Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Here's a link from InstaPundit:

THIS PAST WEEKEND, Jim Bennett asked where all the European Fascists had gone. Apparently, they were standing in line to read this book, which argues that Franco wasn't such a bad guy after all:

"A controversial, revisionist history of the Spanish civil war which claims it was sparked by a leftwing revolution and that Winston Churchill was crueller than General Francisco Franco has proved a surprise publishing success.

The Myths of the Civil War, by the former communist guerrilla turned Franco apologist Pio Moa, has outraged the Spanish left and many mainstream historians with its attacks on the icons of the period.

But it has become the second most popular non-fiction book in Spain as it is snapped up by former Franco supporters and those curious to see a different interpretation of a civil war which most historians agree was started by a rightwing military uprising against a democratic government." (From the Guardian.)

Humph. Wait until you read my soon-to-be-bestseller about how Marxism was actually a plot by British Intelligence to hobble Britain's adversaries with a self-destructive ideology. Hey, weren't you always a little suspicious of how a guy like Marx worked so freely in the bowels of the British Empire, with support from a wealthy industrialist?

The book is by Pío Moa, a regular contributor to Libertad Digital. They've got a file of all his pieces going back several years. Moa really is an ex-terrorist; he was one of the founders of GRAPO, the Spanish equivalent of the Red Brigades or the Baader-Meinhofs. He has "repented", as they say around here, and is a convert to free-market democracy.

It is not fair to call Moa pro-Franco. That's a smear thrown at him by the modern Spanish left. It's more accurate to say that, regarding the Spanish Civil War, Moa believes in "A plague on both your houses".

So do I.

Stanley G. Payne is, in my opinion, by far the best historian writing about Spain. He is a legitimate historian who has written extensively not only on Spain and Portugal, but also on European history, and especially on Fascism. His book A History of Spain and Portugal is the standard introductory textbook used in American universities on Iberian history. And, guess what, it's available online! I've linked to it before, and I'm going to link to it again.

Here is Payne's chapter on the Second Spanish Republic, which lasted between 1931 and 1939, and here is his chapter on the Spanish Civil War itself, which lasted between 1936 and 1939.

No comments: