Reading History: The Spanish Civil War

Paul Preston looks at the historiography of the Spanish Civil War.

In 1968, Ricardo de la Cierva, the official historian of the Franco regime, produced a virtually unusable bibliography of the Spanish Civil War. Despite its shameful errors and omissions, the bibliography was nevertheless remarkable for listing nearly 15,000 titles. This was a staggering reflection of the extent to which, on paper at least, the war was still being fought. In the intervening fourteen years, the flow of books on the subject has continued unabated. In great measure, this continuing interest was closely connected with the longevity of the war's victor. General Franco's continued enjoyment of a power achieved with the aid of Hitler and Mussolini infuriated opponents of fascism all over the world. Moreover, no one did more to keep the civil war a burning issue than the Caudillo himself.

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