Other Discussions on Spain

Lincoln Battalion

Stanley Payne, a leading specialist on modern Spain (his e-mail nickname is Spayn!) calls attention to a new book published by the University of Wisconsin Press: William Herrick, Jumping the Line, which, he says, pulls no punches. Tim Brown writes:
"Actually it was the Lincoln Battalion, and a smaller one at that, inflated by propaganda into a Brigade, and was a mere smallish part of the International Brigade. The commander was Robert Hale Merriman, a graduate of Sparks, Nevada High School [my alma mater] and Cal Berkeley [where else?] Marion Merriman's "American Commander in Spain" tells Meriman's story, although it is essentially another book of hype that inflates and twists what really happened. But it's a decent read.

When stationed in Madrid in the 1960s, I once played a number of songs of the International Brigade [Das Thaelmann Brigaden, Los Cuarto Generales, There's a Valley in Spain CalledJarama, etc] for Franco's buddy Fraga Iribarne, who knew them all by heart. I've always found it ironic that Douglas MacArthur's famous line "old soldiers never die, they just fade away" is actually from a Lincoln Battalion Spanish Civil War marching song. Reminds me of Tom Lehrer's mock Vietnam-era protest line about the Spanish Civil war, "It's the kind of war in which all of us belong. They may have won all the battles, but we had all the good songs!." My question: Surely "Old soldiers never die" etc is older than the Spanish Civil War?

Ronald Hilton - 05/18/98