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Behind the Insurrections - How Fascism Won The Spanish Civil War, Part 2

Behind the Insurrections - How Fascism Won The Spanish Civil War, Part 2

Thu, 28 Jan 2021 11:00

Behind the Insurrections - How Fascism Won The Spanish Civil War, Part 2

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Hey, Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation, then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know, I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. So if you want to explore LASIK plus I can't recommend it enough. They have over 20 years experience in the industry and they performed more than two million treatments right now if you want to try getting LASIK plus you can get $1000 off of your surgery when you're treated in September, that's $500. Of per eye, just to schedule your free consultation. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's breaker handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture, and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost, city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know, because after listening to stuff you should know. You will listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Spain. I'm Robert Evans. This is behind the ******** but actually it's. I like that it's, yeah, Spain, that's what I got. This is behind the ********. It's actually behind the insurrections special, behind the ******** miniseries, talking about the history of fascist attempts to seize power from good proceeds. Yes, we started our our first opening of this episode with me shouting what's bombing my guernica's, but then we decided that would get me canceled and was a bad idea. So we will be talking about born again. I would have just gone, yeah, I just shouted the name Spain. Novatos prop alternate pitch. What about Gasol? Yeah, there we go. There we go. That's better. There we go. Powwow. Yeah. Unfortunately, my knowledge of Spanish is mostly limited to buying drugs and NBA player from that. That was a really great Laker. But, you know, as really good seafood. You can say that about Spain. I can. Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God. Yes. I have had some amazing paella. One of the paellas I had was partly responsible for me vomiting on the limousine. The King of Spain. But, Umm, that's amazing. That's a story for another day. My best friend, my best friend died in Spain. I don't know. No, no, that's a great thing to say. That's 40 years ago, my old DJ flew to Spain. He was actually doing a. He was doing a master chef class with this piece. He's Filipino dude. He was going to do this, like, paella adobo. It was this crazy Filipino Spanish. That sounds amazing. Yeah, yeah. And he had like, and he just his blood pressure dropped to zero. Oh, ****. Died in his Airbnb. **** that's horrible. That's horrible. Anyway, just kidding. We are going to talk about a lot of people dying in Spain today. So yeah, the peace DJ effect though, love you doubt that that's there's actually, this is actually going to be a very sad episode in a lot of ways. So that's an appropriate emotional tone to start it off with Spain. Probably throws down his current Spain is not your fault. So we're going to be talking about the Spanish Civil War today, and we left off last time with the establishment of an actual, like, real fat, organized fascist party in Spain, the Phalangists. They weren't the first, but they were the first. To kind of like, I don't know, get it right is a weird phrase to apply to fascism, but they were they, they were the Spanish fascists who would become kind of the, the watchword for Spanish fascism. When people talk about the fascists in Spain, they're talking about the Phalangists, you know, the phalanges. Yeah, the challengers phalanxes, which kind of also is, I think that I think phalanges comes from Phalanx because it's that word for that Greek military. You know we have a **** load of dudes standing and like a a a series of lines all supporting each other and kind of like a hand. I don't know, that'd be my guess. I'm not a worder. So the oddest thing about the familiar nests is that alone among fascists pretty much any period I'm aware of this. Well, except for maybe the modern period they were giant. Courses to start out with, and this may be due to the fact we've talked a lot about how like World War One is why the Italian and German fascists were terrifying people because they, you know, were very comfortable killing people. Spain stayed out of World War One. Most of the early fascists were like more on this, like fascist intellectuals than street fighters, and they weren't initially very willing to use force. Now they talked about violence a lot. And Jose Antonio, their leader, was definitely a fascist, but he was very uncomfortable with physical violence. Even when it was directed at him, and it was repeatedly, he was loathed to actually organize retaliatory violence. During a speech he gave after his party's unification with the John Sistas, a leftist gunman opened fire, intending to kill Jose Antonio and instead killing a spectator and wounding four other people. The fascists launched no reprisals against the left in response. Which is like you, you look at Germany or Italy's is very strange. Yeah, yeah, very different than it was elsewhere and the kind of unwillingness in this period of the fascists. To use violence LED 1 columnist for a right wing newspaper to note sarcastically so that everything will be incongruous here. It is that the fascists who are made to swallow Castor oil, which is referring to the fact that in Italy the fascists would force Castor oil down the throats of their enemies, to make them **** themselves sometimes to death. Like it was a horrible torture, like they thought it was funny but it killed people. And this guy's being like in in Italy, the fascists make their enemies drink Castor oil. Here we have to drink the Castor oil, right? Because we're not willing to use. Violence? That's weird. Yeah, it is very odd. It does not last, but that this is a period of time early in the fascist also. Also, every black person's grandma made them drink Castor oil at some point. Sucks. What are those? You know that. You know that? That image macro from from the movie Predator where those two guys are shaking hands in the meeting in the middle? Yeah. Italian fascists and black grandmas. Yeah. Feeding people Castor oil? Yes. God Dang it. Grandma on my stomach was, uh, that's fine. Just just give me look at have been fine. Just let me drink some water. Kind of drink this Castor oil. You can't tell her no, either. Tell a black woman no. I dare you. And they were, you know, the Italians were giving people much larger, like, it kills people sometimes. So, yeah, other Phalangist leaders were happier to endorse physical violence than Jose Antonio was. But for a little while initially, a number of them kind of felt like it was good to have some of their members gunned down by the left when one Phalangist was killed. And the movements. Street fight. It was thought that the brawl had been a successful baptism of fire. Basically, we're trying to ramp these people up to violence, so it's good that we're like this. It's positive for us that we're being tested with like, deadly force. This was some people's attitude initially, but the deaths kept coming and for a while they were entirely caused by leftists. Most of this violence occurred between 1934 and 1936, during a period of escalating political violence that historians called the militarization of politics during the Second Republic. And when you're talking about at least the violence that was between fascists and the left, it was pretty 1 sided for a while, while fascists being fascists, always talked about violence, whose Antonio particularly resisted putting the party on a militant footing. Now this was unpopular within the movement and one internal meeting, Jose Antonio expressed his desire to engage the left in the dialectic of fists and pistols. But he was kind of being more metaphorical than anything, right? Like we're gonna have like the verbal equivalent of war and he he was kind of. Hemming and hawing and because he wasn't really willing to commit fully at this point. Meanwhile, one of his colleagues in the same meeting expressed a desire to treat leftists as enemies in a state of war. Now there were discussions within the party of overthrowing Jose Antonio and replacing him with a more violent fascist because he just wasn't willing to kill fast enough, and these suggestions were shot down because they couldn't really exist without him. At this point, the police kept shutting down their party offices so the only place they could gather was Jose Antonio's Law Offices. He was also like the one who had money and so, like, they couldn't. A lot of people were angry at him, but they couldn't really exist without him. Onesimo Redondo, who was another Phalangist leader and probably the one who urged violence most openly around the same time, was very willing to kind of go against Jose Antonio and say people like we should be, we should be ready to kill people in the streets. In December of 1933, he promised his followers a situation of absolute violence is approaching, and I'm going to quote now from a speech he gave to Phalangist. Both young workers, young Spaniards, prepare your weapons. Get used to the crack of the pistol, caress your dagger, be inseparable from your vindictive club. Young people must be trained in physical combat, must love violence as a system, must arm themselves with whatever they can, and must be prepared to finish off by whatever means. A few dozen Marxist imposters. There's a lot that's in there. Yeah. I'm really in Wendy's saying then, especially when he says they must love violence as a system. He's kind of, yeah. Spanish defying the the concept the Italians had and that the Germans developed of like the cult of Action for action sake, the almost almost worship of violence as an an end in and of itself. You're seeing that start to percolate into Spanish fascist culture. In this period now more than a dozen Phalangists and other fascists were killed by anarchists and. I mean this before the fascist write properly organized itself for violence, but organized themselves for violence they did. And I'm gonna quote now from the book fascism in Spain. The point of inflection in the political violence took place on Sunday, June 10th. The cherries of the young Socialists had been prohibited by authorities from marching in the streets of Madrid, but during the warm weather organized regular weekend outings to the Casa de Campo Recreation area on the West side of Madrid on the 10th a group of Phalangists intercepted them and the usual fight took place an 18 year old. Land just won. Queller, son of a police inspector, was killed and his corpse was subsequently mutilated, his head apparently crushed with rocks. One of Ansaldo squads was quick to respond, allegedly without obtaining approval from the tree members who directed the party, the Fascist Party. Later that evening, as a bus transporting the young socialist excursionists unloaded some of them in Madrid. A car full of Phalangist Pistoleros, personally led by Ansaldo, who's a fascist militant, was waiting. It slowly passed the young couple on the sidewalk, spraying them with bullets. A 20 year old shop. Their Juanita Rico was killed. The Phalangists claimed she had been involved in desecrating the corpse. Her 21 year old brother was left permanently disabled and several others were wounded. Four days earlier, a Phalangist smallholder in Torah Pyrogel Jane Province had been killed during a farm workers strike so that Kweller was the 15th or 16th John Csta or Phalangist killed. Since the John Sista teenager had been slain by assault guards, which are like socialist militants and uh may of 1932. All the others had been killed by the left though numerous leftists. Been injured by Phalangists and St a phrase in university assaults. Rico was the first leftist fatality at their hands. For years. She would be commemorated as the first victim of fascism in Spain. So that's really the start of yeah, yeah. There's so much there, man. Like, first of all, I'm still dangling at the phrase dialectic of fists and pencils. I'm like, that's. That's rapists and pistols. Yeah. I thought it was fist and pencils. No, no. Fist. Dialectic. Fist. Like a conversation that involves fists and distance. