Randy Black writes:I find it puzzling that Mr. Jones accuses Carillo of murdering 5,000 Spaniards but ignores the TWO MILLION that are thought to have suffered the same fate under Franco’s regime.

From another source outlines the brutality of Franco:
"With the Nationalist forces inexorably marching westwards, the
Basques finally agreed to surrender to the Italians at Santona to the
east of Santander on 26 August, 1948. In accordance with the agreement
made, Basque political personalities embarked on two British ships, the
SS "Seven Seas Spray" and the SS "Bobie", under
Italian protection. On 27 August, with Nationalist warships blockading
the port, on Franco's orders, Divila told the Italians to disembark the
refugees, which they refused to do, although they advised the Basques to
go ashore. The prisoners were held by the Italians for four days but, on
31 August, Franco ordered Bastico to hand them over. He hesitated and
only after assurances from Barroso that the surrender conditions would be
respected did he relinquish the captives on 4 September. Summary trials
began at once, and hundreds of death sentences were passed. The Italians
were appalled by Franco's duplicity and cruelty. Bastico sent Roatta to
Salamanca to plead with Franco to stop the executions and allow the
Basque leaders to leave the country. Roatta reminded the Caudillo that
the Basques had surrendered after being offered such terms and pointed
out that Italian honour was at stake. The Generalisimo simply ignored his

It wasn't just the atheists, anarchists and socialists that the Catholic
Church wanted Franco to slaughter: anyone who even believed in democracy
was executed: "Indeed, the Republican will to resist was kept alive
only by the fear born of Franco's much-publicized determination to
eradicate liberals, socialists and Communists from Spain. Baron von
Stohrer wrote to the Wilhelmstrasse on 19 November 1938:'the main factors
which still separate the belligerent parties are mistrust, fear and
hatred'."" Franco told James Miller, Vice-president of the
United Press, that a negotiated peace was out of the question 'because
the criminals and their victims cannot live side-by-side'. Committed to a
post-war policy of institutionalized revenge, he rejected the idea of a
general amnesty and declared that the Nationalists had a list of two
million reds who were to be punished for their 'crimes'.81 The political
files and documentation captured as each town had fallen to the
Nationalists were gathered in Salamanca. Carefully sifted, they provided
the basis for an immense card index of members of political parties,
trade unions and masonic lodges. The Republican zone was kept on a war
footing by terror of Nationalist reprisals."{316}

By 31 March 1939, all of Spain was in Nationalist hands. A final bulletin
was issued by Franco's headquarters on 1 April 1939. Hand-written by
Franco himself, it ran 'Today, with the Red Army captive and disarmed,
our victorious troops have achieved their final military objectives. The
war is over.' Franco had the gratification of a telegram from the Pope
thanking him for the immense joy which Spain's 'Catholic victory' had
brought him. It was a victory which had cost well over half a million
lives. It was to cost many more." {322}  …At least as late as
1940 Franco's prisons still held hundreds of thousands of political
prisoners, who were being executed as fast as they could be `tried.' Even
the Nazi Himmler was appalled - he believed most political prisoners
should be rehabilitated rather than executed. {392}  [From sources
other than Paul Preston:] Not counting soldiers on the Republican side
actually killed in the fighting, the probable total of executions carried
out by Franco was in the vicinity of 2 million. The Catholic Church not
only did not make any effort to stop the slaughter. Priests reported
citizens who had not attended mass during or before the Civil War; than
in itself was enough to result in execution.

Sources: http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/7-17-2002-22567.asp

RH:  The number of people killed on both sides during the Civil War is commonly given as one million, not two.
 "The Catholic Church wanted Franco to slaughter..." Was the Church the driving force behind the executions?  It sounds like an exaggeration, There are among WAISers a number of distinguished specialists on the Spanish Civil War, including David Pike, Stanley Payne, and Paul Preston.  Their comments would be appreciated.

