The International Brigades were the volunteer military formations of left-wing sympathisers from all over Europe and the USA recruited, organised and trained by the Communist International ( and secretly controlled by Stalin’s Soviet Union) to fight on the Republican Government’s side against Gen. Franco’s Nationalist rebels in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. This book is the history of the British Brigade written by Wiliam Rust, a Communist functionary who edited the party newspaper, the Daily Worker. As such – and originally published by the Communists’ own publishing house, Lawrence & Wishart – it gives a biassed and propagandist account that will nevertheless be of intense interest to the many students of the Spanish Civil War and the turbulent politics of the 1930s. The book was written in 1938 while the war was still in progress, but after the Brigades had been withdrawn, in a bid to get Franco’s German and Italian Fascist allies to do the same. It traces the birth of the Brigade; its ‘blooding’ at the feocious battle of the Jarama outside Madrid; and its subsequent service at the battles of Brunete and Teruel. The British Brigade’s losses were cruel: out of 2,000 who enlisted one quarter – 500 – were killed or missing; (listed in a Roll of Honour in the book ) and a further 1200 were wounded – some maimed for life. The fact that their cause was lost and that they were manipulated by cold and ruthless Stalinists does not detract from the heroism with which many of the Brigaders fought and died, nor the generous impulse that made them volunteer for someone else’s war.
BRITONS IN SPAIN, THE HISTORY OF THE BRITISH BATTALION OF THE XVTH INTERNATIONAL BRIGADE
History of the British International Brigade in the Spanish CIvil War, written by the Communist party official who sent them there. Propagandist but fascinating – with a Roll of Honour listing the 500 British Brigaders who died.