Spanish Civil War - The Defense of Madrid
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"Do not forget Madrid, the war; never forget that out there, The eyes of the enemy glance at you with the look of Death"
- - Rafael Alberti, "Ballad of the Defense of Madrid"
"From all peoples, from all races, you came to us like brothers, and in the hardest days of the war, when the capital of Spain was threatened, it was you, gallant comrades of the International Brigades, who helped save the city with your fighting enthusiasm, your heroism and your spirit of sacrifice."
- - Dolores Ibárruri
In the dawn of July 17, 1936, the garrison of Morocco rebels under the leadership of General Francisco Franco, and this is followed by military risings throughout mainland Spain. Within a few days, Franco's Moorish troops and legionnaires are at the gates of Madrid. At first, the European powers agree to adopt an attitude of non-intervention. However, the Spanish Civil War soon ceases to be a strictly Spanish affair when large contingents of men, arms and equipment pour into Spain from all sides. The rebels, auto-proclaimed "Nationalists" receive considerable military aid from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, without which they would have never won the war. The legitimate government of Spain, left alone by the European democracies, turns its sight into the USSR, from which it obtains materials and equipment. Manpower comes in the form of International Brigades (some 35,000 men), who volunteer from all around the world to come to Spain to fight against Fascism. After the initial successes of the Nationalists, the territories held by both sides are roughly equal in extent. The continuous attempts of Franco to storm Madrid and cut its railroad communications with Valencia and the Mediterranean sea repeatedly fail. But it is only a matter of time. After three years of heroic resistance, with shortenings of everything, Madrid falls. With the fall of Madrid, the Republican forces capitulate. On April 1, 1939, the war is over and Franco installs himself as "Caudillo" and "savior" of Spain.
"Mothers! Women! When the years pass by and the wounds of war are stanched; when the memory of the sad and bloody days dissipates in a present of liberty, of peace and of well-being; when the rancors have died out and pride in a free country is felt equally by all Spaniards, speak to your children. Tell them of these men of the International Brigades."
- - Dolores Ibárruri
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