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Spanish civil war

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Simon

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« Reply #60 on: December 01, 2009, 10:27 AM »
Hi Teeps, John, et al,

Many thanks for revitalising this threat kapitán! I really liked the El Pais article, the quote from Franco's farewell speech to the Condor Legion says it all,  "Podéis volver a vuestra patria con orgullo. Los españoles nunca olvidaremos que Carlos V era un rey alemán", no wonder Hitler preferred a visit to the dentist!

Thanks too, John, for your excellent resource, what a lot of hard work you've done - it puts my feeble efforts to shame! I'm curious to see the Jason Webster book, I stumbled across his 'Duende' a few years ago in a charity shop and bought it - awwwwwful! What's the book's structure, is it a straight history or another of the 'personal journey*' genre?

Talking of book recommendations, I think Brennon is still essential reading, especially as it is an 'eye witness' or at least a contemporary account. But for a straight history I'm well impresed with Beevor's 'The Battle for Spain'; essential reading for the beginner, with the bare bones of the conflict given in  detail.

Back on the contemporay side, I highly recommend Franz Borkenau's 'The Spanish Cockpit', first published in 1937. It is based on the author's visits here in 1936 and again in early '37. 'Blood of Spain', by Ronald Fraser** (1979) is a fascinating account based on the oral histories of eye witnesses - an unrepeatable excercise now of course!

The latter two books are pretty rare items I'd imagine. I found them during an extreme buying binge visit to Hay-on-Wye a few years ago - a trove well worth the excess baggage!

Regs

Simon

* not that there's anythig wrong with this genre, just the way it's done sometimes!

** not the actor Mr Teeps!

Offline elmussol

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« Reply #61 on: January 14, 2010, 23:26 PM »
Just discovered this thread and promise to read it all before posting again. Oh dear, I feel an essay coming on...

pault

...who happens to be reading Hugh Thomas' 1986 revision of The Spanish Civil War at the moment. I picked it up in an anarchist bookshop in Amsterdam last September, which is cool in a wierd way, because he obviously really can't stand anarchists.

Poke me in a month if I haven't posted something a little more substantial. Or don't if you couldn't care less ;-)
pault's blurb: location: Xerta, Tarragona province, Catalunya
talks tech, eco stuff & politics

Simon

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« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2010, 08:52 AM »
Hi Pault, et al,

Well done Pault on (re?) reading this book, one I should keep my eye out for I guess. I love the irony of your finding it, I found my best my cache of Civil War books in Hay-on.Wye, a big contrast in the 'lived' and the 'studied' environment! One question - what were you doing in an anarchist bookshop in Amsterdam?  :technodevil:

Strance coincidences time: today, January 15th, is the anniversary of the fall of the city of Tarragona to the Nationalists. This time last year (the 70th anniversary) there was a very moving exhibition of photographs that Franc Kappa  took during the evacualtion. Kappa followed the evacuation right along the coast. As well as some classic Kappa stuff, there was an interesting exhibition of memorabilia - I had no idea that the Republican army had uniforms - let alone very stylish ones! - although that gap in my knowledge is rapidly closing as I work my way through the books mentioned above (I'm a slow reader!) which relate the changes in the Republican forces at eye witness level, as the war progressed.

But the most moving part of the exhibition was the scenes in the streets of the city itself - the people were running scared along the same shopping steets and boulevards that I use daily (Ramon i Cajal and the Rambla Nova) and the crying children could well have been the parents of many of my friends!

Tragic stuff!

Regs

Simon

Offline shiner

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« Reply #63 on: January 15, 2010, 18:08 PM »
Hi Jill, read Orwells Cataluna wotsit, Brendon thingys but got a better read and enjoyed Ghosts of Spain much more, in English by an English journalist living in Madrid sorry forgotten his name
Regards Shiner

Offline elmussol

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« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2010, 20:45 PM »
Well done Pault on (re?) reading this book, one I should keep my eye out for I guess.

First read. I was prompted to read it because someone bought me his The Slave Trade: The History of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440–1870 for my birthday a couple of years ago (and a fascinating read for those interested in another aspect of Iberian history). He turned out to be not as right wing (at least in his historical writing) as a lover of she who must not be named might be expected to be. More on this and associated topics in my longer post...

