The battle for spain the.., p.1
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939, p.1
Download  in MP3 audio

           Antony Beevor
The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939


  Books by the same author

  The Spanish Civil War (1982)

  Inside the British Army (1990)

  Crete: the Battle and the Resistance (1991)

  Paris After the Liberation (with Artemis Cooper, 1994)

  Stalingrad (1998)

  Berlin: The Downfall (2002)

  The Mystery of Olga Chekhova (2004)

  A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941–1945 Edited and translated with Luba Vinogradova (2005)




  Weidenfeld & Nicolson


  First published in Great Britain in 2006

  by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

  An earlier version of this book was published by Orbis Publishing Ltd in 1982

  under the title The Spanish Civil War

  © Ocito Ltd 2006

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher.

  The right of Antony Beevor to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the

  Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

  A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

  ISBN: 978-1-1012-0120-6

  The Orion Publishing Group’s policy is to use papers that are natural, renewable and recyclable products and made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The logging and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin.

  Weidenfeld & Nicolson

  The Orion Publishing Group Ltd

  Orion House

  5 Upper Saint Martin’s Lane

  London, WC2H 9EA

  For Gonzalo Pontón with all my gratitude for all his help









  Old Spain and the Second Republic

  1 Their Most Catholic Majesties

  2 Royal Exit

  3 The Second Republic

  4 The Popular Front

  5 The Fatal Paradox


  The War of Two Spains

  6 The Rising of the Generals

  7 The Struggle for Control

  8 The Red Terror

  9 The White Terror

  10 The Nationalist Zone

  11 The Republican Zone

  12 The Army of Africa and the People’s Militias



  The Civil War Becomes International

  13 Arms and the Diplomats

  14 Sovereign States

  15 The Soviet Union and the Spanish Republic


  16 The International Brigades and the Soviet Advisers

  17 The Battle for Madrid


  World War by Proxy

  18 The Metamorphosis of the War

  19 The Battles of the Jarama and Guadalajara

  20 The War in the North

  21 The Propaganda War and the Intellectuals


  Internal Tensions

  22 The Struggle for Power

  23 The Civil War within the Civil War

  24 The Battle of Brunete

  25 The Beleaguered Republic

  26 The War in Aragón

  27 The Destruction of the Northern Front and of Republican Idealism


  The Route to Disaster

  28 The Battle of Teruel and Franco’s ‘Victorious Sword’

  29 Hopes of Peace Destroyed

  30 Arriba España!

  31 The Battle of the Ebro

  32 The Republic in the European Crisis

  33 The Fall of Catalonia


  34 The Collapse of the Republic


  Vae Victis!

  35 The New Spain and the Franquist Gulag

  36 The Exiles and the Second World War

  37 The Unfinished War

  38 Lost Causes






  Sections of photographs appear on end of the book.


  King Alfonso XIII getting to know his people1

  King Alfonso XIII with General Miguel Primo de Rivera2

  Crowds celebrating in Madrid, 14 April 19312

  Lerroux, President Alcalá Zamora and Gil Robles, 19343

  Civil guards arrest a socialist in Madrid, October 19343

  Civil Guards escort their prisoners after the failed revolution in Asturias, October 19343

  José Antonio Primo de Rivera and fellow Falangists3

  Shooting breaks out during the funeral of a civil guard officer suspected of an attempt to kill President Azaña, April 19363

  Franco reaches Ceuta from the Canary Islands to take over command of the Army of Africa, 18 July 19361

  Carlist volunteers flock to the main square of Pamplona to become General Mola’s main force, 19 July 19364

  Assault guards and anarcho-syndicalist workers of the CNT with a captured field-gun in Barcelona3

  POUM militia in the Carlos Marx barracks in Barcelona3

  A bandera of the Foreign Legion rounds up villagers during Yagüe’s advance north, August 19363

  Colonel Varela’s troops advance into Toledo, 28 September 19362

  Colonel Moscardó, Varela and Franco celebrate the relief of the Alcázar of Toledo3

