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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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  #16  
Old 29 May 15, 11:06
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
Their choice of aid from the USSR haunted them, as well.
Really wasn't much "choice" in going to the USSR for the Republican government as due to the policy of non-intervention , Mexico was the only other nation that was a consistent arms supplier to the Republic. France's support quickly evaporated under the domestic pressure from right wing elements. When your opponent is receiving support from two major military powers (support which predated the Soviet aid btw) and no one else will help, you have to go to whoever will help. The Soviet leaning elements were but a faction within the Anarchists, Socialists, Trotskyites and Democrats that made up the Republican government. However their influence increased as the Republicans came depend on their main source of supply in the conflict, the USSR.

The failure of the Western non-intervention policy and the whip hand it gave to the Soviet faction within the Republican government by their control over the supply of armaments is a major blot on the foreign policy of the interwar years IMO.
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  #17  
Old 29 May 15, 11:06
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Originally Posted by Acheron View Post
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.
There were differences, IMHO. The Nationalists were more scientific and cold-blooded in their violence; and what's more, they had less spontaneous, independent-minded participants to start with, and reined that sort of thing in rather effectively.
The Republicans always were more of a ride-the-tiger thing. The government, depending on phases and places, often had little or no control over parties, party militias, and individual mavericks. Even they gradually improved that, but the damage was already done.

The fight always was for the small middle ground, in Spain, and for the public opinion of the democracies, abroad. Everyone else was already set. It was a matter of which was worse (more violent, more destabilizing).
The Nationalists largely won the internal fight. The small Spanish middle class played along because they had to in the areas under Republican control, but feared the leftist extremists much more than Franco's ones, for obvious reasons.
The international one was won by the Republic (compare the number of actual volunteers for the two sides), but that was far from being enough.
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  #18  
Old 29 May 15, 11:08
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My opinion" Guernica was just a footnote in the war. The Republic's weaknesses doomed it. Wiping out the P.O.U.M. and the Anarchists was more important to the Communists than killing Nationalist soldiers. And every time any anarchist showed leadership, he was denounced and executed by his peers. Meanwhile, Stalin ran off with the national treasury because the Republican government was too weak to say no. The Spanish pro-Republican middle class turned to the Communists not for any love of marxism, but because they recognized the extreme left as a threat to their very lives. The Communists had one thing in their favor: Discipline. Unfortunately, so did Franco. And his policy was; Join us or be executed. And no class was immune from the risks of the Front. Franco sent the sons of the middle class to short-term officer candidate schools and then out into platoons of his growing Army. Franco may have been a good Charlie Chaplain image of a dictator, but he was both a ruthless one, and brilliant. The fractured republic never had a chance.

ps: my hero(ine) of the war was an attractive young Argentine lady named Mika Etchebehere, who commanded an infantry company of mostly men in combat and survived.
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  #19  
Old 29 May 15, 11:09
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Originally Posted by Acheron View Post
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.
But Franco just killed people, which in the end doesn't excite as much interest as does other acts, and he did it with at least a thin gesture of legality.

Repub militia desecrated graves, danced with corpses of nuns, burned churches, murdered clergy, and oppressed religion.

They did everything they could possibility do to brand their movement as barbaric madmen determined to set civilization ablaze. Franco, on the other hand, just wanted to rule Spain.
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  #20  
Old 29 May 15, 11:11
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Originally Posted by lirelou View Post
My opinion" Guernica was just a footnote in the war. The Republic's weaknesses doomed it. Wiping out the P.O.U.M. and the Anarchists was more important to the Communists than killing Nationalist soldiers. And every time any anarchist showed leadership, he was denounced and executed by his peers. Meanwhile, Stalin ran off with the national treasury because the Republican government was too weak to say no. The Spanish pro-Republican middle class turned to the Communists not for any love of marxism, but because they recognized the extreme left as a threat to their very lives. The Communists had one thing in their favor: Discipline. Unfortunately, so did Franco. And his policy was; Join us or be executed. And no class was immune from the risks of the Front. Franco sent the sons of the middle class to short-term officer candidate schools and then out into platoons of his growing Army. Franco may have been a good Charlie Chaplain image of a dictator, but he was both a ruthless one, and brilliant. The fractured republic never had a chance.

ps: my hero(ine) of the war was an attractive young Argentine lady named Mika Etchebehere, who commanded an infantry company of mostly men in combat and survived.
True.

Franco kept the Nationalists focused, and the Germans and Italians were good allies, albeit because it suited their own agendas.
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Old 29 May 15, 11:18
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
. Franco, on the other hand, just wanted to rule Spain.
And kill Communists. And leftists. And union organizers. And intellectuals.

Much is made of the Red Terror. This is due to the propaganda value of the scenes you describe and the anti-communist beliefs shared by many people, specifically elites, in other countries.

Little is made of the White Terror, which killed more people. This is due to Franco's winning the war and the red fear that permeated sections of the West.

White Terror Spain.
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  #22  
Old 29 May 15, 11:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lirelou View Post
My opinion" Guernica was just a footnote in the war. The Republic's weaknesses doomed it. Wiping out the P.O.U.M. and the Anarchists was more important to the Communists than killing Nationalist soldiers. And every time any anarchist showed leadership, he was denounced and executed by his peers. Meanwhile, Stalin ran off with the national treasury because the Republican government was too weak to say no. The Spanish pro-Republican middle class turned to the Communists not for any love of marxism, but because they recognized the extreme left as a threat to their very lives. The Communists had one thing in their favor: Discipline. Unfortunately, so did Franco. And his policy was; Join us or be executed. And no class was immune from the risks of the Front. Franco sent the sons of the middle class to short-term officer candidate schools and then out into platoons of his growing Army. Franco may have been a good Charlie Chaplain image of a dictator, but he was both a ruthless one, and brilliant. The fractured republic never had a chance.
Have you considered the hypothesis that the thing for which you praise the Communists also is the reason for which they suppressed the POUM and persecuted anarchists?
If you are waging a war and a riotous minority party, with its own private militia, often at odds with your government's decisions and policies, controls a crucial border crossing and the main phone exchange of the second most important city in the territory you hold, what do you do? Especially if you think that discipline is necessary to win the war?

