I’ve just started reading The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge by Paul Preston and I’m finding it to be an interesting, though terribly sad, piece of work. One of Preston’s main hypotheses seems to be that the way Spain suffered under dictatorship for so many years after the Civil War meant that it was very difficult for the Spanish people to ever truly reconcile themselves to what had happened, and what they and their neighbours had done.
Anyone living in Spain will have noticed that the Civil War and following dictatorship continue to be not just the cataclysmic events of Spain’s 20th century but also reference points which are sure to be mentioned sooner or later in almost any discussion about Spanish politics, culture, society or even geography. Only yesterday, I saw on the Catalan news that plans are still afoot to give and official pardon to Catalan president Lluis Companys, 68 years after he was executed at Montjuïc fort. And many families continue to struggle for the right to exhume the bodies of relatives left in mass graves throughout the country.
There seems to be both a political and a personal angle to the way the Civil War is so frequently conjured up, and I have little doubt that this experience is different in Catalonia than in other parts of Spain.
This week’s poll asks: What’s the best way to deal with Spain’s historical memory?
You can vote in the sidebar to the right, and of course, leave comments on this post in the traditional manner. With this poll, you may select up to two options, as they’re not all mutually exclusive.