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Spain, from Monarchy to Civil War



     I sent the posting about my book on Spain to Spanish students at Stanford, and asked them what they thought about the Civil War. I immediately received two responses, an abrupt one from a student saying he wasn´t interested, and a long, thoughtful one from Pablo Saz, who said it is really a non-subject among Spaniards, thus confirming my observation that there is a conspiracy of silence about the Civil War, indicative of a fear of bringing up the subject. Pablo Saz writes:
     "In response to your question about how modern Spaniards view the Civil War, I think it's fair to say that it's still a topic most people would rather not discuss, for fear of ending up in fights (unless of course they are both on the same "side"). Most people's opinions come from their parents. I grew up in Spain, but I never learned anything about the Civil War in school. I'm not sure what the curriculum is like now, but I wouldn't be surprised if the war is still "skipped". Forty years later, people are still sweeping the subject under the rug. I think (and hope) that this will change soon. Consider the fact that recently there was a motion in parliament (presented by the Socialists) to condemn the 1936 coup. Well, the (supposedly) centrist PP voted it down.. Most people in the PP are direct descendants of the "traditional" right -- that is, Franco supporters.
     I find it ironic that the PP was one of the first parties to condemn Jorg Haider (I believe they kicked him out of the European PP) when so many of them (including Aznar) have stronger links to Fascism than he does. It's also interesting to note that right after the Pope asked for forgiveness for all the "mistakes" of the Catholic Church over the centuries, the Spanish bishops weren't able to bring themselves to ask for forgiveness for the Catholic Church's role in the war (and subsequent dictatorship)."


     My observation: Pablo's mother is British, and the great majority of the British condemned Franco. In the Civil War, I think the Church was more sinned against than sinning. Although the present government is Catholic, and some members belong to the Opus Dei, it is careful not to appear clerical. Pablo was helpful in calling attention to the vote condemning the 1936 coup. When was the vote?
     Pablo hopes that soon it will be possible to discuss the war again. I would like very much to get the perspective of the Stanford students at Stanford.

Ronald Hilton - 5/5/00


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