A Conversation for The Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War

Post 1

Researcher 214052

Your post is very accurate and describes well what happened in Spain. However, there are a few things that can be added, should anyone like to know more about the topic:

The war did not stop in 1939: thousands of republicans kept fighting Franco until his death. Or better said, until their death.

The number of people who died, sadly, was much more than the figure you mention..more than a million people were killed. After the war, if you were on Franco side and you wanted a house or any other property belonging to someone you would suspect that were supporting the Republica, you only had to kill them and move to your new property. Before anyone replies to this, let me tell you that it was done to my family.

Although atrocities were done in both sides, Franco side was much worse, as they had 41 years to do just about everything he wanted. He had a momified hand of Santa Teresa in his desk, and he would use it to sign death sentences. That was the mental dictator that some so called democracies in the world were supporting.

There is a country which is always claiming to be the defender of freedom and all that in the world, specially nowadays. However, they did not move a finger to save Spain from someone like Franco during 40 years; they preferred to use Spain as a military base during the cold war. It does not matter how you like to read it, that country was supporting a fascist dictator like Hitler or Musolinni were. At least we had the Lincoln Brigade fighting with us, mostly 20 year old guys who were convinced they were fighting evil. They were. God bless them. Ronald Reagan said once that they fought in the wrong side. Did he mean he wanted people from his country supporting the Axis? Does he know who Lincoln was and what he did?

Franco came once to Asturias before the civil war, in 1934, a mining region of North Spain, to deal with a miners strike. He brought his moorish troops, specialized in raping children and castrating prisoners. Some of them are still alive, getting a very generous pension from spanish social security. But most of them died during the final assault of the miners to the city of Oviedo: Franco ordered to have the moorish soldiers chained to the machine guns so they could only fight or die, never escape. No wonder why when the Civil War started 2 years later, Asturias was with the Republic, except Oviedo, which is were Franco's wife was born.

Spain did not participate in the WWII because Franco was very clever and he knew that Hitler had no chances to win. He also knew that once the war was over, the allies would take him out and bring back democracy to Spain. So he chose not to fight. He was so right.

However, all the spanish republican fighters who could make it, went to support the allies in Europe. There were thousands fighting with the French resistence, and also with the russians. If you go now to The Arch of Triump in Paris, you will see several Spanish towns names carved on the stone: they are the names they gave to the tanks when they entered Paris after La Liberation of paris. You did not know that, do you. It is still there.

Spanish republican soldiers were also with the first russians who assalted Hitler's bunker once Berlin was taken.

What I'm trying to say with this is that spanish republican soldiers were committed with the freedom of Europe against Hitler, but then everybody forgot then and left my poor country in Franco hands until he died. Spain is still recovering from it. All the scientists, poets, all the brilliant people died of escaped to Mexico and France. That left Spain led by morons,mental people and assessins between 1936 and 1975. There was no Marshall plan in Spain. Women lost all of her rights they had during the republic and were given only the right to bring children to life and the right to cook. Perhaps it sounds funny, but it is not; Spain was quite modern country during the republic. Franco brought Spain back to Inquisition times. The Catolic church used to bless the weapons used to kill republicans; they used the name Crusade" to refer to the war.

Finally, you probably suspect that I am a republican. Yes I am, but mi family, as about all the spanish families at that time, were divided in two by the war. We lost relatives from both sides. There was good and bad people in both sides, and because the best people ia always the first people to die, we were left with the worst.

Thanks for your time.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 2


Hola 214052
As one of the "responsables" for the Spanish Civil War Guide entry I would like to say,first of all,thanks you for reading it and thank you for your valuable comments.
I was not completely sure about the figure to give for deaths due to the war.There are different estimates.I thought it best to take one of the lower figures that I knew of,and specify that this was a mimimum.
"At the very least,250,000"
Also,I confined myself to the period 1936 to 1939.Certainly,if one adds the post war executions of Republican prisoners,this results in a much higher figure.
But,of course,what we are talking about here is not merely a matter of statistics but of people,real people,as you very well know.
Thanks again for your comments.I am glad that people will be able to read them,alongside the Spanish Civil War Guide Entry.
Regarding the half-track armoured vehicles,manned by former soldiers of the Republican army,that were among the first Allied units to enter Paris during the Liberation.I am glad to hear that the names of those vehicles are on the Arc de Triomphe.They thoroughly deserve to be there.
"Madrid" "Jarama" "Ebro" "Teruel" "Guernica" "Belchite" "Guadalajara" and "Don Quijote",
Those are the names that Eduardo Pons Prades gives in his article "Españoles en la liberación de París".It's from the magazine "Historia" (16 nº 111, julio 1985).There is a version on-line,which should turn up if you do an internet search with the title and author's name.Better still,here's a URL.

