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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post re: Spain: Civil War Fact and Fantasy (Angel Viñas, Belgium/Spain)
Created by John Eipper on 03/06/09 2:35 PM - re-spain-civil-war-fact-and-fantasy-angel-vinas-belgiumspain

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re: Spain: Civil War Fact and Fantasy (Angel Vi����as, Belgium/Spain) (John Eipper, USA, 03/06/09 2:35 pm)

Angel Viñas writes: May I answer some of the questions put by Nigel Jones? 1. He may have been fortunate enough to see the KGB dossier on Andreu Nin's assassination. I haven't. Therefore I had to work with Republican material. There's no documentary evidence he was tortured, although it seems likely. The NKVD are likely to have followed Soviet standard procedures of the time. All speculations are permitted as to reasons why he was killed and how. In the inhumation squad there were two Spanish communists. The name of one of them is known. I refer Nigel to two chapters of my book El escudo de la Republica, where Nin's assassination and the repression of POUM are treated in detail. Does Nigel know that the POUM boasted of its responsibility for the May uprising in Barcelona? It wasn't exactly true but it was good enough for proceeding against its leaders. Would a Government at war be so stupid as to let pass an uprising unpunished? The sentences eventually passed in October 1938 did not involve capital punishment, which had been practically abolished by then. The NKVD attention was concentrated on the POUM, it's true. They had infiltrated them in a highly secret operation to obtain advance knowledge of its plans, but were more concerned with "deviationism" among the Soviet contingent and the IB. 2. Nigel can forget about the legends concerning the gold expedition to Moscow, Stalin's alleged statements, Stajewsky's role and so on. I have treated them on the basis of new documentary evidence in La soledad de la Republica . 3. On the interrelation between Soviet security services and Republican counterintelligence, Nigel could also usefully read Michael Alpert's book on the Republican Army. It has been wildly exaggerated and the Republican SIM successfully became a nest of subversives by mid-1938. It wasn't Negrin who collaborated with Soviet security but does Nigel know? Indalecio Prieto himself who later was reborn as a Communist hater. Orlov's successor, Eitingon, and the Soviet charge acknowledged this. 4. Murdering of Socialists and CNT members by Communists was an accusation raised during the war itself. Prieto referred to the former and the PSOE parliamentary group denounced it. It was conclusively disproved by Julian Zugazagoitia, the Prieto-friend Socialist Minister of the Interior. On the other hand, it's documented that the CNT did not lag at all in the murdering of Communists. 5. Irujo was incensed, yes, but his resignation had very little to do with that and a lot to do with the increasing political struggle within the Republic in view of the very unpromising evolution of the war. Irujo's PNV and Tarradella's ERC wanted to negotiate a separate peace for the Basque country and Catalonia with Franco through the good offices of France and the UK. Pipedreams!... This strange episode is fully documented in TNA at Kew. 6. As for Nigel's references to Mr Beevor, Hugh Thomas, and Jesus Hernandez I can only tell him that for several reasons I could expand on they do not square with facts. 7. Does Nigel know that Franco was absolutely bent upon entering the war with the Axis, invading Portugal and declaring war on the UK? He didn't do it because Hitler didn't accept Franco's rather outrageous requests. The British Government in turn was prepared to retaliate with the immediate invasion of the Canary Islands for which some 10,000 men were specifically trained. The UK ought to be grateful not to Franco but to Hitler! 8. Finally, I perfectly know that historical analogies should be made with great care. What was the treatment of Confederate spies in the American Civil War? Or to Unionist agents working in the South? How many French soldiers were executed in WWI for cowardice, refusal to carry out orders or pour l'example? Governments and countries fighting for their life weren't so squeamish in those troubled times. JE comments: I had never heard about Franco's wartime plans to invade Portugal. Although Portugal had been an ally of the UK for centuries, wasn't Salazar's regime squarely in the Franco camp? I recall in Paul Preston's We Saw Spain Die that during the Civil War, the Portuguese returned Republican refugees to face Franco's wrath. Can Mendo Castro Henriques comment? I hate to further pester Ángel after his two posts in two days, but I'd like to know more about the gold shipment to the USSR (point 2). I know little more than the orthodox narrative that Negrin was tricked by the "safekeeping" argument. (I know, I need to read Ángel's trilogy...that's what summers are for.) -- For information about the World Association of International Studies (WAIS), and its online publication, the World Affairs Report, read its homepage by simply double-clicking on: http://wais.stanford.edu/ John Eipper, Editor-in-Chief, Adrian College, MI 49221 USA


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