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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Spanish Civil War

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Spanish Civil War This forum is for discussion of the Spanish Civil War. , this sub-forum appears in the World War II section because Spain was both a training ground for and preview of what was about to break loose in Europe.

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  #1  
Old 27 May 15, 19:45
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Did Picasso's 'Guernica' have any real impact on the civil war?

Ask the average person what he or she knows about the Spanish Civil War and, assuming that person knows anything at all, the response will likely have something to do with Pablo Picasso's abstract painting Guernica. Arguably, Picasso's painting made the bombing of the town of Guernica (Gernika, to the Basques) the best-known event of the civil war for those outside of Spain. But how much actual impact on world opinion and actions did the painting have at the time? Did it do anything to help the Republican cause? I'd like to know what some opinions on this are.

Here's an interesting article on the strange and contradictory history of the painting.

http://www.artinsociety.com/the-shoc...-guernica.html
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  #2  
Old 28 May 15, 01:57
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In a world without the net ,hard to believe this paint could change the game.
Plus,what is the percentage of people actually feeling something in front of the paint and furthermore ,something related to this infamous event ?
John Lennon's "imagine " is a beautiful song .
Nothing more ,imo.
But this is a really interesting question.
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  #3  
Old 28 May 15, 12:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitzpuppy View Post
Ask the average person what he or she knows about the Spanish Civil War and, assuming that person knows anything at all, the response will likely have something to do with Pablo Picasso's abstract painting Guernica. Arguably, Picasso's painting made the bombing of the town of Guernica (Gernika, to the Basques) the best-known event of the civil war for those outside of Spain. But how much actual impact on world opinion and actions did the painting have at the time? Did it do anything to help the Republican cause? I'd like to know what some opinions on this are.
It's hard to say. But consider that the Spanish Republic received very significant contributions from abroad, both in terms of thousands of volunteers and of money. And the painting was toured abroad as part of the propaganda effort in favor of the Republic. It's likely that those who chose to go and see it were already sympathetic with the Republic, and it's entirely possible that they themselves would not have been able to tell exactly, at the time, what was the final deciding factor that convinced them to donate money out of their pocket or, more momentously, to risk their life. Let alone describing that factor accurately, later, in their memoirs, if they even wrote a book of those.
But for all those who made a decision after seeing the painting, we cannot rule out that, consciously or not, they took stock of it for their decision, that it may have contributed to that decision.
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Old 28 May 15, 12:46
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Originally Posted by sebfrench76 View Post
In a world without the net ,hard to believe this paint could change the game.
It could not change the game, of course.
But are images more powerful now, with the net? Images are more readily available, sure, and we might be more susceptible to images because less used to reading and words - but it is no less plausible that there may be an overdose of images, and that we are used to them and therefore less susceptible.
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  #5  
Old 28 May 15, 13:10
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Given that it was slanted towards the side that lost, I would say no.
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Old 28 May 15, 15:19
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I would say that it put popular international opinion behind the Republicans and removed much sympathy for Franco and the Falange. In an age when news reels and radio supplied the bulk of people's information, Guernica was big. But it was up against 50,000 Italians.
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Old 28 May 15, 23:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitzpuppy View Post
Ask the average person what he or she knows about the Spanish Civil War and, assuming that person knows anything at all, the response will likely have something to do with Pablo Picasso's abstract painting Guernica. Arguably, Picasso's painting made the bombing of the town of Guernica (Gernika, to the Basques) the best-known event of the civil war for those outside of Spain. But how much actual impact on world opinion and actions did the painting have at the time? Did it do anything to help the Republican cause? I'd like to know what some opinions on this are.

Here's an interesting article on the strange and contradictory history of the painting.

http://www.artinsociety.com/the-shoc...-guernica.html
It's very difficult to assess the influence of any work of art in a political context.

