Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I mentioned the Spanish civil war in a previous post, indicating that I thought support for Franco's side was nothing to be ashamed of, but I admitted that I didn't know enough about it to arrive at a definitive judgement.

Having read a bit more about it now, although I still wouldn't say my judgement was definitive, I'm convinced that, at least as regards the origins of the conflict, Franco's side was in the right. Based on what I know now, if I had been alive then I would have gone to Spain and fought for them.

More than that, though, I think the prelude to the Spanish civil war is very interesting because of its parallels with the antidemocratic conduct of the establishment left in our own times (including the mainstream "conservative" parties who have been intellectually captured by the Jacobin side).

I'm going to quote at length from "The Spanish Civil War" by the American historian Stanley G. Payne, whose views, whether of Islam or its modern affiliate, Communism, are refreshingly free of political correctness.
Yet of the three sectors that led the new system – the middle-class left Republicans, the Socialists, and the centrist Radicals – only the latter considered liberal democracy and the rules of the electoral parliamentary system of a value. By contrast, the left Republicans, or the “bourgeois left,” as they were called, identified the new Republic not so much with a democratic process to be scrupulously respected as with a radical reform project, for which Manuel Azaña and other leaders sometimes used the term “revolution.” To them, “the Republic” meant less a political system than a special cultural and institutional reform program, under which it was indispensable to exclude permanently Catholics and conservatives from any participation in government. Twenty years earlier, some of the left Republicans had held more moderate attitudes, mindful of the fact that extremism and intransigence had led the country to disaster during the era of pronunciamientos. They were radicalized by the experience of the Primo de Rivera regime, concluding that compromise and cooperation would lead only to renewed power for the right, which they now concluded – erroneously – had become so eroded politically as to find itself on the scrap heap of history. Their attitude was therefore somewhat contradictory. On the one hand, left Republicans were convinced that historical change had eviscerated conservative interests, but on the other hand, they insisted on the need to repress these interests vigorously, even, if necessary, at the cost of democratic practice and full civil rights. To an even greater degree, the Socialists, whose numbers now expanded rapidly for the first time, pledged only limited loyalty to the new democratic regime. Most of their leaders were convinced that it was inaugurating a basic change that permanently subjugated conservative political interests, initiating an open-ended reform bound to culminate in socialism. Conservative forces appeared to be completely disorganized and had done nothing to defend the monarchy, and therefore the Socialists inaccurately concluded that in the future, such interests could do little to prevent the coming of socialism. The left Republicans and Socialists therefore crafted a radically reformist regime that almost immediately moved to curb certain civil rights and throttle opposition, resulting in a system that Javier Tusell, Spain's leading political historian at the century's end, would tersely define as “a not very democratic democracy” – perhaps the best brief description of the Second Republic ever coined. This first became apparent in the religious sphere, when the new government failed to move swiftly to curb the “burning of the monasteries” on May 11–12, 1931, only one month into the new regime. A mood of increasingly radical anticlericalism had been building for more than a generation. Organized mobs, mainly of anarchists and Republican extremists, burned more than a hundred churches and other religious buildings in Madrid and other cities, so that, after initial indifference, the army finally had to be called in to restore order. Elections to a constituent parliament that would draft a new constitution were held in June 1931, conducted on the basis of granting full rights only to pro-Republican forces.

Extreme anticlericalism was fairly common in southwestern Europe and parts of Latin America in the early twentieth century. The transition to modern parliamentary government and separation of church and state had generated conflict ever since the French Revolution. Sharp restriction of religious freedom, along with the persecution of the Church, produced great tension in such diverse countries as France, Portugal, and Mexico, in the latter country sparking a kind of civil war between 1926 and 1929. Rather than drawing lessons from these conflicts, the Spanish left was determined to follow their example. Ironically, at the point that the Vatican and Church leaders were willing for the first time to accept an American-style separation of church and state, the leftist parties rejected an initial constitutional draft that proposed such terms, based on complete religious freedom for all parties. They insisted on regulations that sharply restricted certain Catholic activities, especially of the monastic orders, and expelled the Jesuits (for the third time in Spanish history). In addition, they announced plans to prohibit religious orders from teaching, with the goal of crippling Catholic education and making instruction a monopoly of the state. These policies of 1931–33 were only the beginning; by June 1936, religious services would be suppressed altogether in some districts and Catholic schools closed in most parts of the country.

