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.
Milton Wolff was the ninth and final commander of the Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln-Washington Battalions that fought for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. Part autobiography, part fiction, Another Hill is his insider's account of the grueling, shattering experience of the Americans who fought against fascism while their country looked the other way.
The Anti-Warrior: A Memoir
Milt Felsen University of Iowa Press, 1989 Library of Congress DP269.9.F36 1989 | Dewey Decimal 940.548173
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.
What was the relationship between President Franklin D. Roosevelt, architect of America’s rise to global power, and the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, which inspired passion and sacrifice, and shaped the road to world war? While many historians have portrayed the Spanish Civil War as one of Roosevelt’s most isolationist episodes, Dominic Tierney argues that it marked the president’s first attempt to challenge fascist aggression in Europe. Drawing on newly discovered archival documents, Tierney describes the evolution of Roosevelt’s thinking about the Spanish Civil War in relation to America’s broader geopolitical interests, as well as the fierce controversy in the United States over Spanish policy.
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 this first book-length study of the role women played in two of the most momentous revolutions of the twentieth century, Tabea Alexa Linhard provides a comparative analysis of works on the Mexican Revolution (circa 1910–1919) and the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Linhard was inspired by the story of the “Trece Rosas,” about thirteen young women who, after the Spanish Civil War ended with the Nationalists’ victory, were executed. One of the women, Julia Conesa, was particularly influential. In a letter she wrote to her mother a few hours before she faced the firing squad, she said, “Do not allow my name to vanish in history.” Fearless Women in the Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Civil War is Linhard’s attempt to respond to Julia’s last request.
Although female figures such as the soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution and the milicianas of the Spanish Civil War are abundant in writings about revolution and war, they are often treated as icons, myths, and symbols, displacing the women’s particular and diverse experiences. Linhard maintains a focus on these women’s stories, which until now—when presented at all—have usually been downplayed in literary canons, official histories, and popular memories. She addresses several existing gaps in studies of the intersections of gender, revolution, and culture in both the Mexican and the Spanish contexts.
The book is grounded in transatlantic studies, an emerging field that bridges disciplinary boundaries between Peninsular studies and Latin American studies. In this case, the connection between the Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Civil War is a natural consequence of the disjointed conditions out of which arose the cultural texts in which fearless women appear.
Fearless Women in the Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Civil War will be especially valuable to scholars of early twentieth-century Peninsular and Mexican literature and culture. It will also be a useful resource in gender studies and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of revolution, war, and culture.
On April 26, 1937, a massive aerial attack by German and Italian forces reduced the Basque city of Gernika to rubble and left more than sixteen hundred people dead. Although the assault was initiated as part of a terror bombing campaign by Francoists against Basque Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War, its main intent was to test the effectiveness of the rising German Luftwaffe’s new equipment and strategies.
To produce this detailed analysis of the political and military background of the attack and its subsequent international impact, Xabier Irujo examined archives and official government documents in several countries and conducted numerous interviews with Basques who survived. His account of the assault itself, based on eyewitness reports from both victims and attackers, vividly recalls the horror of that first example of the blitz bombing that served the Germans during the first years of World War II. He reveals the U.S. and British governments’ reaction to the bombing and also discusses efforts to prosecute the perpetrators for war crimes. Irujo relates the ways in which the massacre has been remembered and commemorated in Gernika and throughout the worldwide Basque diaspora.
Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre is an important contribution to the history of the Spanish Civil War and to our understanding of the military strategies and decisions that shaped this war and would later be employed by the Nazis during World War II.
The question of what caused the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) is the central focus of modern Spanish historiography. In Ghosts of Passion, Brian D. Bunk argues that propaganda related to the revolution of October 1934 triggered the broader conflict by accentuating existing social tensions surrounding religion and gender. Through careful analysis of the images produced in books, newspapers, posters, rallies, and meetings, Bunk contends that Spain’s civil war was not inevitable. Commemorative imagery produced after October 1934 bridged the gap between rhetoric and action by dehumanizing opponents and encouraging violent action against them.