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, I I actually, yeah. Yours is better. Yeah. I was like, no. Yeah, I was like, yo, those are bars, man. OK, and then also, you know? There's. There's a part of like. You know and then. It's a strange, like survival tactic, or just. Just a byproduct of like. Just being around like inner city or just kind of like gang violence that like. You'd the desensitization of it like where you're just like, you know, people die daily. You know, I'm saying like you just kind of like get used to and used to such a bad word to explain what I'm trying to say. But no no no you but you get it. It's like violence is just a part of life. Yeah. You know absolutely and and it but it's still like even knowing that, you know, I'm adult, you know, I've moved out we didn't you know, done so many different things now and it's not like I still don't live in active community but like. At the same time though, like. You know, like I I was crazy like, OK, so that shooting the, the, the the shooting at that Walmart in Texas. Yeah, no reaso. Yeah yeah yeah. The 8 Chan shooting. Yeah, yeah, the 8 Chan shooting. Yeah. Like I watched the video of like a cell phone video of like, you know, like a hood dude that was at the Walmart that I when the shooting started. He was just like, that's crazy fool shooting. We probably better slide out how calm he was is because. Of how we grew up. You know what I'm saying? So you're just like, somebody got a tech. Oh, they should. That's a tech. I know what that is, you know? I'm saying. And it's like, it's so weird because it's just a weird thing. So when, so when I hear this, when I hear y'all talk, when, you know, we talk about this, like, moment of this, like, political upheaval, I there's still part of me that goes. I but I still don't understand why you're killing each other, you know what I'm saying? And then and then the idea of how. I I gave that whole preference to say it's still jolting to hear. The type of like mutilation that he has met with a rock and then like, like God dog, like, you know, you know, like. Crazy you gotta be to blunt force trauma kill a person like that's it's just. I don't know anyway it's just just to say it's still jolting to me going on here. I think you're it's very important to point out the desensitization that occurs during this that that's why the phrase is used that like. The the militarization of politics. It's a process that starts in 31 and doesn't really reach its apotheosis until 1936, when the Civil War starts. But it it's a process of getting people ready to that of escalating St violence. And you see that just within the fascist party, where initially the fascists are willing to fight. There's brawls in the street from day one right as soon as there's fascists before the the the John Sistas merge with them, with Jose Antonio's group, there's street fighting and stuff, but it when the killings. Starts a lot of these fascists, because these are not and and again we get to the civil war. A significant chunk of the fascist military are combat veterans and able and these are the guys who come up from Africa. But these these dudes who are actually in Iberia, they they don't have experience killing people, not not by and large. And it takes #1, it takes time of some of them being killed before they really start responding with deadly violence as a matter of course. And once you have that on both sides, once you have anarchists and communists and. And other kinds of, like left socialists killing fascists in the streets and fascists committing murder right back and vice versa. Then you have this it it starts to ramp up the whole kind of level of comfort with deadly violence in society up to a level that you can have the kind of war that we're about to talk about. But you're right, it is a process. And and I think in terms of like, how people would justify, like, bashing the kids head in with a rock and desecrating his corpse, it's less about that guy. It's not that individual, dude. They were probably angry, but they're looking at what's happening in Spain. And in Germany and what fashion? The concentration camps that have already been set up, the mass executions of leftists in Italy and in Germany, the thousands who are already dead and they're going the only way to stop that here is to kill as many of and. And you can argue that was that, that that was the the wrong tack to take that you could argue that you could argue that it actually raised the level of violence to a point where you were able to have this open conflict that the left doesn't win. But at the time, all they know is they see what's happening in Germany and in Italy and they think. I don't know what else to do, but be violent, you know? And I I yeah, it's it's ******. Like the whole situation ******. Yeah. It's like, yeah, that's the thing where you're like, OK, they, you know, the street said that's like, you know, they take one, we take 4, you know, I'm saying exactly one of ours, we kill four years, you know, and and it's supposed to be a deterrent like that means like, OK, so I'm saying this to say don't kill ours, you know? Yeah. And you call it, I mean it is St **** but it's also like U.S. military policy. Massive retaliation, right. And this is what? Yes. Speaking of us like. Yeah. And Speaking of like U.S. history, recent history and the history of like terrorism on the right, Tim McVeigh, when he blew up the Murrah Building was very consciously being like I. This is the kind of reaction, but this is like, I am attacking the government because of they killed all these people in Waco. And I learned that this is an acceptable. His argument was I learned this was an acceptable way to respond to violence because that's how the military trained me, right. You can quibble with how honest. McVeigh was being there. But like, but hard not to see some through lines, you know, you look at the the first Iraq war or the more reason like. Right. It's it is it's the way everything works. Right. Yeah. How how the idea of how the idea of Pearl Harbor. Yeah. Is equivalent to Hiroshima. Yeah. Sadly bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Right. Yeah. Well, you take out a base, we take out an island. Yeah. It's like, cuz. Yeah. Yeah. And collective punishment. There's a lot to say about all of that, but we need to move on to the rest of this. Yeah. This story. Because I'm pretty sure you wrote. 22,000 pages for this, yeah, more or less. Now, while all of this was happening, while the Phalangists were starting to commit murder and stuff and and the the street fighting between left and right is escalating in Spain. While all this is happening on the ground, the political situation in like the actual like elected politics and stuff is continuing to unravel. And this is due in large part to the fact that the africanists, who are again the members of the Spanish military who had fought in Morocco, were increasingly frustrated with the Republic in 1932. So just like a year after the Republic. Starts one general. A guy named Sanjuro launches a coup that fails. But rather than wonder if the African easts weren't a problem and a threat to democracy, the government brought in Franco and his Foreign Legion to massacre anarchists and communists during their 1934 uprising, where the Foreign Legion executes more than 1000 people. So the Republic knows that the military, these African veterans, are a problem and also uses them to crush the left when the left rises up, because, you know, governments generally not smart. So a gap begins to form during the Republican period between the the the, the UNITAS officers and the peninsula who supported the Republic and the African E who the hunters called Stormtroopers. Now, by 1936, the political situation which had simmered for years broke out. Into an open boil. The explanation as to why starts with the Popular Front. In 1934 the USSR announced that given the worldwide advance of fascism, it was now acceptable for good communists to make political alliances with other left wing groups. This included both moderate liberals and people like anarchists, and even in some cases like Trotskyists. Which communists, I mean Trotskyists are communists too. They don't like each other right? And this is this is a real big change and we talked about in our in our the the the non Nazi ********. Made Hitler one of the reasons why the left failed to stop the Nazis is that the the Communist Party in Germany, which was, you know, generally under orders from Moscow, called the Social Democrats, social fascists. And I'll admit right now, we weren't entirely fair to the Communists in that episode. The Social Democrats did some really ****** ** stuff to the communists that we will talk about later in this very series. They had good reasons to distrust the Social Democrats. That said, the failure to work with them to stop Hitler was very clearly a mistake by 19. 34 like and the US is sorry admits then is like, you know what? Maybe, maybe it's necessary in countries facing fascism for there to be for for us to allow communists are kind of communists at least to have a broad Popular Front with other people in the left. And this is a very successful idea politically. And in fact there was also a Popular Front in France that that succeeded in in pushing some major reforms and we will talk about that later too. The tactic worked very well politically, electorally. In Spain, the Popular Front swept the 1936. Elections, but in a way that will be familiar to everyone listening. They did so in a way that enraged the right wing and. It's not hard to see why the right felt like they've been cheated. Right wing parties polled 4 million, 500 and 5524 votes and gained 124 seats in the 1936 election. Now the Popular Front only got about 160,000 more votes, but they gained 278 seats, so they get 160,000 more votes. In an election with like 9 or 10 million votes, twice as many seats. You can see why people on the right would be, like, kind of ****** about this, right? Yeah, and there may have been cheating. I don't really know. Like, it's. I'm not gonna get into whether or not there was cheating. What's important is that the right felt that they had been cheated, right? That's what actually matters, as opposed to whether or not there was any kind of electoral malfeasance. And of course the CEDA, that Catholic kind of right wing party, that's the dominant right wing party. And the Phalangist, the fascists absolutely would have cheated themselves in this election. And they actually, they probably did. And as a matter of fact, when Robles, the head of the CDA, realized that he wasn't going to be appointed Prime Minister after the 1936. Election he started negotiating with Americanista generals to try to convince them to do a coup, to force it. Like to put him into power as a dictator basically. And he failed. But there was a lot of sympathy for the idea. While the left looked at the phalanges and the CEDA and saw Hitler and Mussolini, the right looked at the Popular Front and saw it as the inevitable prelude to Soviet style state communism. And I'm going to quote from a write up in right now. When this coalition came to power, popular unrest in the countryside exploded into land seizures encouraged by radical anarchists. So as soon as, like, the Popular Front wins the election, the anarchists are like, we're we're going to do our thing now like it's time to it's time to take power for the people. There was little attempt by the anarchists to moderate their behavior, and no demands to allow the Popular Front to reassure moderate elements in Spain. As CNT, which is then anarchist party conference held in May 1936, was full of revolutionary language, it seemed that the New Republic had not been able to control the major revolutionary group. The murder of a former finance minister, Jose Calvo Sotelo, on 13th July 1936 was the trigger for the war, in much the same way as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand had sparked the First World War. Sotello had been in exile from 1931 to 34, but had returned to become a leading right wing figure associated with the Spanish fascists and a deputy for the Spanish Revival group. He clashed with the Socialists and the Assembly and was murdered by left wing members of the Civil Guard. So you have a couple of things happen. The Popular Front wins election. Anarchist just starts seizing the **** out of land and saying like the revolution, we're doing a revolution, it's happening, it's happening. And at the same time another left wing group of left wing people murders a popular right wing politician. So this all kind of snowballs into the start of the civil war, you know? OK, now when the CEDA lost the election, that was kind of it for them. And most of the party, like after failing to win in 36, just kind of gets fully on board. Of authoritarianism. One scholar writes that everyone got the message to quote, abandoned the ballot box and take up arms. The CEDA's youth movement collapses. Yeah, yeah, that's scary, dog. So, like the the young Republicans, basically they collapse overnight and they all joined the Falange. So all of the young, like conservatives who had been in the CDA and trying to get out the vote immediately joined the Fascist party and start picking up guns and street fighting and political murders reach a fever pitch in this. In this period now the quote I read earlier mentioned land seizures by the CNT and other groups of anarchists. And it's actually true that in the trade unions, major strongholds, the areas where the anarchists, the anarchists trade union was most powerful, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Seville. There was actually very little in the way of like strikes or mass demonstrations. In the lead up to the war the CNT tried to keep their people kind of calm. But there are a lot of their anarchists, right? A lot of them aren't part of the CNT, and a bunch of them and a bunch of socialists. Occupy land in Badajoz which took over 7 to and like this land occupation I mentioned at the start of the Republic that they they took about 10% of the undeveloped land and gave it to peasants. This occupation of land and bayaz takes 7 times that much land and starts redistributing it to like peasants. And this ******* terrifies the rich people in Spain. If you at this point the anarchists have ****** with the money, right? I've talked about the money you ****** ** the money. I talked about how like Trump a big part of why? On the day on the 6th, like, all these ******* banks started coming out like Chase Bank and Chevron are like, yeah, like condemning President Trump because he ****** with the money. You can't **** ** the money, Doc. You **** ** the money. And of course anarchists are all about like, they want to **** **. That's the point, which is one of the things I like about them. Not saying that's wrong, but they **** ** the money. And that that gets a lot of the, a lot of rich people, a lot of like the Spanish, kind of like ruling class on board, some sort of revolution against the left now. In Spain, the seizure of Barrias convinces a lot of these, like rich people, that the government can't guarantee stability anymore. So while past coup attempts by generals had generally folded due to a lack of support from the dominant classes, who didn't want to see a coup, right, they didn't like the left. But I don't want to have like a coup again. By 1936 a lot more of those folks are like, you know what? It's either a coup or we don't get to be rich people anymore. And they they do what rich people do, who it is, who it is. So the government. Had known that the Africanists generals weren't super trustworthy, which is why they tried to post the ringleaders General Franco and a guy named General Mola to the Canary Islands in Pamplona, respectively, right? Keep him out of the center of ****. But these guys were still collaborating with a cadre of other officers, and on July 17th, under orders from Franco, troops in Morocco rebelled. And obviously the the the Foreign Legion are kind of like the core of this. Over the next three days, military units and commanders all over Spain rose up against the legitimate government and the hope from Franco and his fellows. Has been that they would swiftly take control of major cities, jail their political opponents, and install a dictator like they've done with derivera not all that long ago, right? Your Vera comes