...Meanwhile, activists of the FAI-CNT [anarchists] used the inauguration of a new regime as opportunity to wreak vengeance on their enemies. They committed twenty-three political murders in Barcelona during the first weeks of the Republic and launched three successive revolutionary insurrections in January 1932, January 1933, and December 1933. Anarchists did not consider these outbursts as civil war per se, but as the beginning of what they vainly hoped would be a nationwide uprising against the capitalist system. Each insurrection took place in half a dozen or more provinces, but each was poorly organized and none threatened to destabilize the Republic, despite acts of terrorism and the deaths of several hundred people. Small sectors of the extreme right encouraged a feeble military revolt, led by José Sanjurjo, one of the country's most prominent generals, which broke out on August 10, 1932, but nearly all the Army ignored it. Ten people died. During the first three years of the Republic, violent enemies of the new regime enjoyed little support.None of the four revolts – three by the extreme revolutionary left and one by the radical right – seriously threatened the new system. The Republic frequently restricted civil rights and imposed more sweeping censorship than had normally existed under the constitutional monarchy. A special Law for the Defense of the Republic gave the government broad powers to suspend civil rights and constitutional guarantees. This was modified slightly in 1933, but Republican law continued to provide for three different levels of suspension of civil rights – “state of alarm,” “state of prevention,” and martial law – which were frequently invoked, both against the moderate and the extreme right and against the extreme left, so that altogether the Second Republic passed approximately as many days under suspended or partially suspended constitutional guarantees as under constitutional normality. Similarly, the Republicans supplemented the paramilitary constabulary known as the Civil Guard, responsible for order in the countryside, with a new security corps, the Assault Guards, patterned after new security corps of the Weimar Republic in Germany and designed for use in the cities. The very nomenclature of “Assault” was a reflection of the general movement toward the paramilitary in European affairs, as well as of the aggressive policy of the new regime.

...The elections of 1933 produced a result almost diametrically opposite to the balloting two years earlier, when the CEDA won a plurality, albeit not a majority, of seats. The number of Socialist deputies declined, while the left Republicans were almost wiped out. The leaders of these last two groups responded with demands that the president of the Republic, Niceto Alcalá Zamora, cancel the results and permit them to change the rules for new elections in order to guarantee victory for a chastened and reunited left. They did not charge that the balloting had been unfair or invalid, but simply protested the fact that victory had gone to the right and center. Whereas the CEDA had accepted an electoral law written by its opponents, the left contended that the Catholic party could not be permitted to win elections – even under rules drawn up by the left – because the CEDA proposed fundamental changes in the Republican system. Although the left had just finished drastically altering Spain's political system and the Socialists proposed to go much farther yet to introduce socialism, the left maintained that the Catholic right could not be allowed to introduce any other changes, irregardless of how many votes it received. The left insisted that the Republic constituted not an equal democratic regime for all, but a special project exclusively aligned with the left. This position was unprecedented in the recent history of European parliamentary regimes. German Social Democrats, for example, had gone to great lengths to defend equal rights for all in the founding of the Weimar Republic, and even the revolutionary “Maximalist” Socialists of Italy in 1919–22 had never seriously proposed to manipulate electoral outcomes. Facing the rise of Fascism, their last major initiative had been the “legalitarian strike” of mid-1922, which merely asked for a return to law and order and to democratic government. What were the sources of the Spanish left's “patrimonial” concept of an exclusively leftist regime? This is difficult to determine. Only ten years earlier, in 1923, most of the left had demanded full democratization. As soon as it arrived, they rejected it when it failed to guarantee their domination.

The first Spanish left, the liberals of 1810, had been realistic, coherent, and moderate. Even though at that time Spain lacked the civil society to sustain a modern parliamentary system, the Constitution of 1812 that they created served as a beacon of European liberalism, from Portugal to Russia, for the following generation. The seeds of the intransigent or extreme left emerged in the “exaltados” of 1821–23, who were willing to impose their values by fair means or foul. During most of the nineteenth century, this had meant a combination of military pronunciamientos – the majority were on behalf of more liberal agendas – and urban riots. The rise of the revolutionary worker movements – anarchosyndicalist and Marxist – accentuated this extremism. The attitude that developed held that anything opposed to the left was reactionary and ipso facto illegitimate, a posture not to be found in equivalent form elsewhere in Western Europe. In November 1933, President Alcalá Zamora, a liberal Catholic, rejected four different requests from left Republicans and Socialists to cancel the results of honest elections and change the rules ex post facto. Nonetheless, the fact that a majority of the republic's founders rejected electoral democracy as soon as they lost an election meant that the prospects for democracy were at best uncertain.

