TALAVERA - THE FRONT OF EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY!
By George Stolz, Assistant Secretary of the International Federation of Trade Unions.
When we - the members of the International Solidarity Fund delegation - were on the Talavera front, seventy miles from Madrid, on Sunday, 13th September, looking at the wrecked aeroplane, which had left the Fiat works in ltaly on the 26th July, looking at the German bombs with which, General Ascencio was explaining, Santa Olalla and the outposts had just been bombarded and looking up at the German Junker flying overhead, it was borne in on us that the Spanish Republic has not just got its rebels to fight against but the power of German and Italian Fascism. And not alone against them, since an [captured] Italian airman captured the same day had related how, having landed by mistake on Portuguese territory, he was only detained by the Portuguese authorities until rebel officers came to demand his release, whereupon he was handed over to them.
Spain is up against three Fascist countries - her nearest neighbour, Portugal, and Italy and Germany, who are supplying aeroplanes and airmen. Will the Spanish Republic manage to stay the course in this unequal fight, on one side nearly the whole of the regular army, which has been preparing for two years, since Gil Robles was appointed Minister of War, with its supplies coming from abroad, through Portugal and French Algeria, and on the other the Republican militiamen, who a few weeks ago had never had a rifle in their hands, but who have been hastily trained and have no supplies from abroad?
As must be clear to all of us, the government militia are not fighing merely for the maintenance of the Spanish Republic but for the defence of European democracy. The fate of European democracy and of the Labour Movement is being decided here and now, in the vineyards of talavera and the passes of the Guadarrama, on the front of Aragon and along the north coast of Spain.
The workers and peasants of the whole of Spain stand behind the Republic. On the way from Alicante I saw how the peasants in the fields alone the railway line hailed with a hurrah and a clenched fist the militiamen going to the front. Have not the railwaymen's officials in Seville and other towns preferred death rather than to work against their Republic? I was told