Buy The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War Digital original by Antony Beevor (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway The Battle for Spain by Antony Beevor The Assassin’s Mark by David . A fresh and acclaimed account of the Spanish Civil War by the bestselling author the 70th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War’s outbreak, Antony Beevor has.

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This book is the revised edition of Beevor’s book, first published in the s, about the Spanish Civil War. After the fall of the monarchy in the early s and substantial political conflict in the new republic with various left wing groups attempting local uprisings and using inflammatory language, in July of a number of generals launched a coup attempt against the republic. The main instigator was not the eventual leader, Francisco Franco, but another general, Emilo Mola.

Franco rapidly became the leading figure, in part because he commanded the only really competent part of the Spanish army, the part deployed in Morocco and consequently experienced in warfare against the local inhabitants.

One thing that surprised me was that the nationalists controlled about a third of Spain within a couple of weeks after their coup.

The republic was far less united than their opponents and generally depended the support of groups outside of the government. These groups included the anarchist movement and trade unions, especially in Catalonia, the Basques, the “official” communist party supported by the Soviet Union, the other communist party lead by a former follower of Trotsky, the classical liberal parties, and the socialist party, which was in effect taken control of by the “official” communists.

In general, the Comintern succeeded in obtaining great influence over the military, police, and government while only have a couple of seats in the cabinent, in part because the centralization they advocated was seen as desireable by a number of the socialists and classical liberals.

The wish of the Basque and Catalonians for autonomy, versus the antohy of other political actors for central control from Madrid, was a point of constant friction. The Nationalists, a mixture of army batte, the Carlist forces in the north an odd sort of very traditional Catholic monarchists with some popular supportthe Falange party something like the Italian fascists and the Catholic hierarchy were more united in their goals.

The Battle for Spain

They wanted Catholicism restored as the beevoor religion, the repeal of land reform, the unions suppressed, and a centralized government in Madrid.

They differed among themselves about restoring the monarchy and there was tension between the Falange and Carlists about the extent of the church’s role.

Still, they were much more united than the Republican forces, which at times came close to fighting a second civil war among themselves, particularly in Catalonia.

Although Franco and his fellow generals spaij often not very good strategists, their forces were more competent tactically and their Italian and especially German allies were more competent and more willing to extend credit than the Soviets were on the Republician spaim.

The not terribly sincere policy of non-intervention of Britain and France whose government might have been more sympathetic to the republic if it had not felt the need to follow spzin British lead was more of a hindrance to the republic than it was to the Nationalists.

Near the front of the book is a useful short synopsis of the various Spanish political parties, and their associated labor unions and youth groups, a list of abbreviations mostly associated the political partiesand maps of the military campaigns. The book would benefit from more maps, both to cover some of the smaller military campaigns, anyony more importantly a map showing the locations of the different traditional provinces of Spain.

The book would also benefit from a list, with short biographies, of the more important actors in the conflict, because it is hard to keep batte of the many people who influenced the outcome. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.


The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War by Antony Beevor

Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Battle for Spain: With new anttony gleaned from the Russian archives and numerous other sources, this brisk and accessible book Spain’s 1 bestseller for twelve weeksprovides a balanced and penetrating perspective, explaining the tensions that led to this terrible overture to World War II and affording new insights into the war-its causes, course, and consequences.

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Lists with This Book. Anthony Beevor dpain a military historian; and his book is mainly a record of armies and battles. The forces that destabilized the government and created so much tension within the country are quickly summarized; and the aftermath of the war—its legacy, its lingering effects in Spanish political life, its wider significance in 20th century political history—all this is hinted at, but not delved into.

Like any historian, Beevor needs to set limits to his material. He focuses on the Iberian peninsula in the years between Beevor is an excellent writer. His paragraphs are mines of information; he summarizes, offers statistics, gives striking examples.

He surveys the battlefield like an aerial observer; he reports power struggles like an investigative journalist.

He never lets the material run away from him, but compresses complex events into well-turned sentences. His focus is more on large-scale movements than on individual stories. So many actors are involved, all with different motives—communists, anarchists, republicans, trade unionists, conservatives, falangists, carlists, monarchists, Basques, Catalans, Germans, Italians, Soviets, Americans, British, French—that presenting the war as a clean story is impossible.

This is an effective strategy, but it comes at the price of a certain unpleasant fragmentation. The grand sweep of the narrative is obscured. Nevertheless, this book does what I hoped it would: Having said this, I must admit that the military history of the conflict—the battles, the strategies, the armaments—is only of passing interest to me.

