Francis McCullagh

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Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:15 am

I've been reading "With the Cossacks, being the story of an Irishman who rode with the Cossacks throughout the Russo-Japanese War" by Francis McCullagh. The book is, as the title indicates, about an Irish journalist (although he always refers to himself as an English journalist, and was quite patriotic, even jingoistic, about England in the book) who attached himself to a Cossack unit during the Russo Japanese War. It's very entertaining and quite well written in the early 20th Century style.

Anyone know anything about McCullagh? I was curious if he wrote any other books. A net search turns these up for that name:

1. The fall of Abd-Ul-Hamid
English Book • By: Francis McCullagh • Publisher: London, Methuen & Co., 1910. ... • Title: The fall of Abd-Ul-Hamid • Author: Francis McCullagh • Publisher: London, Methuen & Co ...

2. A prisoner of the Reds, the story of a British officer captured Siberia
English Book • By: Francis McCullagh • Publisher: London, J. Murray, 1921.

3. Italy's war for a desert, being some experiences of a war-correspondent with the Italians in ...
English Book • By: Francis McCullagh • Publisher: London, Herbert and Daniel [1912]

4. In Franco's Spain: being the experiences of an Irish war correspondent during the great civil war...
English Book • By: Francis McCullagh • Publisher: London, Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd. [1937]

5. The Bolshevik persecution of Christianity
English Book • By: Francis McCullagh • Publisher: London, J. Murray, 1924. ... • Title: The Bolshevik persecution of Christianity • Author: Francis McCullagh • Publisher: London, J ...

6. Red Mexico; a reign of terror in America - Translate this page
English Book • By: Francis McCullagh • Publisher: New York, Montreal [etc.] L. Carrier & Co., 1928.

I assume some or all of these must be by the same author.

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Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:46 pm

Turns out this fellow was captured by the Red Army somehow while serving as an intelligence officer for the British Army in Russia during the Russian Revolution. He was able to pass himself off as a journalist for obvious reasons, and made his way out somehow.

Sounds like an interesting fellow.

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Tue Dec 20, 2005 8:28 am

Originally posted by Pat Holscher
Turns out this fellow was captured by the Red Army somehow while serving as an intelligence officer for the British Army in Russia during the Russian Revolution. He was able to pass himself off as a journalist for obvious reasons, and made his way out somehow.

Sounds like an interesting fellow.

Pat
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Sun Jan 15, 2006 6:15 pm

I recently received some email from somebody who had read this posts. It related this interesting information:

I saw your plea for info on Francis McCullagh on a forum a few days ago. i have an interest in books written by Irish adventurers so i knew the name. I've been researching in old Irish newspapers these few weeks so i spotted his name and made a note of it. in short Francis Mccullagh was born in Dungannon in northern Ireland and died age 82 in White Plains, New York on 26/11/1956.
This is certainly very interesting information. I'm surprised to learn that Cpt. McCullagh died in New York, after having had such interesting service in WWI for the British Army. But then perhaps Ireland's troubles after WWI might explain that?

Very interesting information.

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Juan campos
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Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:58 am

I would like to get more information on the life of Captain Francis McCullagh, born in Dungannon Ireland and died in New york in 1956. He wrote "In Francós Spain" during the Spanish civil war. It was published in 1937. He also wrote a book about the cossacks and the bolshevist revolution.
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Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:19 am

Originally posted by Juan campos
I would like to get more information on the life of Captain Francis McCullagh, born in Dungannon Ireland and died in New York in 1956. He wrote "In Francós Spain" during the Spanish civil war. It was published in 1937. He also wrote a book about the cossacks and the Bolshevist revolution.
Juan Campos
Juan, I have his book on the Cossacks, and it is excellent. I highly recommend it. I'd love to find his book on his experiences in the Russian Civil War. If you find anything additional to what we have, I'd really like to know, and I'd appreciate you posting back on it.

I started, quite some time ago, a thread on McCullagh, after having read "With the Cossacks". I'll see if I can find it. If I can, I'll link it in here.

