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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 25 Jul 15, 21:26
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The Communist myth

A popular misconception about the Spanish Civil War is that the anti-Franco Popular Front govt was supported only by Communists, Socialists and other left wing groups.
This is baloney as one of the Popular Front's staunchest British supporters was the Scottish aristocratic female Tory former government Minister, the Duchess of Atholl..
Atholl even visted the Spanish republic with left wing firebrand Labour M.P. ''Red Ellen' Wilkinson subsequently famous for leading the Jarrow Hunger March protest to London in 1936 to confront Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin with living proof of the deleterious effects of his high unemployment policies.
Atholl and Wilkinson called for support for the Popular Front govt against Franco.
Another future Conservative govt Prime Minister of Britain between 1970-74 -Edward Heath- was a supporter of the Republican anti-Franco forces while at Oxford University in 1938 too.
Old Etonian George Orwell and affluent Chicago Doctor's son Ernest Hemingway also went to Spain to support the Republican cause against Franco.-neither Orwell or Hemingway were Communists.
So the idea that this conflict was simply between a wicked Communist Popular Front govt and noble anti Communist Fascists like Franco is nonsense.
Indeed, the Spanish Civil War was a disaster for the British Communist party which was slavishly Stalinist and I am not taking here about the sincere young idealist Communists like Bob Smillie who died fighting with the International Brigade and whom even Orwell paised in his classic book 'HOMAGE TO CATALONIA''.
I am talking about how fighting for the Anarchist non Communist POUM militia Orwell witnessed the Stalinists hunting down and killing theiir supposed non Communist allies in Barcelona instead of their ostensible enemies Franco's Falangists at the front.
This experience was a P.R.: disaster for the British slavishly Stalinist Communist Party because Orwell not only exposed the Stalinists in Spain but his time in Spain served as the basis for his scathing attack on totalitarian Stalinist govts in ''1984'.
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  #2  
Old 06 Aug 15, 11:57
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Originally Posted by anabelen View Post
That is why I subscribe to the saying that 'communists are everywhere in society'. They can be selected or derived from businessmen supporting communist terrorist groups, law enforcement, government like Anthony Blunt, etc. That is why one has to fear the Political Left. You can either be harassed by a communist businessman or arrested by the communist cop unlawfully for mouthing anti-communist rhetoric. Or bullied by a communist classmate in school like me. "Our bitterest enemy is our communist and terrorist household member"- Jesus Christ.
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Old 07 Aug 15, 17:42
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Originally Posted by Toomtabard View Post
Old Etonian George Orwell and affluent Chicago Doctor's son Ernest Hemingway also went to Spain to support the Republican cause against Franco.-neither Orwell or Hemingway were Communists.
...Orwell not only exposed the Stalinists in Spain but his time in Spain served as the basis for his scathing attack on totalitarian Stalinist govts in ''1984'.
IIRC, Orwell in the beginning was sympathetic towards the communists and his scathing attack was based on his disillusionment with Stalin's maneuvering during the war non-Soviet directed communist movements.
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Old 14 Aug 15, 14:22
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I assume Orwell always considered himself a leftist intellectual and not a pure communist. He said and I believe him that he went to fight against world fascism while defending the Spanish Republic. He did join an anarchist military unit allied with POUM. He was somewhat of an idealistic dandy of the upper class but he had a strong sense of righteousness and of justice that I appreciate.

