General Franco and ‘mainstream historians’

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2018), Letters, Volume 26

Sir,—May I make a brief contribution in relation to Tony Canavan’s ‘Bite-sized History’ article, with reference to the Spanish Civil War? Mr Canavan correctly states that most ‘mainstream historians’ have reached a certain consensus in this regard. May I suggest that history has demonstrated that ‘mainstream historians’ have frequently been proven wrong? One need only cite the long-propagated myths of the Spanish ‘black legends’, which turned facts on their head until demolished by the great Henry Kamen in his work The Spanish Inquisition—a historical revision. Similarly, right up until the early part of the twentieth century, anti-Catholic propaganda was peddled (despite the evidence) until the corrective work of historians such as David Lindbergh, J.L. Heilbron and latterly Eamonn Duffy, Jack Scarisbrick, James Hannam and others. The Spanish Civil War is a similar case in point. The political left, and particularly leftist historians, have zero credibility when it comes to this subject. Events and history itself have shown us that General Franco was by a considerable distance the lesser of two evils. The civil war was primarily a result of the left instigating a programme of genocide against the Catholic population of Spain in 1936. ‘Mainstream historians’ never allude to the fact that in just six months thirteen bishops, 7,000 religious and thousands of lay people were martyred. The definitive study of deaths by Ramon Salas Larrazabal shows that in the Republic from 1936 to 1939 the total was 72,334, and in Nationalist Spain from 1936 to 1950 the total was 57,662. The moral of the story: beware of ‘mainstream historians’. For anyone interested in a balanced history of the Spanish Civil War, the go-to historians are Warren Carroll and Stanley Payne. To be avoided at all costs is the propaganda masquerading as history of Paul Preston.—Yours etc.,

ERIC CONWAY

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