Could write more,but must rest there ,for the moment.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 3


And there's some more SCW related links on my un-Edited "Spanish Civil War Links" Entry.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 4


The Spanish civil war and the great solidarity actions by the many volunteer soldiers in the different international brigades fighting against Franco and the fascists are not forgotten. On the 1 of May(Labour Day) every year a memorial manifestation is held here in Gothenburg, Sweden (where I live)to keep the memory of their solidarity alive. There are still a few old men alive who fought in Spain. Young members of the all the "left" and anarchist movements participate in this manifestation together with these old men and women.
No Pasaran!

The Spanish Civil War

Post 5


Hello Izzybelle
Thanks for your interesting message,which I have just seen today.You might already have seen this web page (link below) on the volunteer Hallgrímur Hallgrímsson.He was Danish,I think (the page is in two languages,one of them,I think,Danish,the other Spanish.I can only understand the Spanish bits).


In spite of not being able to understand all of it,I found the page very interesting.By quoting details of Hallgrímur Hallgrímsson's service history in Spain,it gives a picture of how the Scandinavian volunteers were organised,at different times,within the International Brigades.
I am pleased to see from your message that the Swedish volunteers are still being recognised and remembered.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 6


I am very interested in what happened in Spain in the 30´s, partly because I´m interested in history in general, but the Spanish civil war is a little bit like the forgotten war, WWII came along and Spain was forgotten... maybe also partly because it is a piece of history I can´t remember reading about in school. And of course because politicaly Im somewhere on the left side.
One of the old men, the only one still alive here in Gothenburg I believe, -Helmut Kirschey has written a biography on his memories from Germany(where his was born) in the early 30´s and from his time in the international brigades in Spain. It is written in swedish, but also translated in to german. "The memories of an antifascist" is the title in swedish and "A las barricadas" in german I think.
Helmut is a dear old man, 93 years old or something like that. I have met him a few times, as much as he is up to it he visits the organisations for young anarchists and other "left" youth clubs, he is always stessing how important it is to take young people serious, always talking about the great strength in solidarity. As old as he is he is admired by many young people, he listens to their questions and tell them his story.
I hadn´t seen the page with Hallgrimur, interesting. He was Islandic, though, it seems.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 7


Thankyou,Izzybelle.I have been on holiday for a couple of weeks,so just saw your message yesterday.So,Hallgrimur was from Iceland.That's really interesting.They really were International Brigades,weren't they.
By coincidence,I recently found a site on Swedish volunteers in the Spanish Civil War,by Anders MacGregor-Thunell.Helmut Kirschey is mentioned there,and apparently,in due course,an interview with him will be posted on the site.Several interviews with Swedish Interbrigaders have already been posted (thankfully,from my point of view,with versions in both Swedish and English!) and I am just starting to read through them now.
Here is a link to the site:



The Spanish Civil War

Post 8


Thanks for the link, seems interesting.
Hope you had a nice vacation.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 9


Helmut Kirschey passed away a few weeks ago.
His actions and his curage will not be forgotten.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 10


I read George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia" about his time in the International Brigade fighting the rebel Generals. This started something of an infatuation with this strange war.
I applaude the article, it's very good. I just think there are a couple of things you didn't fully pick up on:
Firstly, it's effect on the international scene at the time. By refusing to arm the Republicans turning a blind eye to Germany and Italy's repeated infringement of the non-intervention pact the Enlish and the French gave Hitler the confidence to brake the Treaty of Versailles and eventually start WW2. It also made Stalin and soviet Russia feel isolated from their possible allies against the Nazi's in the West of Europe.
Secondly, you glossed over the factions of the Republican forces and the effect they had on the outcome the infighting had on the war effort. I have an old essay that wrote on this subject. If I can find it I will post it to suplement your article.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 11


Tom- Great entry on the Spanish Civil War.
Republicano Anonimo- valid additions too!
I'm fascinated by the whole event and hope we learn the lesson from what happened.
No Pasarán, indeed...