to power like a decade or so earlier, so they were hoping it would follow that trend. But the left was way more organized now and it did not work out that way. And I'm going to quote now from a write up in the new left review. Confidence in a rapid rebel victory was quickly dispelled when the insurrection in most major cities, notably Madrid and Barcelona, was crushed in the streets by a combination of loyal security forces and political and trade union militants. Where this combination failed or the security forces went over to the rebels, the rising was almost immediately successful. As in Seville and Zaragoza. The fact that less than half the army and security forces united behind the rebellion was the principal reason why the coup failed and its principal objective, and turned into a civil war. Now that's not the unified. Opinion on things, right. The idea that, yeah, there there's significant debate over why the coup failed. Right. Because the court does fail, right? The spacious win in the end, but they don't get, they don't succeed by coup. They have to fight a war. And a lot of scholars will actually argue, a lot of them will argue that, well, it was the the security, because most of the security forces didn't go with the rebels. That's why the rebels didn't win immediately. A lot of scholars will also argue that actually the bulk of the credit for halting rebel victory goes to local. Malicious, which are kind of spontaneously organized just because a bunch of people started picking up guns. The argument is that in the wake of the coup, the Spanish military and the Republican government lost basically all cohesion and credibility, which they did, right. Like half of your military like decides to overthrow the government. Not a lot of people had to have faith in the government right now that you can do it. And then the rest of y'all can't stop these people from taking my land from me. Yeah, like **** y'all. And the reason that Franco and his allies these these scholars who will. Kind of take this side of it. Argue that the reason Franco and his allies didn't win immediately is that hundreds of thousands of civilians took to the streets. And these, as a general rule, in the early days, these citizens militias, these people were just like picking up their grandpas hunting rifle or in a lot of cases looting sporting goods stores, like busting, like busting into like a ******* a sportsman warehouse and just taking all the guns, like, we need guns, these guys have them, let's grab them. And you know, there's later too, there's looting of like, military barracks but like, yeah. They just get whatever guns they ******* can and they start fighting the americanistas who are at that point very experienced, disciplined and well equipped veterans. So it's like this mix of you've got hundreds of thousands of men and women because women are a part of the fighting forces briefly in this. Just picking up whatever guns they can get and going to war against one of the most veteran military units in all of Europe. In his 1986 essay on the matter, Murray Bookchin writes quote to have stopped Franco's. Army of Africa composed of foreign Legionnaires and Moorish mercenaries, perhaps the blood thirstiest, and certainly one of the most professionalized troops at the disposal of any European nation at the time, and it's well trained civil guards and political auxiliaries would have been nothing less than miraculous once it established a strong base on the Spanish mainland. That hastily formed untrained and virtually unequipped militiamen and women, slowed Franco's army's advance on Madrid for four months, and essentially stopped it on the outskirts of the capital is a feat for which they have rarely earned the proper tribute. Writers on the Civil War of the past century. Wow. Yeah, yeah. Just everyone picking up their guns and being like, **** these guys, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think there's like there's. You know. Yeah, the the the miracle that they was actually able to stop this fool. Or these dudes is like. Yeah, it's, I mean obviously ultimately they don't, but like that I I think about like. What we used to call like, like, Dad strong, you know how like you you just you're you don't you know, your dad's strong, but you don't like, you don't really believe it, you know, I'm saying. And then you're like when you're 16 and you want to, like, throw hands with him, you know? I'm saying, and then he just lays you out flat, you know? I mean, you're like, I don't, I I didn't expect you to be this strong. You know that to me, sometimes it's like I feel like that with, like, military dudes that are like super trained to where it's like. You think you think you can take him? Yeah. And then you're like, Oh yeah, no, you're actually trained. This is not a game. So, so knowing that, but then the fact that just the the that these just untrained militias were still able to, like, pull this off, you know, it's four months of fighting and they lose a ******** of thousands like it and it and it is, it is a very lopsided kill ratio at this point, right. Yeah, because you're you are a. These are some of the most veteran military units in all of Europe, right? Yeah. Going up against like ******* Grandpa and grandma with hunting rifles, right? Yeah, it's it's ugly. It is ugly. But they they slow. They stop Franco from winning in 36, you know? That's crazy. And there seems to be very little debate about that, that they were. Some people argue how critical, but they were critical in stopping the nationalists, which is what the other thing the rebels are called. At the Gates of Madrid and that they're not the only ones. We'll talk a little bit about the we're gonna talk about the International Brigades in a second. But first you have to take an ad break, Sir. You know who else would have stopped Franco at the gates of Madrid? Sophie? Sophie yeah, Sophie would have. Sophie would have backed by the militant products and services that support this podcast. Cool. Yes. Including Sportsman's warehouse where you 2 can steal guns to fight the Fed. Well, no. OK, maybe not. Might be the wisest. OK. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for. None of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. 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A therapist can help you become a better problem solver, which can make it easier to accomplish your goals no matter how big or small. They happen to be O. If you're thinking of giving therapy a try, better help is a great option. It's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey, and if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at any time. When you want to be a better problem solver, therapy can get you there. Visit behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better, HEL. better help calm slash behind. Hey, Robert Evans here. It's been like two months since I got LASIK laser eye surgery and my vision still 2020. So many things about my daily life has changed. I don't have to worry about putting on a mask and my glasses fogging up. I don't have to take out contacts at night or put them in the day. I don't have to like, worry all the time when I'm traveling. Like how many contacts do I have by I go swimming at the lake during the summer, something I like to do, go to the beach or whatever. I don't have to worry about losing a contact. You know, bringing swimming glasses or something with me, everything is just easier. And getting it done was easy too. You know. I went in, I had my consultation, they told me I was a good candidate and then I went back in couple of days later about it being about a boom. You know, my eyes were perfect. So LASIK Plus is a leader in laser vision correction in the United States. They have over 20 years in the industry and more than two million treatments performed. If you want to start your LASIK plus journey, you can get $1000 off when treated in September. That's 500 per eye so to schedule your free consultation now. We're back, we're back. And it for for a brief time in 1936, the Spanish republican military was vastly dominated by, as opposed to like, a kind of traditional military, a dizzying array of independent, interlocking and largely democratic militias. Most of the militias are either anarchists or or Trotskyist, so there's the the CNT and the POUM, and then there's groups that aren't part of this. But like a lot, largely they're either anarchists are kind of trotskyist, and both are heavily democratic. So men and women take up arms together, they vote for their leaders, so their officers. Were elected in recallable. And yeah, it's it's it, it is. You know, there's critiques to make of the system. We'll talk about that a bit, but that's what the military is at this point in 1936. It's largely just a ******** of these militias because the actual military is. Not in a good way. You know, very chaotic and disorganized itself. And in a lot of cases, because of the the fact that a lot of the military had rebelled, soldiers will leave their units and join militias. So it's very complicated. Yeah. Please do not take this as a comprehensive or particularly in depth explanation of what happens with the Spanish malicious system on the Republican like, it is incredibly complicated. This is an overview. This is all an overview. The Spanish Civil War is, is very, very complex. So yeah, and while this is happening, while while all these democratic militias are rising up to fight the fascists in the countryside, behind the lines and sometimes right up to the lines, something equally interesting is happening. I'm going to quote Murray Bookchin's article here again. The wave of collectivization that swept over Spain in the summer and autumn of 1936 has been described in a recent BBC Granada documentary as the Greatest Experiment in Workers Self Management Western Europe has ever seen, a revolution more far reaching than any which occurred. Russia during 1917 to 21 and the years before and after it an anarchist industrial areas like Catalonia, an estimated 3/4 of the economy was placed under workers control as it was an anarchist rural areas like Aragon. The figure tapers downward where the UGT, which is another group, shared power with the CNT or else, predominated 50% in anarchist and socialist Valencia and 30% in socialist and Liberal Madrid and more thoroughly anarchist areas, particularly among the agrarian collectives. Money was eliminated in the material. Means of life were allocated strictly according to need rather than work, following the traditional concepts of a libertarian communist society. As the BBC Granada Television documentary puts it, the ancient dream of a collective society without profit or property was made reality in the villages of Aragon, all forms of production were owned by the community, run by their workers. And again, as Bookchin notes, this is not, you know, this is different everywhere that in Republican Spain, but in Catalonia, which has a lot of industrial areas, 3/4 of the industrial economy is directly controlled by the workers manning these factories as opposed to them, like even having elected bosses and stuff, which is really interesting. It's it's something that doesn't happen. Ever again. Yeah, like, how long was it, like, kind of working? I don't know if that's the right. There's debate as to how long it worked, but a couple of yeah, generally speaking, a year or two, you know it. It's different in different regions. We're going to talk about what happens there. Books shouldn't, continues. The administrative apparatus of Republican Spain belonged almost entirely to the unions and their political organizations. Police in many cities were replaced by armed workers patrols. Militia units were formed everywhere, in factories, on farms, and in socialist and anarchist community centers and union halls, initially including women as well as men. A vast network of local revolutionary committees a coordinated the feeding of the cities, the operations of the economy and the meeting out of justice. Indeed almost every facet of Spanish life, from production to culture, bringing the whole of Spanish society in the Republican zone into a well organized and coherent whole. This historically unprecedented appropriation of society by its most oppressed sectors, including women, who were liberated from all the constraints of a highly traditional Catholic country, be it the prohibition of abortion or and divorce or a degraded status in the economy, was the work of the Spanish. Proletariat and peasantry. It was a movement from below that overwhelmed even the revolutionary organizations of the impressed, including the CNT. Significantly, no left organization issued calls for revolutionary takeovers of factories, workplaces or the land, observes Ronald Fraser. And one of the most up-to-date accounts of the popular movement, indeed, the CNT leadership in Barcelona, epicenter of urban anarcho syndicalism, went further, rejecting the offer of power presented to it by President companies, the head of the Catalan government. It decided that the libertarian revolution must stand aside for collaboration with the Popular Front forces to defeat the common enemy. The revolution that transformed Barcelona in a matter of days into a city virtually run by the working class sprang initially from individual CNT unions impelled by their most advanced militants. And as their example spread, it was not only large enterprises but small workshops and businesses that were being taken over. So what Bookchin is saying there is this is a true bottom up revolution, and even in some cases this the anarchist trade union is like. Don't do this. We need to work with the government. We're not calling for revolution. And the individual groups of workers are like, no, we're just gonna take over our office. We're just taking over. Yeah, it's fine. It's fine. It's fine. Yeah. And it proves to be a mixed bag. Like, well, we'll talk about this. There's fair critiques about what happens, but it is amazing and unprecedented. And one of the great what ifs of history is if there had not also been this massive civil war in this fascist invasion, might it have worked? You know? And they're under a pressure that is kind of impossible to overcome. In this information. But it is an interesting question. What does. Yeah, dude, what is strange? Like, yeah, it was strange because we just never seen it. But like, yeah, what was that year