July 18, 2016


The Spanish Civil War, 80 years after (Julián Casanova, 7/18/16, Eurozine)

The war lasted almost a thousand days, leaving long-lasting scars on Spanish society. The total number of dead, according to historians, was nearly 600,000, of whom 100,000 were due to the repression unleashed by the military rebels, and 55,000 due to the violence in the republican zone. Half a million people were crowded in prisons and concentration camps.

The Spanish Civil War was followed by a long uncivil peace. The official end of the war on 1 April 1939 did not end the violence. Thus began a new period of mass executions, prison and torture for thousands of men and women. Death was unleashed with total impunity, the same impunity that had guided the massacres undertaken by the military rebels since July 1936. At least 50,000 people were executed in the decade following the end of the war, to say nothing of the thousands of deaths caused by hunger and disease in the various prisons. It was a purge that dismantled the culture and social foundations of the Republic, the labour movement and secularism.

From April 1939 onwards, Spain experienced the peace of Franco, the consequences of the war and of those that caused it. Spain was left divided between victors and vanquished. The churches were filled with plaques commemorating those who had "fallen in the service of God and the Fatherland". On the other hand, thousands of Spaniards killed by the violence initiated by the military rebels in July 1936 were never registered nor even had an insignificant tombstone to remember them by; their families are still searching for their remains today.

The reformist discourse of the Republic and all that this form of government meant was swept up and scattered over the graves of thousands of citizens; and the workers' movement was systematically eliminated along with its organizations and its culture, in a process that was more violent than that suffered by other anti-Fascist movements in Europe. This was the "surgical operation on the social body of Spain" so vehemently demanded by the military rebels, the land-owning classes and the Catholic Church.

The climate of order, patria and religion overrode that of democracy, the Republic and revolution. In short, in Franco's long and cruel dictatorship lies the exceptional nature of Spain's twentieth-century history if it is compared to that of other western capitalist countries.

Except that the entire point of the Spanish Civil War is that, thanks to Franco, Spain's twentieth-century history is an exception to eastern communist countries.  To take just one example of the damage he saved his country from : Spanish GDP per capita is more than double that of Poland.

Posted by at July 18, 2016 3:52 PM


« HIS JOB WON'T BE DONE...: | Main | SAVE POOR TONY, IF YOU PLEASE (profanity alert): »