Spain Betrayed


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Edited by Ronald Radosh, Mary Habeck, and Grigory Sevostianov

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The Spanish Civil War has long been the stuff of legend. Thousands of brave young men from all over the Western world, most of them organized by their local Communist parties, rushed to Spain to support the democratic Republic against right-wing forces led by rebellious generals in the Spanish officer corps. Although the Republic was eventually defeated, some observers believed that the effort to defend it was a selfless undertaking of the international Communist movement and the Soviet Union--a noble crusade against Hitler, Mussolini, and their Spanish puppet Franco.

This book presents a very different view of the role of the Soviet Union in this war. Based on previously unavailable Moscow archives, it provides the first full documentation of that country’s duplicitous and self-serving activities. Documents in the book reveal that the Soviet Union not only swindled the Spanish Republic out of millions of dollars through arms deals but also sought to take over and run the Spanish economy, government, and armed forces in order to make Spain a Soviet possession, thereby effectively destroying the foundations of authentic Spanish antifascism. The documents also shed light on many other disputed episodes of the war: the timing of the Republican request for assistance from the Soviet Union; the rise and fall of the International Brigades; the internal workings of the Comintern and its influence on Spain; and much more.

Authoritative and startling in the new information it offers, the book is essential reading for anyone interested in Soviet foreign policy or the Spanish Civil War.

Ronald Radosh, professor emeritus of history at the City University of New York, is now senior research associate at the Center for Communitarian Policy Studies, George Washington University. Mary R. Habeck is assistant professor of history and coordinator of the Russian Military Archive Project at Yale University.

“An indispensable work for anyone interested in the Spanish Civil War.”—The New York Military Affairs Symposium Newsletter

“The authors present a fascinating and original collection of secret Soviet documents that confirm irrefutably the view that Stalin undermined the Spanish Republic for his own purposes."—Henry Kamen, Professor, Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Barcelona 

“This book stands alone—there is no such collection of materials elsewhere in any language. It illuminates much that was obscure and will have a major impact on Spanish Civil War studies.”—Stanley G. Payne, Hilldale-Jaume Vicens Vives Professor of History, University of Wisconsin

“This richly documented book is finally and totally destructive of many long-held myths about the extent and nature of the Soviet role in the Spanish War.”—Robert Conquest, author of The Great Terror

“Now, thanks to Spain Betrayed, we have the fullest documentary account of the Soviet Union’s role in the conflict that we are likely to get—one sharply at odds with the reigning myth. . . . If the current volume doesn’t persuade the flat-earthers of the Soviet Union’s malign role in the Spanish Civil War, nothing ever will. . . . [T]his book is a highly useful map through the thicket of deceit that often passes for scholarship on the war.”—Michael J. Ybarra, Wall Street Journal

“[T]here’s something almost sad, like shaking a child awake from a pleasant dream, about the appearance of Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War, the latest entry in Yale University Press’s extraordinary Annals of Communism series. Edited with commentary by Ronald Radosh, Mary R. Habeck, and Grigory Sevostianov, the volume consists of over five hundred pages of documents discovered in Russian archives. It will effect a complete overturn in historical perceptions of the twentieth-century Left. With the appearance of Spain Betrayed, the last undefiled temple of the Marxists and their admirers has been permanently undermined.”—Stephen Schwartz, Weekly Standard

“This rich trove of archival correspondence between Soviet representatives and Moscow provides definitive answers. . . . Highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.”—Zachary T. Irwin, Library Journal

“The editors of this volume deserve the highest commendation for presenting an absolutely unique trove of original documentation as illuminates Soviet policy and internal republic politics as no other previous work has done. All students of Soviet policy, the Spanish war and European international relations, as well as all informed readers in these fields, will be indebted to them for an unprecedented collection of material that marks something of a watershed in the history of the period. It is a book that no one interested in the Spanish Civil War can afford to be without.”—Stanley G. Payne, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Yale University Press, continuing its extraordinary Annals of Communism series, has published translations of some 80 formerly secret documents mined from the great reservoir of information in the archives of the former Soviet Union. . . . The editors have provided fine, explanatory notes for each section. . . . Spain Betrayed gives the weight and substance of documentary evidence to a subject that has always provoked deep feeling and impassioned debate.”—Richard Bernstein, New York Times

“The verdict is in: Everything that was ever suspected about the Comintern line in Spain turns out to have been true.”—Christopher Hitchens, Wilson Quarterly

“Now at long last we have in Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union and the Spanish Civil War . . . immutable proof of what George Orwell was reporting at the time to skeptical audiences, namely, how Stalin had been betraying the Spanish Republican from day one of the Civil War.”—Arnold Beichman, Washington Times

“If Spain were Vietnam these would be its Pentagon Papers.”—Sam Tanenhaus, Vanity Fair

Spain Betrayed adds greatly to the body of knowledge about contemporary history. Its information will penetrate slowly but surely, straightening the record and helping to restore respect for intellect and truth. It ought to be impossible for anyone to argue that Communism in Spain was a noble cause, but that may be too much to expect.”—David Pryce-Jones, National Review

“Part of the invaluable ‘Annals of Communism’ project being published by Yale. Documents from newly opened Soviet archives, presented here verbatim along with helpful commentary, demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that from the beginning in 1936 through the end in 1939 Soviet support for the Spanish Republic was aimed at creating a puppet regime and establishing a Soviet-controlled ‘people’s democracy’ along the lines that became familiar after World War II. . . . A chilling read.”—First Things

“This documentary collection, introduced by summary and interpretation, is truly extraordinary and will be a major resource.”—Choice

“These 81 documents are likely to provoke even more controversy among Russian scholars and students of the Spanish Civil War.”—Virginia Quarterly Review

“[This book] is an historical argument that tears the conflict out of its chronological and geo-political context. . . . The thesis has been eagerly taken up by American rightists keen to remove the last jewel in the Communist crown—the anti-fascist struggle of the Spanish Republic—and equally enthusiastically refuted by others on the left.”—History Today

“There is no more important title in the series to date than Spain Betrayed. . . . This new book of primary source material . . . has already begun to clear the air about what happened between the years 1936 and 1939. . . . The editors let the dispatches speak for themselves, but they wisely provide brief, detailed introductions that put the material in context. . . . We must be thankful at last to have all this invaluable information in one volume.”—Robert Leiter, Jewish Exponent

Selected as one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2001 by the Los Angeles Times Book Review
ISBN: 9780300176957
Publication Date: April 15, 2011
588 pages, 6 x 9
15 b/w illus.
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