...A turn to violence was exhibited during the electoral campaign of 1933, when Socialists were responsible for most of the incidents that resulted in twenty-eight deaths.

...In January 1934, however, Largo Caballero – now the head of the revolutionaries – replaced Besteiro as leader of the UGT, which, together with the Socialist Youth organization, would henceforth be the main base of Socialist radicalism. The Revolutionary Committee prepared a program calling for the nationalization of land, dissolution of all religious orders, and dissolution of the Army and the Civil Guard. The program further called for a democratically elected parliament to ratify these changes, once the revolutionaries had seized power. This underscored the illusory and contradictory character of Socialist policy, given that a democratically elected parliament could not realistically be expected to ratify a Socialist takeover. The Committee's instructions declared that the insurrection must have “all the characteristics of civil war,” its success depending on “the breadth of its expansion and the violence with which it is carried out.”3 A map of Madrid targeted key points and was accompanied by lists of people to be arrested. The Revolutionary Committee planned to use thousands of militia volunteers, and, with the complicity of part of the police, some of the insurrectionists were to wear Civil Guard uniforms. They were to follow plans laid out in a handbook prepared by Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky and other officers of the Red Army in 1928, under the pseudonym ofA. Neuberg and titled Armed Insurrection, to guide Comintern rebellions abroad. The Spanish Socialist insurrection of 1934 was the most elaborately organized and best armed of all insurrectionary actions in Western and Central Europe during the interwar period. This was because it was not, as apologists later claimed, a desperate “defensive” reaction (such as that of Austrian Socialists in February 1934 after parliamentary rule in their country had been terminated), but a carefully planned aggression that had rhetorically been in gestation for more than a year and tactically in preparation for nine months. None of the insurrectionary actions in Germany after the end of World War I, even those organized by Communists, revealed an equivalent degree of preparation. For the past generation, Spanish writers and political activists had invoked the rhetorical trope of “civil war” as metaphor for their insistence on rapid and decisive change, to a greater extent than in any other Western country, but in most cases they had not intended to be taken seriously. Yet when El Socialista announced on September 25, 1934, that “everyone should give up the idea of peaceful evolution, which is a utopia; blessed be war,” this was a call to violent action.

...the Worker Alliance (a new revolutionary alliance formed with other smaller worker groups), together with the Catalan Esquerra, on October 4. The left's argument was that both Hitler and Mussolini had taken power legally with only a minority of seats in a coalition government, an analogy that hinged on stigmatizing the CEDA as “fascist,” even though this new Catholic party had observed legality, despite occasional verbal excesses by its leaders. Unlike the Socialists, the CEDA had abstained from violence and direct action, even though a number of its militants had been murdered by the left. By this point, the Socialist Party (PSOE) had more characteristics of a fascist organization than did the CEDA, as the veteran Socialist Besteiro ironically pointed out. The imminent insurrection would also assume, quite dubiously that it was in the interest of Spain – or at least of the left – to abandon parliamentary government. ... The revolutionaries committed numerous atrocities, murdering perhaps as many as 100 clergy and civilians, carrying out widespread destruction and arson, and looting at least 15 million pesetas from banks, most of which was never recovered.

...When the governing coalition broke down in September 1935 as a result of two petty financial scandals that eroded the strength of the Radicals, Gil Robles logically expected to become prime minister of a CEDA-led coalition. In parliamentary systems, the head of the largest party is normally given an opportunity to form a government. Instead, President Alcalá Zamora handed power to an independent centrist prime minister, whose shaky administration lasted barely three months. The Republican president then categorically refused to follow normal constitutional practice. On the grounds that the CEDA was too rightist, he appointed as prime minister a personal crony, Manuel Portela Valladares, an old-time politician who did not even have a seat in parliament.

...The Popular Front's program called for “republicanization” of all institutions, meaning not the extension of democracy for all, but the expansion of the anticlerical, educational, and socioeconomic reforms of 1931–33, accompanied by a purge of government employees and the judiciary to create an all-left regime. There was no condemnation of the October insurrection, which was tacitly endorsed, and “full amnesty” was demanded for all political crimes, however violent, committed since November 1933. Yet the same program demanded an exception to amnesty in the cases of state security officers, who would be investigated to determine if they had engaged in any excess.

