A history of the first head-on collision between Europe’s major conflicting ideologies
Economist.com–The Spanish civil war, which began in 1936, three years before the second world war, was far more than a local scrap between reactionary Roman Catholic traditionalists and domestic left-wingers of multiple shades. To say it was the Vietnam, Korea or Afghanistan of its time is to sell it short. Yet the global war that followed drowned out the echoes of what was, in effect, one of its principal opening acts.
Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer prize-winning American popular historian, reminds readers that this was an international war from the start. Hitler and Mussolini made decisive contributions of arms and men to the future dictator, General Francisco Franco, a man who boasted of preferring blood and bayonets to “hypocritical elections”. Stalin, with less enthusiasm, backed the republic, while the Soviet-controlled Comintern channelled communism’s global ambitions. The most shameful absence was of the eventual victors in the 20th century’s long war of ideologies—the fence-sitting liberal democracies led by Britain, France and America that failed to support an elected republican government against Franco’s military rebels, thereby emboldening their backers.
Read more on Economist.com: Spain’s Civil War: The Opening Act