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Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:31 am

Juan,

A thread on McCullagh appears here, in the review section of these forum:
topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5531

Threads mentioning McCullagh are here:

He's mentioned in these threads:
topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5558
topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5413

In looking at the thread, I'm reminded how long the period of McCullagh's authorship was. He was a newspaper correspondent at the time of Russ-Japanese War, having been stationed in Russian Korea at the start of the war. He ended up a prisoner of the Japanese at the war's end. In looking at his book authorship, I see that he was still writing as late as the Spanish Civil War. Like some other noted war correspondents, he obviously had a taste for warfare, which apparently took him around the globe.

He wrote well, but his books are a bit odd to read today as he wrote in that style common to the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. War correspondents of that era did not attempt to be objective, and felt free to champion one side or another. He clearly sympathized with the Russians in the Russo Japanese War, and felt the Japanese to be strange, and a looming international threat. His writing reminds me a lot of his fellow Hibernian, Finnerty, who wrote War Path and Bivouac.

With the Cossacks is the only book of his I've ever run across. I'd be curious what his other books were like.

Pat
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Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:34 am

Pat
In Franco´s Spain (1937) is partial, but realistic and not overloaded with propaganda, not more than many who wrote biased for the Republican side: Koestler, Orwell,hemingway.
Not a lot of war drama in it, but the miseries of living in cold premises behind the lines in Salamanca and Burgos.
Of special interest his account of the Irish O´Duffy brigade and its 700 volunteers for Franco, many more Irishmen than the few dozens who volunteered for the International Brigades.

I have often found that outside Spain, because of Franco´s reliance on Hitler and Mussolini´s help and the alliance of the democracies with Stalin during second world war, Franco has had a much more negative picture than the equally or more totalitarian, undemocratic and repressive republican side.Many people and politicians of a conservative slant, like Churchill,Eisenhower or De Valera, and their voters, would have identified themselves with the Franco side if they had faced in their own countries something like what the real powers in the Republic were : revolutionnary violent toatalitarian anarchists, socialists or communists.It was not Fascism against Democracy, but Authoritarian conservatives against Toatalitarian revolution,i.e: Communism.
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Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:08 am

Originally posted by Juan campos
Pat
In Franco´s Spain (1937) is partial, but realistic and not overloaded with propaganda, not more than many who wrote biased for the Republican side: Koestler, Orwell, Hemingway.
Not a lot of war drama in it, but the miseries of living in cold premises behind the lines in Salamanca and Burgos.
Of special interest his account of the Irish O´Duffy brigade and its 700 volunteers for Franco, many more Irishmen than the few dozens who volunteered for the International Brigades.

I have often found that outside Spain, because of Franco´s reliance on Hitler and Mussolini´s help and the alliance of the democracies with Stalin during second world war, Franco has had a much more negative picture than the equally or more totalitarian, undemocratic and repressive republican side.Many people and politicians of a conservative slant, like Churchill,Eisenhower or De Valera, and their voters, would have identified themselves with the Franco side if they had faced in their own countries something like what the real powers in the Republic were : revolutionnary violent toatalitarian anarchists, socialists or communists.It was not Fascism against Democracy, but Authoritarian conservatives against Toatalitarian revolution,i.e: Communism.
Juan, thank you for the information on that book. Funny you'd post today, as just yesterday I was thinking of trying to find McCullagh's book on his experiences in revolutionary Russia.

You raise a couple of good points, and frankly you show some courage in raising them in an English speaking forum (as you no doubt know). Your first point is absolutely correct. The English speaking authors who wrote with admiration about the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War were also very partisan in their views. As legendary war photographer Robert Capa later acknowledged, they also tended to slide towards the romantic in their writing, about a topic, warfare, that really isn't romantic.

Much more controversial would be your points about Franco. This is at least in part because almost all of our views of the Spanish Civil War are filtered through the lense of World War Two. In addition, Franco is a historical figure who was highly enigmatic, and very difficult to understand. Even his personality and character are very hard to grasp, and always were.