...Spain's left Republicans refused to compromise even with the democratic center, pursuing a dangerous political game that not surprisingly culminated in catastrophe. For their part, the caballerista Socialists declared both privately and publicly, in EL Socialista, that, if the left lost the elections, the only alternative would be “civil war.” The electoral campaign was marred by increasing violence, as the leftist parties took advantage of the restoration of full constitutional liberties to return to direct action. This was more severe than in the elections of 1933, so that, according to the preliminary research of Manuel Alvarez Tardío, thirty-four or more deaths were recorded during the campaign and the elections. Balloting took place on February 16, 1936, at first in an orderly manner. By the evening, however, leftist crowds had taken to the streets in a considerable number of provincial capitals and other cities, interfering with the remainder of the balloting and registry of votes in at least twelve provinces. Claiming victory, in several cities they broke into prisons and freed revolutionaries still in jail. In a number of electoral districts, leftist mobs either put an end to voting or destroyed the results of the balloting, which led to the repetition of voting in these areas between February 17 and February 19. In such cases rightist representatives either resigned from the boards conducting or verifying the results or were forced out, and these repeat elections were swept overwhelmingly by the Popular Front. Pressure from leftist mobs was so great that a number of provincial governors and presidents of provincial assemblies, who feared being caught in another insurrection, resigned immediately and abandoned the electoral process before the votes had been registered.

...The results showed that the popular vote had ended in a virtual tie – 46 percent for the Popular Front, 47 percent for the Anti-revolutionary Coalition, and nearly 7 percent for the Center, Basque nationalists, and independent candidates; the government subsequently refused to publish the official vote totals, which were embarrassing for the left. The heavily disproportionate electoral system, however, resulted in a majority of 257 parliamentary seats for the Popular Front. Recent research by Roberto Villa García, the leading student of the Republican elections, indicates that the mob actions and disorders altered the results in at least twelve provinces, producing at least thirty seats in favor of the Popular Front, which made possible the parliamentary majority. (In the other thirty-eight provinces, where there was no interference with voting, the right gained 51 percent of the vote, the Popular Front 44 percent.) The second round of run-off balloting in five provinces where the original totals were inconclusive took place on March 1 under troubled circumstances. Violence and mob action by the left were increasingly common, with attacks on rightist headquarters, burnings of churches, and restrictions on rightist meetings in some districts, as well as several more killings, all further distorting the electoral outcome, so that the second round was swept by the left. When the dust had settled, the Popular Front held about 60 percent of the seats in the new parliament, even though the initial popular vote had been virtually a dead heat, with a small margin for the right.

...The final margin in favor of the Popular Front was primarily the result of violence, mob action, and political manipulations that took place between February 16 and March 1.


The most salient electoral fraud, however, took place in the new parliament itself. Under Republican legislation, the first major task of a new parliament was to form an electoral commission to review the results and determine if any of the latter should be canceled or reversed because of fraud or other improprieties. This dubious procedure meant that the victors in each election were given power to sit in judgment on the losers and determine if their representation should be reduced still further. Such power had been exercised with moderation by the center-right in 1933, but
the Popular Front, having won to a considerable extent on the basis of mob action, decided to manipulate the assignment of seats more blatantly still. The electoral commission began its work on March 24, completely annulling the elections in Cuenca and Granada, two conservative provinces won by the right, and further reassigned one or more seats in eight other provinces. New elections would be held in Cuenca and Granada; elsewhere, seats were mostly reassigned to the Popular Front, although the center was given a few seats, and in Jaén a seat taken from the Radicals was awarded to the CEDA. No evidence was presented that any irregularities in Granada were so extensive as to affect the outcome, whereas in Galicia irregularities were mostly ignored because they had benefited the Popular Front more than the right. In no case was a seat taken from the left. The right charged that the elections had originally been stolen by the left in a dozen provinces where the disorders of February 16–20 had falsified results, but the Popular Front majority on the commission refused to investigate. Altogether thirty-two more seats changed hands, overwhelmingly to the benefit of the left. An original majority of nearly 60 percent of the seats was eventually turned into a majority of two-thirds. Through fraudulent means, a sufficiently large margin had been created to permit amendment of the Republican Constitution. Having labored more than two years to thwart the right, Alcalá Zamora now agreed with rightist critics of the electoral process, writing in his memoirs that the Popular Front achieved an absolute majority, and an overwhelming one, only in the postelectoral administration, full of violence and manifest illegality:
The flight of civil governors and their tumultuous replacement with anonymous and even irresponsible appointees permitted the registration of votes to be made by amateurs, mailmen, wandering workers, or simply by crooks with whom anything was possible. …And in the second-round elections on March 1, even though few seats were involved, fraud was employed, and the government got what it wanted. How many results were falsified?…The most grievous calculation of the number of postelectoral changes would be eighty seats, though of that approximate number…not all were done for the benefit of the Popular Front, since the price of complicity was to give some to the opposition.… The worst and most scandalous frauds were carried out by the electoral commission in March.…In the parliamentary history of Spain, never very scrupulous, there is no memory of anything comparable to what the electoral commission of parliament did in 1936.
The worst was yet to come. In the brief campaign for by-elections in Cuenca and Granada on May 5, extreme coercion was applied to exclude conservative candidates so that the Popular Front could win an uncontested total victory. Elimination of electoral democracy in Spain thus proceeded through four stages: (1) the irregularities of February 16–17, decisive in a dozen provinces; (2) partial coercion in the second round on March 1; (3) manipulation of results by the parliament's electoral commission at the end of March; (4) total exclusion of the political right in the by-elections in Cuenca and Granada on May 5. Electoral democracy had obviously come to an end in Spain well before the beginning of the civil war, which may be seen as a consequence, certainly not the cause, of this breakdown.

