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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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  #31  
Old 01 Jun 15, 00:27
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Still wrong. Check a map: Portugal was right next door.
Well, Portugal had a treaty with Britain. But you are right, quite some dictators staid at home and didn't bother attacking neighbors, I was wrong in that regard. It is just that I see little difference in that regard between left- and right-wing dictatorships, either may quietly stay at home or inflict themselves upon the world.
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  #32  
Old 03 Jun 15, 04:12
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It is worth mentioning that the Communist position in the 1930s was more nuanced than it seems reading here. Trotsky had been for the exportation of revolution, but he had been ousted and chased down. Stalin was in favor of supporting local Communist movements outside the SU, with the Comintern. Now, that looked pretty bad to democracies at the time, and in particular to stumbling democracies; it was certainly destabilizing. It amounted to meddling with other countries' internal affairs.
Yet it still is entirely in another league with respect to sending Stukas and Panzer in, one fine Sunday morning.

Going back to Franco, he judged correctly, whereas his colleague Mussolini misjudged. That's all the good one can say about him, I think. He stayed within his borders because he understood he couldn't afford to trespass.

But suppose things had gone differently, with the USSR and Britain catastrophically defeated and the USA, say, remaining out of the European fray. What would have happened with the century-old bone of contention of Gibraltar at that point? Would Franco have said to the vanquished British: "oh, you can keep it, because it's a point of honor for me not to trespass"?
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  #33  
Old 03 Jun 15, 09:39
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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
It is worth mentioning that the Communist position in the 1930s was more nuanced than it seems reading here. Trotsky had been for the exportation of revolution, but he had been ousted and chased down. Stalin was in favor of supporting local Communist movements outside the SU, with the Comintern. Now, that looked pretty bad to democracies at the time, and in particular to stumbling democracies; it was certainly destabilizing. It amounted to meddling with other countries' internal affairs.
Yet it still is entirely in another league with respect to sending Stukas and Panzer in, one fine Sunday morning.

Going back to Franco, he judged correctly, whereas his colleague Mussolini misjudged. That's all the good one can say about him, I think. He stayed within his borders because he understood he couldn't afford to trespass.

But suppose things had gone differently, with the USSR and Britain catastrophically defeated and the USA, say, remaining out of the European fray. What would have happened with the century-old bone of contention of Gibraltar at that point? Would Franco have said to the vanquished British: "oh, you can keep it, because it's a point of honor for me not to trespass"?
I have no doubt Franco would have held up his plate had Germany won.
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  #34  
Old 03 Jun 15, 09:53
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Michele, reference Mika Etchebehere, her book was originally published in French and has since been translated into German and Spanish. Perhaps there's even an Italian version now. (No English language version yet) It was called: "Ma Guerre d'Espagne a Moi". It comes up on Amazon.com.
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  #35  
Old 09 Jun 15, 11:23
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Pity "Ma Guerre d'Espagne a Moi" isn't available in English yet. I would like to read it.
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  #36  
Old 09 Jun 15, 12:03
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Pity "Ma Guerre d'Espagne a Moi" isn't available in English yet. I would like to read it.
Me, too! But I will get the French version cause I am fascinated by the Spanish Civil War. I shall stumble through it with my Larousse French/ English dictionary to hand!

In the meantime, we will always have Homage to Catalonia, eh? And For Whom the Bell Tolls for those that can stomach Hemingway.

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  #37  
Old 10 Jun 15, 04:52
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For those who want memoirs in English, there is Boadilla, by Romilly. Short, unheroic, fact-based and anti-climactic.

For fiction not terribly away from facts, before For Whom the Bell Tolls there are the shorter stories, The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the SCW. Also shorter and easier to digest. Valuable first-hand description of the misuse of armor, life in besieged cities, internecine strife in the Republic etc. - the latter a bit overdone, probably.

