6 Unsettling Mysteries of the Spanish Civil War
Outside of Spain, the Spanish Civil War exists in a strange pocket of history. Fought between the left-leaning Republicans and the falangist Nationalists from 1936 to 1939, it`s often overshadowed by the rise of the Third Reich and the events leading up to World War Two. Before the end of the war and the establishment of a Nationalist government (supported by both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy), an estimated 500,000 people died and thousands fled into exile. The Spanish Civil War left its share of mysteries, too, buried in the annals of a dark period in 20th century history.
The 14 best books about the Spanish Civil War
On the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, The Local takes a look at the best books on the conflict. The three year long bloody conflict that divided Spain pitting brother against brother in a pre-cursor to the Second World War inspired great writing and has continued to fascinate historians to this day. Whether it is contemporary accounts, historical thesis or fiction set during the 1936-39 conflict, there is a huge choice of very good reads on the subject. Here are fourteen of our favourites:
Churchill Ordered Millions Of Pounds Paid in Bribes to Keep Spain Out Of WWII
What would you do if you were the Prime Minister of Great Britain and you discovered that one of the previously neutral countries in WWII, namely Spain, was being courted to join the war on the side of Germany? Well, if you were Winston Churchill you would haul out the chequebook and send enough money, via diplomatic channels, to ensure that Spain and her hawk generals officially stayed out of the conflict. These allegations have come to light in two books, the first is `Juan March: The Most Mysterious Man in the World`, written by historian Pere Ferrer and the second is `Bribes: How Churchill and March Bought Franco`s Generals` written by Ángel Viñas.
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In the 1930s, African-Americans Fought for the Spanish Republic - And Equality
In the 1930s, African-Americans were systematically disenfranchised, barred from participating in many arenas of civic life and subject to frequent violence and systematic discrimination. Yet many not only organized against racism at home, but saw themselves as part of an international struggle against colonialism and fascism. When a nationalist rebellion with heavy support from fascist Germany and Italy assailed the Second Spanish Republic in 1936, nearly a hundred African-Americans were among the U.S. citizens who volunteered to defend the republic.
The Death of Del Berg, the Last Veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Del Berg, 100, was one of the Americans who volunteered to fight Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War, and he never stopped fighting for leftist causes. The 23-year-old American was staying at a monastery outside Valencia, Spain, when Italian bombers flew over and dropped their payload. The bombs were aimed for a rail depot, but they hit the monastery instead. Berg, who was on the second floor, and the men he was with climbed downstairs on a pipe. Berg was last, and it was only when he`d gotten down he realized his shirt was soaked in blood. Shrapnel had struck his liver. That piece of shrapnel was still in Berg`s liver when he died.
Documentary reveals Luftwaffe did not inform Franco of raid to test its Stuka bombers
On April 26, 1937, at the height of the Spanish Civil War, the German Luftwaffe bombed the Basque town of Gernika, killing 126 people. Gernika was not a military target and of no strategic use, but the attack allowed the Nazi regime to test the efficacy of its aircraft. In response to the outcry over Gernika, General Francisco Franco reportedly asked the German authorities to avoid bombing civilian targets. But a year later, in May 1938, German bombers once again attacked civilians, killing 38 people in four tiny communities in Castellón province. Few people know about the air raid, but a new documentary, Experimento Stuka uncovers the mystery of why the Luftwaffe bombed the tiny village of Benassal in the arid Maestrat region.
Germany admits it is still paying £70,000 every year in pensions for Spanish volunteers who fought for the Nazis on the Eastern Front
German politicians have admitted they are still paying more than £70,000 every year in pensions to Spanish volunteers who fought for the Nazis during the Second World War. The country`s taxpayers have funded the annual payments for the `Nazi collaborators` ever since 1962, when a deal was struck with Spain`s fascist dictator Francisco Franco. Embarrassed German politicians have been forced to admit the scheme is still operating - 70 years after Nazism was defeated - under questioning in the German parliament.
Spanish Civil War: Rediscovered photos in Navarra museum
A museum has opened in the Spanish city of Pamplona that brings together the performing arts, painting, sculpture and one of Spain`s largest collection of photographs. The Museum University of Navarra features previously unseen works by Picasso, Rothko and Kandinsky and also one of Spain`s largest collections of photos from the 19th Century. Among the collection are images, many previously unseen, from two of the most celebrated photojournalists of the Spanish Civil War, Agusti Centelles (1909-1985) and Hungarian-born Robert Capa (1913-1954). The 1936-39 war pitted right-wing Nationalists against left-wing Republicans, culminating in victory for the fascist forces of General Franco.