...Disorders of many kinds became increasingly common, reaching a high level by April. These assumed four different forms: attacks on and arson of religious buildings, strikes and demonstrations in the towns, which often took a violent turn (and sometimes involved more arson), the direct occupation of farmland in parts of the center and south either as a permanent takeover or to impose new worker-control labor conditions, and direct clashes between political groups, usually carried out by small hit squads of the left (mostly Socialist and Communists, but sometimes anarchists) and of the Falangists (and very occasionally other rightist organizations). Conditions varied greatly from province to province. Some were relatively unaffected, and in some the authorities made more of an effort to maintain order than in others. Near the bottom was Fernando Bosque, newly appointed civil governor of Oviedo, quoted by the Communist Mundo Obrero on April 20 as saying,
I have appointed Popular Front delegates [political militants appointed as auxiliary police] throughout Asturias, who have been carrying out anti-fascist sweeps with good results: they have jailed priests, doctors, municipal secretaries, and whomever else it may be. They fulfill their tasks admirably. Some of the delegates are Communists, and even like Fermín López Irún, sentenced to death for his participation in the events of October.…The one in Taverga has jailed the local telegrapher and the court secretary; the former is let out during the day to do his work and locked up at night. Among those in prison are two canons from Covadonga.
These remarks, boldly publicized by the aggressive Communist press, raised a scandal in Madrid, and Bosque was fired. Nevertheless, his frank (and apparently accurate) statement made clear why the law would not be enforced under the left Republican administration, as the policy of naming revolutionary militants as auxiliary police became increasingly common. This was rather like putting foxes in charge of the henhouse, and recalled the practice three years earlier in Germany when Hitler had appointed members of the Nazi SA and SS as special Hilfspolizei, although this process was not so widespread in Spain.

Payne, Stanley G. (2012-07-16). The Spanish Civil War (Cambridge Essential Histories) (pp. 39-40). Cambridge University Press.

I would summarise the last two hundred years of European history as follows. The French revolution, and the intellectual ferment that preceded it, gave birth to a new religion: the Religion of Equality. The dogmas of this religion can be distilled down to a single proposition: that individuals are interchangeable. Men/women, working class/upper class, gays/straights, Britons/Poles, Europeans/Africans, Christians/Muslims, all interchangeable in all important respects, according to the Equality cultists. The genocide currently being inflicted on the peoples of Europe was implicit in the very formulation of this ideology in the 18th century. After all, genocide - the murder of a people - implies that such things as peoples - that is collectivities of individuals with their own distinct qualities - exist. But the core dogma of the religion of equality, namely that individuals are interchangeable, implicitly denies the existence of peoples. If individuals are interchangeable, how can groups of them have their own distinct qualities?