I would recommend Soldiers of Salamina (I know there is an English translation of the original Soldados de Salamina) and, even though it's initially set in later years, The Frozen Heart by Grandes (also translated). This describes both the common people's experience in the civil war and its effects on all the later history of Spain and the sons and daughters of those people.
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  #38  
Old 10 Jun 15, 13:33
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I have no doubt Franco would have held up his plate had Germany won.
Yes but so would a lot of others including that charming Mrs Peron and her husband, the so droll Éamon, etc. Indeed how many countries declared war on the Axis only when it was obvious they were going to loose (and a seat in the new UN would be nice). Some on the Atlantic even played it really safe and declared war on Japan but not Germany whilst others over the other side went for Germany but not Japan. Most of them turned up in Washington with a plate afterwards. Lets face it many states are basically amoral if not down right immoral and the side of right is the side you're pretty sure is the side that's going to win (or even has already won). Franco was much like the rest of them but exceedingly cautious and so left it too late so the poor old Spanish Ambassador found himself scuttling round Berlin dodging Soviet bullets vainly seeking a German government official to serve a declaration of war on!
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  #39  
Old 11 Jun 15, 04:03
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Yes but so would a lot of others including that charming Mrs Peron and her husband, the so droll Éamon, etc. Indeed how many countries declared war on the Axis only when it was obvious they were going to loose (and a seat in the new UN would be nice). Some on the Atlantic even played it really safe and declared war on Japan but not Germany whilst others over the other side went for Germany but not Japan. Most of them turned up in Washington with a plate afterwards. Lets face it many states are basically amoral if not down right immoral and the side of right is the side you're pretty sure is the side that's going to win (or even has already won).
This will steer the thread towards the philosophical, but I can't help it. I don't think it's a country's duty to be "moral" - whatever you mean by that. I think a country's, or, better, a state's duty is to the interests, and even before that, to the survival of its own population. Otherwise, it has no real reason to exist.
A state thus resembles more a female animal with young. It has to do what it has to do to save its young. It does not resemble a gentleman with a code of honor, who will put the code before his own survival.

The "right" thing to do for Italy in 1943 or for Finland in 1944 was to change sides. The alternative would have meant a worse outcome for their population, and that is what's "wrong" for a state.

While these are extreme examples, the same applies to countries declaring war in 1945. By then, the prize (a seat in the UN) was clear and the danger irrelevant. If accepting that is "amoral", anyway, how about the countries that offered that? Were they moral?

As to countries declaring war on the Axis a bit earlier on, say in mid-war, they had a very valid and actual reason; until then, the Axis had not threatened their interests. But at a certain point, the Axis's submarines had begun sinking their merchant ships - neutral ships - without warning. That's a 100% legitimate casus belli that had not existed before.

And now on to the main Allies. Sure, fighting the Nazis (and Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy) meant fighting the quintessential evil. Now, did those countries do that because it was, morally speaking, the "right" thing? Maybe so. In part. But certainly also because it was in their interest, in the interest of their businesses and populations, to do so.

Look at the US example. Look at their standing in the world after the war, and at their standing before it. Before it, they were an economic powerhouse, but with lots of untapped potential and the lingering effects of a crisis. Militarily they had a large fleet but an insignificant army; they were not in the LoN. Their isolationist streak was bending them inward, their empire was small.
And after it - you know.
Nor was that achieved without some nimble and fast footwork around the international rules the USA had agreed to comply with.

If you really want to look at countries that did not break any pacts, and stood consistent with their ideals, however despicable they were - you are looking at the likes of Germany, Hungary and Croatia. Even Japan, eventually, did not, as a state and a country, behave according to their own ideal of the gentleman, i.e. the samurai, when defeated. And a good thing they didn't, of course.
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  #40  
Old 11 Jun 15, 11:35
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[QUOTE=Michele;3049124] .

While these are extreme examples, the same applies to countries declaring war in 1945. By then, the prize (a seat in the UN) was clear and the danger irrelevant. QUOTE]

Not the only goodie on offer!


Once it was 100% clear who was going to win, a declaration of war against the probable losers meant you could move in and grab the trade-marks of their companies.