The Spanish Civil War

Post 12


Thank you so much for this article and putting light of what is still a shameful topic in Spain.

I am the granddaughter of a Republican refugee and I am so proud of what he did. The problem is, from the time he moved to France, he never wanted to speak his mother tongue ever again, this is how much disgust he expressed for his home country. He wrote a book which was shown at the Barcelona town hall in 2001, in which he tell his story. He died in 1979 and no member of my family in France knew anything about this memoir. It came to light thanks to my Spanish great uncles and nephews, who took my father there to show him.

Thankfully, Spain has started to admit that the Nationalists did wrong and murdered so many people. Shame on you, Nationalists supporters.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 13


A13199475, you will find Claras story of the civil war


The Spanish Civil War

Post 14


I am replying this 28th day in May, 2007. I am removed in time and geography from the traumatic and very personal events that you lived through and so well describe, but I would like to express my belief that these same political forces are once again rearing their ugly head. Therefore, the dangerous and evil forces present in pre-Franco and Franco Spain are alive and well here in the United States today. As your writing of these forces in 2003 has helped me to understand the similar forces today in my country, I am hungry to understand more, in the hopes that their resurgence can be forstalled, or prevented, to the benefit of all concerned. To this end, even if I do not have the luck to call the attention of the author to whose writing I am responding, now 4 years later, anybody who reads my response should make a response of their own, as I will check in to this website in the future from time to time.

As of this writing, much of the political support for Pres. George W. Bush has thankfully eroded. Never in my life, and I am now almost 60, have I witnessed such chauvinism, perhaps facism, as I have in this Republican administration. The Republican party, of the two main ones, the other calling themselves Democratic, is clearly the more dangerous of the two. Indeed, it has given rise to Ronald Reagan and Nixon as well. But it is George W. Bush, the son of a former president, and Reagan who scare me. These two share some elements in common, but most notably their "Christianity". We saw this Christian influence in Pres. Jimmy Carter as well (a Democratic Party member), but without the pernicious effects. The Republican Party here is, contrary to their spin, the party of exclusivity and authoritarianism, a feature when coupled with the inevitable intolerance of extreme religious forces, produces a monster. I hope the American people now realize this lethal combination for all that it is not, but purports to be, and for all that it is, and will steadfastly deny. The next general elections in 2008 will tell if we have learned our lesson.

Both parties, even though more the Republican Party, will aid in dominating populist movements, preferring and finding more leverage in the leaders against whom these popular forces are focused. This U.S. habit of supporting any dictator who will heed our will, and only turning against him with epithets like "dictator" and "brutal" when he becomes too independent of our will, I want people to recognize. Our Government's rhetoric of "freedom" and "democracy" is good theory and paplum, but is soon forgotton in the power struggles, and stays alive only in the lies that the U.S. Government tells the citizens and voters of this country, who are all too gullible, "patriotic", and distracted on pettier concerns to really care.

Finally, the two parties lie as often as they do in order to frustrate the democratic will of the people. The last thing these officials want is a real dialogue at ground level of the important issues that face America at any given time. Hence, the lies work well to keep control, to keep all opposing, unknown, and possibly alien forces out of the decision making process.

Today, we don't have any left wing party in this country to speak of, only one on the center-right and one on the far right.

Whereas Latin America, doubtless in reaction to the reactionary (ultra conservative) forces gaining ground here, starting with Ronald Reagan, in this country, is swinging to the left, Europe has been and will need to continue to move to the right, e.g. Tony Blair and the result of the recent elections in France, and the need for greater economic efficiency as the baby-boomers retire (to the misfortune of the little person), and the aging of populations. Wars will aggravate and facilitate this move to the right, as it has done here.

The world should be on alert that facist forces will use these forseeable economic conditions and wars to justify themselves as they continue to pursue their domination and control politics through any means possible.

Please, what do you think?

The Spanish Civil War

Post 15


Hi williamguillermo!

There has been a lot of discussions about the US, Bush, war on terrorism etc. on this community through the years.

