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British Battles of the Spanish Civil War (Hardback)

Fighting Franco

Colour Books Military Photographic Books

By Charles J Esdaile
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 248
Illustrations: Integrated b&w
ISBN: 9781526782816
Published: 4th July 2023

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The Spanish Civil War continues to attract attention as a brutal political and military struggle which foreshadowed the wider war across Europe that followed, and it has given rise to myths that have become commonplace since the war ended eighty years ago. Few of these myths are as potent as those associated with the International Brigades, the 45,000 volunteers from many countries who travelled to Spain to fight for the Second Republic. That is why this perceptive and original study by Charles Esdaile is so valuable. Using the recorded experience of the British Brigaders as well as primary research in the Spanish archives, he thoroughly re-examines the contribution they made to the war effort against the Nationalists of General Franco.

During the war the Nationalists exaggerated the importance of the International Brigades in order to demonstrate the influence of the Communists on the Republic, and the Republicans portrayed them as part of the great crusade to defend democracy. Then, after the war, surviving Brigaders tended to overstate the part they played and the sacrifices they made. The one fact that nobody would dispute was the terrible losses sustained by the volunteers. This produced an impression that they were veritable men of iron who played a key part in the fighting and helped stave off the Nationalist victory until the eve of the Second World War.

By concentrating in close detail on the major battles in which the British Brigaders took part, Charles Esdaile reassesses their impact and considers whether their performance on the battlefield justifies their reputation.

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