It took Beiersdorf years to buy back the rights to their famous Nivea brand, which in my youth was sold under the Smith and Nephew banner.
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  #41  
Old 20 Sep 15, 10:19
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I'm not sure that this painting would have had much of an impact outside of Spain. The reason being that other propaganda from both sides also had little practical impact overseas (I mean, did the Western International community intervene in a big way? No),
other than to drive home to the Germans, Soviet and Italian military what a good place Spain would be to test their new theories, no impact that would trigger much of a Western military intervention.

I believe the 'impact' outside Spain was in the minds of Europeans of the immediate future, who felt, by and large, that Douhet's "Command of the Air" was the harbinger of war to come. Air operations in Spain seemed to confirm this.
For this reason, the Luftwaffe in Germany got the lions share of funding, because it was seen to be the arm of decision in a future conflict. Hitler would waffle on about production figures, and scare the pants off foreign diplomats.

This idea of airpower as the 'next big thing' took hold, first projected in casualties from sustained air attack, and then fears of poison gas being dropped from the air

Guernica was the supposed template they all looked at to base their casualty figures on, and to make preparations for. But they were looking at photographs, not this painting.
President Benes of Czechoslovakia was browbeaten into signing away to every concession Hitler and Goering demanded, all on the strength of an expansive promise from Goering that he could flatten Prague in an afternoon, with "as many (aircraft) as it takes".. Benes believed him, on the strength of propaganda and photos from the SCW. A heart attack did not help either, but you can see the type of diplomacy the Germans were running, and it depended, by and large, on horror stories from places like Guernica, that had been largely flattened by air attack alone.

Answer...No...but i do have a story concerning this painting that may be of interest....

Picasso lived in Paris during the German occupation. His status as an international figure of some standing made him a target for observation and raids by the Gestapo.
For one raid on his Paris flat, the painting ,"Guernica", was inside. A German officer, noticing the painting, looked at Picasso saying..

Officer: "Did you do this?"

Picasso: "No...you did."

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  #42  
Old 20 Sep 15, 10:40
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Personally, this painting leaves me cold. If you did not know the title, I'm pretty sure most people would look at it and seriously wonder what it was al about.

I've always felt the real test of abstract art is to put an untitled work on display, and see if anyone 'gets the message'.

I'm not that wild abot the Picasso school. I've always preferred a good prtrait or a landscape, something that has a recognisable quality to it; a good protrait painter can easily be ddiscerned from a poor portrait painter.

Put an abstract work in front of some people and they have a similr reaction, (and it looks far too primative to me, unskilled, lacking in tradition.)

I'm told by my friends into art in a big way, (one has had exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne, Frank Gohier, from a French background) that I "Don't understand". But I still find abstract works to be an excuse for people who have small artistic talent in the nuts and bolts manner, to get away with calling themselves an artist....

Maybe I'm just old fashioned.....but modern art IS more than a bit of a con...and 'Guernica' IMHO, is no exception.
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  #43  
Old 20 Sep 15, 17:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drusus Nero View Post
Personally, this painting leaves me cold. If you did not know the title, I'm pretty sure most people would look at it and seriously wonder what it was al about.

I've always felt the real test of abstract art is to put an untitled work on display, and see if anyone 'gets the message'.

I'm not that wild abot the Picasso school. I've always preferred a good prtrait or a landscape, something that has a recognisable quality to it; a good protrait painter can easily be ddiscerned from a poor portrait painter.

Put an abstract work in front of some people and they have a similr reaction, (and it looks far too primative to me, unskilled, lacking in tradition.)

I'm told by my friends into art in a big way, (one has had exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne, Frank Gohier, from a French background) that I "Don't understand". But I still find abstract works to be an excuse for people who have small artistic talent in the nuts and bolts manner, to get away with calling themselves an artist....