I find your post very interesting. But I live far away from America, in Scandinavia, so it is hard for me to really comment on what you have to say. As you are living there you have another feel for what is going on.
What I can comment on are that most people I know, including myself, are surprised and appaled of what seems to be an agressive christian right wing having the power of banning teaching of the evolution theori from schools in some states. American arrogance in enviromental issues, such as the Kyoto protocol is also very provoking.
At large I think we(in the western world) are living in a far more superficial society to day, compared to when I grew up in the 60´s and the 70´s. Sweden, where I live has also taken a right turn politically since the 80´s/90´s. We live in a much harder society to day. The attiude is much more "each and everyone for themselves" today than before, be it towards homeless citizens or refuges.

I really do hope we can learn from history, that some of us has the ability to look up from the everyday life take a deep breath, and see the bigger picture.

smiley - zoom

The Spanish Civil War

Post 16


Despite being 71 years out of the womb, an avid reader, and author of 16 self-published books available at several spots on the Internet, I know little about the Spanish Civil War of 1936. Basically, all I know about it is what few articles I've read recently at places such as this, Wikipedia, and a couple of other spots here on the Internet. In what little I've read, I'm repeatedly told that the war was by no means simply one between the "Republicans" and the "Nationalists" but, rather, was one between at least 4 groups, since, among those commonly styled "Republicans", there was much in-fighting between various parties, just as, among those commonly styled "Nationalists", there was much in-fighting between various parties. I'm told there were many atrocities committed by all of these various parties. As a Catholic, I'm particularly bothered by statements telling me over 6,000 bishops, priests, and religious were murdered by the various factions called "Republicans". Some, I'm told were forced to dig their own graves before they were buried alive. I'm also given various figures regarding who committed what number of atrocities, and I'm told the number of people killed was anywhere from 200,000 to at least 2,000,000, and I dare say there are some sure the figure was more like 20,000,000, if not 20 billion. Naturally, those somewhat devoted to the various "Nationalists" insist the "Republicans" executed at least 10 times the number of people killed by the various "Republicans", and those somewhat devoted to the various "Republicans" insist the "Nationalists" executed at least 10 to 100 times the number of people killed by the various "Republicans".

In response to all of this talk about atrocities, I would like to ask a question of everyone reading this: What is an atrocity? Some say every act of TARGETING the life of a NON-COMBATANT is an atrocity. Others say only the act of TARGETING the lives of children under 4 or 5 years of age is an atrocity. Often, though, they'll add: "However, even the mass slaughter of children of any age is actually love of the highest and noblest kind which ever perhaps existed, as long as, in the view of the killer's crystal ball, the consequence of such mass slaughter shall be a much higher standard of living for the greatest possible number. That, after all, is why it was not merely legitimate but supremely benevolent and humanitarian for the WWII Allies to target every man, woman, child, and infant in Desden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki." For example, I somewhere heard Lenin quoted as saying: "It makes no difference if only one-third of the world survives the revolution, as long as that third is wholly and entirely Communist." In other words, he's effectively saying: "It's an act of love of the highest and noblest kind to slaughter 4,000,000,000 men, women, and children, if -- whatever their age, etc. -- they are not Communists. After all, the survivors shall then live a life of such mutual love, peace, and prosperity, they won't even need any coercive institutions such as government to make them do what's best for them."

Others say: "What is a non-combatant? Failure to take up arms and actually fire on someone else is by no means what makes one a non-combatant. A combatant is anyone who, directly or indirectly, contributes the slightest degree of any kind of support whatsoever to those actually firing upon either me or the people who share my principles. For example, anyone who consents to be a Catholic thereby contributes support to what is, without all question and by very, very far, the most murderous institution in the history of the world; therefore, everyone truly opposed to murderers will consider it his sacred duty to kill as many Catholics as he can regardless of any other consideration. The only thing to ask is: 'Is the intended victim a Catholic?' If the answer is yes, then the intended victim must be executed and executed in as cruel a fashion as possible, in order to turn as many Catholics as possible away from their murderous support of the supremely murderous Catholic Church. He who follows this guideline shall do a favor to God and shall rightly be praised as one given to love of the highest and noblest kind which ever perhaps existed. How blessed shall be the day when we are finally able to kill every one of the world's 1,100,000,000 Catholics! For, that, and only that, shall finally return humanity to Utopia."