Denis McGuinness, the last Irish veteran of Spanish Civil War, dies aged 98
Denis McGuinness wanted to make a difference - and earn a living. Like hundreds of other young Irish men, when the Spanish Civil War broke out, he left the shores of Ireland for Spain to volunteer to fight in a war which many thought would define Europe`s future. McGuinness enlisted in the side of General Franco`s Nationalists supported by the Catholic church. The war raged for three years from 1936, taking thousands of lives. But McGuinness was one of the lucky ones, surviving the horrors of the conflict. He was the last surviving Irish veteran and passed away in Blackrock Hospice at the age of 98.
Basque child refugees who fled Nazi bombs meet for final reunion in Britain
Josefina Stubbs was one of 3,826 child refugees to arrive in what remains the largest single influx of refugees into Britain. The "Basque babies", as some called them, or the niños as they call themselves, were sent to safety from the Nazi bombs as the civil war ravaged Spain. "I didn`t want to leave, and of course my mama didn`t want us to go, but papa said it was only for a short time, just a few months, and so they dragged me away with my teddy and we went. The boat was terrible, really terrible. I remember the screams and cries of children packed into this boat. There was no space to even lie down. There were so many of us. It was 21 May 1937, my 10th birthday."
Thomas Watters, the last Scottish veteran of Spanish Civil War, dies at 99
Thomas Watters was a Glasgow Corporation bus driver who took his first-aid skills to Spain, where a civil war was raging. At one point, the ambulance he was driving, near Madrid, was bombed and set on fire but he survived. In 1938, Watters was presented with the OBE for meritorious service for the part he played in the Scottish Ambulance Unit in Spain. Recently the International Brigade Memorial Trust announced that Watters, the last survivor of the many Scots who volunteered to go to Spain 1936-1939, had passed away at 99.
Historian Ronald Fraser, known for collecting people`s experiences during the Spanish Civil War, dies at 81
Ronald Fraser, an English oral historian known for his deftness at collecting and presenting ordinary people`s experiences during events like the Spanish Civil War, has passed away at 81. His most influential book was "Blood of Spain: An Oral History of the Spanish Civil War," a 628-page work published in 1979 that Paul Preston, a historian of the Spanish Civil War, said in The New York Times Book Review would "take its place among the dozen or so truly important books about the Spanish conflict." Time magazine said, "No other volume on the Spanish Civil War can surpass the power and detail of this one."
MI5 list reveals 4,000 Britons who joined the fight against fascism in Spanish Civil War, double the previous estimates
Hundreds more Britons set out to join the fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War than was previously thought, reveal MI5 files which were published online by The British National Archives. Intelligence officials recorded the names of 4,000 people from Britain and Ireland suspected of travelling to Spain in the 1930s to join the International Brigades battling against General Francisco Franco`s forces. This is significantly more than the figure of 2,500 British volunteers cited by historians, although it may include some who did not arrive.
A new book about Spanish volunteers that served in the German Army on the Eastern Front
On June 24, 1941, two days after the Third Reich invaded the Soviet Union, General Francisco Franco declared the creation of a Spanish volunteer unit to fight Bolshevism. The División Azul - nicknamed Blue Division - was incorporated into the German Armed Forces as the 250th Division, seeing action on the Russian Front. Blue Division is one of the last taboos of the Franco era: for example, there is no mention of the unit in school textbooks. "División Azul: Russia, 1941-44" by Jorge Martínez Reverte, whose father fought in the unit, tries to change that.
Penny Feiwel: Last British women who served with the International Brigades in Spanish Civil War
Penny Feiwel, the last surviving British woman who served as a volunteer during the Spanish civil war of 1936-1939, has passed away at 101. Feiwel, who volunteered in 1937 to serve as a nurse in the International Brigade, was badly injured by bomb blast in the mountains of Teruel in 1938. She paid a very high price for fighting against the Nationalist forces: As a result of her wartime injuries she was unable to have children.
Some 30 veterans of the Spanish Civil War are known to be alive at the time of the writing this.