like, you know, I'm saying, like I would fascinate rates were like, what was the, you know, saying like petty crimes. You know, I'm saying like one of these days I will do because I, I don't know nearly enough about this. One of these days I would like to do a like a ******** history link, like a 12 hour deep dive into the Spanish Civil War where it's mostly focused on like, yeah, what are what are these? Like what are these you your place? Cops with like citizens patrols, how did that actually work? What was that like, what are, what are, what are kind of like the first person accounts we can have of those. Obviously we don't have the time to go into that much detail today, of course. Yeah. So but it's definitely like, yeah, that would that would call for like a 12 hour. Yes, yes. It's a very complicated and this is just I'm hoping what this mostly does is wet people's appetite to read more of themselves, right, which I am also going to do, but it's a very interesting period of history. Now obviously this system had a number of upsides. If you want to call it a system, what happens in Spain in this. Has a number of upsides. That mobilizes a huge portion of the Republic citizenry very quickly. It it brings a people into arms very rapidly, more rapidly probably, than a central government could have done. And these people were highly motivated to resist fascism. But they also in large part weren't motivated to live under the Republic, and coordination between all of these groups was very difficult and sometimes impossible. Meanwhile, the rebels, the Nationalists, had a strict military hierarchy. And that's a benefit in a war sometimes, right? It can also be, you know, you can you can look at the Germans in World War Two. Doesn't always workout. But when you've got one side that's made-up of 1000 different fractious people who agree on some things and disagree on a lot, that can deplete your ability to counter attack and to organize effectively. Meanwhile, Franco winds up and, you know, there's a process. He's not initially the only guy, but eventually he's the only dude whose opinion really matters. He's the guy at the top. And and that happens fairly quickly, and Franco is able to. Coordinate a centralized military in order to like, like, a attack. This very decentralized foe. Such a ************. He's a sneaky guy. There's also one of his fellow generals dies in a plane crash, so some of it's just like, dumb luck, you know? That since the CEDA had failed, it did. He didn't. Franco didn't really want to like wrap himself in the CEDA's flag because they got their ***** kicked in the 36 election and he kind of winds up embracing the Phalangists. And this is part of why people argue with Franco himself was really a fascist, or if he was just kind of Co opting fascism. I don't really see the point in getting involved in that. Franco gets in like wraps himself in the Phalange party and like like they become kind of a dominant right wing force in this in the nationalist cause. Now Jose Antonio, who'd been the leader of the Phalangists. Had been arrested by the Republic right at the start of the rebellion, and he was almost immediately executed for sedition, even though he'd been incarcerated when the rebellion cooked off. Like, if you want to argue how just it was, he didn't really have much to do with it. But they kill him, and I'm not. I don't care. He's a fascist. Like, I'm not going to weep over him, cry for me Argentina. But, but Franco takes Jose Antonio and turns him into a martyr, right? And he also imprisons the guy who takes over the Phalangists after Jose Antonio so that he can turn the Phalangists. Into his own basically like cult of personality. Yeah exactly. And Franco Co opting the fascists had the side effect of making this war, which had started as a conflict between Spanish left and right and a conflict between, you know, the Africanist military and and the Republic, into the world's first open battleground between fascism and democracy. And the first three months of the civil war were some of the bloodiest. Both sides carried out a horrific series of assassinations. It is a very the early. There's this amazing rising up of of the people to defend themselves, and there's also a ton of ******* vigilante murders, and it does occur on both sides. It's really ugly, and I'm going to read a quote from the new Left review here. Even so, there were significant differences between the massacres and the left and the right. Many voices unheard on the rebel side, were raised in the Republican zone against the slaughter. By early September, a new government under Largo Caballero began to create a semblance of public order, which slowly put it into the killings there, but not soon enough. News of the anti clerical violence, which included the disinterment of nuns, coffins, widespread burning of churches, and desecration of religious objects was broadcast around the world, creating an extremely negative international image of the Republican zone. Is not not good optics. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. You may look, man. Yeah. You messing with the nuns, bro? Like, we all like, yeah, that the nuns are fine guys. Yeah. And and we've talked earlier about how, like, you can, you know, there's arguments to be made about, like, obviously there's a lot of problematic priests part, but disinterring, nuns, coffins, there's really not that I know of there. Like, come on. OK, guys. Yeah. It's a little on this week. Yeah. And it it is bad for the early rebel PR. Uh, now on the rebel side. With occasional exception, tight censorship kept the assassinations out of the news. The church, which would soon sanctify the insurgents war as a religious crusade, turned a blind eye though hundreds of clergy were witnessed through repression, executed not only by the military, but by Phalangists and normally law abiding conservative Catholic citizens. So of course, you know the church is both victim and perpetrator and a lot of this and the death toll is much higher in terms of people killed by their right than people killed by the left and again on in the Republic. There's outcries against the the vigilante violence. And on the right there's like, don't talk about it, keep killing people, don't talk. Yeah, yeah. Just stop. Just stop putting it on TV, fool. Like, you know, do what you gotta do. But hell yeah. Now on the Republican side, the two largest left wing groups at the start of the war because the Communists are very small at the start of the war again, because Spain doesn't industrialize until a lot later than a lot of the years. It doesn't have a very powerful Communist Party at this. At the start of things, the two largest and left wing groups are the anarchists and Trotskyists. And they were immediately torn between stopping fascism at all costs. And, of course, **** the state, right? Yeah, like, there's a there's this is a tough choice for them. You know, the CNT, the largest anarchist organization, lands on the side of allying with the state to fight fascism, but many local workers councils were not on board. Now, while this is happening in the early part of the war, the Communists very quickly come to hold significant power within the confusing and fractious Republican military establishment now, and they grow rapidly at this. And this is due to the pretty sensible fact that the Communists had a communist state, the USSR, that they could go to and beg for aid, right? The, like the USSR is provides aid. We'll talk about that a bit more to the Republicans. And so the Communists very quickly gained a lot of power within the military establishment of the Republic. Now unfortunately, the fascists also had states they could go to for help, Italy and Germany. And from the very beginning of this war they're Italian and German troops fighting on the ground alongside the nationalist. Spanish troops, and unfortunately for everybody, the fascist states were way more willing to provide direct aid to their side than the communists were. I'm going to quote again from the new Left review here. Without fascist aid, most of it provided on credit, the rebels would not long have been able to continue the war, let alone win it. Aside from the Nazis, Condor Legion, Germany and Italy together provided 10s of thousands of troops, mainly Italian, nearly 1600 warplanes, thousands of armored vehicles and hundreds of field guns. Equally important were the 3.5 million tons of oil provided on credit by Texaco and Shell, double the amount imported by the Republic, without which Franco's army could not have maneuvered as rapidly as it did. So yes. The victory of the fascists in Spain owes a great deal to our good friends Texaco and Shell. Ohhh my God. Texaco and shell. Should we back fascists or not? Fascist fascists. Of course we're Texaco. Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God. They don't talk about that no more. Yeah. No, let me tell you that last two names I thought you was gonna say right now. Yeah. Texaco and shell. That was like, I was like, wait, wait. What? Yeah. Yeah. So, not wanting to provoke Britain and France, with whom he was still seeking an anti fascist alliance, Stalin initially held back. But blatant Nazi and fascist intervention increasingly alarmed him, ensuring that all European powers were made aware that Soviet aid to the Republic was not in support of advancing revolution. In October 1936, the first Soviet shipment of arms and the first contingent of the International Brigades reached Madrid in the nick of time to help prevent the capital's fall. In all, the Soviet Union sent 700 warplanes and 400 armored vehicles, plus some. 2000 pilots, engineers, military advisors and in KVD, secret police. Now there is a lot. We are going to talk a lot about criticisms of Soviet aid and of of Soviet policy in this, and there are a lot of valid ones to give. But it's also worth noting that Soviet aid was absolutely crucial in stopping Madrid from falling. When Franco made his first advance, right, the militias slowed it down. But without this ******** military equipment, they probably don't stop Franco from taking Madrid in 1936. Now, you know, I was going to say like. Uh. That like tradition of like. Communist Russia. Aid. I I've been, I've been thinking about that a little bit. Like, you know, I, I, I'm, I'm, I'm stretching this as far as this this idea that like the way that they exported aid in communist like, blocked countries like, you know at that like there was Once Upon a time like North Korea was actually doing way better than South Korea, you know, because of this like Communist aid. You know, I'm saying and number of other reasons too, resulting to like the nature of the Japanese invasion. But yes. Yeah, absolutely. You know? And then when I think about like. Cuba and I got, I got friends from like, you know, South Africa, Western African countries, Zambia, all these things and they're like, yo, you could say whatever you want, but they're like every. Every every nation in Africa got a Cuban doctor, you know what I'm saying? And just this idea that like. It was like it just like when you the more I traveled, the more I started going, Dang, maybe they they just think about aid and they this is, you know, under Stalin. It's very like, for one thing, the Cuban medical aid, which is incredible, the, the, the way that the Cuban government sends out doctors. What what Cuban doctors do and have been doing for decades is absolutely amazing and as far as I know is done without any sort of hope of recompense. The Soviets are getting paid very well to help. So win, win Republican Spain. Happens. When there's this split, the Republic winds up with Spain's gold stockpile, which is the largest gold reserves on planet Earth at the time, about $805 million. And that that times currency. And while the fascists provided aid to Franco on credit, right, Italy and Germany are like, you don't have to pay now. We'll just give you stuff and you'll owe us. You'll pay us later, right? Collins. Like I, you know, I'm going to need some cash up. I need my need some cash. My check. Do you? I'm. I'm Joseph Stalin. Like, I I don't just give people ****. You know what my money he does later in the war? A bit. He gives him alone. But where? My pesetas? Yeah, he they they they the. So about $805 million is what Spain's gold reserves. The Republican Spain's gold reserves are at the start of the war. They pour more than $500 million, or in gold into the Soviet Union by the end of the war. And because that's a lot, yeah. And also they have to they have to burn a bunch of money on, like, shady arms dealers and like, it's it's a very bet, like. And a lot of the blame also goes to France, who makes it difficult to get **** through the border, which is why they have to go with arms smugglers as opposed to just getting weapons directly imported. It's very messy. The fascists also had the benefit of receiving much better guns, and I don't know how much you can blame the Soviets for this. The Germans had the best weaponry and the planet at this point in time. So the quality of arms. Franco receives blows everything Soviet out of the water. Now a lot of the blame for the Republic's loss tends to go to Stalin and the USSR. But if we're really being fair, and that like when you read articles trying to like a lay blame, a lot of people will put blame on Stalin in the USSR. And there are very legitimate things to criticize them about. But if we're truly being fair, the foreign nations most responsible for the victory of fascism in Spain where? the United States, England and France because the entire free world. Basically engaged in a policy of non intervention within the Spanish Civil War. This is part of the appeasement policy that the British were doing with the Germans at the time and they were trying to get the Germans basically agreed to neutrality in the war and Germany would post some lip service at this, but they didn't like they sent soldiers and and planes and arms in both. Fascist states intervened directly which meant that the Republic of Spain was standing on their own against the entire fascist international fascist Spain, Fascist Italy, Fascist Germany. And they have. Some backup from the Soviets and that's it. Yeah, right. Everyone else is like, **** you. The French closed the border. I'm not jumping in. Yeah, the the Democrat. And this is again, part of why this the Communists, their criticisms of decisions made by communist advisors and communist leaders in the Spanish republican cause. The reason the communists wind up in power largely in the Spanish republican side is because the democracies are like, oh, we don't want any part in this **** right? Could have been different if you know. Damn right. Yeah. So I can't. ******* blamed the USSR here, you know? Yeah, that's good, dude, because it's like, yeah, you get, you know, you see a homeboy getting, like, slept, you know? I'm saying, like, somebody just brought the Nyquil just knocking the homie out and then everybody jumping in and helping you. Like, well, I thought we all agreed we weren't gonna jump in. Yeah, but, like, yeah, if your friend jumps in isn't good at throwing a haymaker, it's not really his fault. He ******* tried. You're the one who stayed on the side. Yeah. None of y'all was jumping in. