The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations - Vol. 2

By Cathal J. Nolan | Go to book overview
agreed in 1996. In 1975 a second peasant insurgency began, led by “The Army of the Poor.” The government response was especially brutal after the revolt spread among Guatemala’s sizeable Indian population: death squads roamed freely and with full government support and torture was unstated but ubiquitous policy. Several more coups were carried out in the 1980s, and several hundred thousand Guatemalans fled to Mexico. Civilian government was reintroduced in 1986, but the military continued to play a dominant role in Guatemalan domestic affairs. In 1993 the United States sponsored a ceasefire and peace talks. In 1996 an amnesty law was passed shielding death squad members from prosecution. In 1998 the Catholic Church issued a report documenting that 90 percent of all wartime murders (about 200,000 civilians died in the long civil war) had been carried out by the right-wing death squads and 10 percent by the leftist guerrillas.
Suggested Reading:
J. Handy, A Gift of the Devil: History of Guatemala (1984).
Guatemala, Captaincy-General of.See Central America.
Guderian, Heinz (1888–1954). German tank commander. He led a brigade of tanks into Vienna during the Anschluss with Austria. He carefully studied de Gaulle’s ideas on tank combat, adapting them for the Panzers he commanded, which overran Poland and then France in 1939–1940. It was Guderian’s Panzers that Hitler inexplicably halted as they raced to cut off the British from the coast at Dunkirk. At first, Guderian was successful in Russia, capturing huge numbers of prisoners at Minsk, Smolensk, and Kiev, but he stalled before Moscow. He was dismissed at the end of 1941 for retreating despite Hitler’s direct order to stand fast. He returned to command in 1943 to reform and direct the German armor formations fighting increasingly desperate, and losing, battles on the eastern front. He was intensely and personally loyal to Hitler, but otherwise apolitical. See also Blitzkrieg; Kursk, Battle of.
Guelphs and Ghibellines. Terms for two German houses with opposing claims in Germany and Italy: the Guelphs, originally based in Saxony and Bavaria, and the Hohenstaufen. However, the terms took on a wider significance as “Guelphs” came to represent the papal party (Catholic Church), whereas “Ghibellines” were supporters of imperial authority in the much deeper and longer struggle for supremacy within the Holy Roman Empire between popes and emperors during the late Middle Ages.

Suggested Reading:
R. E. Herzstein, ed., The Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages (1966).
Guernica. This Basque town was the first to ever experience the ferocity of mass aerial attack and the use of air power as a terror weapon. It was bombed by the Luftwaffe in support of Franco’s rebellion during the Spanish Civil War. “Who bombed Guernica?” became an intense controversy. The Republicans accurately blamed the Francoists, whereas the rebels improbably blamed an-

archist arsonists. Also blamed were “volunteer” German and Soviet pilots flying for Franco and the Republic, respectively. In 1945, at Nuremberg, the truth came out: Hermann Göring admitted he had ordered the bombing as a brutal experiment in how to destroy an urban target from the air. Yet, not even that confession stopped later right-wing revisionists from continuing to deny it ever happened.

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