‘World capital of anti-fascism’? The making –and breaking– of a global left in Spain, 1936-39

By Hugo Garcia Fernandez

As the source of one of the broadest movements of solidarity in history, the Spanish Civil War represents an ideal laboratory for the culture-oriented and increasingly transnational historiography that has developed since the turn of the century. This chapter examines the discourse and actions of the activists who supported –or refused to support– the Spanish Republic as combatants, relief workers or intellectuals, focusing on their conceptions of antifascism. Thus, it tries to move beyond existing international histories of the war to gauge the extent to which a transnational imagined community built on this notion operated throughout this period, its relations to parallel movements in various regions and its changing contours. While the often invoked Anti-fascist International never achieved actual unity or a truly global reach, it served as an effective bond between disparate actors and projects and had a considerable performative force in sustaining Republican resistance throughout the conflict.


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