Sunday, 6 May 2012

The words of Harold Cardozo

Harold Cardozo was the Daily Mail correspondent in Spain during the Civil War. In 1937 he published a book on the subject, called "March of a Nation". Here are some quotations from his book that may give you an idea of how the war was seen by Franco sympathisers at the time:

"Leaders of the Army, moderate men like Quiepo de Llano, Mola and Franco, had come to the conclusion that...insurrection had become the most sacred duty of the Spanish people"

" favourites were always the volunteer battalions - the young men of the Requetes or the Falangists....The first so gay and dashing...The second, in their blue uniforms, looked so workman like,..."

"..the Spanish Civil Guard, who are a loyal and well disciplined body of men."

"(after Badajoz Republican soldiers were subject to a)...drumhead court martial and shot.....this was probably the last instance of a drumhead court martial for General Franco...insisted that no man should be shot without a proper trial..."

"Throughout the time I have been with the Spanish Nationalists I have never heard of a single case of torture being applied, of prisoners being grossly ill-used, or of their being put to death except by shooting in accordance with the military code...on the other hand the...accounts of...every form of atrocity committed by the Reds would fill a large volume."

" terrible are the consequences of any civil war, but especially of one waged by the pagan Reds encouraged by Moscow..."

"The Basque Autonomists...are only a minority in the four Spanish Basque provinces and have not the slightest right to represent the Basque people."

"I have seen the Spanish Moorish troops at close quarters for many months and I have never seen or heard the slightest evidence which supports wild charges of cruelty made against them."

"The Army movement...had the support...of the great mass of the people - workers, middle class and aristocrats alike."

"While in Red Spain there were murders, bomb throwing, arson and other crimes almost without number... criminal...offences in Nationalist Spain fell to practically zero."

"The normal Spaniard is honest and all the abnormal Spaniards were on the side of the Reds."

"A deal of nonsense has been..written about the Italian failure at Guadalajara and also later Bermeo...I can write with impartiality about both.(of the)..deliberate intention to create friction between Great Britain and Italy.."

"Many were taken prisoners by the familiar device used by the Reds who stationed Garibaldi battalions near where the Italians were so that stray parties would walk right into the Red lines imagining they touch with their own men. ... This was the extent of the "disaster", really only a minor set back..reflecting no disgrace..on the Italian volunteers..."

"...these two lies are only fresh examples of the extremes of mendacity to which the professional pacifist, be he British or French, will go if he believes that he can in any way injure or belittle a diplomatic or political opponent."

"...let us suppose that the allegations as regards Guernica were untrue or only true in part."

"The majority of the burned houses (in Guernica) not the slightest signs of damage by bombing."

"I could not Guernica a single sign of an incendiary bomb having burst outside the burnt-out houses."

"Both towns (ie Guernica and Amorebieta) were Communists or Anarchists....All else is untrue..."


  1. I think that's one way of putting it.

  2. I guess I must be one of the few who didn't want the Fascists to win, but neither did I want the Republicans to win either. Both sides strike me as being indefensible, for different reason, but the whole war is a fascinating arena for wargaming.

  3. I think choosing sides is difficult. The lack of Western democratic support for the Republic opened the door for the Communist/Stalinists.

    As you say, the background with all the different factions makes it a fascinating period.