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SPAIN: !Arriba Espana! The rehabilitation of Franco



Christopher Jones sends us an article (The Guardian, 22/4/03) on the rehabilitation of Franco titled " Pro-Franco book a bestseller in Spain". Here is the opening section: "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.

The book's success comes as Spain experiences a belated awakening of popular interest in the fratricidal three-year war that ushered in nearly 40 years of Franco dictatorship, with the emergence of "historical memory" groups dedicated to digging up victims of his firing squads. But Moa has no time for those investigating Franco's cruelty, claiming they have cooked the figures and that the left - along with Churchill in the second world war - were even more ruthless and bloodthirsty. "Franco did not think he had rebelled against a democratic republic but against an extreme danger of revolution ...Undoubtedly, he was right," Moa states. For the cull text, see: http://books.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4652342,00.html

Christopher Jones says: "Well, we discussed the tentative rehabilitation of Mussolini, the impossible rehabilitation of Hitler, now folks, we have the full fledged rehabilitation of General Franco. Frankly I am surprised it was this long in coming but isn't it uncanny that the fascist right chose the aftermath of the anti-American peace demonstrations for this? Didn't I say that the real danger lay in a right wing kidnapping the anti-war anti USA movement?"

RH: Former Communist Pio Moa sounds like Bert Wolfe and other American ex-Communists who swung to the extreme right. Is it hardening of the arteries, disillusionment with a dream which failed, or resentment that the party did not give them the authority they craved for? I blame ETA for this pro-Franco surge. Spaniards are just tired of its bloody killings. I warned that a pro-Franco movement was likely unless they stopped. I warned Catalan nationalists of the danger of sympathizing with ETA and of adopting anti-Spanish measures. Some Catalan nationalists sent me nasty messages, but my warnings have proved well-founded. To describe the government which Franco overthrew as democratic is a simplification, but do not interpret that as praise for Franco.

Ronald Hilton - 4/22/03


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