Quote
I love the irony of your finding it, I found my best my cache of Civil War books in Hay-on.Wye, a big contrast in the 'lived' and the 'studied' environment! One question - what were you doing in an anarchist bookshop in Amsterdam?  :technodevil:

Erm... buying books of general interest to your average anarchist, like me. I also, amongst other things, picked up The Ex -- 1936: The Spanish Revolution, which has a wonderful book full of photos and quotes (see, not only back ontopic but back to original point of thread). I was in Amsterdam to watch baseball if that clarifies anything ;-)

pault (privately pleased to get an anarchopunk reference in and stay on topic)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 20:47 PM by elmussol »
pault's blurb: location: Xerta, Tarragona province, Catalunya
talks tech, eco stuff & politics

Simon

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« Reply #65 on: January 16, 2010, 09:44 AM »
Mornin' all,

Excellent on topic link there Pault - liked the videos - Eco punk alive and well I see! - and a good thing too!

Shiner, 'Ghosts of Spain' was written by Giles Tremett, the Gruniad's 'man in Spain' It is an excellent book, even though it appears to have been written by a chronic off-topic-wanderer. I wonder whether it's the air? - or the vino tinto  :technodevil:

Regs

Simon

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #66 on: January 30, 2010, 16:17 PM »
Greetings All,
Thanks for keeping this thread going - we owe it to all the innocent lives taken during the Spanish Civil War - and any other armed conflict, for that matter - to make sure that the powers-that-be don't get the chance to forget their hypocrisy, evilness and cowardice, etc.

Marcos Ana, who I mentioned on this thread almost exactly 2 years ago, celebrated his 90th birthday "Marcos Ana, 90 años de edad y 67 de vida" El País

Lest-we-forget regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #67 on: February 01, 2010, 12:26 PM »
Mornin' scholars,

Nice to see you back up and runnin' Professor T! I've finished  Borkenau's 'The Spanish Cockpit' (1937) and I'm building up a head of steam to plough through 'Blood of Spain', by Ronald Fraser (1979). Both very interesting books, but I'm beginning to get Civil War fatigue! Does anyoe know of a good history in English of the posguerra? The nearest I've got to one is the Preston biography of Franco. But by the time I get to the post-war period I have Franco fatigue too and I've still not finished that book after I don't know how many years!

Regs

Simon

PS Pault - I haven't read Hugh Thomas, but I don't thnk you need to be a supporter of she-who-must-not-be-named-and-is-best-forgotten-like-a-bad-dream to be well and truly p****d off with the Anarchists!

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #68 on: November 18, 2010, 11:30 AM »
Greetings All,
I think I forgot to add the following to the must-read list:

Preston, Paul We Saw Spain Die - Foreign correspondents in the Spanish Civil War Constable (2008)

Gives an interesting insight into the importance of press censorship & propaganda and its repercussions.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #69 on: November 20, 2010, 10:47 AM »
Nice one Teeps, I'll have to keep an eye out for it on my next trip to Barna, which should be sooner rather than later to avoid excess coocoo-ing  >:D

Meanwhile, I've just started Eric Hobsbawn's 'Age of Extremes', his history of what he calls the Short Twentieth Century, i.e. from the start of WW1 to the demise of socialism, i.e. 1991. One of the intereretsing points made in the introduction is that Hobsbawm regards the entire period from 1914 to 1945 as one continuous conflict, including the Spanish Civil War of course, which he discusses later in the book.

We are fairly familiar with the arguement that WW2 began in July 1936, espoused by Preston, et al, and I'm interested to see if Hobsbawm makes a similar arguement for other conflicts in the '30's, e.g. Japan/China (1931 onwards) and Italy/Abyssinia (1935/6). I certainly feel the need to take a fresh look at the wider context in which the SCW took place.

Long evenings lie ahead!

Simon  :booklook:

Offline Rosie

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« Reply #70 on: November 20, 2010, 11:04 AM »
I have just fished 'Ghosts of Sain' off the book shelf. Hubby bought it a few years ago but we have never got round to reading it. Very remiss of us, I know.