The best English biography on Franco is by an English author by the last name of Preston. It's highly interesting, and very readable, while also heavily researched and dense with footnotes. I mention it, as Preston is openly a Franco critic. That is, Preston admits that he not only does not admire Franco, but holds the opposite view. For that reason, some of the same points you raise here, when they come up in that book, are particularly credible, as they reach a similar conclusion to some extent about the Civil War.

Preston, in his book, goes in to some depth about the pre war conditions in Spain, and arrives at the conclusion that the Spanish left was so politically immature that it was openly anti-democratic. The examples he cites are pretty convincing, and it seems to be the case that the Spanish left, after having arrived at a political victory, were posed to convert that victory into a "revolutionary" one. That is, having achieved power, they intended to seize it permanently, much as the Nazis did in Germany. That is, they intended a sort of parliamentary coup, and would have ended Spanish democracy in their own right, if in fact they weren't 3/4s along the way of doing that. In that context, the Spanish military men who rebelled (it wasn't limited to Franco) viewed themselves as already acting in a lawless regime. They can be criticized for that, but it appears quite evident that had they not rebelled, they would have soon been serving in a Spanish Soviet state.

The Black Book on Communism, authored by French left wing journalists and politicians (some of whom were admittedly Communist fellow travelers), goes on to note that the Moscow backed Spanish Communist party very quickly acted to co-opt and dominate the Spanish Republicans in the war. At first they cooperated with the other Spanish left wing parties, but they mistakenly concluded relatively early in the war that a Communist victory was inevitable, and then began working on eliminating the other left wing Spanish parties. That same course of action had been the one the Bolsheviks had taken in the Russian Revolution, as they'd correctly guessed their that in order to consolidate their grip on power they had to eliminate the other contenders for the radical left. In Spain, they guess wrong as the Republican side was not anywhere near victory, as the Communist supposed. This actually had the effect of crippling the Spanish Republicans, as the Communist decapitated the Spanish left. The head of the effort was ultimately purged, as all who failed in Stalin's time were.

Anyhow, that is significant as the Spanish Civil War started off as a contest between the radical left, who was aiming for a parliamentary coup, and some sections of the conservative Spanish military, who feared that. The Spanish center had fallen in the prior election, and was extraordinarily weak. Spain's democracy was immature, and did not function well, and Spain had been adrift internally ever since its defeat in the Spanish American War, some 40 years earlier (which is often missed, Americans don't realize that they contributed to a Spanish political scene leading to a horrible civil war). In that context, a civil war was nearly inevitable, but it isn't the war we imagine to have occurred.

As the war rolled on, the Communist coup within the Spanish left meant that the Republicans essentially became a Communist army, or a Communist dominated army. Had they won, a Communist state would have almost certainly emerged. The Nationalist were dominated by the army. It is often noted that Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy backed the Nationalist, which is absolutely true. Moscow backed the Republicans. What is often assumd in this is that the Spanish Falangist party controlled the Nationalist, but this is in error. The Falangist went with the Nationalist for obvious reasons, but Franco himself never joined the Falangist party.

Franco was no sweetheart, and he was undoubtedly brutal to his Republican countrymen. But the assumption that he was a Fascists is a mistaken one. He was a dictator, no doubt, but he was really simply a military strong man. He allowed the Falangist his government in the 30s and 40s as it suited him, but he also suppressed them at other times. He's a hard man to figure out. Our view in the West that he was a Fascist is no doubt heavily influenced by the fact that he received Nazi and Fascist aid (although we oddly do not associate the Soviet supported Republicans with the Communist). And there is no doubt that Spain was an undeclared combatant on the Axis side early in WWII, as it allowed Nazi Germany to use Spanish airfields to raid the UK, and allowed U-boots port rights. Also, Spain contributed a "volunteer" division to the German war effort against the USSR (after having oddly made some peace feelers towards the USSR shortly after his victory in the civil war, suggesting to them that he was really a fellow traveler). On the other hand, he resisted fully getting in the war, which was either because he could not come to an agreement with Germany to donate French Morocco to Spain, or because he shrewdly was hedging his bets on who would win the war, or because he was the benefit of anti-Nazi information from German Admiral Canaris, who kept Franco informed on what was going on inside the Third Reich.

