Britain Divided: The Effect of the Spanish Civil War on British Political Opinion

By K. W. Watkins | Go to book overview

7
'Conflicts -- Resolved and Unresolved'

That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

Ecclesiastes, 1: 15.

THE years since 1945 have, if anything, further emphasised the unique character of the effect of the Spanish Civil War on British opinion. On the one hand, as we have seen in the last chapter, the Second World War and the rôle of the Franco régime during the years 1939-45 provided a concrete test of the political wisdom and foresightedness of the different individuals and groups. On the other hand, the world struggle did not, to any appreciable extent, help to dampen those political passions which had been aroused in the course of the Spanish part of its prelude. It is this fact, which must now be examined, that confirms the validity of the earlier analyses of the British Right and the British Left.

The clashes in Britain over post-war Spanish policy had as their prologue Churchill's speech in the House of Commons on 25 May 1944.1 His defence of this speech, in a letter to Roosevelt on 4 June 1944, foreshadowed the post-war attitude of the majority of the Right. He wrote:2

I see some of your newspapers are upset at my reference in the House of Commons to Spain. This is very unfair, as all I have done is to repeat my declaration of October 1940. I only mentioned Franco's name to show how silly it was to identify Spain with him or him with Spain by means of caricatures. I do not care about Franco, but I do not wish to have the Iberian peninsula hostile to the British after the war....

We should not be able to agree here in attacking countries which have not molested us because we dislike their totalitarian form of government. I do not know whether there is more freedom in Stalin's Russia than in Franco's Spain. I have no intention to seek a quarrel with either.

____________________
1
See Appendix E for full text.
2
Winston Churchill, Closing the Ring ( London, 1952), p. 554.

-202-

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Britain Divided: The Effect of the Spanish Civil War on British Political Opinion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • I - British Interests and the Spanish Civil War 1
  • 2 - Image and Reality 13
  • 3 - Non-Intervention 71
  • 4 - The British Right 83
  • 5 - The British Left 141
  • 6 - Spain and the Second World War 196
  • 7 - 'Conflicts -- Resolved and Unresolved' 202
  • Conclusion 234
  • Postscript 237
  • Appendix A 239
  • Appendix B 245
  • Appendix C 246
  • Appendix D 248
  • Appendix E 249
  • Appendix F 252
  • Bibliography 255
  • Index 262
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