No modern conflict has inflamed the passions of both civilians and intellectuals as much as the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39. Burned into our collective historical consciousness, it not only prefigured the imminent Second World War but also ushered in a new and horrific form of warfare that would come to define the twentieth century. At the same time it echoed the revolutionary aspirations of millions of Europeans and Americans after the painful years of the Great Depression.
In this authoritative history, Paul Preston vividly recounts the political ideals and military horrors of the Spanish Civil War – including the controversial bombing of Guernica – and tracks the emergence of General Franco’s brutal but extraordinarily durable fascist dictatorship.
Guernica, a quiet market town in the Basque region of northern Spain. On Monday 26 April 1937, as the Spanish Civil War raged, the market square was busy with farmers and townspeople. Just before five o’clock in the afternoon the sky darkened as the Luftwaffe swarmed overhead and began an unrelentingly vicious assault, the first ever on an undefended civilian target in Europe.
The savage attack on Guernica marked the birth of a horrific new kind of warfare. In this searing account of the tragedy, Paul Preston, the foremost historian of 20th century Spain, tells the whole story of the attack, from Franco’s tactics to how events unfolded on the day and how the world responded.
Published to tie in with the 75th anniversary of the bombing this short ebook is a deeply moving account of what happened on that day in Guernica.
A bravura new interpretation of the course, causes and characters of the Spanish Civil War, still the twentieth century’s bloodiest internal conflict. Analysis of the Civil War has always focused on victors and vanquished, but what of those who eschewed the struggle, those who stood apart from the carnage and chaos? Was there a Third Way? Starting at the extreme right of the political spectrum and moving across it to the extreme left, using the emblematic lives of ten key individuals, Preston builds up an astonishingly vivid picture of how the War came to pass, and how those who started, suffered and stopped it were coloured by the experience. Here are brilliant psychological profiles of the communist firebrand La Pasionaria, of the canny falangist Primo de Rivera, of the aloof intellectual non-participant Salvador Madariaga, and of the enigma himself, Generalissimo Franco.
‘Comrades presents us with fascinating portraits, case studies that illustrate variously nobility, arrogance, self-delusion and evil. It remains difficult to comprhend the passions that lead to civil war; but this book helps us to understand.’ Michael Portillo, Sunday Telegraph