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.
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.
Drawing on primary sources, Alex Vernon provides a thorough account of Hemingway’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, a messy, complicated, brutal precursor to World War II that inspired Hemingway’s great novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. Vernon also offers the most sustained history and consideration to date of The Spanish Earth. Directed by Joris Ivens, this film was a landmark work in the development of war documentaries, for which Hemingway served as screenwriter and narrator.
Contributing factual, textual, and contextual information to Hemingway studies in general and his participation in the war specifically, Vernon has written a critical biography for Hemingway’s experiences during the Spanish Civil War that includes discussion of the left-wing politics of the era and the execution of José Robles Pazos. Finally, the book provides readings ofFor Whom the Bell Tollsboth in historical context and on its own terms.
Marked by both impressive breadth and accessibility, Hemingway’s Second War will be an indispensible resource for students of literature, film, journalism, and European history and a landmark work for readers of Ernest Hemingway.
The Nazis provided Franco’s Nationalists with planes, armaments, and tanks in their civil war against the Communists but behind this largesse was a Faustian bargain. Pierpaolo Barbieri makes a convincing case that the Nazis hoped to establish an economic empire in Europe, and in Spain they tested the tactics intended for future subject territories.
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.
Widely regarded as one of the best works by the winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Literature, San Camilo, 1936 appears here for the first time in English translation. One of Spain’s most popular writers, Camilo José Cela is recognized for his experiments with language and with difficult subject matter. In San Camilo, 1936, first published in 1969, these concerns converge in a fascinating narrative that is as challenging as it is rewarding, as troubling as it is compelling. A story of history as it happens, by turns confusing and startingly clear, echoing with news and rumors, defined by grand gestures and intimate pauses, the novel leads the reader into the ordinary life of extraordinary times. Beginning on the eve of the Spanish Civil War, San Camilo, 1936 follows a twenty-year-old student’s attempts to sort out his private affairs (sex, money, career) in the midst of the turmoil overtaking his country. In vivid and richly textured prose that distinguishes Cela’s work, the emotional reality of civil war takes on a vibrant immediacy that is humorous, tender, and ultimately transforming as a young man tries to come to terms with the historical moment he inhabits—and hopes to survive. Readers new to Cela will find in this novel ample reason for the author’s growing reputation among audiences worldwide.
Threatened by each side in the Spanish Civil War with death as a suspected spy, decorated for saving an airman’s life in a bullet-ridden B-24 Liberator over Greece, war correspondent Henry “Hank” Gorrell often found himself in the thick of the fighting he had been sent to cover. And in reporting on some of the world’s most dangerous stories, he held newspaper readers spellbound with his eyewitness accounts from battlefields across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
An “exclusive” United Press correspondent, Gorrell saw more than his share of war, even more than most reporters, as his beat took him from the siege of Madrid to the sands of North Africa. His memoir, left in an attic trunk for sixty years, is presented here in its entirety for the first time. As he risks life and limb on the front lines, Gorrell gives us new perspectives on the overall conflict—including some of World War II’s lesser-known battles—as well as insights into behind-the-lines intrigue.
Gorrell’s account first captures early Axis intervention in Spain and their tests of new weaponry and blitzkrieg tactics at the cost of millions of Spanish lives. While covering the Spanish Civil War, he was captured by forces from each side and saw many brave men die disillusioned, and his writings offer a contrast to other views of that conflict from writers like Hemingway. But Spain was just Hank’s training ground: before America even entered World War II, he was embedded with Allied forces from seven nations.
When war broke out, Gorrell was sent to Hungary, where in Budapest he witnessed pro-Axis enthusiasts toast the victory of Fascist armies. Later in Romania he watched Stalin kick over the Axis apple cart with his invasion of Bessarabia—forcing the Germans to deal with the Russian menace before they had planned. Then he saw twenty Italian divisions mauled in the mountains of Albania, marking the beginning of the end for Mussolini.