I daren't open it yet as I am supposed to be doing the ironing, and if I start reading I will lose all track of the time, but this thread has inspired me to start it later today.

Muchas gracias.

Rosie

Simon

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« Reply #71 on: November 20, 2010, 11:16 AM »
Hi Rosie,

'Ghosts of Spain' is an excellent book in general and a great introduction to the subject of the SCW in partricular, especially how the long shadow of the War reaches right down to the present day. Giles Tremlet, who is also the Guardian's main Spanish correspondent, also writes amusingly, and indeed informatively, on his own life in Spain, a treatment that makes an otherwise seriously heavy subject accessible to ordinary blokes like me!

So let the ironing go hang for a while and get reading - after all, a few wrincles don't do my sartorial image too much harm  :technodevil:

Simes

Offline andyj

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« Reply #72 on: November 20, 2010, 13:21 PM »
not sure if this had been brought up in this fabulous thread, Im still going through it myself, but don't forget about the art of the Civil war, particularly Goya. His story not only his art is fantastic, though he does tend towards the darker side...like the best of 'em.

Andy

Simon

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« Reply #73 on: November 25, 2010, 17:48 PM »
Hi Andy et al,

What a great contribution to this thread - war art in general is fascinating and deeply moving no matter what the medium.

Thinking about painting in the Spanish Civil War we obviously see Picasso's 'Guernika' as the archetypal image. But I'm not sure this is quite the case, for a start one doesn't think of Picasso as a 'war artist' as such. Moreover, I'm not sure but I think that Guernika was Picasso's only war painting, and, furthermore, it can also been seen as a protest about the nature and threat of 'modern' warfare in general as much as about the specific incident, or even the Spanish Civil War in particular - although I accept that this is probabaly more pertinent to later 'career' of the painting itself as an icon.

Goya, on the other hand, although an established portrait artist to the Spanish Court from about 1783, is equally remembered for his series' of realistic war paintings, The Black Paintings and especially The Disasters of War, which are what you are referring to I guess, painted during and after the Spanish War of Independence (1808-14) - known to British historians as the Peninsular war. I came across a collection of these, and the Capricios, by accident when I first visited the Prado in Madrid. The experience was profound to say the least and I think of it still, around twenty years later!

Sadly, Goya was long gone by the time of the Civil War we are talking about in this thread, but that doesn't stop the importance of war imagery in history. I wonder if one of the features of the Civil War was the emerging power of Photo-journalism, which, if not actually invented, stikes me as coming of age at this time: the images left by the likes of Robert Capa still hold in the collective memory I think, or maybe just in mine!

I don't know of any newsreel images of the Civil War that have anything like the impact of the huge archive from Second World War though -I wonder if this is due to the technology, i.e. robust lightweight movie cameras, not being up to scratch at the time. Or, more cynically, media moguls not considering the War sufficiently important to commit such a new, and presumeable expensive, resource for perhaps scant commercial returns (newsreels, such as Pathé News were lucrative commercial enterprises).

Developing this point a little further: I wonder if many wars generated, or are best remembered, by specific artictic media or genres? The poetry of the Great War strikes me as being essential to understandimng the experience and impact of the war on its generation, likewise epic poems, such as Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade paints a profoundly different picture of warfare!

The art of war correspondents is well known to have developled enormously in the Spanish Civil War, as the earlier posts in this threat readily testify, but these also raise isues of the effectiveness, of lack, of censorship in various theatres of war -the paucity of correspndence from the Nationalist side of the front lines is important here I think.

Moving on a few generations, a little closer to home - "About time!" I hear you cry! - the Vietnam war is now remebered best, perhaps, in terms of the genre of anti-war movies such as Apocalyse Now or Coming Home, which had an an enormous impact on the thinking of one contemporary young adolescent  :angel:

Phew! I'd better get off this one now before my brain needs a service!

Thanks one again Andy for such a thought proviking idea!

Regs

Simon


« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 17:59 PM by Simon »

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #74 on: November 26, 2010, 01:17 AM »
Greetings All,
As so often the case, Simon's latest opens up too many fronts to deal with in one go, so will try not to let myself be led astray and will do me utmost to stick to the point. :noidea:

Regarding Picasso, a significant detail many folks seem to not attach much importance to, is that he was appointed director of the Prado shortly after the outbreak of the SCW, an honour of which he was rightly proud. It has been pretty much acknowledged by the nobs that his greatest influences, among many other major influences, include El Greco, Veláquez and Goya, and he was particularly influenced by Goya up until Guernica (1937) and again in the later part of his life, from the 50s on.

