by Jorge Marco
Brighton, Eng.: Sussex Academic Press / Portland, Or: ISBS, 2017. Pp. xx, 374.
Graphs, tables, appends., notes, biblio., index. $39.95 paper. ISBN: 9781845198688
Guerrilla Resistance in Francoist Spain
Marco, a Lecturer at the University of Bath specializing in Spanish history and the history of guerrilla movements, examines the protracted insurgency against the Franco regime from the end of the Spanish Civil War through 1952, albeit without any maps.
As Marco points out, this is a surprisingly neglected subject, rarely mentioned in standard works on resistance and guerrilla movements, despite the fact that a times controlling and suppressing the insurgents required the attention of tens of thousands of troops.
Marco argues that until late in World War II, the anti-Franco insurgency was largely local, small numbers of “neighbours in arms” as he puts it, conducting a desultory insurgency with little structure or higher direction. This changed beginning in 1944, however, as the Allies pushed the Germans out of France. Veterans of the wartime anti-Fascist resistance movements – particularly Spanish communists who had been prominent in the French Resistance – began to infiltrate into Spain. These brought with them considerable experience in irregular warfare, and imposed a more sophisticated model on the insurgency, which he terms “modern guerrilla warfare”. This led to a more disciplined, more effective, and better coordinated resistance, which in turn led to a more massive response.
Marco makes a good case for his argument, bolstering it with considerable evidence. His treatment, however, lacks a look at the other side, in order to address the question of whether and how the regime changed its approach to countering the renewed insurgency, given that the Franquistas seem to have had more success against the practitioners of “modern guerrilla warfare” than against the “neighbours in arms”.
Nevertheless, Guerrilleros and Neighbours in Arms, a volume in the series “The Canada Blanch/Sussex Academic Studies”, is an important read for anyone interested in the history of the Republican and Franquista Spain or the conduct of irregular warfare.
Note: Guerrilleros and Neighbours in Arms is also available in hardback and e-editions.