It was a shocking experience to him that the Stalinists and Anarchists begun serious civil war against each other while both confronted a dangerous fascist movement. He did response with his book 1984 as a protest against totalitarian dictatorships and used a Stalinist framework but it was against all totalitarian systems and rightly so. He never lost his hatred against fascism but there are those who falsely attempt to claim that he did do so after his witnessing the Stalinist behavior against the Anarchists.
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Old 15 Aug 15, 04:15
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This experience was a P.R.: disaster for the British slavishly Stalinist Communist Party because Orwell not only exposed the Stalinists in Spain but his time in Spain served as the basis for his scathing attack on totalitarian Stalinist govts in ''1984'.
I always believed George Orwell's 1984 was a commentary, and an attack, on all forms of totalitarianism, whether such forms were Communism, and its many sorts, or Fascism, and its many sorts. It was also a commentary/criticism of the fickle and changing composition of wartime and post-war alliances: the totalitarian Stalinist Soviet Union, yesterday's ally of the Western Allies in the war against a totalitarian National Socialist Germany, the then-common enemy, had become the West's then-present-day enemy.

When I was growing up in the early to mid-1960s, only 20 years or less after the end of the Second World War, I was told that totalitarian ideologies and regimes were not at either end of a linear political spectrum, but were very close to each other because they nearly joined at the bottom of a political spectrum that was in fact circular in form: that the further right or left one went from the political centre at the circle's top and after the right-angle points (the 90- and 270-degree points) on either side of the circle the closer and closer these ideologies/regimes got to each other until the totalitarian extremes of these entities nearly met and touched at the bottom of the circle. It made sense to a young child back then. With the Second World War a mere two decades or less in the past, which historically is only a short length of time, and the Cold War in full swing, we were all indoctrinated or imbued with what were deemed to be anti-totalitarian ideas or principles back then.

This quote from Adolf Hitler is instructive:

"The petit-bourgeois Social Democrat and the trade-union boss will never make a National Socialist, but the Communist always will."

A Communist will always make a National Socialist and, presumably the reverse holds true, too, a National Socialist will always make a Communist. The true-believing totalitarian can switch from one totalitarian ideology to the other. That Mussolini, the founding father of Fascism in Europe, began his political education and political-theorizing career as a Marxist is another example.

Last edited by Redzen; 16 Aug 15 at 03:26.. Reason: Correct punctuation. Add words for the purposes of clarification/elucidation.
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Old 15 Aug 15, 12:38
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Redzen

I concur with your sayings on Orwell.

I must opposed to the rest and here is why:

The political spectrum must remain linear as historically done. I understand how some are thrown off with totalitarian systems. Once a political group selects and engages into a totalitarian system, they have now abandoned the normal rule of law and original ideological framework. Now they have made up their own rule of law which is built to support normally a personality cult and/or group of elites dictatorship be it sprung from an original leftist or rightist foundation it matters not. What matters is that they have now abandon the normal political linear classification for their own selfish motivations and goals. They are now off the linear grid one could say and that grid no longer applies. It is not a leftist or a rightist totalitarian system but a common old fashion police state where the prison bars look the same to all inmates. They have no real ideological significance and thus no reason to be on the linear scale.
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Old 15 Aug 15, 13:12
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The political spectrum is usually depicted as a semi-circle, with the far-right and left on the level edges. I would propose that for totalitarian movements, the semi-circle is extended to a full circle, with national-socialism and stalinism at the very bottom (appropriately) touching each other, like on the top the social-liberal and market-liberal do.
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Old 15 Aug 15, 13:53
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I can agreed that certain things that come out of Hitler's filthy mouth may be understood as "instructive" but the hubris boast that he can turn a communist into a fascist in not one of them but simply a propaganda weapon. I agreed that there were a number of ex-communist who would join national socialism fascist movement but it is clearly logical that they were not strong ideological supporters of communism at the beginning. Therefore they were susceptible to turn the other way at an easy opportunity when the temptation was right. These people had more of a nationalist motivation then a true communist ideology driving them. This is exactly the story of Mussolini who quickly found his great love of nationalism and him the supreme leader. Therefore so it is for those Germans who switched to Hitler horde for a patriotic emotional nationalistic thrill and not an ideological truth. It is a dangerous weakness that caused the destruction of a many Germans.
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Old 15 Aug 15, 19:21
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I tend to agree with Acheron on this, but view the political divide between extreme left and extreme right as being similar to a split-ring washer: there are many similarities but the differences do not allow for a continuous flow from one to the other. However, Dolf was right when it came to the mutability of Communist and National Socialist, provided one mumbled about the means to achieve the ends.
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Old 15 Aug 15, 20:53
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One can not have it both way: circular and linear. It is one or the other. Only the linear allows for neighboring notches on the linear scale to provide a "continuous flow" from one to other. Being a significant elements that separate one from the other but much is similar otherwise. Thus they are neighbors on the linear scale.

