The War in Spain: a weekly summary. No. 5
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THE WAR IN SPAIN A WEEKLY SUMMARY EDITED BY CHARLES DUFF UNITED EDITORIAL LTD. No. 5 LONDON, 19th FEBRUARY, 1938 PRICE 1d. THE NEXT MOVES DURING this last week the British press was well sprinkled with contradictory statements in regard to the internal situation in Germany and the likelihood of an Anglo-Italian rapprochement (with which is coupled the possibility of the withdrawal of Italian "volunteers" from Spain). One must exercise caution in any attempt either to explain what exactly is happening, or to prophesy what the next moves shall be. It is not the custom of the Dictators to give away their plans beforehand. They act first and explain afterwards. In regard to Spain they have acted first and told lies afterwards. We know from travellers who arrived from Germany this week that in many places the nerves of the public are on edge; but that does not mean that the Hitler regime is threatened. Until there is violence, one must merely take it for granted that there is the usual undercurrent of discontent—and no more. It seems that Hitler has won the first bout in a struggle with the Junkers and military caste. If it is so, then it is not altogether a good thing for the friends of Republican Spain. The German military caste have never been too favourable to the Fuhrer's Spanish adventure, and have often acted as a brake on Nazi participation. The question is whether Hitler, having thrown out the best of those military advisers, will now act upon the advice of the Nazi fanatics around him. The most one can conjecture is that he may hesitate to plunge deeper into Spain until, at least, he has ironed out the creases in German internal politics. Meanwhile, he will certainly continue to send material to Franco, because if he and Mussolini do not continue to send material, Franco will collapse. They may not wish to see that just now, after the blood and treasure they have poured into the Peninsula; and they must at least save their faces. The Dictator who does not save his face is finished. It is even more difficult to judge what Mussolini will do; but it is almost certain that he too will continue to send material. They are both disgusted with Franco and, to judge by comments in serious German newspapers, they are a little dismayed by the growing efficiency of the Republican Army. The battle of Teruel continues, and Franco persists in throwing away men in his efforts —here and there successful —to re-take some of the lost ground. Meanwhile, the Republican Army has attacked in Andalucia and elsewhere. Franco's long-heralded offensive is completely frustrated, and he is reduced to the aerial terrorism to which we refer in another column. If Franco were to re-take Teruel to-morrow, the Republican operations in that sector would have achieved their end in having caused the distraction of the rebels' major plans. The Nazi and Fascist Parties are bitterly anti-British, and they are the people who favour further gambles in Spain. Will the Dictators accept their point of view ? That remains to be seen. In Republican Spain itself there are few illusions, although in Franco's zone doubts increase daily as disillusionment of another sort makes itself felt. For the difference is this, that Franco's whole adventure is tied up with German and Italian intervention; the Spanish Government is relying upon itself and Spaniards. The Madrid newspaper Claridad (Republican Left) writes as follows: " Not for the first time since the beginning of the foreign invasion of Spain has there been talk of an Italo-British rapprochement. Eighteen months of struggle have disciplined our nerves, and we put aside excessive credulity." Another Madrid newspaper writes: "What has helped us is having faith in the victory of the Spanish people and their own resources. All other hopes would bind us to rely on the exterior, not only on the help of friends abroad, but on the generosity (sic) or the good sense of Italian and German Fascists. In our unlimited faith in victory, we have in mind always that the liberation of Spain should be the work of Spaniards." Republican Spain is relying on itself. It has overcome all the weaknesses of Government of the early days of the struggle; it has created order out of the chaos into which it was plunged by the rebel generals' surprise onslaught; it has organised a magnificent army and equipped it in the face of great difficulties and with tragedy at the door; and it has made a war industry. There is now unity of purpose, and there is not one political party which is not collaborating with the Government. On February 10th the two greatest Trade Unions, U.G.T. (Union General de Trabajo) and C.N.T. (Confederacion Nacional de Trabajo) drew up jointly and published their revised programme of united action, which is co-related with the programmes for unity of action with the other unions. The Government of Dr. Negrin has proved itself to be one of the best and certainly the strongest Spain has had for half a century. The fact that the rebels have had to rely so strongly on outside help works two ways: in Franco's territory it has turned the masses against him; on the Government side it has fortified the people and unified them against invaders. Neither on Franco's side nor on the Government side do Spaniards wish to see Spain transformed into an Italo-German colony leaning on the hierarchy and with the remnants of the old army and aristocracy as acting-rulers for the foreigners. They want Spain for the Spaniards —that is all ! The propaganda story to the effect that Mussolini had intervened and would continue to intervene in Spain because he would not tolerate a Communist country in the Mediterranean (and also because he is determined to save the world from Bolshevism) has now worn so thin that only a few timid and rather ignorant old ladies believe it. There is no Bolshevism or extremism in Spain except in the Franco zone, where all forms of liberty have been abolished. There the laws which favoured peasants and the poorest workers have been completely abolished. Laws which protected small tenants from voracious landlords —vanished! Laws calculated to give agricultural labourers a bare living— cancelled. Those poor people— about 40 per cent. of the population —whom the Republic had begun to help (and whom it is now helping in the loyal zone) are thrown back on sunrise to sunset slavery in feudal conditions. Justice has become a job for the irresponsibles of the Falange, who liquidate every individual who would speak or write his thoughts. This is the "Christian Crusade." ! There has been a change in public opinion in England these last few weeks, because many men and women of unchallengeable integrity have gone to Government Spain and seen for themselves the honest efforts that are being made to evolve a tolerable and efficient political regime. The stupidity and cruelty of rebel thought has been demonstrated by the aerial bombardments of the last two months. Franco's supporters here grow ashamed, though they will not yet admit that his victory would be against British interests as well as against all liberty of conscience. There is hope that they will learn even this before long. For, truth will out —even if sometimes it is slow in showing itself.
|Archive collection||Publications from the archive of Henry Sara and Frank Maitland|
|Archive folder||Journal of the Friends of the Spanish Republic : Journal : The War in Spain: a weekly summary|
|Document title||The War in Spain: a weekly summary. No. 5|
|Document date||19 February 1938|
|Publisher||London : United Editorial|