cost.
Most of us are only spectators of the world's larger events. Milt Felsen knew the excitement and despair of being a participant. While most war books abound in details of what happened, this one also delves into why. Felsen's straightforward account is refreshingly frank and doesn't pretend to be more than it is—his own lived version of war and common truths.
“Memory, of course, is sometimes like a bucking horse, sometimes a runaway one, and one must control the reins until finally it stops, snorting with exhausted relief,” writes Natalie L. M. Petesch in her haunting new collection, The Confessions of Señora Francesca Navarro and Other Stories.
Petesch immerses readers in the lives of people caught up in the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, which left more than five hundred thousand dead. She captures the hand-to-mouth existence on the streets of Madrid of two war orphans; an old soldier’s memories of a fallen militiawoman; the dilemma of Franco’s laundress as she seeks to duplicate a stolen religious icon she finds in his home; and a man’s struggle to find his bride among thousands of Republican refugees waiting for ships to evacuate them before Franco’s Fascists arrive to kill them.
In the title novella, an elderly woman describes to her granddaughter how the families of Franco’s officers fighting against Republican militiamen endured hunger, filth, and danger in an underground fortress. Petesch conveys the humiliating details of war through the sensibility of a cultured woman who recalls only too vividly latrines made of laundry tubs, the smell of unwashed humans, and the stench of death.
Brilliant in its imaginative power and heartbreaking in its access to the bottomless well of human tears, The Confessions of Señora Francesca Navarro and Other Stories is the work of a mature artist able to convey a particular world so vividly that we know these people as our own.
In 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, Arthur Koestler, a German exile writing for a British newspaper, was arrested by Nationalist forces in Málaga. He was then sentenced to execution and spent every day awaiting death—only to be released three months later under pressure from the British government. Out of this experience, Koestler wrote Darkness at Noon, his most acclaimed work in the United States, about a man arrested and executed in a Communist prison.
Dialogue with Death is Koestler’s riveting account of the fall of Málaga to rebel forces, his surreal arrest, and his three months facing death from a prison cell. Despite the harrowing circumstances, Koestler manages to convey the stress of uncertainty, fear, and deprivation of human contact with the keen eye of a reporter.
At the end of the Spanish civil war, Mexico was the only country to offer open refuge to the thousands of Republican emigrés who fled from Spain in 1939–1940. Exiles and Citizens is a study of these political exiles, especially those with intellectual and professional backgrounds and ambitions. It focuses on their adjustment to Mexico, on their continued ties to Spain, and on their impact on Mexican development.
The critical dilemma faced by the Spanish exiles was that, despite having fought for their political and social ideals in Spain, they forfeited in exile their active role in Spanish history. In Mexico they found a political and social system that seemed to include many of the ideals that had inspired the Spanish Republic; moreover, they were able to incorporate themselves economically, professionally, and intellectually into Mexican national life. Yet, because they were not native-born citizens, they had little or no creative part to play in the politics of their adopted country.
For Mexico, the impact of the refugees from Spain was enormous. Integrated from the first into nearly all intellectual, professional, and cultural fields, their skills proved an important catalyst to Mexican development. Yet, outside these fields, Mexico was never an effective "melting pot." The Republicans themselves were divided in their loyalties, and the Mexicans, from the beginning, were reluctant to encourage the full participation of their guests in national affairs.
Two goals were shared by most of the exiles: to ensure that the world would remember the liberal, creative, and open Spain they had created and thus reject Franco; to show their gratitude by working for the benefit and progress of Mexico. These goals, although frequently contradictory, sustained the emigration and gave meaning to exile. The refugees tried to maintain their identity by coming together in formal and informal associations that were intended either to act on behalf of the homeland or to re-create the Spanish Republican structures and values in exile. To maintain a Spanish identity, however, proved difficult, and for the second and third generations in Mexico, the initial goals had already lost their meaning. For them, economic and professional, as well as familial, ties were strongly Mexican.
Spanish Republicans in Mexico represented a fairly rare phenomenon: a large group of skilled, relatively well educated immigrants to a country where persons of their attainments and status were not numerous. Moreover, as political exiles, they approached the problems of acculturation differently from economic emigrants. Patricia Fagen's study thus offers a further understanding of an important exile community and the characteristics that set it apart from other examples of immigrant experiences. In addition, the study sheds new light on the intellectual history of Mexico and the far-reaching effects of the Spanish civil war.
