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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Spanish Civil War Historiography; Response to Stanley Payne
Created by John Eipper on 05/12/17 11:24 AM

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Spanish Civil War Historiography; Response to Stanley Payne (Angel Vinas, Belgium, 05/12/17 11:24 am)

I'm sorry to have to remind WAISers that the right-wing conspiracies against the democratic experiment which was the Second Republic in Spain started as soon as it was proclaimed in 1931.

I don't consider Stanley Payne (11 May) to be unbiased on this subject. In order to test his theses, as stated in Stanley's Franco biography, I assembled a group of Spanish historians. We found his arguments wanting.

In a book, due to be published in February 2017, a group of four authors will show Payne and other right-wing historians how to do original research on the conspiracy which led to war.

JE comments:  February 2018?  Just to be clear, I did ask Stanley Payne for permission to republish his review of 1936:  Fraude y violencia.  WAISer Anthony Candil first drew my attention to Stanley's essay.  Now I'm convinced.  I have to read the book myself.

Don't I understand correctly that the insurrection was in the works well before the February '36 elections?  Another point to keep in mind is that the Right was in power, and presumably in a better position to control the vote, when the elections took place.


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  • Was the Spanish Insurrection in the Works Prior to the February Elections? (Anthony J Candil, USA 05/14/17 3:37 AM)
    When commenting on Ángel Viñas's post of May 14th, John Eipper asked: "Wasn't [the Spanish Right's insurrection] in the works well before the February '36 elections?"

    Yes, indeed.


    Monarchist conspiracies started as soon as April 14, 1931, but not sooner than Republican conspiracies which led to the failure of the military uprising in the city of Jaca in 1930. Or the conspiracy which had led also to the "Semana Trágica" much earlier in 1909.


    The Left was much better experienced in conspiracies than the Right.


    Ángel Viñas can consider whatever he wants, but he is the one entirely biased as one may expect from a Socialist Party membership cardholder. And I'd like very much to see the list and affiliation of those declared "Spanish historians" of whom he's talking about.


    I don't agree either with John Eipper about the military uprising being in the works well before the February 1936 elections. The main uprising and conspiracy before then was to my knowledge the Asturias Revolution in 1934, fully instigated by the Socialist Party (PSOE), the same to which our WAISer friend Angel Viñas belongs.


    JE comments:  The Spanish Civil War flares up once a year or so on WAIS, and we're now seeing the opening skirmishes.  Enrique Torner (next) asks why we cannot just get along.


    This post from Anthony Candil has elements of an ad hominem argument--namely, that Ángel Viñas is biased as a historian because of his political affiliation.  Please, WAISers, no ad hominems!


    From our "What is WAIS?" Mission Statement:


    "Our only requirement is that correspondents make a good-faith effort to convey an informed Truth ('veritas' is the third part of our motto--Pax, Lux et Veritas), and that they avoid ad hominem attacks on other WAIS members.  Discuss ideas, not people, we say.  Yet given the spectrum of ideas represented by our membership, it is no surprise that WAIS discussions can occasionally get heated."


    http://waisworld.org/en/wais/home/what


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    • Timing of the Spanish Insurrection, 1936: Response to Anthony Candil (Angel Vinas, Belgium 05/16/17 7:16 AM)
      I see that Anthony Candil (14 May) is getting personal. I will not follow this path. (I´d be ashamed to do so).

      But just to set the record straight, I recommend that Anthony and other WAISers interested in the subject take a look at just three books (there are more and I´m willing to provide a list, if necessary).


      The first one is Ricardo de la Cierva´s Historia de la guerra civil española. Antecedentes. Monarquía y República. 1898-1936, Madrid: 1969. This author was Franco´s court historian. I don´t share his views.


      Although this book has become vastly obsolete, the reader can find on pp. 761-763 a small reference to military conspiracies before 1936 (the one leading to the attempted coup of 1932, the Sanjurjada is on pp. 231-235).


      The second one is Eduardo González Calleja´s Contrarrevolucionarios. Radicalización violenta de las derechas durante la Segunda República, Madrid: Alianza. (See Chapter 2 and pp. 285-305).


      The third one is the very recent analysis of General José García Rodríguez, Conspiración para la rebelión militar del 18 de julio de 1936, Madrid: Silex, 2013 (Cap. III, pp. 243-309).


      Anthony´s statement, "I don't agree either with John Eipper about the military uprising being in the works well before the February 1936 elections" can only be attributed to ignorance or mauvaise foi.



      His remaining comments don´t deserve any response. He is invited to produce any documentary evidence to refute my next book when it comes out in February 2018.


      JE comments: This mortal always has to say "sheesh!" How does Ángel Viñas write so many books?


      Yesterday I mentioned that I've heard (indirectly) from Prof. Roberto Villa García, one of the authors of the book that started this discussion: 1936: Fraude y violencia. I will give him the chance to offer his perspective.  So the SCW skirmishes will continue.

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      • "1936: Fraude y Violencia"; from Roberto Villa Garcia (John Eipper, USA 05/30/17 3:20 PM)
        JE:  In the past two months, WAIS has published a number of reviews and comments on the new book 1936: Fraude y violencia en las elecciones del Frente Popular, by Manuel Álvarez Tardío and Roberto Villa García.  I have communicated with one of the authors, Prof. Roberto Villa of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid), who sent the following response.  The English translation is mine:

        My thanks to John Eipper for allowing me to participate in the WAIS Forum. I prefer to be as polite as possible and don't care to address the criticism that was made against me on WAIS. It is painful to have to introduce yourself by refuting the label of "Francoist" or being associated with "Nazism" or "Petainism." Nor have I ever written a book sponsored by Bullón, as I am accused of doing, although I would have no problem associating myself with Bullón because I have nothing against him and do not consider him shameful.


        I do not even care for the labels of "left-wing" or "right-wing" historian. We historians vote in elections and of course have our personal principles and beliefs. But we do not have an ideological code to tell us how to analyze our sources or to interpret every historical fact. Nor are we robots. There is such a thing as empathy, which allows us to overcome our own ideas and put ourselves in the place of others.


        Beyond all this, I want only to encourage WAISers interested in the Second Republic and the Spanish Civil War not to allow themselves to get carried away by prejudices. My book [1936: Fraude y violencia en las elecciones del Frente Popular] is not an updated version of the Francoist agenda, nor does it present a one-sided "right-wing" vision, for good or bad. Rather, it is full of nuances and complex explanations. Historians have the responsibility of studying the 1936 elections, after the publication of the diary of the president of the Second Republic, Alcalá Zamora, to determine if his accusations of electoral fraud are true or not.


        However, the book is much more than that. It is a political history of the final months prior to the Civil War, written from the theoretical perspective of a "Crisis of Democracy" as outlined by Juan José Linz. We did intensive research in twenty archives, and all the sources we used date from prior to the Civil War. Anyone who reads the book will see the enormous distance between our arguments and some of the things that have been said about it in the WAIS Forum.


        JE comments:  I am struck by Roberto Villa's youth.  He told me off-Forum that he was born in 1978.  Co-author Manuel Álvarez Tardío is just six years older, which places the authors in the post-Franco generation.  I cannot say if it's an advantage or disadvantage for a historian to have no personal memory of an event, but it definitely gives a different perspective.  The same thing was probably said about German or Japanese (or US, British or Soviet) WWII historians born after 1945.


        In any case, I am grateful to Roberto for his interest in WAIS.  His book is on my summer reading list.


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