Based on their dogma, the adherents of the Equality cult have, for the last 200 or so years and still continuing today, been demanding the transformation of the societies they lived in. Those who resisted this transformation, they have stigmatised as evil. Because their opponents are deemed evil, they feel no compunction whatsoever about suppressing them, silencing them, imprisoning them or murdering them. We have seen this conduct from the French revolution until now. What happened in Spain was simply a Jacobin revolution that provoked a counter-revolution, as the Jacobins expected it to. They simply underestimated the strength of the counter-revolution, which ultimately defeated them and rolled back their transformation project.

The actions of the political establishment in our own time, the relentless drive to delegitimise the views of their political opponents - invoking mantras such as hate speech, racism, islamophobia - and to suppress opposition by banning opposition parties, denying them funding and infiltrating and disrupting them from within, and in some cases (as happened in France to the Front National) rewriting the electoral rules specifically to exclude them, exhibit strong parallels with the actions of the left establishment in the run-up to the Spanish civil war. Indeed, it is quite clear that it was those anti-democratic actions that brought the civil war about. What their consequences will be in our own time remains to be seen.


Anonymous said...

it was my understanding that franco was more left than the modern conception of right because he advocated for the nation state, rather than the kingdom.

this is an interesting link which makes lots of interesting points:

southwood said...

An interesting summation by Mr.Payne, and indeed likewise your own conclusions. However you fail, as does Mr.Payne, to report the reasons for the fear which the Republicans felt for the Right, especially, it seems, the CEDA or clerically influenced faction. Judging from the intolerance which the state religion imposed via Franco, holding such sway over him, in the years following the end of the civil war, and the outrageous violence ( on a much greater scale than that of the Republic's leftist "supporters" ) and the unbelievable injustice it meted out to its opponents (Draconian would be too soft a term to describe it, being as it was, uncaring who paid the penalty for a crime as long as it was paid by a Republican ) , it seems that knew what their opponents were capable of if they gained power.

I have been reading a book "Secret Journey through Spain" by a Swede, Bjorn Halstrom, who travelled ingognito in Franco's Spain and researched the plight of the protestant minority there. It was really outrageous. They were basically driven underground. Franco was a perpetrator of the exact same repression of freedom which we see in the politically correct Europe of today. The recent publication of Paul Preson's "Spanish Holocaust" gives a horrifying account of the post-civil war atrocities. I suggest that you might give it a perusal, if only to obtain a picture of things from another perspective.

Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

I haven't looked at the Franco regime in power. I will eventually. My comments relate only to the origins of the conflict and the fundamental question of who was responsible for starting it; who committed the first moral infringement. It's clear to me now that it was the Left.

The Left has successfully fobbed off its propagandistic interpretation of the war on the world, embedding it in numerous books, novels and films. According to this, the war started when a bunch of fascists decided to break the rules of democracy. But it is clear that the rules were broken long before by the left.

Civil wars generate an enormous amount of bitterness. There would have been virtually no way to avoid atrocities at the end, whoever won. I see no special reason to believe that the Spanish right would have tried to exterminate the Spanish left if democracy had been maintained and no civil war had occurred. We do know for a fact, however, that the Left was going around murdering its opponents before the war started.

Anonymous said...

Of course they should be ashamed in some sense...

'Franquistas' believe in the return of the old 'spanish empire' other words, the return of spanish colonialism, and the re-enslavement of the people that inhabit the lands of the former empire, which is inconvenient for some of us, who live in places such as America, who of course, don't want to be servants/slaves of that empire. Basically they think they are our owners.

But I think Franco did something great containing the communist filth that threatened spain during the spanish civil war, despite being an evil totalitarian and friend of those socialist tyrants mussolini and hitler.

southwood said...

Let's not forget Franco's alliance with Hitler and Mussolini. Hitler and Mussolini enabled Franco to go into North Africa at the start of his campaign. It was there that he learned his mass extermination techniques. Let's not forget also that he brought with him Muslim troops from Africa. The left were fragmented. The Stalinists, the POUM, were a nasty bunch who wanted to run the show. Others on the left were less nasty. The writers, George Orwell and Arthur Koestler, would not have supported the totalitarians. They wrote books exposing all that kind of stuff. Animal Farm, 1984 and Darkness at Noon show that they knew what totalitarianism was all about.Only now are we getting some honesty regarding Franco's enormities. It must all be revealed just like the Nazis' or Stalin's evil deeds were. The left were the lesser of two evils in Spain at that time. Definitely.

Bluepanic said...

Strapped Spanish city to tax church activities

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