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. So the, the, like, the failure of the democratic world. So to speak, to get involved in any kind of organized way is, is one of the great tragedies and maybe one of the reasons World War Two happens. Right. Maybe one of the reasons why. No, no, no. This is this is FDR. FDR, yeah. Because I watched the speech about this time of him explaining why he was like, we don't want no parts of this. I remember. I don't remember exactly, but I remember being really interested in the fact that like, yeah, like, you know, on some, like, look. We like some isolation and stuff on some like, look, man, we got our own problems here, man. We look, we just, we can't even feed ourselves. Like, I'm not gonna like sin, people. Maybe we should stay out of this one. Yeah, that's that. That is very much the attitude. And the the fascists use Spain, particularly Germany, use Spain as a testing ground for new weapons and tactics, particularly their new Air Force. Because the air and the concept of an Air Force is very new. There have been air forces in World War One, but they're mostly just shot at each other and like. Spotted right for artillery and ****. Now you've got bombers, right? Now you now you have air, tactical air support that can destroy armor and stuff. And the Spanish Civil War is the the first time this really comes together in an organized way. And it provides the left vaffa the the Nazi Air Force with a way to test out its tactics and bombs on Spanish cities and civilians in many cases. And we'll talk about that a little bit later in the episode too. But first, you know who won't attack Spanish cities and civilians? Sophie with stupid dive bombers? Yeah. Sophie was Sophie. Sophie. Sophie might, though, if she started messing with her products and service issues. I have been worried about Sophie's cache of Stuka dive bombers. I am. You know, I'm saying why you have so many. Cut the check. Where my contract. That's Sophie. So she might. If they don't, she might. They don't mind any money. She might bomb Spain. You know, I've always said that about Sophie's lucky they gave us. All or else things might be different, be on our way because. Alright, here's some products. 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When you want to be a better problem solver, therapy can get you there. Visit behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better Hey, Robert Evans here. It's been like two months since I got LASIK laser eye surgery and my vision still 2020. So many things about my daily life has changed. I don't have to worry about putting on a mask and my glasses fogging up. I don't have to take out contacts at night or put them in the day. I don't have to, like, worry all the time when I'm traveling. Like, how many contacts do I have by go swimming at the lake during the summer? Something I like to do, go to the beach or whatever. I don't have to worry about losing a contact or, you know, bringing swimming glasses or something. With me, everything is just easier. And getting it done was easy too. You know, I went in, I had my consultation, they told me I was a good candidate and then I went back in couple of days later about it being about a boom. You know, my eyes were perfect. So LASIK Plus is a leader in laser vision correction in the United States. They have over 20 years in the industry and more than two million treatments performed. If you want to start your LASIK plus journey, you can get $1000 off when treated in September. That's 500 per eye. So to schedule your free. Consultation now. Alright, so we're back. Now, while the Republic lacked official international support, uh, so again, the the, the governments of the democratic world, like, AH, **** you guys. Like, you're on your own, right? I don't know, but an awful lot of their citizens and citizens from like, Poland is, is a huge number of these guys, an awful lot of people from around the world, individual people, correctly see that. Like, well, I don't live in Spain, but I don't like fascism, and I think that whatever happens in Spain will probably directly impact my future. So I'm going to go. Travel to Spain and try to get a hold of a rifle and shoot some ******* fascists. A lot of people do this movie. There's a couple and there's one being worked on right now that I hope will wind up being good. Yeah, there's this scene where big Homie, like, gives this big speech about why he's still willing to, like from America go volunteer in this war. I forget the name of this movie, but it was like a. It's an interesting scene about this time that yeah, OK. The government saying we're not going to do it, but that don't stop me. I could fly out there and help. Yeah. Yeah. You know, there's a lot of these are the people who recognize what is a timeless. Truth, which is that fascism and authoritarianism in in one part of the world is a threat to freedom everywhere in the world. And that's the way it's always been. And we can talk a lot about the fallout from what happened in Syria, but, you know, there's a lot of, there's a lot of stories of that in history, you know? So while the Republic lacked. Yeah. So a ******** of people. Eventually something close to 40,000 people will wind up volunteering to fight in Spain. And two of the first foreigners to volunteer to fight in Spain, where a 21 year old classics graduate from Cambridge named Bernard Knox and his friend John Cornford, they took with them an old pistol that had belonged to John Cornford. Yeah, it's a weird name they took with them an old, yes, Cornford Sophie they took with them. He dies fighting fascists. He's a good guy. Alright, cool. They took with them an old pistol. OK Sophie, sorry. So they traveled to Spain together with just like nothing but an old handgun that had belonged to John's dad and the First World War. Knox had to carry a gun the gun because his friend had already been to Spain once before and the British policy of non intervention mean they did everything meant that Britain like was trying to actively stop people from going to Spain to fight fascism. But but Cornford and his buddy. Join a militia, like get to Spain. They join a militia as soon as they land, which is like at this point one of the many groups that had taken up arms to fight against the military coup. And as I'd said the early days of this war, there's a lot of women who are fighting in the militias. This ends at like the end of 1936 when Largo, Caballero comes to power because he kind of, he argues that women are needed behind the lines, so they're not really fighting in the front after this point. It's a pretty brief period and that's a, again, a criticism, one of the good criticisms of the Spanish. Republican government is like, well, yeah, lost out on a lot of soldiers, huh? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So yeah, people willing to shoot you told him stay home in those early days of of revolutionary ardor, though, when Cornford and his friend arrive in Spain like Spain is kind of like overtaken by this, this feeling of revolution. And and and this is swelled by the fact that the people of Republican Spain had literally taken to the streets to defend themselves in mass. And it lent cities like Barcelona a revolutionary air that international. Volunteers noticed. One of those volunteers was a young George Orwell, and he described the atmosphere in Barcelona as startling and overwhelming and like a positive sense, just like so incredible. This like outpouring of of of liberty. Now the Communist International, or common turn, quickly realized that volunteers like Cornford represented a massive opportunity, so they devoted some of their resources to organizing what came to be known as the International Brigades. So it's it's the communist who put together the International brigades, which are a huge factor. And in both why the the the Republic lasts so long and why it becomes so internationally famous. Although a lot of these volunteers are anarchists and not communists. You know, it's a bunch of different kind of and Trotsky like a bunch of different kinds of people volunteer. And I'm going to quote from a write up on the International brigades and the Guardian. Another recruit, Winston Churchill's rebel nephew, Esmond Romilly, had cycled across France, fuelled by coffee and cognac, before volunteering and declaring himself a member of that very large class of unskilled laborers with a public school accent. He sailed on a boat from Marseille with watch duty split in two hour shifts between French, German, Poles, Italians, Yugoslavs, Belgians, Flemish and Russian speakers. And it's a key. Yeah. It's very kind of dope. Yeah, it's it's we're going to talk mostly. It's very dope. Yeah. Winston Churchill's nephew showing up like, yeah, he was like coffee and cognac. Come out here with the homies. Like we on the streets right now. I look, I went to public school, homie. You hear this accent? I love it. I was like, OK, OK, and it's and and it's it's there's a couple things going on there. One of them is that like by public school that in England actually means like a fancy school. OK, so he's like I I have, I have a public school accent, but I too am like, whatever, OK, call when I call it an unskilled. Labor, like, I identified. That's OK. That's that's actually even cooler than it is because I don't have to do this. OK. It's the opposite of like, you know, the the that common people thing where it's like, I wanna be, you know, like a labor is like, well, I want to be like a laborer. So I'm going to go stand with a rifle next to them and fight the fascists. He's like, yeah, yeah. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna talk **** about you for doing that. Yeah. And it's also worth noting we're going to talk mostly about American volunteers here, one of the largest nations that that. A lot of people volunteer to fight in Spain from is Poland. And obviously Poland becomes the first one of the first large national victim, at least of of Naziism. So you and you can see why, right? Like a lot of polls looking at Germany on their doorstep, agitating about taking back land given to them by versus. And they're like, we should probably go try to stop this. Yeah. Yeah. So the invasion of Madrid was the first terrible battle of the Civil War, the first like really massive and important one, I think, and Franco's colonial army, including the Spanish. Foreign Legion were airlifted from Morocco to Seville by German planes in order to fight there in an operation that Hitler himself named Operation Magic Fire, which is based on a vague part of a Wagner opera, now Franco's fat so they and again. The bulk of the nationalist troops don't get out of Africa to fight in Spain without Hitler's airlift. They did. They had, they would have had because the Navy doesn't go fascist. The Spanish Navy, such as it is, stays loyal in large part because, like, there's actually a lot of Spanish naval officers who try to go against the Republic and then their crews kill them and stuff, you know? So the only reason that Franco's army gets to Iberia is because the Nazis airlift them. Now Franco's fascist towards tore through Republic territory on their way to Madrid. Uh, they were slowed by the militias and eventually turned back by a significant amount of Soviet armored aid. And you know, a lot of people sacrificed to stop them. But a lot of the credit for finally stopping the fascist advanced on Madrid goes to the International Brigades, who turned back the fascists at a place called University City, which is like a college campus in a heroic defense that has become like very like famous. History now. Most of the International Brigade members at this point were untrained, inexperienced, and nearly all of them were poorly armed. They found themselves confronting a battle hardened army with cutting edge German weaponry and somehow they held the line. Cornford squad operated a machine gun nest in the philosophy faculty offices of the University City campus. They built barricades out of books in order to stop fascist bullets, the Guardian notes. OK, quote enemy bullets gave up before reaching page 350. Making them believe old tales of soldiers saved by Bibles in their freshed pockets. I think I killed a fascist, Cornford, a former pacifist, wrote excitedly to his girlfriend, Margot Heinemann. On 8th December, 15 or 16 of them were running from a bombardment. If it is true, it's a fluke. That's yeah. Wow. Yeah, yeah. Building this entire, like building barricades out of philosophy books to stop fascist bullets. Yeah. It's *******. It's ratable. Yes, that is punk rock. He was like the really stopped at about Page 3 three. That's about as far as they could get. Yeah. Yeah. Now, the achievement of the International Brigades at University City turned them into a symbol, both in Spain and worldwide of resistance to fascism. They also received more international attention because their numbers included men who spoke dozens of different languages. There were like 54 nations representative eventually, and this made it really easy for the foreign press to to embed with people because they could find people that they could talk to, you know, like it like it's just Speaking of someone, warzone reporting. If there's a group of people like that that I can embed with, that's what I'm going to do because I'll meet other people who. Our English speakers and it's way easier to to conduct interviews and stuff that totally. And of course the United States was well represented among the international volunteers. Now, it was very illegal for U.S. citizens to join a