Anyhow, the whole situation was much more complicated than we would now like to assume, and Franco's government, no matter how a person might approach it, really ought not to be approached solely through the filter of WWII.

Pat
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Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:16 pm

Pat,
Your analysis of the Spanish "situation" is the best I ever read!! I suspected things were as you described, but, was never able to see all the pieces put together.
The fact about the Communists forcing out the other leftists was entirely new to me. My take on the Repuplicans was ,that they were Red from top to bottom from the start.
I spent a very short time in Franco's Spain in 1967 and all seemed serene, more so than, say, Northern Italy where the police and military were forted up in most towns
. Of course, I didn't know much about the supression of cetain ethnic groups in Spain at the time.
Thank you,
Richard
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Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:18 am

Pat,
While I agree with much you say, I find much more could be added:(I don´t want to give the impression I like Franco, simply that most of his ennemies were in many ways worse, specially the Anarchists, socialists and communists).
Preston is in my opinion still very partial to the left.Stanley Payne seems to me a more balanced historian.
It was not only the communists who were antidemocratic, totalitarian and violent in their methods: the core of the dominant-before-the-war Socialist Party also had a revolutionnary program and methods with their leader,Largo Caballero, the Spanish Lenin, preching civil war rhetoric and supporting the 1934 attempt to topple the republican with a violent socialist revolution in Asturias. But the then enormously influential Anarchists also had terrorist methods and indulged in an orgy of specifically anticlerical and antireligious genocide in the first months of the civil war.And similarly their ennemies, but equally murderous communists.
My maternal grandfather,Jose Calvo Sotelo, leader of the right wing monarchists, was murdered-before the war started by governement police under government approval. The people who actually fired on him were bodyguards of Prieto, the "moderate"(?) socialist leader.
There were very few genuine democrats among the republicans, and no more in number than the democrats in the right.Very hard to regard such government as democratic or legal.
The Franco regime also evolved from tough repression after the war to a relatively mild dictatorship in the sixties and seventies.

Recently a Spanish historian, Pio Moa, exmember of a communist terrorist group, the GRAPO, in the seventies, has written much attacking the mythology of the standard prorepublican vision of the civil war.He queries many myths, like the exact figures of victims in the bombing of Guernica, ludicrously swelled by conventional historians like Preston and others, or the false shocking accounts of killings in Badajoz in the bullring watched over by ladies in "mantilla".Killings there certainly were, but not ladies in the traditional Spanish "mantilla" applauding them in the bullring (!?). He has been attacked personally, though hardly refuted in his many correct factual points. One can disagree with his too positive view of Franco, but still find much relevant in his demolition of the republican side.
Franco held a very difficult balance during World War Two, while inevitably rendering some help to the Germans. However, if he had allowed Hitler´s ambitions to recruit Spain into the war or even alllowed his plan to march German divisions over Spanish soil to take over Gibraltar, the fate of the war might have been much worse for the allies.
As for the "División Azul" who fought in Rusia, they were on the whole volunteers or adventurers, including a percentage of "reds" who had changed sides or wanted to clean their slate to avoid represion.There were also plenty of "Falange" idealists who were disappointed with the conservative situation of postwar Spain.They certainly were not, on the whole, conscripts of any kind.
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Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:54 am

A very interesting thread.
Oddly, I just finished reading a book titled "Arms for Spain" about the Republican efforts to obtain arms during the Civil War. To my mind the author shows a Republican bias but, curiously left me with a better appreciation of the Nationalists.

One thing that is hardly ever mentioned is how many, and to what extent the prominent popular western writers of the time were strongly left-leaning if not outright admirers of Stalin. Those who lived to the 50s, and came to see the psychopathic animal Stalin was, did their best to bury that part of their past. And, since we are talking about the majority of literary figures of the first half of the century, they were able to do it very effectively.

