I’ve been fascinated by the Spanish Civil War and revolution for years. Aside from the ideological context to the conflict it is one of the great ‘what ifs’ of history. Between 1936 -1939 anarchist, socialist and republicans in Spain supported by thousands of international volunteers tried but ultimately failed to stop a fascist insurrection establishing the forty year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Noam Chomsky has gone as far as to say had they (the antifascists) won, World War II might have been averted. While counter-factuals are interesting, they do not leave history behind them. As I traveled across Spain over the past few weeks I tried to see what did remain from that devastating conflict in the cities and towns I visited. This is some of what I came across.
I started out at Ronda, the site of a brutal massacre during the civil war. Shortly after the coup started in 1936 republicans massacred hundreds of suspected fascists and threw some down this ravine. You can read about Ronda here.
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Posted in 20th Century, Dublin history, ireland, Irish history, Nazi, Nazism, tagged antifascism, Fascism, Nazi, Otto Skorzeny on March 8, 2012 |
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Wednesday 31st August 1960 is a day Dalkey Literary, Historical & Debating Society probably don’t like to mention much. That evening the society, based in one of Dublins most affluent suburbs, had as their guest speaker none other than former Nazi commando Colonel Otto Skorzeny.
Skorzeny, dubbed by the US General Dwight D Eisenhower as “the most dangerous man in Europe”, gained widespread notoriety after he organised and lead the raid that freed Benito Mussolini from captivity in 1943. This had seen Skorzeny glide into a mountain top hotel where Mussolini was being held. This was then followed up in late 1944 with an audacious kidnapping of the son of Hungarian dictator Miklos Horty. The captive was used to force Horthy to cede power to the Nazi symapthisers The Arrow Cross that year. After the defeat of Germany Skorzeny spent 3 years in prison camps before escaping in 1948.
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