foreign military force at this time, but still hundreds and hundreds joined what came to be known as the Abraham Lincoln Battalion. These soldiers underwent 2 weeks of clandestine training near New York City before shipping out. New York, by the way, was at the source of a huge number of Lincoln Battalion troops. It is worth noting that about 110th of four in Spanish volunteers were Jewish. So of all of the people who like, and again, it's the same thing as the polls, a lot of Jewish folks are like looking at Nazi Germany, are like, we probably do something about this. This is, this is going to be a problem. It's going to be a problem for us, I think. And in fact, American historian and international veteran Albert Prago called the International Brigades quote the vehicle through which Jews could offer the first armed resistance to European fascism. And that's pretty rad. Now, one of the most notable aspects of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion is that in an era in which racism was almost unbelievably present in American Society, and they were in which even the military was heavily segregated, the Abraham Lincoln Battalion was completely unsegregated. Black men could not only join, they could become officers and command white troops in battle. And this had never happened in U.S. history at this point, that I am aware of. This brings me to the incredible story of Eluard Luchell. Mike Daniels and I'm going to quote from a write up in the Smithsonian magazine here. Eluard Luchell McDaniels traveled across the Atlantic in 1937 to fight fascists in the Spanish Civil War where he became known as El Fantastico for his prowess with a grenade. As a platoon Sergeant with the McKinsey Pappano Battalion of the International Brigades, the 25 year old African American from Mississippi commanded white troops and LED them into battle against the forces of General Franco, men who saw him as less than human. It might seem strange for a black man to go to such lengths to fight. And a White man's war so far from home. Wasn't there enough racism to fight in the United States? But McDaniels was convinced that anti fascism and anti racism were one in the same. I saw the invaders of Spain were the same people I've been fighting all my life, McDaniel says. I've seen lynching and starvation, and I know my people's enemies. Let's go. Yeah. First of all, that poor man's last name is McDaniels, which already tells you something. You know, I'm saying, like, so. So we know his family story. You know what I'm saying? And, yeah, that just and and the finesse. Just just the culture that you get there and get a nickname immediately, you know? I'm saying, like El Fantastico because you're really good at killing fascists with grenade. Wow. Because I'm good at this ****. Yeah. Dang. That's crazy. I was going to say that that, yeah, that like a Stew, like, you know. Like, the the the observation of just, like, where we're just like, look, man, you gotta trust us. Like, I'm trying to tell you, this is the same. It's samesies. Like, this is the same people. This is same same people. Yeah. I'm trying to tell you, it's the same problem. Yeah. Now, the United States in this. Also banned black men from serving as fighter pilots. But three black pilots, James Peck, Patrick Roosevelt and Paul Williams, served in Spain. Canute Wilson, a Black American volunteer, was the head mechanic for the international garage. Which maintained all of the brigades fighting vehicles. He wrote this of his reasons for volunteering to fight in Spain in a letter home to his family. We are no longer an isolated minority group fighting hopelessly against an immense giant. Because, my dear, we have joined with and become an active part of a great progressive force on whose soldiers rests the responsibility of saving human civilization from the planned destruction of a small group of degenerates gone mad in their lust for power. Because if we crush fascism here, we'll save our people in America and in other parts of the world from the vicious persecution, wholesale imprisonment and slaughter which the Jewish people suffered and are suffering. Under Hitler's fascist heels. That is that is yes. Sentenced that is. That is. Sheesh. I think this like this like this, this part of this like longing and I'm going to speak in like generalities but just this longing in that like that African American like the black community. I think that's gone that goes very far back to say surely not all white people are like this. Yeah. You know I'm saying like you had you're like this. It can't be, it can't be all of y'all, you know I'm saying so like when you. When you find like I I'm I mean obviously I'm I'm harkening back to history. But when you like like when you see when you see uh during like the the Harlem Renaissance you see black people going this going to France and being like look there's reasonable white people like I'm telling you, they're they have to exist. You know I'm saying there has it has to exist you know saying so like it's it's almost like I hear that in this guy's statements. Like look dude, I found them. I found them. Yeah. It's reasonable. White people. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and and speaking about, you know, the fact that Ella Ward's last name is McDaniels. Right. That probably means that, like, an Irish person owned his ancestors not all that far back. We're talking about, like, 19. Like, let, like, very not all that long ago. Like his grandpa. Yeah. Yeah. Now. Because of the the realities of the war being what it were, there were a ******** of Irish volunteers and Irish American volunteers. Which means it's conceivable. Like part of what probably happened here is he was leading Irishman. Irish descended men into battle, this man who had been enslaved by an Irish descendant, leading them into into combat. Which is yeah, amazing **** happens. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. During its brief and and yeah, it's it's amazing in some ways, yeah, during its brief period of existence. Wartime Republican Spain was in some ways almost impossibly progressive. In 1936, Largo Caballero appointed Federica Montseny, a female anarchist, to be the nation's Minister of Health. Federica immediately set to work focusing the embattled nation's health infrastructure to serve the needs of the poor and the working class. She believed that healthcare should be decentralized, locally organized, and based around prevention rather than treatment. She was also responsible for making Republican Spain the First Nation on Earth to legalize on demand. Portion. Wow. Yeah. Now, yeah. There's a lot of really interesting **** is happening. Yeah. Now, Mancini was a controversial figure among anarchists, and she engaged in some pretty vicious arguments with Emma Goldman, who's another very famous anarchist in particular. And the general focus of criticism on Mancini and other anarchists who take part in the Republican government is on the subject of of whether or not it was ethical for anarchists to coordinate with governments and with Marxists, because obviously in the Soviet Union they kill a ******** of anarchists. Too, you know. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is a recurring theme in anarchist history and it's something that's very hotly debated to this day. I could note here that Nestor Machno, who we talked about in our Christmas episode, also had to thread this moral needle because he collaborated with the post revolutionary Government of Russia, which he didn't like to fight against the white forces, which were worse. You know, it's a it's a debate that anarchists have had a number of times in history and is never really settled to a satisfactory degree. But it it happens now. A decent number of the anarchists who fought for Republicans. Lane would in fact come to regret their collaboration with the government and the Communists, and they had some good reasons to do that. For one thing, Republican Spain lost the war. For another thing, the broad left unity that characterized some of the early stages of the war did not last. The government of Republican Spain, which did at one point include four anarchist ministers as well as a number of communists, and of course many more moderate Republicans, made a lot of tremendous errors. For one thing, the government fled Madrid while Franco was advancing something which hammered their ability to capitalize on the moral victory of halting the fascists. Right, yeah. You can't brag about it as much because you ran away, you know, you ran, though. Yeah, for another reason. Starting in late 1936, the republic's new government embarked on what they called militarization. This involved integrating the hundreds of different militias into the formal Spanish military. Now, on the surface, this was a sensible call, and it may have been the right one, and it was one that was heavily backed by communist advisers the USSR had sent in. Many historians will argue that it was necessary in Feb, and some of the evidence for this is that, like in February of 1937. Malaga fell due in part to the fact that it was defended by a patchwork of militias that were not well coordinated, but these militias that are being inducted into the the formal military establishment, a lot of them have been again anarchist and Trotskyist, and they've been free Democratic fighting units. This led to problems and there were cases where, you know, like whole battalions would vote to leave combat zones while the fighting was happening. This happened in the Battle of Madrid with the establishment. A lot of them had been again anarchist and Trotskyist and they've been free democratic fighting. Units, this led to problems and there were cases where you know like whole battalions would vote to leave combat zones while the fighting was happening. This happened in the Battle of Madrid with when a guy named Rudy gets killed with like his guys leave. But it also meant so it's not like obviously before militarization they decided to militarize because there's a lot of problems with the fact that all these militias are so decentralized. These militias are also very motivated and very resistant to the idea of losing their democratic rights and bring brought under military discipline. So while a lot of militias were integrated to the Republican military, a significant number of fighters refused to join. And whether or not this was a good idea is still hotly debated. And George, a lot of people will argue that because there's kind of a broad consensus, I would say, among a lot of historians I read that after the initial. Where they were necessary, the militias kind of hindered things more than they helped because of how disorganized they were. George Orwell himself argued against that and argued in his opinion at least. And he was, you know, his opinion was as a ground level soldier, that the shortcomings of the malicious system had less to do with the fact that they were democratic and decentralized and more to do with the fact that they were inexperienced. And I'm going to quote Orwell here. It's a good argument. Later it became the fashion to decry the militias and therefore to pretend that the faults, which were due to lack of training and weapons, were the result of the equalitarian system. Actually, a newly raised draft of militia was an undisciplined mob, not because the officers called the private comrade, but because raw troops are. Always an undisciplined mob and a workers army, discipline is theoretically based on class loyalty, while the discipline of a bourgeoisie conscript army is based ultimately on fear. The popular army that replaced the militias was midway between the two types. When a man refused to obey an order, you did not immediately get him punished. You first appealed to him in the name of comradeship. Cynical people with no experience handling men will say instantly that this would never work, but as a matter of fact, it does work in the long run. Revolutionary discipline depends on an understanding of why. Orders must be obeyed. It takes time to defuse this, but it also takes time to drill a man into an automaton on the barrack square. And it is a tribute to the strength of the revolutionary discipline that the malicious stayed in the field at all. And Orwell has a good point here. Yeah, that's a. That's a whole. There's a whole, like, worldview philosophy. Yeah. In those two approaches I'm about to. Compare this to parenting no but yeah yeah cause like. There's parts of me that go, man, if I just parented the way I was parented, I see why my parent is it's quicker, you know? I'm saying it's like, you know, you're just it's like it's less emotional work to just be like. Hey, it's time to do the dishes. Why? What? Yeah, Haley. Why? Yeah. Did you ever say what I'm saying? Dude, you got 5 seconds to get up and do the dishes. You know what I'm saying? Right? So, and I'm like, you don't care if you scrunch up your face how you want to scrunch up your face? You better hide your emotions. I don't need to see it. You know, I'm saying, like that you you live here. You you washing dishes I bought you. I'm using using water I'm paying for. I'm so I'm. I'm black dating on you. But, like, that's the way we was raised, you know? I'm saying. So, like, but it's just like, I but I know the whole time I'm doing this, I'm just like, man, I can't wait to get out of this house, man. He always, you know, I'm saying, like, I'm just salty. I'm gonna do it and I'm not going to say nothing to it. Yes, Sir, you know, I'm saying. But like, I don't like you. I don't respect this ****. You know what I'm saying? I'm not doing this because I understand that the dishes are dirty. I'm doing this because I want to hear your mouth, you know? I'm saying you don't want the. I don't want the the consequences. With my child now, it's like, hey, the we have, we have budgeted the amount of money we have for our water bill, which means that we can run our dishwasher this many times we need it by we needs to happen by two. Because when we start cooking dinner, since we end this quarantine, we need to have clean dishes to do this or it's going to pile up and now it's going to be two runs instead of 1. So like, you gotta make sure you finish this by two so we can have plates to eat off when it's time for dinner, she goes. All right. And it's like, and so now it's like, I've, I've included you into this so you have a stake into like, it's not me being a