Maybe I'm just old fashioned.....but modern art IS more than a bit of a con...and 'Guernica' IMHO, is no exception.
The "Guernica" is not abstract art, as I have posted above. It is surrealistic with a touch of cubism. As for the viewer "not getting the message," anyone who has looked at the "Guernica" when it was on display at the MOMA (it is now moved to Spain, as per Picasso's wishes) and didn't get the idea of the horrors of war is deficient in his or her aesthetic senses. And to imply that Picasso, by acclamation the greatest artist of the twentieth century, is "without talent" is ludicrous at best and Philistine at the worst. Believe me, I am a painter, and what I call "abstract art" is quite difficult,much easier than an informal portrait or mountain landscape, much less anything Picasso did.

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  #44  
Old 20 Sep 15, 18:31
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of course, one can have an idea of absrtaction ( or 'cubism' 'surrealism', any other meaningless label you wish) when another idea for it's meaning is fed up to them, via a title.

As I suggest, put an modern work on display with no title or coda to explain to us phillistines the 'meaning". Would you get the same reaction from philistantism as you do from the privelaged minority who have more than enough time and friends to stand in front of the 'work' and pontificate?

I doubt it.

Art either appeals to those mass of philistines, or it is to be classified as a distant intellectualism, the meaning of which is predetermined. 'Arties' gather around the fireplace to 'discuss' the 'meaning of it al'l...people with too much in the way of time on their hands, with no real connection to the unwashed and uneducated masses that the 'work' was actually developed for.

but i digress...

As i've stated, if Picasso's "Guernica" had the impact that was expected of it, the legitimate government would have recieved a boost resulting in far more and meaningful outside help, instead of a paltry International Brigade full of well meaning intellectuals, or token shipments of supples....or sentiments that did nothing to assist. What they need were military supplies, medcines, doctors and nurses, and bums on seats to FIGHT.

Guernica, the real thing, gave more meaning from the photographs of dead civilians that proliferated.

and that meaning was almost entirely confined to military circles, who threw in as much as they dared.

The Italians felt that Spain was practically next door. Mussolini, wishing to revive Roman Imperialism, was more than pleasd at an old Roman colony needing help from him.

Germany wished to curry favor with fellow dictatorships of the Fascist kind, and to have a good look at what their big money airpower could do. that turned into a smart move. The Condor Legion arrived with He-51 biplanes as standard, built on the Italian pattern, with aerobatic capability built in. They departed from Spain with the modern Me-109 series, a great improvement; they also departed with unfounded views of the over-importance of ground attack aircraft, not looking at the strategic picture, and the mistaken belief inthe "scnellbomber", one that could outrun fighters, and not need a long range escort.

the Soviets got the same twisted impressions from their experience with Polikarpov monoplanes, I-15 and I-16 'Ratas'. These machines were still in service in 1941! and their emphasis on ground attack and Army support had not yet gelled, but it was there. Their "Sturmovik", a flying tank, was also slow and unmanueverable with a load.

the Western allies, while applauding Picasso's 'genius', did little or nothing. not prepared to go to war over a lost cause. Czechoslovakia went the same way, and Poland.

we just were not ready psychologically...but we should have been.

Last edited by Drusus Nero; 20 Sep 15 at 19:02..
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  #45  
Old 20 Sep 15, 18:38
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Drusus Nero Drusus Nero is offline
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Real Name: Christopher
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Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200] Drusus Nero is walking in the light [200]
The horrors of war were clearly discernable to the philistines, via the meduium of photos, film, and radio...and having to patch togther their wounded, and de-traumatize their women and children. They didn't need the art world to point out the obvious. They had LIVED it.

The contribution of the 'art' world was belated, late, uneffectual, and an excuse for intellectuals to say they had 'known all along'...

Call me a cynic, but when you can spend more money on this painting than you can building a series of schools, it's time to look at the artworld and see it for what it is....an excuse for people to 'contribute', when others were putting their bodies, future and reputation on the line by actually joining the fight.

The Government, as represented by the people of Spain, those unwashed and ill clothed 'philistines' were sold out, unsupported, and they disappeared from the scene, forgotten, with no money to bail themselves out of the country, and live in Paris like a lord of the manner.
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