A true communist position can not be neighbors with a true fascist position on a linear scale. A true Marxist ideological position has nothing remotely comparable to a tribal/nationalist/fascist ideological position. Marxist thought rages against nationalism and fascist rages against Marxism. On the eastern front in WW2 these groups collided and were murderous to one another with no rule of law. Hitler said he would hang them all from lamp posts without trial and any crime done simply because they voted Marxist.

To say they are mutable I utterly reject as ridicule and no more than right wing trash mouthing propaganda. It is careful crafted to make ridiculous the Left and depress their supporters. It is a right wing weapon and historically wrong.
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Old 15 Aug 15, 22:20
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Originally Posted by Redzen View Post
I always believed George Orwell's 1984 was a commentary, and an attack, on all forms of totalitarianism, whether such forms were Communism, and its many sorts, or Fascism, and its many sorts. It was also a commentary/criticism of the fickle and changing composition of wartime and post-war alliances: the Stalinist Soviet Union, yesterday's ally of the Western Allies in the war against Germany, the common enemy, had become the West's then-present-day enemy.

When I was growing up in the early to mid-1960s, only 20 years or less after the end of the Second World War, I was told that totalitarian ideologies and regimes were not at either end of a linear political spectrum, but were very close to each other because they nearly joined at the bottom of a political spectrum that was in fact circular in form: that the further right or left one went from the political centre at the circle's top and after the right-angle points (the 90- and 270-degree points) on either side of the circle the closer and closer these ideologies/regimes got to each other until the totalitarian extremes of these entities nearly met and touched at the bottom of the circle. It made sense to a young child back then. With the Second World War a mere two decades or less in the past, which historically is only a short length of time, and the Cold War in full swing, we were all indoctrinated with what were deemed to be anti-totalitarian ideas or principles back then.....
I agree with that.
The end results of these absolute extremist views (Nazism and Marxism both) require a degree of nihilism and intellectual brutality that make the people that practice them something very different from what you can call good people. THey can easily transition from one system to the other, but they can never have any respect for concepts like Liberty or Human Rights, no matter how much BS they spout off.
They leave their humanity behind and in the end, the results of their rule are very much the same. The only real difference is the names on the tombstones.

A multitude of turncoats during and after that war proves the point. The Stassi was riddled with ex-nazis and the Soviets were fine with that just as long as they oppressed the right people this time.

And Communism wasn't a big deal in Spain?
I wonder where the inspiration for the mass-execution of the Clergy came from, or why Spain's Gold Reserves and Rosa's son both ended up in Moscow.
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Old 16 Aug 15, 04:33
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Watch out some may be wearing white coats and have a van!

Yes, if Jesus was a Commie, then he wouldn't have said 'Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's' when questioned about taxes.
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Old 16 Aug 15, 18:35
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Yes, if Jesus was a Commie, then he wouldn't have said 'Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's' when questioned about taxes.
What? You mean in a communist state there are no taxes?
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Old 18 Aug 15, 04:41
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What? You mean in a communist state there are no taxes?
Some of the early proposers of communism even thought there would be no money. Of course some communist regimes have indeed reached a point were there is no money but not in the way the idealists meant!
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Old 19 Aug 15, 02:36
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Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
Some of the early proposers of communism even thought there would be no money. Of course some communist regimes have indeed reached a point were there is no money but not in the way the idealists meant!
Early in its life, the USSR tried it, no money that is. Found out it was a necessary lubricant for an economy.
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