bully. It's just, I mean it's just functional. Like, we need we we need places to eat off and the dishes are your chore. So yeah, just so do it. Yeah. So just do it, you know, I'm saying and it. And when she tell me she don't feel like it, like, now I'm not appealing to like, well, I'm your father. You do it because I tell you to. I'm appealing to like, yeah, you right. I don't feel like doing it either. I also want something to eat off on dinner. You upset? So she's like, alright, well yeah dude, you know, I'm saying like so and I think, yeah, you can make an argument that like, you know, you get the dishes done faster if you're just the, if you don't do the dishes, there's ******* consequences. Then if you explain why it's necessary but it's a long term, results are probably better, right term is probably better. So now it's like now she actually, you know, if some drama going on with her little friends, she's actually willing to talk to me. Yeah, like this is Tarian ruler that tells me what to do all the time. You know, wells argument is that like the long term would have been better if they had stuck with a malicious system, maybe with some reforms and stuff now and again. A lot of why a lot of historians will kind of just assume like, yeah, it was bad like that the that the malicious system like needed to be reformed, it needed to be militarized. It was the only way to do things. It's what the communists felt. It's what most of like the centrists and stuff felt and you know? There's very strong arguments to be made that that's that. That's true just based on military history. There's also strong arguments to be made that like, well. You guys were just like, that's what all of you assumed, because all of you are the kind of people who are in favor of some form of centralized state and in favor of thus why of a centralized military, and that you're listening to like standard military people's attitudes, which aren't always right. And maybe this could have worked and other things systems like it have worked in other militaries for different periods of time. I get interesting results when I bring up the idea of a democratically of of a military that votes democratically. When its officers. Wow. When I talk because that's what how these militias worked. And I've talked to some friends of mine who are veterans. And it it it's interesting. Some of some people say, like, I don't see how that could work. I've had a good friend of mine who is a veteran say, oh, you know what? That makes sense because when you've been in combat with a group of people you know, who you trust to give orders, like. Right. You know who you like to say? Yeah, yeah. It's like, I know you got the ranks, but I'm listening to him because this man kept me alive. Yeah. I'm saying so. Yeah. So sure. Yes, Sir. I'm not. Yeah, yeah. I'm certainly not going to say I know more about this than a number of historians who will say that militarization was really the only option they had. I'm just saying there's argument about that, and it's something you should read about. I'm not going to make a harsh stance on it because, like, I'm not an expert on war or an expert on the Spanish Civil War. There's, there's there's something to be said at least, like, to make sure that you're militia knows what they're doing. Yeah, absolutely. Something like that needs to happen. At least some level of cohesiveness of communication seems like it has to be. Necessary has there's some degree you at least need, like, a centralized communication network to make sure people know. But I think, anyway, one of the tragedies of the Spanish Civil War is that there's a lot of cool what ifs that because there's this horrible war happening nobody gets the time to really figure out, right? Maybe this could have worked if they hadn't been at the edge of extermination, right? If we weren't facing imminent yeah. Now the unrest between anarchists and Trotskyists and Communists within Republican Spain eventually led to bloodshed in the streets of Barcelona. These anarchist and Trotskyist militants fought in the streets against communists and socialists. This write up from the new Left review does, I think, a fair job of explaining how this all got underway. Quote under the revolutionary ferment a struggle for power and control of scarce arms was being waged. That was the real meaning of the Barcelona fighting the Communist Party's increasing influence in the army and political life and the growth of its membership due mainly to Soviet aid. Direct government intervention stop, finally stopped the fighting in the streets and shortly thereafter ended the revolutions consolidation. That is indeed the the anarchist and sort of Trotskyist, the far left like consolidate, like gaining of power, taking of businesses, all that sort of stuff. The immediate beneficiary of the crisis was Juan Negrin, a 45 year old socialist physiologist, polyglot and acknowledged expert in financial affairs. As Treasury minister he organized the dispatch of gold to Moscow, whom President Azana appointed Prime Minister to put an end to the indiscipline and disarray in the rear guard, especially in Catalonia and Aragon. The government took over public order in Catalonia. Resolve, the Anarchist dominated Council of Aragon and sent Enrique listers Communist Army division to break up. The rural Aragonese collectives more easily expedited the POUM Trotskyist, which is the Trotskyist militia which they called Trotskyist provocateurs, and fascist spies clamoured. The Spanish Communist Party was outlawed, its Army Division disbanded and its leader Andrew Nin, one of Trotsky's former secretaries, was disappeared, in fact kidnapped and murdered by the NKVD. The affair further deepened the distrust between Communists and the rest of the political organizations. Especially the anarchists and left socialists, and it made clear too the Republic serious ongoing problems have internal political discord, which were a considerable stumbling block to winning the war. On the other side of the lines there was no such problem. Franco, by now head of the so-called nationalist side, crushed dissent in the bud, forcibly uniting the phalange, and Carlists the only permitted civilian political organizations. Now, and there's a lot of debate about what happens in Barcelona. Orwell was there for most of this part. He was he took part in the fighting in Barcelona, and he was with the POUM. He was with this Trotskyist militia, and his recollections of the purging of the POUM are available for free. In his book homage to Catalonia, he reserves tremendous criticisms for the Communist Party, in large part because they murdered some of his friends. There are, of course, very good critiques of Orwell's narrow perspective in this, because he's on the ground and long after the war, he would admit. Himself, that he was somewhat myopic and unfair to the Republican government and to the communists. In this critics will point out that the C&T and the POUM undermined coordination in unity in the Republic, and that the violence certain anarchists carried out against the clergy in particular helped dissuade foreign governments from wanting to help. So this is again a complicated issue, but you the the fact that the left is literally infighting here is a big part of what undermines their ability to fight the fascists, although historians are very split as to how much of a factor the behavior of the Spanish. Communists or which were directed by Moscow, played in the Republican defeat. Julian Casanova directly credits the Republic's defeat mostly to the international situation. So he says, you can talk about what the Communists did wrong with the anarchist did wrong. The reason Republican Spain lost is because nobody helped them out except for the communists a bit. Whereas the fascists had two modern states throwing huge amounts of aid and military forces, right? That's why they lost. It seemed like you could debate who made mistakes. Everybody made mistakes. They lost because nobody, like almost like only the communists helped them. And, you know, you just out just had a lot. Yeah. The fascists had a lot more help, you know. Yeah. Yeah. Now, while I think it's fair to criticize the nature of the health USSR sent both in its reduced quantity relative to the fascists and the fact that it made the Republic pay up front, you have to be fair here and note that the Russian Civil War had not been over for all that long when the Spanish Civil War started. And, like 9 million people had died in that country after 9,000,000 had died in World War One and it was. ******* devastated. Italy and Germany were in comparatively better shape and able to provide more aid now. British military historian Anthony Beaver, however, does blame the Republic's high command, which was communist dominated, and Soviet military advisers for their quote disastrous conduct of the war, and he has some very fair critiques here. He criticizes them for engaging in multiple disastrous conventional offensives which were this happened a few times, where they get a huge number of soldiers together, most of which were not super well trained, and send them on these massive. Offensives that would they would get mowed down. And the purpose of this was for propaganda to be able to show, look, yeah, we're advancing against the fascists and of course the fascists are better armed and trained. It would just dig in and massacre these people. And and Anthony Beaver will argue that these, this series of horrible, horrible decisions taken for mainly propaganda quote, gradually destroyed the Republic's army and resistance. Now, no matter what kind of leftist or liberal or whatever you happen to be, there are aspects of your ideology. It should be challenged by observing the way the Spanish Civil War went. Speaking as an anarchist, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the fascists had the great advantage of centralized control and particularly food distribution. Meanwhile, Republican territories had more than 2500 independent food collectives workers, and many of these collectives were hostile to the government because they were anarchists and in some areas money had been entirely abolished. And since money did exist in the rest of the Republic, that made cooperation difficult. Food shortages. They're common in the Republic, and this also contributed to their defeat. And again, it's the kind of thing where, like, this system of local sort of food exchanges might have worked if they might have figured out how to make it work had there not been a war on. But it's hard. It is hard to beta test an entire system of social organization while fighting a war of extermination. Yeah, it's hard to. It's hard to get hungry people to fight for, you know, I'm saying, like, if we hungry, it's like, well, I don't know who got the food. And it's it's worth noting that of all the people fighting, you know, about half of the prisoners of war the fascists took wound up fighting for the fascists they were organized into into fighting units. And a significant number of the captured fascists wound up fighting in units for the republics. Like that happened on both sides. A lot of these guys are just dudes, you know, they're not all like the Internet. The international volunteers tend to be very ideological. That's not all the case with a lot of soldiers. In early 1937, Franco's forces had recovered from their defeat outside of Madrid. And they launched an invasion of the northern Basque territories of the Republic. The success of this offensive is largely credited to the Condor Legion, a German LED Air Force that spent the Spanish Civil War experimenting with new techniques the Luffa would later use. This experimentation started in earnest with the bombing of Madrid in 1936, which killed and wounded a lot of civilians, like hundreds of people killed and wounded, but did nothing but harden Republican resistance. And the Germans realized this like the the the guys in charge of the Condor Legion are like just bombing a bunch of civilian. Targets seems to **** them off and make them want to fight harder. Perhaps that's not the best tactic, yeah. Now, several cities were bombarded by the Condor Legion during the advance into Basque territory, leading to a lot of civilian casualties. But none of these bombings were more famous than the city of Guernica, and there's significant debate over Guernica as well. Historians will note that the commander of the Condor Legion was more or less abiding by the rules of war, striking it bridges and roads and cities like, aiming primarily for targets of military value. There were civilian casualties because precision bombing is a myth, but the goal was not what's called terror bombing, which they kind of rejected after Madrid. And like, this guy goes to trial in Nuremberg, and that is kind of the conclusion of the Allied militaries. Like his bombing of Guernica was part of a military action. I'd like you to repeat the line that you said. Precision bombing is a myth. Precision bombing is absolutely a myth. As someone who watched Mosul, it is a myth. Now it's even more of a myth then, yes. I have a friend who lives in Iraq and is like, yeah, no, there's no such thing. No, no. You're just blowing up neighborhoods, guys. Yes. Yeah, yeah. Now, how much of a difference it makes that their goal was not terror bombing? You know what they did? They killed a ******** of civilians and leveled a lot of Guernica. And it's it's horrible, a horrible, horrible thing. I'm not trying to justify it, but what's happened in what actually happened and what is kind of, like, remembered about gornick are sometimes two different things because the bombing of Guernica. For whatever reason horrifies the entire world, it becomes. And there's when I say, for whatever reason, because there are other cities that are bombed in a similar manner that don't get as famous in this period of time. It's not the first time that a civilian population is bombed as a part of a war, but it becomes the most famous. The Republicans made a lot out of it and used it for propaganda purposes. They would claim that 1600 people had died a figure. That's likely impossible because they calculated. Basically, when you're looking at like, civilian casualties, there are calculations you can do to estimate. By estimating the number of people killed per tonnage of bombs dropped, and if 1600 people died in Guernica, it would meant that it would have meant