Between 1936 and 1939, Roosevelt’s perceptions of the Spanish Civil War were transformed. Initially indifferent toward which side won, FDR became an increasingly committed supporter of the leftist government. He believed that German and Italian intervention in Spain was part of a broader program of fascist aggression, and he worried that the Spanish Civil War would inspire fascist revolutions in Latin America. In response, Roosevelt tried to send food to Spain as well as illegal covert aid to the Spanish government, and to mediate a compromise solution to the civil war. However unsuccessful these initiatives proved in the end, they represented an important stage in Roosevelt’s emerging strategy to aid democracy in Europe.
In commemorating the uprising, revolutionaries and conservatives used the same methods to promote radically different political agendas: they deployed religious imagery to characterize the political situation as a battle between good and evil, with the fate of the nation hanging in the balance, and exploited traditional gender stereotypes to portray themselves as the defenders of social order against chaos. The resulting atmosphere of polarization combined with increasing political violence to plunge the country into civil war.
One of the most horrific innovations of the twentieth century was the deliberate strategy of total warfare--the obliteration of entire civilian populations. The first and in many ways the most striking use of this extreme measure came nearly 70 years ago when the ancient Basque hilltop town of Guernica was destroyed by the bombs of the German Condor.
Ian Patterson begins with a graphic account of what happened in Guernica on April 26, 1937, and its place in the course of the Spanish Civil War. This event focused the spotlight of media attention on the town of Guernica, and established Picasso's painting as the most famous modern image of the horrors of war. Yet Picasso's Guernica was only one of a huge number of cultural artifacts--paintings, films, novels, poems, plays--to explore the idea of indiscriminate death from the air. From the Blitz to Hiroshima to the destruction of the World Trade Center to daily carnage in Darfur and Iraq, war has been increasingly directed against civilians, who constitute an ever larger proportion of its casualties. Patterson explores how modern men and women respond to the threat of new warfare with new capacities for imagining aggression and death. An unflinching history of the locationless terror that so many people feel today, Guernica and Total War will engage anyone interested in the survival of cultures amid the disasters of war.
In 1937 and 1938, Ernest Hemingway made four trips to Spain to cover its civil war for the North American News Alliance wire service and to help create the pro-Republican documentary film The Spanish Earth. Hemingway’s Second War is the first book-length scholarly work devoted to this subject.
Pitting fascists and communists in a showdown for supremacy, the Spanish Civil War has long been seen as a grim dress rehearsal for World War II. Francisco Franco’s Nationalists prevailed with German and Italian military assistance—a clear instance, it seemed, of like-minded regimes joining forces in the fight against global Bolshevism. In Hitler’s Shadow Empire Pierpaolo Barbieri revises this standard account of Axis intervention in the Spanish Civil War, arguing that economic ambitions—not ideology—drove Hitler’s Iberian intervention. The Nazis hoped to establish an economic empire in Europe, and in Spain they tested the tactics intended for future subject territories.
“The Spanish Civil War is among the 20th-century military conflicts about which the most continues to be published…Hitler’s Shadow Empire is one of few recent studies offering fresh information, specifically describing German trade in the Franco-controlled zone. While it is typically assumed that Nazi Germany, like Stalinist Russia, became involved in the Spanish Civil War for ideological reasons, Pierpaolo Barbieri, an economic analyst, shows that the motives of the two main powers were quite different.
—Stephen Schwartz, Weekly Standard
Case studies explore how to improve military adaptation and preparedness in peacetime by investigating foreign wars
Preparing for the next war at an unknown date against an undetermined opponent is a difficult undertaking with extremely high stakes. Even the most detailed exercises and wargames do not truly simulate combat and the fog of war. Thus, outside of their own combat, militaries have studied foreign wars as a valuable source of battlefield information. The effectiveness of this learning process, however, has rarely been evaluated across different periods and contexts.
Through a series of in-depth case studies of the US Army, Navy, and Air Force, Brent L. Sterling creates a better understanding of the dynamics of learning from “other people’s wars,” determining what types of knowledge can be gained from foreign wars, identifying common pitfalls, and proposing solutions to maximize the benefits for doctrine, organization, training, and equipment.