I rather admire Franco's determined efforts to keep Spain out of the war and I suspect that he was never certain the Germans would win or that if they did, it would be good for Spain. Quite to the contrary, he appears to me to have been very realistic. It was clear that an allied victory wouldn't have an adverse effect on Spain...but would a German one have? I rather like Hitler's comment that he'd rather have all his teeth pulled than go through another interview with Franco.
However repressive his regime was, it left Spain in the end with a working democratic government arrived at without the torture of a second Civil War.

Oh..and I'll have to look for that cossack book. Its one I don't have.
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Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:19 am

Originally posted by Juan campos
Pat,
While I agree with much you say, I find much more could be added:(I don´t want to give the impression I like Franco, simply that most of his enemies were in many ways worse, specially the Anarchists, socialists and communists).
Preston is in my opinion still very partial to the left.Stanley Payne seems to me a more balanced historian.
It was not only the communists who were antidemocratic, totalitarian and violent in their methods: the core of the dominant-before-the-war Socialist Party also had a revolutionary program and methods with their leader,Largo Caballero, the Spanish Lenin, preaching civil war rhetoric and supporting the 1934 attempt to topple the republican with a violent socialist revolution in Asturias. But the then enormously influential Anarchists also had terrorist methods and indulged in an orgy of specifically anticlerical and antireligious genocide in the first months of the civil war.And similarly their enemies, but equally murderous communists.
My maternal grandfather,Jose Calvo Sotelo, leader of the right wing monarchists, was murdered-before the war started by government police under government approval. The people who actually fired on him were bodyguards of Prieto, the "moderate"(?) socialist leader.
There were very few genuine democrats among the republicans, and no more in number than the democrats in the right.Very hard to regard such government as democratic or legal.
The Franco regime also evolved from tough repression after the war to a relatively mild dictatorship in the sixties and seventies.

Recently a Spanish historian, Pio Moa, exmember of a communist terrorist group, the GRAPO, in the seventies, has written much attacking the mythology of the standard prorepublican vision of the civil war.He queries many myths, like the exact figures of victims in the bombing of Guernica, ludicrously swelled by conventional historians like Preston and others, or the false shocking accounts of killings in Badajoz in the bullring watched over by ladies in "mantilla".Killings there certainly were, but not ladies in the traditional Spanish "mantilla" applauding them in the bullring (!?). He has been attacked personally, though hardly refuted in his many correct factual points. One can disagree with his too positive view of Franco, but still find much relevant in his demolition of the republican side.
Your descriptions of the Spanish left here, and the events running up to the Civil War, are very valuable indeed. Indeed, they needed to be added to fully explain the story.

What has traditionally been very difficult for Americans to understand is that Spain of the pre Civil War period fit in to the category of immature republic. I don't mean that to sound insulting, but Americans often assume, incorrectly, that democratic behavior is an instinct, not a learned habit. Our own history with democracy is so long, to which we can add the inherited history of democractic evolution in the UK, that we often tend to think that all political bodies will be democratic by nature.

However, a nation without a fully developed republic does not tend to behave that way, and it can be very difficult for it to get through the developing period. In Spain's case, the left wing parties, as you've pointed out, were increasingly radical. That left very little room for the middle, and there was simply no way that Spain was going to survive its final election cycle as a democracy.

That forms part of the background as to why the Communist ultimately acted to dominate and control the Republicans in the Civil War. The Communist everywhere were completely intolerant of any other extreme left wing party, which they regarded as rivals for their own power.

You also point out a real difficulty in having open discussion on this type. Acknowledging that the Spanish left was radical, anti-democratic, violent, anti-religious, anti-monarchist, and anti-capitalist is not the same thing as claiming that Franco was a nice guy. However, it's almost impossible to point out how really bad the Spanish left was at the time, without drawing some response that this means that you are sympathizing with Franco. It doesn't mean that, but it was the case that, in a world of bad options, Franco was the least likely to be totally repressive, and the Nationalist were the only force that was actually willing to preserve some liberties and rights. That doesn't mean they were nice. It probably makes them roughly comparable to the Russian Whites in the Russian Civil War, rather than to the Nazis or the Fascists.

