The victory of fascism in Spain in 1936 set the stage for World War Two. As Gerald Howson argues in this startling and compelling new look at the Spanish Civil War, that victory was assured by the non-fascist European powers.
When military officers and rich landowners rebelled against the left-wing Spanish government in 1936, the Spanish Republic found itself abandoned by other European nations. Hoping to prevent the escalation of the conflict into a world war, European leaders created an international arms embargo against Spain.
Arms for Spain reveals that this embargo gave Franco's rebels an enormous advantage against the Republic. While hindering arms from reaching the Republic, it allowed Hitler and Mussolini to equip Franco with enough armaments to win. The Republic was thus forced to buy illegal arms from foreign officials who extorted huge bribes for arms they never delivered. Banks and arms traffickers also swindled the Spanish government, often sending unusable weapons. Russia, long believed to be the Republic's strongest supporter, was one of the worst offenders. The Soviets provided far less aid than has been thought and defrauded the Spanish government of millions of dollars by secretly manipulating the exchange rates.
Through a unique combination of exhaustive research, forensic skills and technical expertise on armaments, Gerald Howson establishes that the arms embargo played a much greater part in the Republic's defeat than is usually acknowledged. In so doing, he casts one of the great political tragedies of the century in a wholly new light.
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It is a commonplace in standard histories of the Spanish Civil War that the Republican forces--a grab-bag of Communist, Socialist, anarchist, and democratic militias--were as well equipped in battle as their Nationalist opponents. Francisco Franco's fascist revolt, those histories go on to say, was successful only because of political infighting and intrigues on the part of the opposition.
Not so, writes English journalist Gerald Howson. Although the struggle for supremacy among Stalinists and other leftists certainly put the Republicans in jeopardy, the fact is that the Fascists enjoyed a great tactical advantage in both the number and quality of weapons at their disposal. Armed by capitalists of many nations, and backed by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, Franco's troops were rarely outgunned. Conversely, much of the Republicans' arsenal was made up of old weapons that were incompatible with modern firearms. Drawing on Soviet archives, Howson shows that many of these antiques came from the U.S.S.R., long portrayed as a champion of Spanish freedom; more modern weapons came at an exorbitant price from a small army of shady arms dealers--some of them firms that remain in the business of dealing death today.
Howson's well-researched book will excite controversy. And, if he is correct, it will force a re-evaluation of an entire branch of historical literature--which in itself is no small accomplishment. --Gregory McNameeFrom the Publisher:
"The defeat of the Spanish left is cast in starkly original light by Gerald Howson's astonishing revelations of the political tricks and financial rackets that undermined the Republic's ability to equip its armies. This is a passionately argued and compelling book." -- Paul Preston, author of The Coming of the Spanish Civil War
"Riveting...Defenders of Non-Intervention have often argued either that it was justified, or that it really made no difference. Gerald Howson demolishes the second of these arguments in his remarkable study." -- Times Literary Supplement
"Gerald Howson's detective work provides an important contribution to the secret history of the Civil War." -- Literary Review
"An extraordinarily fascinating picture of political and financial intrigue." -- The Independent
"An original, impressive work...The research is prodigious, the argument convincing, and the details are almost overwhelming." - The Spectator
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Descripción St. Martin"s Press, New York, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. 1st Edition. Book size 6 x 9. Much data in appendices I & II. Nº de ref. de la librería 000376
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