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Post In 1936, There Was No Communist Conspiracy in Spain
Created by John Eipper on 04/17/19 2:26 PM

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In 1936, There Was No Communist Conspiracy in Spain (Angel Vinas, Belgium, 04/17/19 2:26 pm)

Without trying to draw parallels or analogies for widely divergent historical situations (Venezuela and the Arab countries, among others), I take issue with José Ignacio Soler concerning Spain in 1936. (See his post of April 16th.)

There was no Communist conspiracy, and there was no Socialist conspiracy to disrupt the Popular Front Government and bring about a Stalinist or similar dictatorship. What was happening was the implementation of a coolly calculated conspiracy by the extreme right, which had told Mussolini six months before about its implementation.

Now that José Ignacio is happily in Spain, perhaps he would have the time to glance at my book ¿Quién quiso la Guerra Civil? (Who Wanted the Civil War?). If he's able and willing to disprove it, he should step forward and do so.

JE comments: Ángel Viñas kindly "visited" (via Skype) my Spanish literature and culture seminar this morning, and was a tremendous success!  My students were glued to his every word.  To think, when we were young in the pre-Internet days, of having a world-class historian teach you from 3999 miles away (that's the exact distance from Brussels to Adrian--I should move a few blocks to the west to make it 4K.)

Sometimes technology isn't threatening or alienating.  Sometimes it's just really cool.  And Ángel Viñas is a natural in the classroom.


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  • Teaching from 4000 Miles Away (Angel Vinas, Belgium 04/18/19 8:48 AM)
    When I left the University in 2011 the possibility of participating via Internet in a class at the not-inconsiderable distance of several thousand miles was not an everyday occurrence. Perhaps it was done in the US but not in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Thus it was with some trepidation that I accepted John E´s invitation to address his Adrian College Spanish class on April 17th.

    I'm happy that John´s students and himself found the experience an exhilarating one.


    As for me, I can say that I was very happy to try answering the students´ questions. I left the classroom in the 1980s for the diplomatic floor. I didn't return to teaching until 2007 although, I may safely say, with a vengeance.


    In Athens Professor Fernando Hernandez gave a presentation on the relative weight of deaths in the Republican years in comparison with the Civil War. If WAISERs think that those dreary statistics may be of some use I could reelaborate them because I´m a bit fed up with the distortions still abounding in American literature on the topic.


    JE comments:  Thank you 3999 times, Ángel, once for every mile that separates Brussels and Adrian!  Even more than your 20+ books, including one out this month, my seminar students were awestruck by your mastery of four languages (Spanish, French, German and English).  They know first-hand the tremendous amount of work and dedication it takes to learn even one new language.


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  • 1936: There Was No Communist Conspiracy in Spain (Anthony J Candil, USA 04/19/19 1:56 PM)
    Sometimes I've been in disagreement with Ángel Viñas, but this time (April 17th) he is right.

    There was no Communist conspiracy in Spain in 1936, and without having yet read Angel's book, I can add that it was even the opposite. Stalin didn't want a confrontation in Spain and the Comintern was advising the Spanish communist party--which in any case was a minority--to do its best to avoid a war, precisely for the reason that the left-wing parties could be defeated and then a fascist dictatorship could emerge in Spain, among other reasons. Another thing is that once war started, the Soviet Union helped the Republic.


    The Socialists didn't conspire either, but they knew perfectly that the military, especially Mola, were conspiring and were about to rise. Santiago Carrillo in his papers explains this very clearly. My question is: if they knew beforehand, why they didn't they stop the uprising? Were they so confident that the military would fail? Or that the Republic would crush the rebellion? If so, that was their mistake at underestimating the uprising.


    Certainly the only conspiracy was the one set up by the military or the monarchists--or both. But it is also true that the radical left-wing parties were committed to start a full revolution in Spain, of unforeseen consequences, and a revolution that the war in a way helped to start. That was another mistake as well and perhaps among the main reasons why the Republic ultimately lost.


    Anyway, congratulations to Ángel on his latest, ¿Quién quiso la Guerra Civil? How many books in total have you written about the Civil War?


    JE comments:  Twenty-five?  It's hard to say whether some of Ángel's books on the Franco years should be included or not.  Exclusively on the SCW, Ángel has at least twenty.  Wow.

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