Spanish Civil War Tanks: The Proving Ground for Blitzkrieg by Steven Zaloga (book review)
There was German, Italian and Russian involvement in the Spanish Civil War as they all sent some "volunteers" and equipment to the conflict. Thanks to some new information available from Russia - like tankers diaries - Steve Zaloga has put together a 48-page account of the AFVs used in Spain. The experience gained included operating tanks in combat, how tanks endured a long period of combat time, the need of properly trained crews, and the need of repair and recovery operations. The era of small machine gun armed tankettes -- like the Italian CV33 and the German Pz-I -- came to an end.
The International Brigade Memorial Trust`s travelling exhibition "Antifascistas" in Nottingham
An exhibition at Nottingham`s Council House explores the sacrifices made by the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. 16 of the 2,300 men, who travelled from Britain to defend the Spanish Republic against General Franco`s fascist regime, were from Nottingham. One of those men was Ronald Bates, whose first major battle was in Teruel in 1938. After that he saw combat in the Battle of Ebro - the last great Republican offensive in the Spanish Civil War. At one point he was so far from supply lines that he starved until tins of sardines, left behind by the fascist forces, were found.
General Franco gave list of Spanish Jews to SS chief Heinrich Himmler
It was the list that would have sent thousands more Jews to their deaths in extermination camps, but this time the victims were to be Spaniards. The Spanish dictator, General Francisco Franco, whose defenders claim that he protected Jews, ordered his officials to draw up a list of 5,000 Jews in Spain. That list was given to the SS leader Heinrich Himmler, as the two countries talked about Spain`s possible incorporation into the group of Axis powers. The El País newspaper printed the original order, unearthed from Spanish archives, that told governors to create lists of "all the national and foreign Jews..."
80,000 Moroccan veterans of Spanish civil war: Volunteers of forced soldiers (Article no longer available from the original source)
Moroccans were known as some of the fiercest fighters among the troops of right-wing General Francisco Franco in Spain`s 1936-1939 civil war. But now Moroccan campaigners see Franco`s "Moorish troops" as victims. Moroccans who fought for Franco were often recruited by force, claims Abdesslam Boutayeb, president of the Moroccan Centre for Common Memory and the Future (CMCA). Spanish historian Maria Rosa de Madariaga disagrees, saying Moroccans joined Franco`s troops voluntarily and that they cannot be compared with Franco`s opponents killed in reprisals. When Franco set out to take down Spain`s republican government, he began his rebellion from Morocco.
On the trail of the Nazi gold that ended up in Madrid - and eventually, it is alleged, in British hands
The meeting took place in the Instituto de la Moneda in Madrid in Feb 1945. The director met with the heads of both the German and British secret services. The topic: how to divide up the Nazi gold (everything from silverware and watches to rings and gold teeth) in Spain. "There were 2 British agents and 4 German agents... The British wanted the Gold, insisting it should not fall into the hands of the Americans, while the Germans wanted their gold protected by Franco, officially to be used for post war reconstruction in Germany," says Dr Shimon Samuels, basing his claims on a copy of diary of the former director of the Instituto de la Moneda.
Book: Spanish dictator General Franco had only one testicle
A new book claims the Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco may have had just one testicle. In his new book, historian Jose Maria Zavala cites Dr Ana Puigvert remembering that her grandfather, Antonio Puigvert - a urologist known to have had Franco as a patient - had told her the dictator had confided in him about the issue. Franco was a captain in the Spanish army when, in June 1916, he was shot in the lower abdomen while defending the former Spanish protectorate of Cueta on Morocco`s coast. Biographers have theorized if this affected the reproductive organs of the dictator.
Berlin exhibition explores the Spanish Civil War - The 70th anniversary of the end of the war
The Spanish Civil War, the topic of an exhibition at the Willy Brandt Haus in Berlin, is regarded by many as a prologue to World War Two. On April 1, 1939 Spain became a land of winners and losers. With Madrid under his control, General Francisco Franco ended the bloody Spanish Civil war, which had wiped out 500,000 people. Much has been written about the role of German and Italian support in Franco`s victory, yet the new exhibit tries to paint a more complete picture, also exploring Germans who fought on the other side. The exhibition includes photos by the German photographer Hans Gutmann, a volunteer in the International Brigade.