While neither El Greco nor Veláquez seemed to been especially interested in portraying the horrors of war, Picasso's Masacre en Corea (1951) is clearly inspired by Goya's El 3 de mayo de 1808 en Madrid. Los fusilamientos de la montaña del Principe Pío (1814). His oeuvre (Sp. anyone?), apart from the 60-odd sketches and other drawings he made around the theme of Guernica, which contains clear references to Goya's Desastres de la guerra, the 3 de mayo mentioned above, and El dos de mayo de 1808 en Madrid. La carga de los mamelucos, also clearly includes major anti-war statements with El Osario (1945) and Monumento a los españoles muertos por Francia (1945-47) provoked by the Second World War; La Guerra y La Paz (1952) and the series El rapto de las sabinas (1962), the latter provoked by the Cuban missile crisis.

Likewise, in his Les Lettres français Picasso wrote (my free translation): "Paintings are not for decorating houses. They are an instrument of offensive and defensive war against the enemy" (March 1943)

Regarding "the impact of the huge archive from Second World War" vs SCW coverage, Simon's cynicism is, in my opinion, fully justified. The greater part of The Establishment in both the US and the UK were frankly pro-Franco, and while the media moguls hedged their bets at the beginning by sending out correspondents to cover both "bandos", it soon became pretty clear that they were coming down clearly on the side of the insurgents. I vaguely remember both the Republic and Franco having produced propaganda films and don't forget that La 2, especially, regularly shows footage of the day. If anyone is interested in the theme, I strongly recommend you get in there quick, 'cos once the current government is out, I doubt we'll have much chance of seeing documentaries of this kind again...

Regarding Simon's "proviking idea", I'm not sure that the Vikings are quite on-topic here :technodevil: While yours truly stands second to none in his admiration for the "the wrath of the norsemen", and, contrary to what most Spaniards will acknowledge, Vikings made several raids on the Ib. Pen. - and even held Seville under siege for a couple of weeks - I humbly suggest we start a separate thread for 'em.

Jeez-is-that-the-time? regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #75 on: November 26, 2010, 02:00 AM »
Greetings All,
Regarding the pictorial coverage mentioned above, while catching up on me backlog of reading, have just come across this snippet Nick posted earlier this year:
Iberia Nature: Was Gerda Taro murdered?

So-who-else-believes-in-conspiracy-theories? regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #76 on: November 26, 2010, 16:27 PM »
I knew you'd be there to correct me Professor Technopat! And corrected I well and truly stand! I knew that Picasso was seriously anti-war (and that he was director of the Prado, just didn't have time to mention that snippet!) but hadn't made the connection with further works!

One more thing I forgot: the art of propaganda posters, no contemporary exhibition seems without them being represented these days, but I don't know much more - maybe this is Nick's province?

Cheers

Simon

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #77 on: November 26, 2010, 19:51 PM »
Greetings All,
Please note that nothing could be further, etc., etc. than to "correct" Simon :angel: - it's just that I like get a kick outta filling in the gaps and tying up loose ends (Sp. anyone?). Oh, yeah, and I was brought up on one-upmanship and gamesmanship :technodevil:

Re. propaganda posters, I have a vague feeling of having seen one by Picasso somewhere, but probably mistaken, as is my wont. Anybody?

TP
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Daniel

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« Reply #78 on: February 13, 2011, 10:20 AM »
There is also a little known and fascinating history of film-making during the civil war. Film-workers on the Republican side collectivised the film industry and made both documnetaries and feature films. Here's an interesting interview on the subject, with French documentary film-maker Richard Prost: http://filmint.nu/?p=323

Offline nick

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« Reply #79 on: February 13, 2011, 10:47 AM »
Looks very interesting Daniel (and welcome to the forum)

I seem to remember reading that most of the Republic's film industry was based on Montjuic in Barcelona.
Nick
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