Franco held a very difficult balance during World War Two, while inevitably rendering some help to the Germans. However, if he had allowed Hitler´s ambitions to recruit Spain into the war or even allowed his plan to march German divisions over Spanish soil to take over Gibraltar, the fate of the war might have been much worse for the allies.
As for the "División Azul" who fought in Russia, they were on the whole volunteers or adventurers, including a percentage of "reds" who had changed sides or wanted to clean their slate to avoid repression.There were also plenty of "Falange" idealists who were disappointed with the conservative situation of postwar Spain.They certainly were not, on the whole, conscripts of any kind.
Spain's role in World War Two is one of the most difficult aspects of Franco's rule to understand. Indeed, I suspect it isn't fully capable of being understood, as Franco never really explained it to anyone. For that reason, it's hard to know whether Spain was simply really lucky to avoid the war, or if Franco highly crafty in that regards.

Spain certainly played out its hand much better than Mussolini, and by extension, the Allies are lucky that Churchill was crafty enough to not over react to some Spanish actions. What seems somewhat clear seems to be the following.

Germany looked up Spain as an agrarian backwater, and hoped to reduce it, in a new German dominated Europe, to a supplier of foodstuffs and raw materials. Early after the Civil War the Spanish economy was dominated by atarkic thought, which was the same type of thought that dominated Nazi economic thinking. In Spain's case that proved to be a disaster, and ultimately Franco tossed out his economic advisors and opened the economy back up. That took some time, however. For a period of time after the Civil War, the Spanish economy was a disaster.

That, in part, formed part of Franco's argument to not do what Mussolini did. Franco, it should be noted, did not attack France in 1940. And it didn't attack anyone else either. It did have an incentive to attack France in 1940, in that it coveted French Morocco. Had Spain attacked France in April, 1940, Spain would have ended up with French Morocco, and would have been a full scale combatant in WWII. That also would have made the British position in North Africa much worse for a variety of reasons.

Instead, Franco stated that his army was a mess after the war, and that it was weak in all material ways. This same story would be told again and again by Franco throughout the war. There was some truth to it. The Spanish Army of 40-45 was not equivalent to the German or Italian armies. So he was correct that it needed vast quantities of German material to be useful. However, even after getting some of that material, he kept asking for more. Had the Germans listened to Franco, they would have had to equip the Spanish Army in the same fashion that the very best German units were equipped, with no guranty that they'd ever be used. The Germans simply gave up on it.

The Germans did think about invading Spain, or crossing it by force, but gave up that idea too. It was probably a strategically dumb idea, and Franco appears to have been apprised of it by Canaris, and seems to have sometimes been able to encourage the Germans just enough to put them off.

Spain did aid the Germans during the war, however. Early in the Battle of Britain some German planes flew out of Spain. The British turned a blind eye to this, realizing that to strike the bases might bring Spain in to the war at a time in which the UK was weak. Spain also provided some port rights to German submarines, and some long distance naval reconnaissance flights were flown by the Germans out of Spain, all of which the British ignored. A lessor leader than Churchill would have reacted to this, but Churchill assessed that if things went badly for Germany, Spain would walk away from the Germans, which was correct. The reasons for Spanish assistance to Germany have never been fully explained, but again, it's hard not to wonder if Franco was simply hedging his bets a bit.

The Blue Division is a little more difficult to explain, but even its history is enigmatic. I agree with Juan that it was made up of volunteers, not conscripts. However, at least some accounts indicate that the pressure to volunteer in some units was fairly high. However, at the same time, there's been some who suggested that Franco was happy to provide the Blue Division in part because the really aggressive Falangist would volunteer for it, and a a lot them would get killed. That may sound extreme, but Franco's use of Italian troops in the Civil War suggested that he wasn't above purposely wasting human resources on the battlefield, and some battles in the Civil War appear to have been prolonged simply because they were killing a lot of Republicans, thereby saving Franco the trouble of having to deal with them later. If viewed that way (and there's really no way to prove or disprove it) the Blue Division was a win win project for Franco, as it meant that his troops were taking on the Communists in his view, they were getting battlefield experience, it got the Germans off his back, and it might mean that a lot of young fanatics would get killed off. Indeed, the fate of the Blue Division was not a happy one. Churchill did complaint about the Blue Division, and Franco then camouflaged it by allowing it to be turned in to a Waffen SS Division, which the Western Allies then ignored.