Bob Doyle: Irish republican who fought for the Spanish Republic
Bob Doyle was a celebrated man among the Irish republicans who fought for the Spanish Republic against Franco`s fascists. He joined Fianna Éireann in his early teens and was involved in resisting the Blueshirts, Ireland`s domestic fascists. When the Spanish Civil War broke out many republicans and communists joined the International Brigades to fight for Spanish freedom - despite the anti-Spanish frenzy by the Catholic Church. Along with other IRA Volunteers, he was valued for the military training he had. After the withdrawal of the International Brigades to play a part in the underground struggle against fascism in Spain.
General Francisco Franco`s stolen children of the Spanish Civil War
Antonia Radas was 54 when she first got to know her mother - she was one of the lucky ones. Taken away when her mother was jailed after the Spanish Civil War for her father`s Republican links, Radas`s adoptive parents changed her name to hide her family history. 30,000 kids were separated from their parents on the orders of General Francisco Franco. Many of them never knew who their real parents were, but now there is hope after a Spanish judge asked provincial courts to look into the fate of "lost children". Judge Baltasar Garzon sais that Franco and 34 henchmen were guilty of the killing or disappearance of 114,000 people during and after the civil war.
Franco feared Hitler wanted to kidnap him, reveals daughter in her book
The daughter of General Franco has revealed that her father feared being kidnapped by Adolf Hitler in an effort to force Spain into World War II. Carmen Franco Polo said her father appointed 3 substitutes to take over should the Nazi leader kidnap him when they met at a conference in 1940. Polo spoke for the first time about life with El Caudillo in book "Franco, My Father". The only descendant of the man who ruled Spain for almost 40 years says that her father ordered reinforcements to the coast at the end of WWII because he thought that the Allies would invade Spain. "The Americans liked my father but not Roosevelt, whose wife was very pro-Communist."
We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War - Book review
"The reflection of the flames could be seen in the clouds of smoke above the mountains from 10 miles away." So did correspondent George Steer break the story, denied by Franco`s regime for the next 35 years, of how the Luftwaffe carpet-bombed Guernica. 1000 journalists and writers covered the Spanish war. 5 reporters were killed, and those who committed the sin of objectivity in the rebel zone were threatened with death or put on a Gestapo wanted-list. Everyone who crossed into Spain changed, not least those who arrived uncommitted to the cause. Observation became righteous outrage; sympathy became involvement.
26 Nazi Enigma machines discovered - Helped General Franco in Spanish Civil War
16 boxes locked in a dark store room in Madrid for 70 years hold the secret to how General Franco might have won the Spanish Civil War. Inside the boxes are Enigma code-making machines that Franco had purchased from Nazi Germany and used to co-ordinate his troops. The 26 machines, in perfect condition, were discovered by the newspaper El País, hidden in army headquarters since the Civil War ended in 1939. The Enigma machines gave Franco`s Nationalists an advantage because their code was never cracked by their Republican foes. Hitler used the machine to crushing effect to command Wehrmacht until the code was decoded by cryptologists at Bletchley Park.
Spanish honour for British war nurse Penny Feiwel - "English Penny"
Just months away from her 100th birthday, Penny Feiwel is about to be honoured for her role in the Spanish Civil War. As one of the last British survivors who helped fight Franco`s rebels, Penny is to be offered joint nationality. She travelled to Spain as a nurse, on humanitarian basis, earning lieutenant rank and the nickname "English Penny". Penny nursed casualties from both sides 1936-1938 before her war was ended during a fascist bombing raid. "I`ve no idea what happened when I was injured. I just remember waking up and someone was treating me." She had shrapnel wounds across her arms and body.
Did Winston Churchill bribe Franco`s generals to stay out of World War II
Book review: "Juan March: The Most Mysterious Man in the World." --- Historian Pere Ferrer claims that Winston Churchill authorized millions in bribes to the Spanish generals, via Spanish banker Juan March, to stop General Franco from entering WWII on the side of Nazi Germany. Churchill was sure that Spain would enter the war after reports that Franco and the Nazis were planning to seize Gibraltar. Ferrer says, after exploring British and US archives, that a British officer, Alan Hillgarth, came up with the plan that Franco`s poorly paid high command would be open to bribery, and able to persuade Franco not to side with Adolf Hitler.
