Spain in Our Hearts
Spain in Our Hearts Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 By Hochschild, Adam Book - 2016

The question no journalists asked in 1936, when they looked up and saw Nazi bombers in Spain, was where did they get gas ? Little is known outside Spain about this prelude to WW2. European nations and US had signed the non intervention treaty for the Spanish Civil War. One American, Torkild Rieber, fawned over fascists and offered unlimited credit from Texaco. He did it past the US entry into WW2 until the FBI noticed. Another shock was the fascist carnage after they captured territory : 200,000 killed off battlefields in 3 years is the low estimate, over 1000 people a week. Estimated battle casualties start at that number. The fascists tested more than air and tank power. After Germany and Italy won it for Franco, 370,000 were put in concentration camps or jails. Survival rates were not recorded. How did these outrages not shock anyone in Britain, France, US or Canada ? Monumental short sightedness ? How many times can that excuse be trotted out ? One reporter for a US chain was fired after he sent his coverage of Guernica, at the start of insurrection, the first city to be destroyed by aerial bombardment. Hitler’s pope Pius XII blessed the fascists. The elected Spanish government reformed education into a public service separate from church monopoly. Land reform allowed peasants to farm unused arable tracts. Although Ernest Hemingway, Eric Blair and well known personalities are included, the author follows a few of the brave who volunteered to fight for democracy in Spain (3000 in the Lincoln Brigade from US, 1500 in the Mackenzie Papineau Brigade from Canada and others ejected from Germany, Italy and Hungary). Hochschild knows how to tell their stories and keep the large narrative moving. Lois Orr was 19 years old when she arrived and managed to find work for 10 pesetas a day as a clerk in Barcelona. Bob and Marion Merriman were graduate students in their 20s. His story provides an arc for the conflict. He disappeared during the retreat from Teruel. “… this was all Marion was able to discover --- until she unexpectedly received a letter half a century later.”

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