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royalcello

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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
       


                                                                                               
                       
                                                       
               
                                                                                                                                               
                                Eoin O'Duffy                                
Eoin O'Duffy, centre, commander of the Irish volunteers
                       
                                                       
               
By Judith Keene
Author, Fighting for Franco

       
Stories of young men drawn to Spain to fight Franco have been told countless times. But Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of a call to arms for the lesser-known fascist volunteers - including many from the British Isles.

The liberation of Toledo's Alcazar on 27 September 1936 is one of the most symbolic occasions in the early days of the Spanish Civil War.

After two months of being holed up in the Roman fortress, withstanding the onslaught of Republican artillery, the 1,000 followers of fascist leader General Franco were freed by their own side.

The siege of the Alcazar became an iconic event in the mythology of Nationalist Spain, galvanizing Franco's supporters outside the country.

                       

                                       
                       
                                Republicans battling for the Alcazar in Toledo                                
The siege galvanized support for General Franco
                       
                       
                                The exploits of ideological young volunteers - George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway, among them - who flocked to Spain to fight for the Republican cause are often celebrated today. But the story of their counterparts on the other side, foreigners drawn to fight for the fascists, is little known.

They numbered about 1,000. Never warmly welcomed by Franco, they included:
• French fascists for whom the Spanish Republic was an extension of the hated Popular Front in Paris
• White Russians hoping Spain could restage and win the civil war against the Bolsheviks
• a handful of Britons
• 700 Irish fascists.

Alongside them fought a single Australian, sundry Germans and Americans, several Poles and assorted individuals from the Baltic states.

Like their counterparts in the International Brigades, the volunteers for Franco saw Spain as the place where they might strike the first blow in the larger wars they were committed to prosecuting.

For them, Franco's Nationalists were ranged on the side of Catholic religion and traditional values that were under challenge from left-wing democracy, secularism and communism.

                       

                                       
                       
                                Volunteers recruited into the Nationalist army                                
International fascist volunteers numbered about 1,000
                       
                       
                                There had been a tradition of Spanish aristocratic families sending their sons to be educated in English Catholic public schools. When the civil war in Spain began, several groups who shared associations that dated from their English schooldays created Friends of National Spain, composed of British Catholics and Spanish Anglophones.

They lobbied the British government on behalf of General Franco and raised money for the Nationalist cause within England. They also helped volunteers who wanted to join up with Franco travel to Spain.

As well as some prominent Spanish expats, English lobbyists who were active for Franco included the historian Sir Charles Petrie, the Conservative MP Victor Cazalet, and the editor of the Catholic English Review, Douglas Jerrold.

Sense of adventure

All did what they could to promote Franco's cause, such as hiring the plane in England that flew the general to North Africa at the start of the war.

                       

                                       
                       
                                General Franco                                
General Franco defeated the Republican government
                       
                       
                                Prominent among the British volunteers was Peter Kemp. A young man, just down from Cambridge with a degree in classics and law, he believed in monarchism and values that were, as he describes them in his autobiography, on the "far-right of Cambridge Toryism".

Kemp was also drawn to Spain by the strong possibility of adventure. A Protestant, Kemp was badgered constantly by his Spanish comrades about whether he was a Freemason - Franco's supporters having been taught that Protestantism and Freemasonry went hand in hand, though in Kemp's case they did not.

He became a lieutenant in the Spanish Foreign Legion and by the end of the war was repatriated to England, seriously injured.

A Welshman, Frank Thomas, in search of adventure but struggling without Spanish support, made his way by train to Burgos and then to Talavera de la Reina where he enlisted with two Englishmen in the Spanish Foreign Legion. Badly wounded several months into combat, he was sent to convalesce in a hospital in Caceres.

There, Thomas managed to convince the Irish volunteers bivouacked in the town while waiting to leave Spain to smuggle him back to England.

Rowdy bunch

The largest group of foreign volunteers in Nationalist Spain were the 700 men in the Irish Brigade. Eventually, they became the 15th Bandera in the Spanish Foreign Legion, although led by their own Irish officers.

Eoin O'Duffy, one of the founders of the right-wing Irish Blue shirts, was in command. With the English sympathisers, the Irish came to fight for Franco to defend the shared "faith of their fathers".

                       

                                       
                       
                                Troops of General Franco's army                                
Franco's troops entering Bilbao
                       
                       
                                The young Irish volunteers came predominantly from rural areas, with a strong contingent from west Belfast; O'Duffy himself an Ulsterman. Although O'Duffy was showered with honours when he first came to Spain, the Irish Brigade enjoyed a chequered experience on the Iberian Peninsula.