Randy Black quoted a source which gave the number of those killed in the Spanish Civil War as two million. I said the number commonly given was one million.  He replies: Whether or not it was one or two million killed during the Civil War, the question remains, how many were executed under Franco? One million, or only hundreds of thousands? RH:  In such cases the figure usually reflects the bias of the writer.  We await the comments of David Poke, Stanley Payne and Paul Preston.
Paul Preston writes: The numbers of right-wingers killed in Republican Spain (after the military coup destroyed the structures of law and order and before the Republican government could rebuild them) is 37000.  The number of people murdered in the Francoist zone is likely to be 150,000.  The reason for doubt is that finding out is a painstaking business, village by village, and only 36 of Spain’s 50 provinces have been reasonably thoroughly investigated.  Those thirty-six provinces have currently produced 98,000 known victims.  However, even there it is very difficult to be sure that all the dead have been counted.  Tens of thousands were officially executed, judicially murdered, between the autumn of 1936 and 1945, when the Axis defeat imposed some caution on the Caudillo, and, for them, there are records, albeit inadequate.  Usually, large numbers of defendants were tried in large batches, accused of generalised crimes – most often, ‘military rebellion’, that is to say, having failed to support the uprising of July 1936 – and were given no opportunity to defend themselves. 
However, there were others, perhaps another 50,000, who were killed without even the simulacrum of a trial.  Some were thrown alive from cliffs into the sea, or from high bridges into deep rivers.  Others were shot against the walls of a cemetery or by a roadside and buried in shallow graves where they fell or were thrown into disused mineshafts.  For decades, their families lived in terror, unable to grieve properly, unsure of the fate of their mothers or fathers, their husbands or sons.  As an example, between July 1936 and December 1937, near the village of Concud in the province of Teruel, into Los pozos de Caudé, a pit six feet wide and 250 feet deep, were hurled the bodies of 1005 men and women, including adolescent boys and girls.  Few of them were political militants. Their crime was simply to be considered critical of the military coup, related to someone who had fled, to have a radio or to have read liberal newspapers before the war.
This does not address the numbers killed on the battlefield and that is also a difficult issue.  The most frequently cited figures tend to be between 300 and 350 thousand.
As to the idea that Hitler would have invaded Spain if the Popular Front had won the war, that is preposterous.  I loath getting involved in counter-factual speculation, but it needs to be said that the only way in which the Popular Front might have won the war would have been if the British had abandoned appeasement and stood by the Second Republic.  In the extremely unlikely event of that happening, Hitler would not have got away with occupying the Rhineland, Austria or Czechoslovakia, let alone Poland.  Christopher Jones said in an earlier contribution that Hitler had 200 divisions on the Spanish frontier waiting to invade.  That seems astonishingly profligate on Hitler’s part given his difficulties elsewhere and was also a masterpiece of deception given that no one, apart from Franco, ever saw them.  This notion of the 200 divisions was definitively demolished years ago by David Pike and I hope he can be persuaded to give chapter and verse.

RH: This is an excellent analysis, but what it the total figure?  What does Paul say about "un millón de muertos"?

Concerning the number of those killed in the Spanish Civil War, Stanley Payne writes: The number of violent deaths in the SCW was approximately 300,000, but of these, some 100,000 were the victims of political executions.  After the war was over, courts martial condemned 50,000 to death, of whom about 30,000 were in fact executed.


I thought we buried the discussion of the phrase "Mit diesem kerl ist nichts zu machen" back in 2003, but Paul Preston had exhumed it yet again to support his "interpretation" of events.  I quote from a WAIS post he sent on 25/07/03: "According to de las Torres, Hitler left the meeting muttering 'with these fellows, there is nothing to be done' ('mit diesem Kerl ist nichts zu machen').  Clearly, had Hitler been threatening to use two hundred divisions against Spain, he would hardly have made a remark so redolent of impotence."  Then and now, I doubt that Hitler's remark is a sign of impotence and it certainly has no bearing on the fact that he could count on massive military might, if needed, to invade Spain, exactly like Napoléon could count on his armies when he decided for a "regime change" in Madrid in 1808.

I agree with Paul Preston that the republic had no chance of victory, and I also dislike "what ifs."  However because of his sympathies, Preston takes my comment out of context: the losers (the communists) are currently engaged in playing petty games as they vent their frustration on the statues of Franco and José Antonio -- these die-hards should be reminded of the fate of Poland or Holland under a Nazi governor.  Franco did his country a great service and some of us will be forever grateful.

RH: I agree with those who say that, had the Republicans won,  Hitler would probably have invaded Spain.




Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 16, 2005