There was George Orwell's " Homage to Catalonia" ,published in the UK in 1938 that described his experiences in fighting for the Republicans,which may have had propaganda value at the time.
.
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Old 29 May 15, 05:06
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
Given that it was slanted towards the side that lost, I would say no.
If that "no" is an answer to "did it do anything...?", then, based on this reasoning, nothing ever done by the losing side in a war ever did anything useful. I don't think that that - eventually winning - is the only meaningful parameter of all efforts done in a war. The Republicans lost this war, and among many other things, they carried out both a small, amateurish insuccessful operation in the Baleares and a large, successful, victorious defensive battle against the Italian troops at Guadalajara. The former, IMHO, was very much less useful to the Republican cause than the latter, even though neither gave them a final victory.
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Old 29 May 15, 09:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
I would say that it put popular international opinion behind the Republicans and removed much sympathy for Franco and the Falange. In an age when news reels and radio supplied the bulk of people's information, Guernica was big. But it was up against 50,000 Italians.
Not exactly. I can remember my dad (Born 1932) telling me that as a good Catholic boy in Primary school the Nuns made them say Rosaries to help the good Catholic Hero Franco would win against the Godless Red Communist Heathen Republicans. The Catholics at least knew exactly, with Papal enforced certainty, which side they were on, and it wasn't that of the artists, writers, painters, communists and anarchists.
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Old 29 May 15, 10:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
If that "no" is an answer to "did it do anything...?", then, based on this reasoning, nothing ever done by the losing side in a war ever did anything useful. I don't think that that - eventually winning - is the only meaningful parameter of all efforts done in a war. The Republicans lost this war, and among many other things, they carried out both a small, amateurish insuccessful operation in the Baleares and a large, successful, victorious defensive battle against the Italian troops at Guadalajara. The former, IMHO, was very much less useful to the Republican cause than the latter, even though neither gave them a final victory.
Well, the thread title asked if it had any real impact, and I took the word 'real' to be key.

Since it favored the republicans, who lost completely, I felt that it had no real impact.

Now, if the question was, was this act of propaganda successful, I would say yes, because it did impact popular opinion, which is propaganda's goal.
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Old 29 May 15, 10:39
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Not exactly. I can remember my dad (Born 1932) telling me that as a good Catholic boy in Primary school the Nuns made them say Rosaries to help the good Catholic Hero Franco would win against the Godless Red Communist Heathen Republicans. The Catholics at least knew exactly, with Papal enforced certainty, which side they were on, and it wasn't that of the artists, writers, painters, communists and anarchists.
Maybe the nuns had something of a point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs...nish_Civil_War

Don't take me wrong, I have always been on the Republic's side. But if you try to look at this from the point of view of a nun, I suspect these killings, the torching of churches, the looting of monasteries, the outright atrocities, the vandalism of cemeteries, even, and so on loomed pretty large in that civil war's landscape.
Sure, the Catholic church in Spain had sided with the landowners and the rich, so those doing those deeds also thought they had a point.
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Old 29 May 15, 10:50
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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Maybe the nuns had something of a point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs...nish_Civil_War

Don't take me wrong, I have always been on the Republic's side. But if you try to look at this from the point of view of a nun, I suspect these killings, the torching of churches, the looting of monasteries, the outright atrocities, the vandalism of cemeteries, even, and so on loomed pretty large in that civil war's landscape.
Sure, the Catholic church in Spain had sided with the landowners and the rich, so those doing those deeds also thought they had a point.
Digging up and despoiling the corpses of nuns was a point?

Murdering clergy? Banning religion?

Franco won a lot of support because of that sort of behavior. That sort of thing did have a real impact upon the war: it helped Franco win.

Yes, it was a rough and ready war, with both sides getting their hands bloody, but the Republican's failure to control their radical elements went a long way to doom them.
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Old 29 May 15, 11:40
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
Digging up and despoiling the corpses of nuns was a point?

Murdering clergy? Banning religion?

Franco won a lot of support because of that sort of behavior. That sort of thing did have a real impact upon the war: it helped Franco win.

Yes, it was a rough and ready war, with both sides getting their hands bloody, but the Republican's failure to control their radical elements went a long way to doom them.
Note the exact words I used: the guys who did those things "thought they had a point". I never said that they did have it, not even that I think they had it.
Not only both sides quickly got their hands bloody; both sides had responsibilities going back to well before the first day of the war.
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Old 29 May 15, 11:49
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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Note the exact words I used: the guys who did those things "thought they had a point". I never said that they did have it, not even that I think they had it.
Not only both sides quickly got their hands bloody; both sides had responsibilities going back to well before the first day of the war.
I wasn't accusing you, I was just speaking in general.

But I think that the Repubs would have had a much better chance had they kept the irregulars in tighter check. Their choice of aid from the USSR haunted them, as well.

One the label of 'Reds' got slapped on, they were beaten.
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Old 29 May 15, 11:55
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I guess it was a free for all, both sides getting extremists in their ranks doing what fanatics do best, murdering people who cannot fight back. And if this starts a cycle of revenge-atrocities you just might end up with the majority on both sides becoming bloodthirsty fanatical extremists.
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