Female photographer Gerda Taro was a pioneering chronicler of the Spanish Civil War
Book review of "Out of the Shadows: a Life of Gerda Taro" by François Maspero. --- On the 25 July 1937, during one of the most furious battles in the Spanish Civil War, Gerda Taro took shot after shot with her Leica camera. For miles around the village of Brunete, lay the remains of the Republican army, in retreat from a counter-attack by Franco`s forces. Corpses, twisted metal and blowups marked the failure to repel Nationalist troops from the capital`s outskirts. "My best pictures yet!" she said, before heading back to her villa in Madrid. Taro never made it to Madrid. She was lethally injured when a Republican tank hit the car in which she had hitched a ride.
Remains of Republican victims of Spanish civil war 1936-1939 are reappearing
In a patch of land near Izagre, the forgotten remains of Republican victims of Spain`s civil war dead are reappearing, resurrecting painful memories. A team of archeologists unearth skeletons that lie just beneath the surface in a riverside field. Lorenzo Bernardo, 78, approaches the site just as a crushed skull is unearthed, touching off the tragic events he saw as a 6-year-old during the summer of 1936. The mayor had told villagers that General Francisco Franco`s forces had shot dead a group of Republicans. They had been captured in Leon and brought to Izagre for execution. Local residents dug a pit and buried them so their remains would not be consumed by animals.
Spanish Judge seeks names of victims of Spain`s civil war and Franco Era
Judge Baltasar Garzón began collecting information about people who disappeared during Spain`s civil war and following dictatorship, seeking to create a reliable list of those who were killed away from the battlefield. He issued a ruling seeking information from several authorities about victims of General Francisco Franco`ss forces after his military uprising on July 17, 1936. General Franco ruled that anyone who opposed him could face execution, but there is no official record of how many people were killed. The Franco government listed 55,000 people killed by Republican sympathizers. During the war, 1936-1939, about 500,000 combatants were killed.
Documentary: The Good Fight: Americans join in the Spanish civil war
1984 documentary "The Good Fight" recounts the story of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish civil war – the 3,000 American volunteers who fought in Spain in the late 1930s to defend the Loyalist government against the fascists led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. They were part of a forefront of 40,000 volunteers from over 50 countries who enlisted in international brigades. This documentary, with a release of new DVD edition, features interviews with 11 members of the Lincoln Brigade and historical footage. The documentary reveals the radicalism of the American volunteers, many of whom were members of the Communist Party.
4 alleged Nazi camp guards living in U.S. to be charged in Spain?
A human rights group has asked a Spanish court to charge 4 alleged Nazi concentration camp guards and seek their extradition from the U.S. over the deaths of Spanish citizens. The Brussels-based rights organization, Equipo Nizkor, identifies the suspects as John Demjanjuk, Anton Tittjung, Josias Kumpf and Johann Leprich. All 4 face deportation from the U.S. but no country will take them in. The group said it is acting under Spain`s principle of universal jurisdiction, which states that war crimes and other heinous offenses can be pursued in Spain even if they have been committed abroad.
A prologue to World War II - The Spanish Civil War
Many historians see the Spanish Civil War that began in July 1936 a prelude to World War II. Spain became a battleground of conflicting forces, testing their arsenals in preparation for the battle of the giants. Jews did not sit on the sidelines in this contest, their participation was extensive, and it offers a fascinating chapter of Jewish resistance to Nazi and fascist tyranny. The Spanish Civil War drew in volunteers from 55 countries, and up to 25% of the fighters in the International Brigades were Jewish. The most obvious Jewish presence emerged from a group called the "Naftali Botwin Company."
`Dynamite Girl` Rosario Mora blasted fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War
Rosario Sanchez Mora, a heroine of the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War who was known as "The Dynamite Girl" (la Dinamitera), has died aged 88. As a combatant in the Republicans` struggle of 1936-1939 against the Fascist forces of General Franco, she became an expert in the explosives and was immortalised in a poem, Rosario, dinamitera. Mora enlisted as a volunteer in the defence of Madrid. In Sept. 1936, while setting a booby trap, she lost her right hand in an explosion. The next summer she was back to the front, as a sergeant, in a brigade that was defending Madrid.
