International Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War

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This essay attempts to answer the question as to "whether it is justified to describe the international volunteers who fought for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War as the 'dupes' of Moscow." Proposing an answer is not easy when viewing the events from today's vantage point some seventy years after the war, thirty years after Franco's death, and fifteen years after the collapse of the communist government in Moscow.

Introduction


There are several views on what the war was about. Rather than expound in such a short paper the wide range of perspectives depending on which side of the political and social spectrum lies each viewer and opinion giver, it may be sufficient for our purposes to identify two of the extremist views about the Spanish civil war.
On one side are people like Beevor (1983) who view the civil war as a military uprising against a legitimate communist government that was carrying out a revolution as part of a Marxist class struggle aimed at reforming the corrupt economic and social structures of the time. Inspired by the success of the 1917 Russian revolution and driven by new ideologies for the liberation of peoples, several agents of change inside and outside Spain saw the Russian model as an applicable and pragmatic solution to social problems. The people (proletariat), therefore, fought back and waged war against a military force that wanted to topple the legitimately elected government.
On the other side you Arrars (1968) and Carroll (1996) who see the civil war as a crusade fought to preserve Spain's culture, mainly their religion, and poetically compares it ...
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