After arrival in Spain in November 1936, they remained in camp in Caceres until February 1937. There were cultural differences and hiccups in liaison between Irish officers and Spanish adjutants and interpreters.

The Irish found Spanish food unpalatable and never acquired the abstemious Spanish habit of drinking, but not imbibing so much to induce inebriation. The Irish were seen as rowdy and uncontrollable.

In their turn, as O'Duffy recalls in his autobiography, when the locals in Caceres put on a bull fight to entertain their visitors, the Irish cheered for the bull, in their estimation, "the best sport on the field".

Friendly fire

Although robust and eager for the front, their first engagement was dispiriting. On the way to the front they were fired upon by their own side - a newly-arrived fascist battalion from the Canary Islands mistook the Irish Brigade for pro-Republican Irish International Brigadiers.

                       

                                       
                       
                                The ruins of the Toledo Alcazar                                
Alcazar siege became iconic event
                       
                       
                                On reaching their designated place at the front, the poor military leadership of the Irish was telling. Under heavy bombardment, the unit was dispersed and routed. Subsequently, a good number of the Irish Brigade voted to return to Ireland. Those who remained were incorporated into the Spanish Foreign Legion under Spanish command.

In general, the foreigners who crossed into Nationalist Spain to support General Franco knew little about Spanish politics. They came to fight what they saw as an international war.

In the end, General Franco defeated the Republican government though the European Right. His supporters outside Spain, in turn, were defeated in the much larger battle that came hard on the heels of Spain in World War II.

Judith Keene is director of the European Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia, and author of Fighting For Franco: International Volunteer in Nationalist Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

royalcello

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Reply with quote  #2 
The word "fascist" is thrown around a bit loosely here (I'm so tired of the canard that anyone opposed to the Spanish Republic must have been a "fascist"!), but otherwise this an interesting article on the often overlooked topic of non-Spaniards, many of them monarchists, who volunteered to fight for the Nationalist cause in the Spanish Civil War.


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Royal,

 

Thanks eversomuch for this article. As I may have mentioned, I'm working on a novel, the hero of which is a Kansas farmboy drawn to fight on the right side (pun intended) in the Spanish Civil War!

hubertgaston

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Nobody knows with precision how much there were French volunteers in the nationalist side:

The historian Hugh Thomas, in this "War of Spain" (1977 edition), speak about 500 men; the journalist Georges Oudard in "Brown, black and green shirts in Spain" (1938) speaks about 250 men and former spanish volunteer pro-Franco Marcello Gaya y Delrue in "Fighting for Madrid" (1961) speaks about 1.000 men...

 

It seems that confusion comes owing to the fact that the French volunteers were scattered in the various groups and militias of the nationalist army.

 

Thus, 500 men fought certainly under the order of colonel Henri Bonneville de Marsangy within the Spanish foreign Legion (Bandera Juana de Arco), while 250 or 300 monarchist volunteers of the Action Française (Camelots du Roi) fought in the carlist militias. Some other French volunteers, like Jean-Lou Bernanos (son of the catholic writer and monarchist Georges Bernanos) fought in the falangist militias.

 

 

Escutcheon of the french monarchist volunteers of the Action Française within the carlist militias.

 

 

.


hubertgaston

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72 white Russian fought like volunteers in the nationalist side. Majority in the carlist militias and especially in Tercio Dona Maria de Molina.
These white Russian volunteers had a distinctive badge.
Badge of the Russian volunteers of Tercio Dona Maria de Molina

hubertgaston

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Reply with quote  #6 

List of the 72 white russian volunteers:

General-major S. N. Bulack-Balachovich
General-major Alexander V. Fok
General-major Nickolai V. Shinkarenko
Colonel Nickolai N. Boltin
Colonel, baron von B. S. Wolf-Ludensgausen
Colonel, prince A. V. Amilachvari
Capitan Nickolai J. Krivosheia 
Capitan Grigul
Capitan A. A. Bonch-Bruevich
Capitan M. N.Ureninskij
Capitan Rashevskij
Capitan Vladislav Svintzov 
Capitan P. V. Belin
Stabs-capitan Jakov T. Poluchin
Stabs-capitan D. K. Golban 
Stabs-capitan V. I. Naletov 
Stabs-capitan A. P. Jaremchuk 
Stabs-capitan S. P. Brilliantov
Stabs-capitan E. E. Palchevskij
Stabs-capitan N. I. Selivanov 
Stabs-capitan A. P. Ergin
Stabs-rotmistr S. K. Gurskij
Stabs-rotmistr Alexander A. Tringam
Rotmistr G. M. Zelim-Bek
Starshij leutnant V. M. Marchenko
Starshij leutnant N. A. Rogosin 
R. A. Konstantino
Porutchik L. N. Pulaev
Porutchik V. V. Bojarunas
Porutchik K. A. Gognidganoshvili
Porutchik N. P. Zotov
Podporutchik N. K. Sladkov
Podporutchik N. S. Artuchov 
Podporutchik K. A. Goncharenko
Podporutchik Porchovich
Podpraporschik Zbignev K. Kompelskij
Cadet V. E. Krivosheia
Cadet M. A. Salnikov 
Junker L. G. Tozkij
Feldfebel N. Ivanov
Feldfebel V. A. Dvoichenko
V. Gurko 
B. V. Iliyn

V. Kissilev
Baron I. A. Osten-Drisen
Nickolai E. Bark
A. V. Bibikov

I. Guziew
N. N. Vainer
P. Ivanov-Panfilov 
Serge Ivanov 
E. V. Konstantinov
Porutchik V. I. Kovalevskij
Porutchik Cheremuschkin 
Prince Dolgorukij
Esaulov 
P. A. Zotov
Koptev
A. Kuzenko
Graf G. P. Lamsdorff 
Prince Laursov-Magalov
I. V. Marchenko

Bovitc

Platonov
Igor K. Sacharov 
M. Stuban
V. Chig
V. Klimenko 
Prince M. A. Zulukidze
Uri A. Starizkij
Serge Tehli+
Von Ditrich

 

Volunteer Nickolai V. Shinkarenko in spanish officer uniform.


hubertgaston

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Seven Romanian, militants of the Legion of the Archangel Michael (Iron Guard) was volunteers in Spain in the nationalist side.
It acts of: Ion Mota, Vasile Marin, Gheorghe Clime, Neculai Totu, Alexandru Cantacuzino, Banica Dobre, Father Ion Dumitrescu-Borsa.
 January 13, 1937, two of them (Mota and Marin) were killed in Majadahonda during the engagements around Madrid. A monument always commemorates their memory.
 
The monument Mota-Marin in Majadahonda (which I visited in 1987).

hubertgaston

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Reply with quote  #8 
There were pro-Franco volunteers come from many countries, but in small number and in a dispersed way.
Such as for example the South-African Roy Campbell, friend of JRR Tolkien, the British Andrew Fountaine, future leader of the far right British National Party (BNP), or the Belgian Rodolphe de Hemricourt de Grunne (1911-1941), killed as a combatant with the Royal Air Force against German aviation.
 
The Belgian pilot Rodolphe de Hemricourt in Spain



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Reply with quote  #9 

Really interesting article. Seemed to be the Old World fighting against the new. Interesting to see the Russian Whites also joining Franco's cause.

Franco did some awful things, but I can see how in that early period how easy it would be to rally behind someone who meant so much of what you stood for.

hubertgaston

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blayne

Really interesting article. Seemed to be the Old World fighting against the new. Interesting to see the Russian Whites also joining Franco's cause.

Franco did some awful things, but I can see how in that early period how easy it would be to rally behind someone who meant so much of what you stood for.

It had also at least three "white Russians" who fought with the "republicans": Krygin, Glinoedsky, Savinkov. They probably hoped to then be able to negotiate a return in the USSR after the war.
campeadorshin

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Reply with quote  #11 
Of course the article falsely accuses Franco and his supporters of being fascists, thats what Socialists call anyone who opposes them. 

Viva Franco!

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BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #12 
Campy,
Fascism (IPA: [ˈfæʃɪzm]) is a radical political ideology that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, anti-liberalism and anti-communism.

That describes Franco's Spain pretty well doesn't ?

Names' connotations are often in the ears of the hearer.  (Think about how you've used the word sect).


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campeadorshin

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Reply with quote  #13 
You got that from wiki, a very crappy source.  Truth by consensus.

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Communism and Capitalism are evil!!! http://distributism.com/


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Reply with quote  #14 

Hey don't bash Wiki too much they're actually fairly accurate on many things, and if it's wrong with it's definition of fascism, then by all means fix it.

BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by campeadorshin
You got that from wiki, a very crappy source.  Truth by consensus.


I'm ready to hear your learned definition. 
I'm also off to go check my hard copy dictionary to see how different it is (As thats spot on the meaning I've known for Fascism since about the 6th grade.)

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