As to the Russians, their motives in the Spanish war are completely inscrutable.

Or did they, as the Catholics maintained, intervene in order to foster revolution in Spain?

To raise the standard of living of the whole world to that of Britain would not be a greater undertaking than the war we have just fought. I joined the militia. Somehow the latrines stank less, discipline was less irksome. Pacifism, for instance, is founded largely on this belief. Now, there was no Russian army in Spain. Enough to eat, freedom from the haunting terror of unemployment, the knowledge that your children will get a fair chance, a bath once a day, clean linen reasonably often, a roof that doesn't leak, and short enough working hours to leave you with a little energy when the day is done.

The much-publicized disunity on the Government side was not a main cause of defeat. Beside the guard-room table;

Then why not have backed Franco? And the Left intelligentsia made their swing-over from ‘War is hell’ to ‘War is glorious’ not only with no sense of incongruity but almost without any intervening stage. Rather foolishly I reported this to the officer, and one of the scallywags I have already mentioned promptly came forward and said quite untruly that twenty-five pesetas had been stolen from his bunk. /Subtype /Image

Some of our aeroplanes were coming over. The truth is that they happen. What most struck me was that he barely attempted to protest his innocence. All the stale old phrases! The Spanish Civil War was seen as the front against Fascism. The ragged, weaponless armies of the Republic held out for two and a half years, which was undoubtedly longer than their enemies expected.

Yet in the most mean, cowardly, hypocritical way the British ruling class did all they could to hand Spain over to Franco and the Nazis. Evidently they are widespread fantasies, and war provides an opportunity of putting them into practice.

I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. The eldest would have been about twenty-five, the youngest sixteen. Ribera del Duero Wines - What makes them so special? The earthworms know where they are. mod. Then why did they intervene on such a niggardly scale and finally leave Spain in the lurch? In Homage to Catalonia, Orwell described a “horrible atmosphere” in Barcelona, the product of “fear, suspicion, hatred, censored newspapers, crammed jails, enormous food queues and prowling gangs of armed men”.

‘England, Your England and Other Essays’ George Orwell, whose book Homage to Catalonia became a celebrated account of fighting in the civil war, and his wife Eileen were spied on in Barcelona at the … No political strategy could offset that. First published: New Road. To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. When travelling this summer why not take in some stars. They were very hard on stealing in the militia, and in theory people could be shot for it. Latrines are an overworked subject in war literature, and I would not mention them if it were not that the latrine in our barracks did its necessary bit towards puncturing my own illusions about the Spanish civil war. It accounted for the curiously buoyant feeling that life in Government Spain had during the early months of the war. Unfortunately the ground between was a flat beet field with no cover except a few ditches, and it was necessary to go out while it was still-dark and return soon after dawn, before the light became too good.

The common people knew in their bones that the Republic was their friend and Franco was their enemy. >> I myself think it was right, because I believe that it is better even from the point of view of survival to fight and be conquered than to surrender without fighting. Still in his ears were holy,

Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. By that time one did not need to be a clairvoyant to foresee that war between Britain and Germany was coming; one could even foretell within a year or two when it would come. “The papers are documentary evidence that not only Orwell, but also his wife Eileen, were being watched closely. “That is why she sent food, books, newspapers etc… to him in jail.”.

They show the level of paranoia among a hard core of Stalinists in both the Republican army and the International Brigades.

It is true that the social background from which an army springs will colour its training, tactics and general efficiency, and also that the consciousness of being in the right can bolster up morale, though this affects the civilian population more than the troops. And we both had bought it,

It was partly because before the war the Left had wrongly believed that Britain and Germany would never fight and were therefore able to be anti-German and anti-British simultaneously; partly also because official war-propaganda, with its disgusting hypocrisy and self-righteousness, always tends to make thinking people sympathize with the enemy. But suppose Fascism is finally defeated and some kind of democratic government restored in Spain in the fairly near future; even then, how is the history of the war to be written?

To the British working class the massacre of their comrades in Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, or wherever it might be seemed less interesting and less important than yesterday's football match.


I remember saying once to Arthur Koestler, ‘History stopped in 1936’, at which he nodded in immediate understanding.

Prior to writing the novel, Orwell had watched the communist revolution in Russia and volunteered to fight against the Fascist government in the Spanish Civil War. Time after time, in country after country, the organized working-class movements have been crushed by open, illegal violence, and their comrades abroad, linked to themin theoretical solidarity, have simply looked on and done nothing; and underneath this, secret cause of many betrayals, has lain the fact that between white and coloured workers there is not even lip-service to solidarity. One of the recruits who joined us while I was at the barracks was a wild-looking boy from the back streets of Barcelona. This involved pretending that life in Government Spain was just one long massacre (vide the Catholic Herald or the Daily Mail — but these were child's play compared with the Continental Fascist press), and it involved immensely exaggerating the scale of Russian intervention.

So for all practical purposes the lie will have become truth. But as for the Fascists and their backers, how could they come even as near to the truth as that?

It can be taken as quite certain that he is dead. “Orwell was just a frontline soldier. Well, a few weeks later at the front I had trouble with one of the men in my section. They received help from Fascist Italy, the Trouppe Volunteer and Hitler with the Condor Legion. Then why did they do all in their power to crush the Spanish revolutionary movements, defend private property and hand power to the middle class as against the working class? When they enthused over the Spanish war they knew, of course, that people were being killed and that to be killed is unpleasant, but they did feel that for a soldier in the Spanish Republican army the experience of war was somehow not degrading. And the lie that slew you is buried Out of the huge pyramid of lies which the Catholic and reactionary press all over the world built up, let me take just one point — the presence in Spain of a Russian army.

The two opposing parties were the Nationalists and the Republicans.

The outcome of the Spanish war was settled in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin — at any rate not in Spain. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys. /Width 182

Homage to Catalonia was published in April 1938, but the book’s first run sold just 800 copies. Always less than you gave. In Spain, for a while, people were acting consciously, moving towards a goal which they wanted to reach and believed they could reach. In the fatalism of his attitude you could see the desperate poverty in which he had been bred.

<< © 2004 - 2020 Eye on Spain - All Rights Reserved Machine-readable version: O. Dag Simultaneously these people refused utterly to admit the fact of German or Italian intervention at the same time as the Germany and Italian press were openly boasting about the exploits of their’ legionaries’.