What do you say, dear reader? As for myself, I am a Catholic for one reason over all others, namely: Catholic doctrine assures me of this: It is always and everywhere contrary to God's law to target the life of anyone who is not -- whether thru deliberate choice or criminally negligent ignorance -- killing anyone else. Since it's never possible for children under about 5 or 6 to kill someone either deliberately or thru criminally negligent ignorance, it is always and everywhere contrary to God's law to target the life of a child under 5 or 6. Indeed, in the vast majority of cases, it is probably contrary to God's law to target the life of a person under 8 or 9 years of age, unless they are pointing a lethal weapon at you."

Alas! I've read enough history to know how it is for most people: "I must do WHATEVER my OWN crystal ball predicts shall produce the most benevolent results, and I must never rely upon what consequences are predicted by some church's moral teaching. What do I care how massive, durable, and unique is the centrally organized edifice built by Catholic doctrine? No matter how impressive ITS track record, in the art of building a massive, durable and centrally organized edifice, and unimpressive mine, I am certain my crystal ball's view of future consequences is far, far more reliable than that of Catholic doctrine. Even with no more in my head than a puny little 4 pound brain almost sure to die in less than a hundred years, I know better than 2,000 years of Catholic doctrine what moral guidelines shall lead to the most prosperous future."

Hearing some say that, I am reminded of the words of Jeremiah, 17:5-6: "Thus says the Lord: 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the whilderness, in an uninhabited salt land." I am also reminded of what words St. Matthew puts into the mouth of Incarnate God in 7:24-27: "Every one, then, who hears my words and lives by them, shall be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock: Though the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. But, every one who hears my words and does not live by them shall be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand: When the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, it fell, and great was its fall." In 13:31, St. Matthew puts these words into the mouth of Incarnate God: "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field: It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."

Surely some will say to me: "If Catholic doctrine has produced the most massive, durable, and centrally organized edifice in history, it's only because the Catholics are, by very, very far, the most clever, murderous, and conspiratorial liars in history." No, my friend! Jesus Christ was neither a liar nor a fool. He knew what He was talking about when He assured us only the Kingdom of God produces the largest of "shrubs" and does so because only an edifice built upon His moral guidelines can so withstand the test of time as to produce the largest and most durable edifice of them all. No doubt, many Catholics -- including many popes, bishops, and priests -- were among history's most bloodthirsty and sadistic butchers. That, though, does not DETRACT from Catholic doctrine's claim to be the moral guidelines of Incarnate God. On the contrary! It presents us with powerful evidence in SUPPORT of that claim. For, only the word of Incarnate God could overcome that great an obstacle and still produce the world's largest, most durable, and centrally organized edifice despite all the Judas' present among the closest of Incarnte God's companions. Then, too, this business of condeming the whole for the crimes of a part is merely one of the oldest and most perverse of all the intellectual tricks sick egos are prone to using in their efforts to rationalize their own love of mass murder. As Aesop's Fables put it: The wise wolf always seeks first to convict the sheep of a crime before he kills it. Oh, yes! Merely convict a few million Catholics of murder, and then it shall be love of the highest and noblest kind which ever perhaps existed when we kill all ONE BILLION ONE HUNDRED MILLION of them.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 17


If I can take issue with one specific point in your article; that Guernica was 'supposedly' bombed by the Luftwaffe. I believe this is now beyond doubt. Interestingly, the Imperial War Museum have archive film of German ME109 fighters on bomber escort duty over Britain during WWII, still painted in their Condor Legion colours. More evidence, if needed, that the Spanish Civil War was the first battle of WWII.


The Spanish Civil War

Post 18


In these days of petty pathetic nationalisms it is very inspiring to look back at the genuine internationalism of the International Brigades...
Lalu Hanuman.

The Spanish Civil War

Post 19


Great article, not only in it's content but also the discussion that it generated.

I agree with earlier comments - it's a part of European history that we never learnt about at school and it's so important. I think we went from WW1 to WW2 as if nothing else happened inbetween. I've had to learn about it as an adult.

It's great to know that the International Brigades existed and people came together for the right reasons. It makes listening to the Christy Moore song even more meaningful now - Viva La Quinceavo Brigada - No Passaran!

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