Spanish Civil War: Photo exhibit shows the daily life of the International Brigades
The Universidad de Valencia presents an exhibit from the Spanish Civil War called "Brigades, General Walter`s Photographic Archive". It gathers 63 never before seen images, selected from the 333 that make up Karol Swierczewski`s, general Walter, archive. Taken between the end of 1936 and middle of 1938, when Walter took part in the Spanish Civil War as a commander of the 35th Division. Archive forms part of General Walter`s estate donated to the Association of Friends of the International Brigades. Along with the pics it has documents, republican flags, diaries, drawings, personal objects and uniforms.
Franco collaborated with Nazis to prove Canary Islands were home to Aryan race
Spanish archaeologists cooperated with the Nazis to prove the theory of Aryan supremacy and justify their claims of racial superiority, tells a new book by history professor Francisco Gracia Alonso. Spain wanted to promote the idea that the Aryan race could be traced to the Canary Islands - all that remained of the lost continent of Atlantis. Scientists from the Ahnenerbe, ancestral heritage group set up by Heinrich Himmler, planned to travel there but they had to postpone the project when WWII began. They appointed archaeologist Julio Martinez Santa Olalla, a friend of General Franciso Franco, to do probes.
Abe Osheroff was veteran of Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Abe Osheroff, a leftist provocateur who was wounded in the Spanish Civil War, and who later kept alive the memory of that struggle with 2 documentary films and thousands of speeches, passed away at 92. A 1974 film "Dreams and Nightmares" told of his journey from the Brooklyn to the Spanish battlefields of the 1930s to a melancholy travel back to Spain. Going to Spain in May 1937, he swam the last 2 miles to shore after his ship was sunk. He fought in 4 battles before machine-gun fire ruined a knee, and he travelled back U.S. in August 1938. He even managed the fistfight with Hemingway, over the food.
The last surviving Scot to have fought in the Spanish Civil War dies
The last surviving Scot to have fought in the Spanish Civil War has perished. Stevie Fullarton was 18 when he travelled to Spain to fight the fascists led by General Franco. He was one of about 500 people from Scotland who joined the International Brigades when the country`s democratically-elected government was facing defeat. Fullarton went to Spain in spring 1938 and was shot in the leg during the Battle of the Ebro. Back in UK, he joined the RAF during the World War II.
Franco and Hitler: Spain, Germany and World War II by Stanley G Payne
If Benito Mussolini had kept Italy’s neutrality in WW2 he could have profited mightily. The allies would have piled rewards on Italy for staying out. Mussolini might have kept on ruling to a ripe old age - the fate of his fellow dictator General Francisco Franco. Spain`s escape from WW2 was the product of clumsy diplomacy rather than of wisdom, as Franco meant to join the axis. Spain`s wartime status was not that of a neutral nation, but of nonbelligerence. In 1940 the Caudillo had his only meeting with Adolf Hitler, who wanted to send German troops into Spain to seize Gibraltar. Franco was uneasy having panzer grenadiers on his doorstep.
Milton Wolff: last commander of American forces in Spanish Civil War
Milton Wolff, the last American commander of anti-Fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War, has died at 92, said Peter Carroll, chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives. Wolff was 21 when he stepped off the New York soapboxes, where he defended his Communist views, and into the Spanish war theater. By the time he was 22, he was the 9th leader of the Lincoln Brigade, which fought with Spain`s elected leftist govt against General Francisco Franco. 3,000 Americans fought in volunteer battalions in Spain, and over 900 were killed. About 40 are alive today. In Spain Wolff become friends with Ernest Hemingway, who was writing about the conflict.
Irish role in Spanish Civil war marked
They came from across Ireland and fought against fascism and Franco in the 1930s as part of the International Brigades. At the weekend their role on the side of Spain`s ousted republican government was marked in Belfast. A display of memorabilia and photos relating to the defeated republican side is on display. 78 of the 2,000 left-wing idealists from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth who fought against Franco came from Northern Ireland. A sculpture to the men was unveiled in Writers` Square. Irishmen also fought on the side of Franco, mostly members of the Blueshirts as part of Eoin O`Duffy`s 700 men brigade known as la bandera Irlandesa.