that the Condor Legion were killing more civilians than the US did during its bombings of like Dresden. Like, like per per tonnage dropped, you know, which is not possible. Really. Credible death counts range from as low as 150 to the to the low hundreds, which is terrible. Like that's hundreds of civilians killed by bombs from the sky. It's it's horrible. I'm not saying it's not, but again, it's also seeing the Republicans see this as a way to like. So this is something we can use to get international support, which we desperately need. Yeah. And while Republican forces used Guernica to try to generate international sympathy, the fascists used it as a cudgel when Hitler met with the premier of Austria prior to the Anschluss, which is when they occupy Austria. He brings the commander of the Condor Legion with him as a not so subtle threat to Vienna because the the the image internationally as that Guernica has been wiped out by the Condor Legion, so Hitler wants this guy. Sitting next to him so that when he meets with the Premier of Austria, this guy's like, they're going to level Vienna if I don't, if I don't agree to whatever Hitler wants, you know? So Hitler makes a lot of use out of the terrible reputation that the Condor Legion gets, regardless of how much that reputation may or may not be earned. Now the battle. And I I mainly quibble on how terrible the Condor Legion was because by any objective measure, the United States Air Force was a lot worse in World War Two in terms of its its willingness to kill civilians. Not in terms of its goals, obviously, but to blast. Yeah, there's yeah, I I still can't because I've, I mean, I've never lived in like an actual active war zone, you know, but obviously. More, more humans alive now. Have lived in active war zones than not. You know, I'm saying so like I know that I'm in the minority for that and it's a very privileged position, but I still can picture or I having a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that like, death is coming from the sky. It's ****** ** saying like, that's yeah, that's it. It changes you. I mean it changes you just to have that experience for a few days. Yeah, it's. Something else, man. Yeah. Just like seeing breathing in the dust. Dust that includes pulverized concrete and incinerated bodies. Like an air strike is, is, is. Yeah. Unreal that like, yeah, it's a laser from space, like, you can't. Yeah, there's like, it's the hammer of God, you know? It's. Yeah. It's terrible. Yeah. Terrifying. Yeah. Yeah. Now, the battle over Guernica was very consequential. The cities fall. Helped enable Franco's forces to cut Republican. Old territory in two so to separate the two chunks of Republican territory, the north from the South. Now around the same time, the French, like Germany, occupies Austria, and the French start getting really scared of the Nazis. And so they reopened their border, and this allows thousands of tons of war material to flow into the Republic freely for the first time. And the Republic is able to like, gin up a new Republican army made-up in part of prisoners of war and conscripts as young as 16. And this what's known as the army of the Ebro. Launch is what would come to be known as the last great Republican assault of the war. And like there are other great assaults, it was a ******* disaster. 30,000 Republican fighters died to just 6500 fascist casualties. It's just an absolute nightmare now. The war officially ended in April of 1939 with the unconditional surrender of the Republicans to the fascist Francisco Franco. In the areas the fascist retook. They were as brutal as you might expect. The most egregious example of this happened in August of 1936 and. Mattias, which we talked about earlier, that's where the anarchists and socialists take a huge amount of land and give it to the people. Well, the fascists take back Bata, Yaz and they just they massacre everyone. They get their ******* hands on more than 4000 people, mostly civilians and prisoners, gunned down, including hundreds of people who are dragged into the bull ring to the stadium where they hold bull fights and surrounded by machine guns and just massacred in a circle by the Foreign Legion. God. Now, brutality knows no allegiance in war. Somewhere around 50,000 civilians were killed in the Republican zone over the course of the war and acts of brutality that many in the Republican government deplored. Federica Montseny described the slaughter as a lust for blood, inconceivable and honest man before. But Republic war crimes bore little resemblance to the crimes of the fascists, who in the same period of time murdered more than 130,000 civilians. And those deaths, of course, occurred during the war, during his decades in power. Franco's forced labor, concentration camps, torture and execution of political enemies led to another 30 to 50,000 deaths. And as we know, that would make Franco one of the less deadly fascist dictators in history. God, but yeah, you can compare the number of people killed. Yeah, what is it about? Just. What? What's the point of being in charge if you kill everybody you supposed to be in charge of because you're killing all the people you don't like that you're supposed to be in charge of? That's easier than arguing that. Well, touché. Yeah. Yeah, I guess you're right. Yeah. Who they killing? There's like, oh, we just kill people disagree with us. We just kill people disagree with us. Yeah. Yeah. OK. I understand your logic now. Yeah. Now, obviously the Republicans lost their war, but many of the more than 35,000 men who joined the International Brigades, and something like 10,000 of them died in the Spanish Civil War. Many of those guys would continue fighting fascism in World War Two. Some of them fought in the French resistance. Some of them fought in the US Army after being, by the way, when US veterans like Eluard come home, they get like spied on by the FBI because they're suspected of being communist sympathizers and stuff like, damn. And some of those people, some of that stops when the war starts. People like, maybe you had a point, it doesn't all stop, but a number of these guys continue fighting and. While they failed in their ultimate goals, the battle cry of the Spanish anti fascists, they shall not pass or no pasaran still rings loudly and anti fascist rallies today and that's you know, yeah the fight isn't over. They didn't win in Spain, they didn't succeed in in turning back fascism and bringing in a new Golden Age for. Yeah, OK. Everybody take a deep breath. Yeah, nice deep breath anyway. Man, so at some point, are we gonna talk about when Spain stops being fascist? Yeah, I I'm gonna do episodes on Franco at some point that will that will get into that history. But this story about vomiting on the King's limousine. Yeah. This was this is about fascism. You know, I wanted to talk about how the fascists gained power in Spain. Yeah, this is. Like story, it's such a like. I because of, like you said, because of the the enormity of other fascist regimes, this guy gets so overlooked. But it's so such a pivotal moment in just even just the media narrative of what we understand is like Western, modern, Western civilization. Like, you have to have this moment, you know, if you're not talking about it, it's like you the storyline. I feel like the storyline doesn't make sense if you're trying to get from World War One to World War Two. And why all the players? Are on the play, are on the board game the way that they are. If you don't include the Spanish Civil War and you you can argue, and a lot of people historians will, that had the Republic won, we might not have had a Second World War because that might have been a check to fascist ambitions. Now I don't know how much I agree with that. It's certainly arguable that had there been a concerted, had the had the democracies of the world been willing to take concerted action against the fascists in Spain. Uh, that probably would have meant they have been willing to take concerted actions to stop Hitler from gaining, from taking over Czechoslovakia, Austria, eventually Poland, and then the Nazi state would have collapsed because it was never based on anything but stealing land from other people. And without the ability to do that, it would not have lasted. The economy would have collapsed, would have been some sort of a revolution, and maybe we would have not had World War Two. That's an A pretty solid argument. Can make, yeah. Obviously any any historical debate like that is like, who knows what the truth is? I wonder what it is. I wonder how the Cold War would have looked if we had at some point or if it would have happened. Yeah, it would have been like, I guess the communists are. I mean, I mean, it's not that bad, you know, because like, you know, Stalin's not a big fan of Stalin. But you can argue like, well, one of the best things that happened to Stalin's personal power was World War Two, if there's no World War Two and if there's less open conflict. Between, you know, fascism and communism to Stalin stay in power does the does the Soviet Union take a different path that maybe more resembles what a lot of the people who fought for it initially wanted? How? Like or like yeah. I mean who knows or does all of the Western world go to war in Russia in as many people die in an even Dumber war? Like, who the **** knows? Nobody nobody fanfiction right here. Yeah. But it's it's an interesting conversation to have and I I think like yeah I I I'm I'm always. Intrigued by some of these, like, counterfactuals. But you know what we what we know is what happened. What happened is a very flawed alliance of a lot of brave people and a lot of messy people did their best and ultimately failed to stop fascism before the Holocaust, you know? But isn't and I isn't that all of history, bunch of messy people? And yeah, just trying to figure this **** out, man. Damn. Yeah. Damn, Robert. Yeah. There's a lot of lessons in there, a lot of lessons in the story of the Spanish Civil War. And obviously I'm not. I I hope no one takes this as, like, anything comprehensive or or like anything, but here's an overview of stuff you might want to read more about. Yeah, not totally, because I have a lot more reading to do, you know? Yeah, it's it's it's it's important that, like, you know, the the current American does. We. Yeah. That that like, that. You know, American exceptionalism is such a hell of a drug that, like you, we think that all of our issues are unique. You know what I'm saying? Because we're uniquely special. We're God's little boy, you know? I'm saying so, like, this stuff is important to know. Like, I mean, we we hammer it all the time, but just to be like, man, look at all these different moments throughout history, like, this **** is not new, you know? I'm saying, like, we are toddlers when it comes to the world scene, you know? So yeah. Yeah and that's you know Spain is going through a lot of the same as our colonial, as our power, as a colonial nation. Yes ebbs as the result of horrible decisions we've made and the fact that colonialism is never a very stable platform we're dealing with a lot of the same issues that Spain was dealing with you know and and the ramp up as fascism came to Spain because it fascism is in part a reaction to like fail failures of colonialism fail like the like like like. You need to have some sort of golden age you can harken back to, right? The Italians, the Germans, Spanish all have that, and so do American fascists. And so while you should never treat it all as if it's too similar, you also shouldn't ignore that there are some real similarities. Yeah, love it. Anyway, you could you could follow Sophie and why Sophie? Why? Hell yeah, dude, that one in there. That was little curveball, you know, saying, yeah. Yeah, God yeah. Not profit I knew what you was gonna say. Follow me at prop hip hop and I'll be. Looking at all y'all's replies, because I tell you what man, this Pod's got some amazing fans and followers. I like y'all. The best of the best. You're like, you're weird in the right ways, you know, I'm saying, like, you know, you know, people like got got like a thing, you know, it's like, it's like you you wanna you wanna be a little weird, you know, y'all a little weird in the right ways. And I feel like if you're if you're not weird, I'm not. Yeah. You know what I'm saying? Like, can't we just, we don't need no, like low sodium khaki, you know, beige fans. You know what I'm saying? Man, you're not wonder bread y'all like brioche. I don't know. I think I'm done. You didn't cooked my brain, boy. Yeah, yeah yeah I'm cooked and I'm ready to cook another meal for next week when we close out behind the insurrections with episodes on the fascists that failed and a retrospective of some anti fascists throughout history where we'll we'll talk about some fun ****. But that's all for this week. Umm. So go read about the International Brigades and the anarchist militias of Spain. And read George Orwell's homage to Catalonia, but remember that it's a single dudes perspective who had no understanding of the broader tactical situation because he was just a dude fighting. But there's a lot of great George Orwell talking about what grenades are best to kill people with. George Orwell was very good with grenade he him. And that's the thing nobody nobody told me when we were reading 1984 that George Orwell had extensively written about which grenades are best to kill fascists with. I probably would have paid much more attention if I knew the man was like, I would have paid more attention to what your needs, you know? Yeah. It's the it's one of the coolest things you could be good with. That's why they called that other detail Fantastico, you know. Come on, miss. Yeah, you know Mr. Williams who was my, who is my teacher? Mr Yeah, Mr Palicki he was Mr Palicki, Polish dude. I was like, they should have led with that man lead with the fact that the guy gave a grenade lead with the grenades. Jesus. Alright, alright. Pods over by. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break her handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's SP. RE If you could completely remove one phrase from your vocabulary, which phrase would you choose? I don't know. Correct answer. No, I meant I don't know which phrase, and the best way to banish I don't know from your life is by cramming your brain full of stuff you should know. 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