Monday, January 4, 2016

The Murder of History

History books, especially textbooks, are monolithic in describing that civil war.  Any facts, any scraps of history that might make the case for the Nationalist side or might condemn the Popular Front have been relegated to the Memory Hole in the Ministry of Truth.  Almost no one, if asked today, could even propose any arguments in support of Franco in that war, because most of us go our entire adult lives without ever having heard anything but the propaganda of one side in that war.
Yet the true history of that civil war, as reason might suggest in any civil war, presents a complex and morally ambiguous event.  The Nationalists, for example, are routinely accused of overthrowing the legitimate "Republican" government of Spain, but the first free election in Spain with universal suffrage in November 1933 was a decisive defeat for the Popular Front. 
That electoral defeat led to the February 1936 elections, the last elections before the civil war.  The Nationalist side won the votes of 4.9 million Spaniards in the Cortes, while only 4.3 million cast votes for the Popular Front.  Extreme gerrymandering gave the Popular Front a plurality, not a majority, of the actual seats in the Cortes.  The Popular Front used its plurality to re-certify the election results (often before the election results had even been announced) to give the Popular Front eighty more seats, and a majority in the Cortes, that it had not won in the election.

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