Fighting Fascism: Americans Who Fought In the Spanish Civil War
In July 1936, rightwing military officers led by fascist General Franco attempted to overthrow the democratic government of Spain. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini joined in support of Franco. In response, nearly 3,000 Americans - Abraham Lincoln Brigade - defied the US govt to volunteer to fight in the Spanish Civil War. We speak with two veterans and play excepts form the documentary "Into the Fire: American Women in the Spanish Civil War." "No man ever entered the earth more honorably than those who died in Spain," wrote Ernest Hemingway, referring to the Americans who volunteered for the Spanish Civil War, the first major battle against fascism.
Berlin exhibition tackles issue of Guernica attack
The destruction of Guernica by German bombers 70 years ago remains a contentious issue in Germany but a new Berlin exhibition aims to aid the reconciliation process. Aircraft from Adolf Hitler`s "Condor Legion" sent to Spain to support Francisco Franco`s nationalist forces carpet-bombed the Basque town on April 26, 1937 killing as many as 1,600. The exhibition in the Berlin Wall museum near the former Checkpoint Charlie border crossing details the genesis of Pablo Picasso`s work "Guernica", one of the first aerial attacks on a civilian target. Historians have accused German governments and armed forces since WW2 of playing down the Nazis` role in the attack.
Guernica - 70 years later myths and misinformation surround bombing
Itziar Arzanegi can still hear the German warplane overhead, and see the old woman shaking her fists at the foreigners destroying her town. She remembers the look of horror on the woman`s face as the plane opened fire and cut her down. It has been 70 years since German and Italian fighter planes backing the fascist forces of General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War leveled historic Basque town on April 26, 1937. Myths have shrouded the bombing from the outset, starting with the death toll, which historians have been revising downward for decades. Guernica has come to be seen as a foretaste of the WWII aerial blitzes.
Heinrich Himmler`s secret quest to locate the Aryan Holy Grail
Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Nazi SS, made a secret wartime mission to Montserrat abbey in Spain in search of the Aryan Holy Grail. According to a book The Desecrated Abbey, by Montserrat Rico Góngora, the Reichsführer-SS thought if he could lay claim to the Holy Grail it would help Nazi Germany win the war and give him supernatural powers. A former monk Andreu Ripol Noble was ordered to greet Himmler during the visit in 1940. Ripol related how Himmler came to Montserrat inspired by Richard Wagner`s opera Parsifal, which mentions the Holy Grail could be in kept in "the marvellous castle of Montsalvat in the Pyrenees".
Francisco Franco and Hitler 1940 meeting photos were touched up (Article no longer available from the original source)
Two photographs depicting a meeting between Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and Adolf Hitler in 1940 were touched up, in order to improve the Spanish general`s public image. The photos were of a meeting between the two dictators in a train station in Hendaya a year after the end of the Spanish Civil War and a year into World War II. In one original, Franco is seen walking with a rigidly outstretched right arm and his eyes shut. The photograph which was distributed in 1940, however, showed him wide-eyed and his arm more relaxed. The two dictators discussed each other`s military needs and Spain`s entry into WWII on Hitler`s side - No agreement was reached.
Men who fought Franco fêted as Spain confronts its past
Around a memorial in Jubilee Gardens a handful of frail survivors will gather to remember the 2,400 Britons who volunteered to join the International Brigades in support of Spain’s democratically elected Republican Government against the rebel Fascist forces of General Francisco Franco. There are 24 remaining. Between 1936 and 1938 they lost 526 comrades on the Iberian battlefields. To have been there is still a badge of honour among many groups, but idealism was not enough to halt Panzer tanks and the overweening ambitions of the Third Reich.
Spanish Manhunt for Nazi Doctor Aribert Heim Continues
One of the most sadistic Nazi doctors during the Third Reich who is suspected of hundreds of murders is still on the run in Spain. Police said they were combing the eastern region of Valencia for Aribert Heim, claimed to be the world`s second most wanted Nazi war criminal, amid reports the hunt has been narrowed to a small coastal town. Heim is suspected of having tortured and killed hundreds of prisoners at the Mauthausen concentration camp, and has been compared to Josef Mengele, the so-called "angel of death" who was a doctor at Auschwitz.
Farewell To Francisco Franco - Dictator who survived WWII
Unlike his allies Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco survived WWII, retaining his dictatorial grip on Spain for another 30 years. Even when he died, he avoided the fate of his fellow despots. Hitler`s body was likely incinerated outside his bunker; Mussolini`s corpse swung from a gas-station awning in Milan; but Franco still lies in a grand tomb funded and carefully maintained by the country he subjugated.