What I really want to know is—Why? Why did a country decide to tear itself apart? Why did countrymen, neighbors, relatives decide to kill each other in mass numbers?

Why did radicalism triumph on both the left and the right? Why did a democracy fail and a repressive regime seize power? In the meantime, I am left with little more than a picture of moral collapse. At the outbreak of the military coup, there are spontaneous slaughters of clergymen, monks, bishops, in the hundreds and thousands; and the Spanish Church, for its part, was too often complicit in repression and tyranny.

Mass murders and executions were perpetrated on each side.

In the first week after its conquest by the nationalists, over 3, people were killed; and byanother 16, had been put to death. On the republican side, important military decisions were made for political reasons; political propaganda was so pervasive that leaders felt blindly sure they would win, and tried to act to justify their boastful predictions. Brave volunteers from all over the world rushed into Spain, most to fight against the fascists; and yet their zeal was squandered by careless leadership.

Eventually, of course, Franco won. Those on the losing side had few options. Many fled to France, where they were imprisoned in what amounted to concentration camps, in which they were forced to live on insufficient food, in unhygienic housing, and in freezing temperatures. After initial outrage, the French press promptly forgot the plight of these Spanish refugees.

One thing that repeatedly struck me as I read through this book was the contrast in efficiency between the nationalists and the republicans.

This seems to show us a persistent feature of both the left and the right. Equality and authority are two ideals at odds with one another; and most governments concern themselves with finding a balance between these two values. When the right becomes extreme, it gravitates towards extreme authority at the expense of equality; and when the left is radicalized, the reverse happens, and equality is fetishized. Thus we see the nationalist army consolidating itself under Franco, while the republican side devolved into warring factions, more concerned with their utopian schemes than with winning the war.


Equality without authority produces justice without power. Authority without equality, power without justice. The first is morally preferable in its ends and totally inadequate in its means; while the latter uses brutally efficient means to achieve brutally unjust ends. In practice, this means that, in direct contests, the extreme right will most often triumph over the extreme left, at least in the short-term; and yet in the long-term their emphasis on authority, obedience, and discipline produces unfair societies and unhappy populaces.

Some middle-path is needed to navigate between these two ideals. I suppose this is one of the oldest questions of human societies. In any case, as I put down this book, I am left with a dark picture lightened by very few bright patches. Beevor es un escritor excelente. No deja que su material le agobie, pero condesa eventos complicados hasta formar frases elegantes. A pesar de su habilidad de escribir, Beevor no puede cambiar el hecho que esta guerra es complicada.

Estas son grandes preguntas, que este libro no dirigirse. Mientras tanto, me han dejando con una imagen de un derrumbe moral. Se cometieron masacres y ejecuciones en los dos lados. Unos escaparon a las colinas, y otros lucharon en bandas de guerrillas; pero normalmente no duraron mucho.

La igualdad sin la autoridad crea justicia sin poder. La autoridad sin la igualdad, poder sin justicia. El primero es preferable moralmente y totalmente inadecuado en sus medios; y el segundo usa medios eficaces para cumplir objetivos injustos.

Un camino en el medio es necesario para navegar entre estos valores. View all 19 comments. Jan 15, Michael Gerald rated it really liked it. I didn’t know anything about the Spanish Civil War until I read this book. And what an eye-opener it is. Spain in the s was a country in transition. But forces from across the political spectrum took turns weakening the Republic to further their own agenda: The moderates who wanted reform and stability through peaceful, parliamentary means were caught in the middle.

The virulent and often violent clash of ideologies and personalities eventually consumed Spain in civil war. A number of people who are ignorant of the Spanish Civil War might be tempted to view it in just black and white: But history is often not just black and white.

Both sides committed numerous atrocities against their enemies, real and perceived. Hundreds of Catholic priests were murdered by both parties. The Nationalist rebels were aided by Hitler and Mussolini, but the Republic was also aided and eventually controlled by another dictatorship, Stalin.

And the Republic did not always abide to democratic niceties, as was shown in the latter part of the war when the Republic was hijacked by the communists and by the lumpen dictator Juan Negrin.

No wonder Eric Blair George Orwell and some others were disillusioned by their experience as volunteers during the war. Orwell, in particular, was so troubled by the communist excesses he saw in Spain that the experience inspired him to write his masterpieces, “Animal Farm” and “” The war can really be said to be a dress rehearsal for the more terrible Second World War, as Spain became a bloody battlefield not just between ideologies, but also among technologies, especially air power, which the Nationalists and their German allies used so devastatingly and decisively.