Make no mistake, I don't defend the Communists; and the NKVD agents, at least, certainly were more preoccupied with crypto-troskytes than with the enemy, and they called the shots, increasingly so. But just to show that it's a civil war of greys, there's no blacks and whites. It's hard to find a side that had no reasons.

Quote:
ps: my hero(ine) of the war was an attractive young Argentine lady named Mika Etchebehere, who commanded an infantry company of mostly men in combat and survived.
Interesting, never heard of her.
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  #23  
Old 29 May 15, 13:13
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Originally Posted by CarpeDiem View Post
And kill Communists. And leftists. And union organizers. And intellectuals.

Much is made of the Red Terror. This is due to the propaganda value of the scenes you describe and the anti-communist beliefs shared by many people, specifically elites, in other countries.

Little is made of the White Terror, which killed more people. This is due to Franco's winning the war and the red fear that permeated sections of the West.

White Terror Spain.
Well, who here hasn't killed communists, leftists, and union organizers?

I'm not saying Franco was huggable, but his ambitions did not extend outside Spain's borders, whereas the Repubs were taking aid and support from groups that espoused exportation of the cause to other states. That made Franco much more appealing to governments and corporations (Look at US corporations sale of 10,000+ trucks on credit-afterwards declared to be a key to victory).
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Old 29 May 15, 16:58
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
Well, who here hasn't killed communists, leftists, and union organizers?
Outside of American law enforcement agencies, quite a lot actually.
Just kiddin

Quote:
I'm not saying Franco was huggable, but his ambitions did not extend outside Spain's borders, whereas the Repubs were taking aid and support from groups that espoused exportation of the cause to other states. That made Franco much more appealing to governments and corporations (Look at US corporations sale of 10,000+ trucks on credit-afterwards declared to be a key to victory).
It certainly seemed so at that time, however, as later years showed, ALL dictatorships must come at odds with democracies, because the freedom of the later destabilizes the rule of the former. A right-wing dictatorship is not unlikely to attack a weaker neighbor if it can get away with it, while few communist regimes will dare to "export" their cause violently to a stronger neighbor. One ignores Realpolitik at his own peril.
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Old 29 May 15, 17:03
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Originally Posted by Acheron View Post
It certainly seemed so at that time, however, as later years showed, ALL dictatorships must come at odds with democracies, because the freedom of the later destabilizes the rule of the former. A right-wing dictatorship is not unlikely to attack a weaker neighbor if it can get away with it, while few communist regimes will dare to "export" their cause violently to a stronger neighbor. One ignores Realpolitik at his own peril.
Except that Franco minded his own patch for the rest of his life. He stayed out of WW2 except to get rid of some hardliners with the Blue Division.

So your theory is false.
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Old 29 May 15, 17:37
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Originally Posted by Blitzpuppy View Post
<snip> 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. </snip>
"Guernica" is not abstract at all. If anything it is surrealism with a dash of cubism. If Picasso painted an abstract work in his life, I am unaware of it.

For a more detailed look at the work and the times, see ww.amazon.com/Picassos-War-Russell-Martin/dp/0525946802/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

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Old 30 May 15, 03:57
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
Except that Franco minded his own patch for the rest of his life. He stayed out of WW2 except to get rid of some hardliners with the Blue Division.

So your theory is false.
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A right-wing dictatorship is not unlikely to attack a weaker neighbor if it can get away with it [...]
Spain's neighbors are France and Britain. With these neighbors, you mind your own patch for the rest of your life, or it will be a short life indeed. As for Franco's lackluster support for the axis in WWII, maybe he was smart enough to see that Germany's victory was no foregone conclusion, maybe he just thought that war-torn Spain needed to recuperate. Either explanation seems more likely than Franco having morale qualms about entering a war.
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Old 30 May 15, 13:29
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Desiree, you are correct; I should have said surreal rather than abstract. And thanks to all who are leaving thought-provoking comments.
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Old 30 May 15, 13:46
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Originally Posted by Acheron View Post
Spain's neighbors are France and Britain. With these neighbors, you mind your own patch for the rest of your life, or it will be a short life indeed. As for Franco's lackluster support for the axis in WWII, maybe he was smart enough to see that Germany's victory was no foregone conclusion, maybe he just thought that war-torn Spain needed to recuperate. Either explanation seems more likely than Franco having morale qualms about entering a war.
Still wrong. Check a map: Portugal was right next door. Still is.

You might say all German dictators invade neighbors, but there are enough examples of other dictators who stayed within their borders to prove your claim patently false. Remember, this is a history forum.
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Old 30 May 15, 21:38
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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.
Liberation theology was not big in the 1930s. The Catholic Church also had the unfortunate tendency, like all oligarchs, of siding with those powers that sought a continuation of privilege. It's not that the Church was anti-liberty or justice, more that it was pro- retention of its privileges, its lands, its influence in Spain. The Church had lost a lot in the French revolution and wasn't happy with the idea of a Spanish version.

Self-interest speaks volumes.
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