18 July 1936: Franco coup (80 years ago today)

It was an event that marked the rest of Spanish 20th century history: the military coup against the Republican government. The Wikipedia article might serve as an introduction to the basic facts. It did not come “out of the blue” as can be read in a recently published book by Stanley G. Payne, El camino al 18 de julio. La erosión de la democracia en España (dic. de 1935 – julio de 1936 [The path to 18 July: the erosion of democracy in Spain (Dec. 1935 – July 1936].

Payne’s basic thesis is that “even though on occasion the outbreak of the Civil War has been seen as an inevitable clash of opposite ideological forces -communism, fascism- that found in the Spain of the 1930s a fertile battle ground, the conflict could have been avoided with political attitudes more open to dialogue and more intelligent.”

Payne is more critical with the left than the right, “but it does not matter if you agree with his thesis or not, his book presents the accumulation of mistakes, adventurisms and lack of capacity for dialogue that led to the Civil War.”

(Mauricio Bach, “Cultura/s”)

If Payne represents a “right-wing” view of the war and its causes, Paul Preston is considered somewhat “left-wing”, whereas the late Raymond Carr, Hugh Thomas or Gabriel Jackson are named “liberal” by Bach.

You might also like this article by Michael Kerr from The Telegraph, entitled “Homage to the fallen of Catalonia, 80 years on.”

SOURCE: Planeta (publisher); review by Mauricio Bach in “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, July 2, 2016, pp. 6-7 [printed edition]

 

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