FWIW, the Blue Divison is slightly comparable to some similiar, very small formations, that also were sent to the Russian front with the encouragement of Vichy France. I don't want to over do that, however, as very, very few Frenchmen volunteered for such units. Those who did were from the far right, however, like the Falangists, and a few of them were from the French Army, like the Blue Division recruits. Having said that, such units had next to no appeal for the overwhelming majority of Frenchmen, and the history of Spain and France are completely different in this overall context.



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Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:43 am

Originally posted by JV Puleo
A very interesting thread.
Oddly, I just finished reading a book titled "Arms for Spain" about the Republican efforts to obtain arms during the Civil War. To my mind the author shows a Republican bias but, curiously left me with a better appreciation of the Nationalists.

One thing that is hardly ever mentioned is how many, and to what extent the prominent popular western writers of the time were strongly left-leaning if not outright admirers of Stalin. Those who lived to the 50s, and came to see the psychopathic animal Stalin was, did their best to bury that part of their past. And, since we are talking about the majority of literary figures of the first half of the century, they were able to do it very effectively.
You raise another good, and really touchy, point.

We now see all this through the lens of what history later revealed. But in the 20s and 30s there were a lot of Western left leaning people who really admired the Soviet Union. They blinded themselves to what was occuring, and later they made a lot of excuses about their beliefs, or they wholly denied them.

Pointing that out inevitably brings a cry of "McCarthyism!" from those on the left today, but whatever the history of the House Committee in the 50s may have been, it doesn't mean that the rising left sympathy for the Soviet Union was not there in the 20s and 30s. Nearly every Western nation had some sort of serious Communist party, even if those parties were small in some instances. I do not think that any one Western democracy lacked one, and they did not appeal solely to the lunatic fringe that they often to today. Communism, or a sympathy for Communism, was sheik in some circles in every Western democracy, and for the young, left leaning, educated, and often well to do, group it was had sort of a snobbish appeal. Folks who might join the Campus Democrat's For Peace club today, or some such thing, would be likely to find some appeal in the Communists.

Of course, part of that is that people just didn't understand the Communist very well. People often took Communist propaganda about a "democracy of the masses" seriously. When the scales came off, the overwhelming majority of these people dropped out.

In the case of sympathy for the Republicans, this translated into a belief that the Republicans represented the vanguard of a radical democratic left. It didn't, but leftist artist and writers were able to blind themselves to that as they were romantics. The best example is Hemingway, whose Republicans are peace loving rural rustics, out to bring democracy to Spain. Hemingway wasn't looking at the real war. But another less romantic example would be Capa, who also sympathized with the Republicans (and even slipped into Spain during WWII briefly to photograph remaining fighting Republicans), who simply blinded himself to their radical views.

I rather admire Franco's determined efforts to keep Spain out of the war and I suspect that he was never certain the Germans would win or that if they did, it would be good for Spain. Quite to the contrary, he appears to me to have been very realistic. It was clear that an allied victory wouldn't have an adverse effect on Spain...but would a German one have?
A German victory would have, long term, been a disaster for Spain in my view.

The Germans viewed Spain as a center of agriculture and raw material for Germany, and nothing else. In their view, a future Spain would export agricultural products and minerals to Germany, where they would be used or processed. In this manner, Spain fit into the Nazis world view of a German-centric world. They're goal would have been to keep Spain down. Ultimately, Franco would have had to tow the line, had Germany won. However, that was no doubt not apparent to the Spanish at the time.

