Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Remembering the Spanish Civil War .......... one to do next year

The Spanish Civil War began eighty years ago when a group of generals declared war on the democratically elected government of Spain.

Aid for the Basque People, 1936-39
It finished three years later with the defeat of that government and the establishment of a totalitarian dictatorship which lasted until 1975.

It was for many at the time the fault line which divided progressive Europe from a repressive authoritarian and conservative set of values which many had thought shattered by the French Revolution.

And added to this was the participation of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany on the side of the Generals marking the war a test of whether the dark forces of totalitarianism would triumph over democracy.

Here in Britain as well as around the world men and women of all classes chose to support the legitimate Government.

Some were active in raising funds for food and medical aid while others made the difficult journey to Spain to fight or work in the hospitals.

I had quite forgotten just how strongly I felt about that war until recently when in the space of a few days I began researching the story of Madge Addy and met Dolores Long the daughter of Sam Wild who was the last commander of the British Battalion of the International Brigade.

Liberty's Volunteers, 2017
Miss Addy volunteered to serve in a Republican hospital, was active in promoting the cause of the legitimate Government writing detailed letter home about the conditions she encountered and she was the last British nurse to leave Spain as the Nationalist Generals succeeded in defeating the Republic.

Dolores kindly agreed to share information on Ms Addy along with her own work in maintaining the publics’ interest in the Spanish Civil War and the role of the British men and women who went out to help.

All of which leads me to an advance notice for a conference on the war early next year.

It will take place in March in the city centre and details are available by following the link,

And nearer the time I will return with more details along with some articles from Dolores.

Location; Manchester & Spain

Pictures; the poster Aid for the Basque Heroes, S H Prives, from The Palette and the Flame, 1980 and poster of the conference courtesy of International Brigades Memorial Tust

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