The involvement of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War

explanatory Essay
1077 words
1077 words

The involvement of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War

On the 18 July 1936, leading Generals of the Spanish Army led a revolt against the democratically elected Popular Front government of Spain. Within days the country was plunged into civil war with the Republicans fighting the insurgent Nationalists for control of the country. The various democracies of the world turned their backs on Spain's plight and even hindered the Republicans by supporting non-intervention in the conflict. However, many people came to help the Republic. Las Brigades Internacionales, the International Brigades, would eventually include almost 40,000 men and women from 53 different countries, from all around the world.

The International Brigades began as an idea in July and August of 1936, but soon its formation became the main work of the Comintern (the body with the responsibility of fostering the world-wide spread of Communism). Each Communist party was instructed to raise volunteers who would be sent to Spain by train or boat. Around 60% of the volunteers were Communists, but non-Communists were also welcomed. The first group of recruits came to Spain by train from Paris, and arrived at their base in Albacete, halfway between Madrid and Valencia, on the 14th of October.

It was there that the 500 French, German and Polish recruits began training. The theme of the recruitment propaganda was based on the slogan that Spain should be "The grave of European Fascism", and with this in mind volunteers continued to flow into Spain from France. One of the organisers of recruits in Paris was the future Marshal Tito - Joseph Broz. In Albacete the volunteers were organised into language groups and the base was put under the command of Andre Marty. The Brigades were to be led by General Emilio Kleber and intensive training was to take place in the base before going to the front.

The International Brigades baptism of fire came on the 8th of November 1936, when the XIth and XIIth Brigades went to the Madrid front. They numbered about 3,500 men altogether, and were extremely important to the defence of Madrid. The fighting in Madrid eventually reached stalemate and the Brigades were transferred to other fronts. The XI, XIII and XV Brigades fought at the Brunete offensive of July 1937, where losses were very high, and where Oliver Law, the Afro- American commander of the Lincoln Battalion was killed. The Brigades also played a major part in the Aragon offensive of August 1937, and were formally incorporated into the Republican Army around this time.

In this essay, the author

  • Describes the involvement of the international brigades in the spanish civil war.
  • Explains that the international brigades began as an idea in july and august of 1936, but soon its formation became the main work of the comintern.
  • Explains that the recruitment propaganda was based on the slogan that spain should be "the grave of european fascism".
  • Explains that the international brigades baptism of fire came on the 8th of november 1936, when they went to the madrid front. they numbered about 3,500 men, and were extremely important to madrid's defence.
  • Explains that general o'duffy's assistance to franco is the most famous irish involvement in the spanish civil war, but there were also irishmen who fought on the republican side of the conflict.
  • Explains that the former i.r.a men did not require much training and went into battle on the cordoba front in 1936. they were then transferred to madrid front, and at the end of january 1937, the badly depleted unit joined the newly formed xv international brigade.
  • Explains that the irish fought in the battle of jarama, the brunete offensive, and the aragon offensive.
  • Explains that the republican prime minister, dr. juan negrin, announced the withdrawal of the international brigades from spain in the hope that this would lead to the withdraw of italian, german, and portuguese troops who were fighting for franco.
  • Explains that the republican side lost its battle with the fascists on the 1st of april 1939. many of the international brigade veterans were exiled from their home countries, or returned home to be labelled as "reds".
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