The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) had a profound influence on Britain. Some 2400 British volunteers fought in the International Brigades against Franco’s rebel forces, thousands of activists across Britain –including well-known artists and writers – campaigned and raised funds on behalf of the Spanish Republic, and almost 4000 Basque refugee children sought refuge in Britain in May 1937. However, despite this enthusiasm for the cause of the elected Spanish government, Britain’s Conservative-dominated National Government remained committed to the policy of Non-Intervention, while even the Left was divided over many issues raised by the Civil War. This lecture will not only seek to explain why so many in Britain felt compelled to take sides on the Civil War, but also will explore some of the complexities of the conflict’s impact. Finally, it will ask whether the response to the Civil War –with such a remarkable depth of political engagement - makes this a unique episode in modern British historyThis talk is part of MML's joint programme with Islington Museum where our collaborative exhibition 'Banners for Spain' will be shown 5 May-8 July.
The exhibition showcases six newly conserved banners for Aid Spain, highlights from the Marx Memorial Library's archives and stories of the Islington International Brigaders.
245 St John Street