Spain in the 1930s was just emerging from the 19th century but it found itself the first major battlefield for the ideologies of the 20th. People from all over the world fought for their dreams of democracy or Communism or Fascism. This was to be the antechamber of the Second World War. The Spanish people are forced to take sides early on. Some considered it their duty to defend democracy, others Christianity, with disastrous results for everybody, some more than others.
European fascism considered the Spanish war a dress rehearsal for world domination. The scales were tipped from the beginning, with first German and then Italian forces massively taking the side of the nationalist insurrectionists, while Western democracies hid their heads behind a policy of “non-intervention,” ever fearful of possibly aiding the Communists.
Stalin, reluctant to send arms to the Republic in the beginning, did contribute advisors, ambassadors and food. The arms came later, but they were too little, too late. The Republic was obliged to rely on the support of a group of international volunteers, The International Brigades, including some German and Italian Communists. The volunteers were well meaning and heroic, but militarily handicapped against professional soldiers.
English poet, Stephen Spender said afterwards, “We were obsessed by the feeling that this was the supreme cause of our time, the cause of poets, the cause of writers, the cause of freedom…” Ernest Hemingway went to Spain as a reporter and became a propagandist for the Republicans.
Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/ibgvBxGiqp0
Video produced by Granada Television, UK, 1983