Monday, May 26, 2014

The Spanish Civil War

'The Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 was a class war, and a culture war. Competing visions of Spanish identity were superimposed on a bitter struggle over material resources, as the defenders of property, religion and tradition took up arms against a Republican government committed to social reform, devolution and secularisation . . .'

And so begins Frances Lannon's masterful, even-handed volume in the Essential Histories series: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (Osprey, 2002), page [7].

When the majority of people in any nation, region or even village fail to find and hold some kind of acceptable common ground, there is always a tendency and danger that they'll instead fissure and then harden into monstrous, sharp-edged and pitiless warring factions, separated by a No Man's Land filled with spitting hatred and exploding land mines. 

If the "centre [center] cannot hold" (as W. B. Yeats phrased it in his 1919 poem, "The Second Coming"), beware, for 

'Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate

Which brings us back to Frances Lannon's The Spanish Civil War, 1936-39: 

'It would . . . be difficult to exaggerate the significance of the civil war . . . Winning . . . was the precondition for shaping the future of Spain, and losing it meant political, economic, cultural and even physical exclusion from that process . . .' page [7].

More details in a future post, I suspect, but until then, the end: 

'Postwar Spain would be Franco's Spain . . . The postwar repression removed tens of thousands of opponents of the new regime by execution, and more by imprisonment. Others fled into exile. The dictatorship was determined to make the peace a continuation of the war by other means. . .' [Ibid.]  

Thirty-nine years after Franco's rise in 1936 came his death in 1975. Thirty-nine years after Franco's death in 1975 came . . . the year 2014.  

Today's Rune: Flow. 


Charles Gramlich said...

I recently watched the movie about Hemingway and Martha Gelhorn. A lot of it took place in this war. Very interesting.

jodi said...

Erik-Is that a woman in that pic? A cool thing in an otherwise troubling war pic!