Other People’s Wars explores major US efforts involving direct observation missions and post-conflict investigations at key junctures for the US armed forces: the Crimean War (1854–56), Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), Spanish Civil War (1936–39), and Yom Kippur War (1973), which preceded the US Civil War, First and Second World Wars, and major army and air force reforms of the 1970s, respectively. The case studies identify learning pitfalls but also show that initiatives to learn from other nations’ wars can yield significant benefits if the right conditions are met. Sterling puts forth a process that emphasizes comprehensive qualitative learning to foster better military preparedness and adaptability.
Most histories of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) have examined major leaders or well-established political and social groups to explore class, gender, and ideological struggles. The war in Spain was marked by momentous conflicts between democracy and dictatorship, Communism and fascism, anarchism and authoritarianism, and Catholicism and anticlericalism that still provoke our fascination.
In Republic of Egos, Michael Seidman focuses instead on the personal and individual experiences of the common men and women who were actors in a struggle that defined a generation and helped to shape our world. By examining the roles of anonymous individuals, families, and small groups who fought for their own interests and survival—and not necessarily for an abstract or revolutionary cause—Seidman reveals a powerful but rarely considered pressure on the outcome of history. He shows how price controls and inflation in the Republican zone encouraged peasant hoarding, black marketing, and unrest among urban workers. Soldiers of the Republican Army responded to material shortages by looting, deserting, and fraternizing with the enemy. Seidman’s focus on average, seemingly nonpolitical individuals provides a new vision of both the experience and outcome of the war.
To Tilt at Windmills is the memoir of Briton Fred Thomas who served with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War (July 1936-March 1939).
Inspired by a memorable return to Iberian battlefields forty years later, and based on diaries kept during the many months Thomas spent as a gunner with the British Anti-Tank Battery, the narrative moves eloquently along a journey into the war zone, through the several campaigns in which he fought and where he was twice wounded, and finally to the withdrawal of the Brigades from the conflict. What distinguishes Thomas' account is the remarkable detail provided by the diaries and the measured tone of his reminiscence, There is, as well, the poignant inquiry of the veteran into the shape and meaning of experience as a young soldier. The historian Paul Preston has cited the "warmth, directness and deep humanity" of To Tilt at Windmills, "an important contribution to the collective memory of the war.
Many writers, from Aristophanes to Joseph Heller, have written about politics. But at certain periods in history, often at times of conflict and turmoil, writers have consciously used their literary talents to support or oppose a specific cause. The 1930s, a decade of widespread social and political breakdown, was such a period.
Today the Struggle examines the political involvement of those leading British writers who dedicated their talents to the defense of Nationalists or Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War and who saw that war as symbolic of their own Right-Left dialogue.
Conservatives like William Butler Yeats and T. S. Eliot and Roman Catholics like Evelyn Waugh were passionately anti-Communist. They viewed fascism as a bulwark against communism but were unwilling to support the Franco cause actively. Other pro-Nationalists were not so hesitant: Roy Campbell and Wyndham Lewis were ardent participants in the fight against the British left wing.
Pro-Loyalists, united only in their antifascism, ranged from conservative to anarchist in political commitment. Their literary contributions included fine poems by W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender, experimental drama by Auden and Christopher Isherwood, and impassioned prose by Rex Warner, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley.
Katharine Hoskins’s principal interest in Today the Struggle is to discover how and why certain writers supported specific political actions, to ascertain the effectiveness of their efforts, and to evaluate the influence of these efforts on their work.
This groundbreaking history of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) examines, for the first time in any language, how General Francisco Franco and his Nationalist forces managed state finance and economic production, and mobilized support from elites and middle-class Spaniards, to achieve their eventual victory over Spanish Republicans and the revolutionary left.
The Spanish Nationalists are exceptional among counter-revolutionary movements of the twentieth century, Michael Seidman demonstrates, because they avoided the inflation and shortages of food and military supplies that stymied not only their Republican adversaries but also their counter-revolutionary counterparts—the Russian Whites and Chinese Nationalists. He documents how Franco’s highly repressive and tightly controlled regime produced food for troops and civilians; regular pay for soldiers, farmers, and factory workers; and protection of property rights for both large and small landowners. These factors, combined with the Nationalists’ pro-Catholic and anti-Jewish propaganda, reinforced solidarity in the Nationalist zone.
Seidman concludes that, unlike the victorious Spanish Nationalists, the Russian and Chinese bourgeoisie were weakened by the economic and social upheaval of the two world wars and succumbed in each case to the surging revolutionary left.
Browse our collection.
See BiblioVault's publisher services.
Files for college accessibility offices.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press