  Yagüe, Franco and Serrano Súñer3

  Luftwaffe pilots with their Heinkel He-45 fighter-bombers3


  Dolores Ibárruri, ‘La Pasionaria’, making a speech, 14 October 19362

  The captain of a Soviet ship is welcomed by Companys and Antonov-Ovseenko3

  Mikhail Koltsov and Roman Karmen in the trenches before Madrid2

  The fighting in the Casa de Campo, November 19363

  Refugees sheltering in the Madrid metro during an air-raid3

  International Brigade troops march through Madrid3

  Propaganda photo of a Soviet pilot with his ‘Chato’2

  Women in Málaga terrified by a nationalist air raid3

  Carliest requetés being blessed before going into battle3

  Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen with nationalist and Condor Legion officers3 El Campesino making a speech3

  Juan García Oliver broadcasts an appeal for calm during the May events in Catalonia3

  Assault guards brought in to restore order marching through Barcelona, 6 May 19372

  General Pozas and communist officers take over the Catalan council of defence, May 19373

  Juan Modesto at the Battle of Brunete, July 19372

  Republican wounded at Brunete2


  The winter fighting of Teruel, December 19372

  An International Brigade officer at Teruel2

  Prieto observes the fighting at Teruel2

  Condor Legion Stukas with nationalist markings, 19382

  Panzer Mark Is adva

  The nationalists reach the sea at Vinaròs, 15 April 19382

  Condor Legion 88mm anti-aircraft guns, summer 19382

  Republican soldiers under bombardment during the Battle of the Ebro2

  A republican hospital train behind the Ebro front, summer 19383

  General Rojo, Juan Negrín and Líster at a farewell parade for the International Brigades, October 19382

  Colonel Casado listens while Julián Besteiro broadcasts the manifesto of the National Council of Defence, March 19395

  Republican refugees swarm across the French frontier in the Pyrenees, January 19396

  Republican prisoners in the French internment camp of Le Vernet3

  Condor Legion standard dipped in salute to Franco at the victory parade, 19 May 19392

  The indoctrination of republican orphans3

  Hitler and Franco meet at La Hendaye (photo montage), October 19402

  The Spanish Blue Division in Russia on the Leningrad front2

  1Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya

  2Agencia EFE

  3Previous edition of The Battle for Spain (The Spanish Civil War)

  4La Vanguardia

  5Archivo General de la Administración

  6Getty Images

  While every effort has been made to trace copyright holders, if any have inadvertently been overlooked, the publishers will be pleased to acknowledge them in any future editions of this work.


  This book has had a curious life. I began work on what can now be called the prototype version in 1976, not long after the death of General Franco. It was finally published in 1982 under the title The Spanish Civil War, soon after Colonel Tejero held the Cortes hostage at gunpoint in an attempt to overthrow the democracy which had emerged under King Juan Carlos. Then, four years ago, my Spanish publisher, Gonzalo Pontón, persuaded me to rewrite the book completely. The idea was to use all the research carried out so painstakingly by Spanish and other historians over the last quarter of a century, as well as add new material from German archives and especially from Soviet files which had not been accessible.

  Gonzalo Pontón, the founder of Crítica, the publishing house which has brought out more books on recent Spanish history than any other, made the project possible by sifting the huge number of books and academic papers on the subject which have appeared in recent years. Quite literally this book, The Battle for Spain, would never have been possible without all his help and enthusiasm in completing a project which proved far more extensive than any of us had foreseen when he first raised the idea. It has been an immense pleasure and a privilege to work with him.

  For all non-Spanish editions I have included the original, perhaps over-mechanistic, synopsis of the country’s history as a very brief reminder for readers. The structure of the book also remains more or less the same as the prototype edition. The real difference lies in the detail and the sources, but interestingly, I find that the huge increase in information available today has tended to swell the number of vital questions rather than reduce them. This, on the other hand, may also be due to the author losing some of the more passionate certainties of youth over the last 24 years.

  In any case, this book could never have been completed without a great deal of help from other friends and colleagues. In Russia, I am deeply grateful once again to Professor Anatoly Chernobayev for his advice and above all to my long-standing research assistant, Dr Luba Vinogradova, to whom I owe so much already. As well as the staff of numerous archives, I am particularly indebted to those in the library of ‘Memorial’ in Moscow. Angelica von Hase once again assisted me greatly in Germany, especially in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv in Freiburg. In Sweden, Björn Andersson and Dr Lars Erickson obtained documents for me from the Swedish Krigsarkivet and Alan Crozier most kindly translated them for me.

  In London, I have been extremely lucky to work once again with Ion Trewin, and as always, I am more than happy to have another old friend, Andrew Nurnberg, as my agent. All this turns publishing a book from a fraught and stressful experience into a co-operative and delightful one. And once again, my greatest debt of all is, as always, to my wife, Artemis Cooper, who has had to relive these years.


