The Spanish Civil War by Stanley Payne

All civil wars and revolutions are confused in their narrative accounts, but the Spanish Civil War is even more confusing than the French Revolution. Who, exactly, was rebelling against whom? The Leftists were supposedly the “revolutionaries,” but they actually supported the Republic. Franco’s Nationalists were the “counterrevolutionaries,” but they were dedicated to overthrowing the Republic. Throw in Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union, and George Orwell, and you have quite a cauldron of conflicting parties. This books was heavy on facts and details but failed to give a coherent narrative rendering of this chaotic event. The significance of the war is still debated: was it the opening salvo of World War II? Was it the beginning of the Cold War? Was it the merely the culmination of the long festering tension between the forces of progress and reaction in Western Europe? And how does the war’s legacy play out in Spanish society today? This book is an introduction only.

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