Combining the historian’s accuracy with the journalist’s on-the-spot reportage, Gorrell provides eyewitness impressions of what war looked, sounded, and felt like to soldiers on the ground. Soldier of the Press weaves personal adventures into the larger fabric of world events, plunging modern readers into the heat of battle while revealing the dangers faced by war correspondents in that bygone era.
In 1938, a black newspaper in Houston paid front-page tribute to Thyra J. Edwards as the embodiment of “The Spirit of Aframerican Womanhood.” Edwards was a world lecturer, journalist, social worker, labor organizer, women’s rights advocate, and civil rights activist—an undeniably important figure in the social struggles of the first half of the twentieth century. She experienced international prominence throughout much of her life, from the early 1930s to her death in 1953, but has received little attention from historians in years since. Gregg Andrews’s Thyra J. Edwards: Black Activist in the Global Freedom Struggle is the first book-length biographical study of this remarkable, historically significant woman.
Edwards, granddaughter of runaway slaves, grew up in Jim Crow–era Houston and started her career there as a teacher. She moved to Gary, Indiana, and Chicago as a social worker, then to New York as a journalist, and later became involved with the Communist Party, attracted by its stance on race and labor. She was mentored by famed civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph, who became her special friend and led her to pursue her education. She obtained scholarships to college, and after several years of study in the U.S. and then in Denmark, she became a women’s labor organizer and a union publicist.
In the 1930s and 1940s, she wrote about international events for black newspapers, traveling to Europe, Mexico, and the Soviet Union and presenting an anti-imperialist critique of world affairs to her readers. Edwards’s involvement with the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War, her work in a Jewish refugee settlement in Italy, and her activities with U.S. communists drew the attention of the FBI. She was harassed by government intelligence organizations until she died at the age of just fifty-five. Edwards contributed as much to the radical foundations of the modern civil rights movements as any other woman of her time.
This fascinating biography details Thyra Edwards’s lifelong journey and myriad achievements, describing both her personal and professional sides and the many ways they intertwined. Gregg Andrews used Edwards’s official FBI file—along with her personal papers, published articles, and civil rights manuscript collections—to present a complete portrait of this noteworthy activist. An engaging volume for the historian as well as the general reader, Thyra J. Edwards explores the complete domestic and international impact of her life and actions.
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.
Traveler, There Is No Road offers a compelling and complex vision of the decolonial imagination in the United States from 1931 to 1943 and beyond. By examining the ways in which the war of interpretation that accompanied the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) circulated through Spanish and English language theatre and performance in the United States, Lisa Jackson-Schebetta demonstrates that these works offered alternative histories that challenged the racial, gender, and national orthodoxies of modernity and coloniality. Jackson-Schebetta shows how performance in the US used histories of American empires, Islamic legacies, and African and Atlantic trades to fight against not only fascism and imperialism in the 1930s and 1940s, but modernity and coloniality itself.
This book offers a unique perspective on 1930s theatre and performance, encompassing the theatrical work of the Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Spanish diasporas in the United States, as well as the better-known Anglophone communities. Jackson-Schebetta situates well-known figures, such as Langston Hughes and Clifford Odets, alongside lesser-known ones, such as Erasmo Vando, Franca de Armiño, and Manuel Aparicio. The milicianas, female soldiers of the Spanish Republic, stride on stage alongside the male fighters of the Lincoln Brigade. They and many others used the multiple visions of Spain forged during the civil war to foment decolonial practices across the pasts, presents, and futures of the Americas. Traveler conclusively demonstrates that theatre and performance scholars must position US performances within the Americas writ broadly, and in doing so they must recognize the centrality of the hemisphere’s longest-lived colonial power, Spain.
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.