  ‘A civil war is not a war but a sickness,’ wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. ‘The enemy is within. One fights almost against oneself.’ Yet Spain’s tragedy in 1936 was even greater. It had become enmeshed in the international civil war, which started in earnest with the bolshevik revolution.

  The horrors in Russia had undermined the democratic centre throughout continental Europe. This was because the process of polarization between ‘reds’ and ‘whites’ allowed both political extremes to increase their own power by manipulating fearful, if not apocalyptic, images of their enemies. Their Manichaean propaganda fed off each other. Both Stalin and Goebbels later exploited, with diabolical ingenuity, that potent combination of fear and hatred. The process stripped their ‘traitor’ opponents of their humanity as well as their citizenship. This is why it is wrong to describe the Spanish Civil War as ‘fratricidal’. The divisiveness of the new ideologies could turn brothers into faceless strangers and trade unionists or shop owners into class enemies. Normal human instincts were overridden. In the tense spring of 1936, on his way to Madrid University, Julián Marías, a disciple of the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, never forgot the hatred in the expression of a tram-driver at a stop as he watched a beautiful and well-dressed young woman step down onto the pavement. ‘We’ve really had it,’ Marías said to himself. ‘When Marx has more effect than hormones, there is nothing to be done.’1

  The Spanish Civil War has so often been portrayed as a clash between left and right, but this is a misleading simplification. Two other axes of conflict emerged: state centralism against regional independence and authoritarianism against the freedom of the individual. The nationalist forces of the right were much more coherent because, with only minor exceptions, they combined three cohesive extremes. They were right wing, centralist and authoritarian at the same time. The Republic, on the other hand, represented a cauldron of incompatibilities and mutual suspicions, with centralists and authoritarians, especially the communists, opposed by regionalists and libertarians.

  Ghosts of those propaganda battles of seventy years ago still haunt us. Yet the Spanish Civil War remains one of the few modern conflicts whose history had been written more effectively by the losers than by the winners. This is not surprising when one remembers the international sense of foreboding after the Republic’s defeat in the spring of 1939. Anger then increased after 1945, when the crimes of Nazi Germany came to light and General Franco’s obsessive vindictiveness towards the defeated republicans showed no sign of diminishing.

  It is difficult for younger generations to imagine what life was really like in that age of totalitarian conflict. Collectivist ideals, whether those of armies, political youth movements or of trade unions, have virtually all disintegrated. The passions and hatreds of such an era are a world away from the safe, civilian environment of health and safety, and citizen’s rights in which we live today. That past is indeed ‘another country’. Spain itself has changed completely in a matter of decades. Its emergence from the civil war and Francoist era has been one of the most astonishing and impressive transformations in the whole of Europe. This, perhaps, is why it is unwise to try to judge the terrible conflict of seventy years ago with the liberal values and attitudes that we accept today as normal. It is vital to make a leap of the imagination, to try to understand the beliefs and attitudes of the time–whether the nationalistic, Catholic myths and the fear of bolshevism on the right, or the left’s conviction that revolution and the coercive redistribution of wealth could produce universal happiness.

  Such passionately fought causes have made it far harder to be objective, especially when one looks at the origins of the war. Each side is bound to want to prove that the other started it. Sometimes even neutral factors tend to be n
eglected, such as the fact that the Republic was attempting to carry out a process of social and political reform in a few years, which had taken anything up to a century elsewhere.

  The actual events during the war, however, such as the atrocities committed and the details of the repression that followed, are now beyond serious contention, thanks to the immense and scrupulous work of many Spanish historians in local archives and cemeteries. Most of the military details, including the squabbles between republican commanders, are also clear with the opening of previously secret files in Russia over the last dozen years. We have, too, a much more precise view of Soviet policy in Spain. Yet, inevitably, the interpretation of many facts is still going to be swayed by personal opinion, especially the chicken-and-egg debate of the causal chain that led to the war. Do you begin with the ‘suicidal egotism’ of the landowners, or with the ‘revolutionary gymnastics’ and rhetoric which inflamed the fears of bolshevism, pushing the middle class ‘into the arms of fascism’, as the more moderate socialist leaders warned? A definitive answer is beyond the power of any historian.

Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Add comment

Add comment