Straying away from the main point of this thread, one thing that this brings out, and is often missed by those who romanticize the German armed forces of WWII today, is that the Germans made next to no effort to encourage their political allies to come in to their side. They did, of course, expect a great deal out of nations that were allied to them, like Italy. And they very much tried to pressure Spain in to the war. Rather, what I mean is, the Nazis did not really do much to try to get fellow travelers in other countries to flock to the Nazi colors. Indeed, they treated them with contempt.

Some modern Nazi forces fans like to make a big deal out of the tiny "legions" of non Germans that fought for the Germans. However, the thing that's often missed in this is that the numbers of Dutch citizens, or Belgian citizens, French citizens, etc., that joined with the Germans is tiny. And, at first, the Germans really spurned efforts by Quislings to recruit "Aryian" troops from outside the borders of Germany. Nazi views did not appear to really encourage the view that Norwegians, Dutch, etc., fit in their world view, and there were very view people from occupied areas who sympathized with the Germans in any event. Ironically, the only group of non Germans who assisted the Germans in large numbers were Soviet citizens. For a variety of reasons, over 1M Soviet citizens aided the Germans in some fashion, with quite a few bearing arms in German or German supported formations. They did that for a variety of reasons, but it did occur.

Oh..and I'll have to look for that cossack book. Its one I don't have.
It's good, I'd recommend it. I have one that was published as a reprint recently and will have to look up the publisher (it might be down in the reviews). The Long Riders Guild press is also thinking of putting out a new edition of it.

Pat
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Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:02 am

Pat,
Just to correct the assumption Spain only knew Democracy when the "Segunda República" arrived. Spain had known Democracy, of a kind, of course,with all the limitations of the time,not very dissimilar to other monarchist democracies in Europe intermitently during the XIXth century.There was the long period of the Restauración at the end of the XIXth century and beginning of the XXth, when the Liberal party of Sagasta and the Conservative of Cánovas alternated in power.The Republic did not bring democracy to Spain for the first time even in theory, much less in practice.What it definitely brought was a protorevolutionnary period full of violence and breaches of liberal democratic respect for human rights and liberties.It was this blatant reality that pushed people like my grandfather Calvo Sotelo from being a democratic conservative monarchist to someone sympathetic to an authoritarian right wing government, though not quite into fascism in the strict sense.In the States you might tend to be seduced by the term republican as synonimous with democratic, but that is far from the reality of systems of government, where even today there are a number of european democratic monarchies in England, Spain,Holland etc...

As for McCarthyism, the recent massive book by Stanton Evans does much to vindicate the legitimacy of many of Joseph McCarthy´s denonciations, which dealt not with suppressing genuine liberties but with not having proven spies,communists and fellow travellers INSIDE the federal government and dictating policies which, as in the case of Genocidal Mao, contributed enormously to the surrender of China to the horrors of Communism.In fact, some of his opponents seem to have used against McCarthy´s supporting witnesses the type of persecution one typically associates with the term "mcCarthyism".The story of McCarthy has been much distorted by people who want to cover traces of sympathy to Communism or have a heavy ideological bias to attribute all the evils of the world to "American capitalism" etc...
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Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:56 pm

Juan:

It is good to know that Stan's excellent book is being read overseas. I am about halfway through and find it excellent, thoroughly documented and stylistically very readable. How did you hear about it?
Joe
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Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:42 pm

This odd newstory was posted on the WWII list:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... ss.bayarea

What a strange story. San Francisco has been fairly hostile to American WWII memorials, and the American military in general, in recent years. And yet here the town is honoring a group of combatants in a foreign war, who were arguably in violation of American law by serving in a foreign war, and for a cause which would cause them to be regarded as at least potentially naive at best.
Pat

Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri?
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Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:18 pm

Ay, Caramba!
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Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:21 pm

selewis wrote:Ay, Caramba!
How a city can turn down the USS Iowa, and then put up a memorial to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, is beyond me.
Pat

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Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:23 pm

Pat Holscher wrote:
selewis wrote:Ay, Caramba!
How a city can turn down the USS Iowa, and then put up a memorial to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, is beyond me.
And with a straight face no doubt.
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