The famous Spanish Civil War fought from the year 1936 to 1939. This war was fought between two groups; the Republicans and the Nationalists. The Republicans were the supporters of the established Spanish republic; meanwhile the latter were a group of rebels who were led by General Francisco Franco. Franco emerged victorious in this war and ruled Spain for the next 36 years as a dictator.
After a group of generals (led by Jose Sanjurjo) of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces declared opposition against the government of the Second Spanish Republic, the war ensued. At that time the President of Spain was Manuel Azana. This group of rebels had gained support from a couple of conservative groups that included the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right, Fascist Falange and Carlists (Payne, 1973).
Military units formed in Burgos, Pamplona, Corodova, Morocco, Cadiz and Seville supported this group of rebels. On the other hand, this coup was not joined by the barracks that were formed in the significant cities including Malaga, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and Bilbao. Therefore before and during the war, Spain got divided, both politically and militarily. The rebels then decided to wage a war against the established government of Spain. The main aim of the general leading this coup was to get control of the government of Spain. Nazi Germany, Portugal and the Kingdom of Italy supported the Nationalists in this war; meanwhile the Soviet Union and Mexico were seen to side with the republican side. On other hand, some of the countries decided to maintain a neutral stance on this issue including France and United Kingdom.
When the war started, atrocities were committed on both sides. The territory that was captured by Franco's forces was invaded by organized purges (Beevor, 2006). In areas that were under the control of Republicans that were generally related to the violation of law and order (Beevor, 2006). The reason why this Civil War has become so prominent in the history of Spain is the political division that was caused as a result of this war. Nationalists as well as the Republicans, both the groups lost a lot of people during the war for having different religious and political opinions. When the war ended in the year 1939, the lost Republicans were prosecuted extensively by the Nationalists group.
The Nationalists dominated Spain and the Republicans lost the civil war. The people who were supporters of the lost group fled to Southern France and took refuge there. All the right-wing groups were merged into one structure that became an important part of Franco regime.
In this paper we shall be brining into limelight two historical notes written by some great writers. These historical accounts are in the form of a novel, For Whom The Bell Tolls and a journal called Homage to Catalonia. We will discuss the Spanish War as is explained in these two accounts and see how the two authors have perceived the Spanish Civil War. We shall also compare the two writings and analyze them.
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Written by Ernest Hemingway, this novel was published in 1940. This novel is based upon the story of a young American, Robert Jordan, who is in the International Brigades supporting the Republican coup during the civil war in Spain. Since he is a dynamiter, he is given the task to destroy a bridge when the city of Segovia is attacked.
The story of this novel revolves around Robert Jordan, who is an American protagonist supporting the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War (Meyers, 1985). There are basically three types of characters in the novel. The first category is of those who are completely fictional, the second category is of those who are based on actual people and the third category is of real people who have been fictionalized. The story of this novel has been set in Sierra de Guadarrama, which is a mountain range situated in Madrid and Segovia. The story is completed in about four days and three nights. People all over the world have claimed this novel to be one of the best literary works, and it was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
The main themes of this novel revolve around the feelings of Robert during the Spanish Civil War. The author talks about how death was contemplated during the war by the leaders of Republican revolutionary bands, Pablo and El Sordo. It is also told in this novel how Robert is aware of the fact that he will not be able to survive when he blows up the bridge. Throughout the novel, sacrifice and Camaraderie are bound to death. Robert and his companions are aware of the fact that they will make the best sacrifice by fighting this war. This theme of sacrifice is explained beautifully when the incident of Joaquin's family (a character of the novel) is narrated. It is told how all soldiers and brigades claim to be his family after they learn about this tragedy. Through this incident, the author is trying to imply the unity and love the comrades had for the Spanish soil. He explains how Robert feels that this was a place of love when he is awaiting his death.
Suicide has always been an option for people who are suffering from any kind of torture (Ernest, 1940). Ernst explains how most of the people during the Spanish Civil War preferred dying, getting killed or killing themselves than getting captured. When Robert is unable to travel with his companions, he just waits for a final ambush that would end his life. The author here tries to explain how the Republicans were determined to fight till their very last breath than to get captured by the enemy who would then force them to let their information out.
Political ideology and nature of bigotry are also explored in this novel. Ernst has explained how Robert knows that he is on the absolutely right path and thus uses the phrase "enemy of the people" for the Nationalist coup. Since he is convinced that he is not doing anything wrong, he also explains how he feels the threat of fascism in his own country. The author also narrates the incident in which Robert is telling his companions how populist policies are used in his country to accommodate all the citizens. He also explains that true Republic government rules his country, but if such a situation (as that of Spain) arises in his country, he will not hesitate to fight their either.
This story of this novel is that of May 1937 during the time of the second year of the Civil War that took place in Spain. According to the references that have been made to Segovia, Valladolid, El Escorial and Madrid, this novel took place within the attempt made by the Republicans to free Madrid from Nationalist siege. The backdrop of the novel is served by the battle of Guadalajara that took place earlier and the overall disorder and chaos that followed and became the cause of Republican Spain's doom. In this novel, Robert has been narrated as explaining how he thinks that Communists were superior because they were disciplined.
Many analysts of this novel consider Chapter 10 of pivotal role. In this scene, the execution of many fascist people is explained along with the events of Ronda in 1936. Although, it was later on claimed by Hemingway that this seen was totally fabricated by him and did not have any reference to what actually happened. He did claim, however, that this scene was based on the events of Ronda where around 500 people, alleged to be sympathizers of fascist people, were off a cliff side by a mob of people.
There were many actual figures mentioned in this novel that played a role in the Spanish Civil War. One of the founders of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unidication, Andreu Nin is mentioned in Chapter 18 of the novel along with a leader of the Republicans called Indalecio Prieto. In chapter 35, mention of General Jose Miaja who was heading the defense party of Madrid in 1936 and that of General Vicente Rojo is made.
Chapter 32 is in fact an extensive description of Dolores Ibarruri who is popularly known as La Pasionaria. The head of the American Volunteers in the International Brigades, Robert Hale Merriman as well as his wife Marion were a source of inspiration for Hemingway's own hero. A dominating French Communist, who was also a political officer in the International Brigades, Andre Marty also makes a concise but important appearance in chapter 42 of the book. Marty is depicted by Ernst as a brutal intriguer whose suspicion becomes an obstacle for the Republican coup. (Buckley, 1997)
Homage To Catalonia
Written by George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia is an account of the time that he spent as a soldier in the Spanish Civil War while the Republicans fought against Franco. Orwell came to Catalonia…
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