Cover image for The Spanish Civil War, the Soviet Union, and communism
The Spanish Civil War, the Soviet Union, and communism
Payne, Stanley G.
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Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 400 pages ; 25 cm
Soviet policy and the Comintern in the early years, 1917-1925 -- Communism and revolution in Spain, 1917-1931 -- Communism and the Second Republic, 1931-1934 -- From revolutionary insurrection to popular front, 1934-1936 -- Communism and the implosion of the Republic, February-July 1936 -- Communism and the Spanish Revolution, July-August 1936 -- The Soviet decision to intervene militarily, July-October 1936 -- Soviet military participation, 1936-1939 -- The policy struggle under the Largo Caballero government, September 1936-May 1937 -- The Negrín government, 1937-1938 -- Defeat, 1938-1939 -- Conclusion.
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HX343 .P39 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In this compelling book Stanley Payne offers the first comprehensive narrative of Soviet and Communist intervention in the revolution and civil war in Spain. He documents in unprecedented detail Soviet strategies, Comintern activities, and the role of the Communist party in Spain from the early 1930s to the end of the civil war in 1939. Drawing on a very broad range of Soviet and Spanish primary sources, including many only recently available, Payne changes our understanding of Soviet and Communist intentions in Spain, of Stalin's decision to intervene in the Spanish war, of the widely accepted characterisation of the conflict as the struggle of fascism against democracy, and of the claim that Spain's war constituted the opening round of World War II. The author arrives at a new view of the Spanish Civil War and concludes not only that the Democratic Republic had many undemocratic components but also that the position of the Communist party was by no means counterrevolutionary.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Often considered the opening round of World War II, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 has long been treated as just that and not much more. Payne (A History of Fascism, 1914-1945) argues that the Soviets had a major stake in the conflict; they used it as a training period for both their troops and their ideology. Using previously unavailable primary sources, Payne documents Soviet strategies and activities, as well as communism in Spain from 1917 to 1939. He challenges the accepted view of the revolution in Spain as a struggle of democracy against fascism. Instead, he believes that the civil war could not have been fought had democracy still been alive in Spain in 1936 and that the basic cause of the war was the revolutionary process-a thesis well supported by his primary sources. Likely to become the definitive work on the Soviet Union's active participation and military intervention in the Spanish Civil War, this is recommended for collections with an interest in this era.-David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Author of numerous excellent studies in Spanish history, including a broad, general history and specific analyses of fascism, the military, and events in the 1930s (e.g., A History of Fascism, 1914-65, CH, Oct'96; Fascism in Spain, 1923-1977, CH, Jun'00), Payne has long been in the front rank of historians of modern Spain. Drawing from several recent interpretive accounts of the Spanish Republic and Civil War and newly available documents, Payne revisits questions about the roles of the Spanish Communist Party and of the Soviet Union during those revolutionary years. In so doing, he challenges a widely held view that the communists were counterrevolutionary and moderate; rather, they were intent on destroying revolutionaries on their left in part to camouflage their ultimate intent, the creation of an authoritarian socialist society. As for the Soviets, however exaggerated Stalin's ambitions, the ultimate aim was the establishment of a Soviet satellite in Western Europe; everything else, including support of Popular Front alliances, was simply tactical. The Soviets learned much from the Spanish war but failed to put it to good use on the battlefields of WW II; however, they did apply its lessons to the establishment of "peoples' democracies" in Eastern Europe. This is a comprehensive and strongly argued work. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. N. Greene Wesleyan University