Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Remembering Spain

by New Worker

This month Londoners stopped to remember the struggle and sacrifice of those who volunteered to defend the Spanish republic against General Franco’s rebels and his Nazi and Italian fascist allies during the Spanish Civil War. The Soviet Union sent arms and materiel to the legitimate Popular Front government but Britain stood aside. Anglo-French imperialism tacitly supported the fascists with a policy of “non-intervention” that prevented the Spanish government from importing British or French arms while turning a blind eye to the intervention of Mussolini’s fascist legions and the Nazi Luftwaffe which ultimately proved decisive.
Some 4,000 volunteers from Britain and Ireland , many of them communists, went to Spain to aid the republican cause fighting in the ranks of the International Brigade or working in front-line medical services. Over 35,000 anti-fascists from all over the world rallied to the call to defend the doomed efforts of the Spanish republic to quell Franco’s rebellion.
This year the International Brigade Memorial Trust is holding a number of events around the country to mark the 75th anniversary of the Brigades' formation in October 1936 starting with the annual ceremony at the brigade memorial in Jubilee Gardens in London’s South Bank on Saturday 2nd July. Guests of honour included the Spanish ambassador and representatives from the Catalan regional government along with delegations from Swedish and German brigader associations. Wreaths were laid by representatives of the British Jewish Ex-Servicemen’s Association and Veterans for Peace from the United States along with those of two surviving veteran volunteers,Thomas Watters and David Lomon.

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