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Practical anti-fascism? The Spanish Aid Campaigns in North-East England, 1936-1939

Mates, Lewis (2005) 'Practical anti-fascism? The Spanish Aid Campaigns in North-East England, 1936-1939.', in British Fascism, the Labour Movement and the State. London: Palgrave, pp. 118-140.


‘When the fighting broke out on 18 July [1936] it is probable that every anti-Fascist in Europe felt a thrill of hope. For here, at last, apparently, was democracy standing up to Fascism. For years past the so-called democratic countries had been surrendering to Fascism at every step. […] It seemed — possibly it was — the turning of the tide.’1 So wrote George Orwell about the Spanish military revolt, backed by two of Europe’s fascist powers, Italy and Germany, against the Spanish popular front government.2 However, the national leadership of the ‘official’ (i.e. non-communist) British labour movement advocated support for the right-wing National’ government’s policy of non-intervention in Spain. By denying the Republic’s right under international law to buy arms for self-defence, this agreement effectively aided the rebels. Though the labour movement eventually reversed its policy, the national leadership took little positive action in support of the Republic.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:15 September 2021
Date of first online publication:2005
Date first made open access:15 September 2021

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