Friday, March 06, 2009

Franco's Incriminating Letters

When you read this article published at Times Online you have to keep in mind that Spain's government still subscribes to Franco's version of the genocidal attack on Gernika, that the real culprits were "the reds" and that there was no more than a dozen casualties.

Here you have it:

Revealed: Franco's desperate attempt to hide the truth about Guernica

Graham Keeley | Madrid

General Franco launched a propaganda campaign to try to counter a report by The Times that exposed the attack on Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, according to original documents.

George Steer, who was covering the war for the newspaper, revealed how the Nazi Luftwaffe Condor squadron reduced the Basque market town to rubble and unleashed a firestorm that killed 1,600 unarmed civilians.

Mr Steer’s report outraged the world and inspired Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica.

Thousands of original telegrams sent by General Franco to the Duke of Alba, the Nationalist Ambassador in London, are to go on show to the public at a new archive in Spain shortly.

They reveal the four-year campaign, waged by the man who was to rule Spain for 36 years, to counter damaging reports in the British Press and prevent their readers from supporting the Spanish Republican Government.

Three days after the devastating attack on Guernica, on April 26, 1937, Franco sent a telegram from his military headquarters in Burgos, northern Spain.

It read: “Escaping Basques recount frightening tragedies of a town like Guernica, burnt and destroyed intentionally by the Reds when our troops were only 15 kilometres away. Indignation great among Nationalist troops for slanderous Red manoeuvres, after destroying their best cities, try to lay blame Nationalist air force when this only pursues military objectives.”

But Mr Steer had already revealed the truth.

He was covering the Spanish Civil War from the Republican side and was one of the first journalists to reach Guernica, hours after the massacre. He waited before filing his report to find proof that the Nazis were responsible: three small bomb cases stamped with the German Imperial Eagle.

At this point, Nazi Germany had signed the Non-Intervention Pact and their troops were officially playing no role in the war.

Mr Steer’s report read: “Guernica was not a military objective... the object of the bombardment was seemingly the demoralisation of the civil population and the destruction of the cradle of the Basque race.”

The report appeared in The Times, was syndicated to The New York Times and went around the world.

When Picasso, who was in exile in Paris, read it, he was outraged and changed a canvas that he was preparing for an exhibition. The result was Guernica, a stark black-and-white canvas, that has come to symbolise the horror of war.

As Franco’s Nationalists faced international condemnation for the attack on defenceless civilians, which was to herald the era of total war, he sent another telegram to London.

Dated May 3, 1937, it criticised lack of coverage of the “murder of thousands of innocents in Madrid under the Presidency of the Red Government”. The telegram claimed that these “murders” were the “deliberate work of Red dinamiters [sic]”.

The efforts of Franco to counter bad publicity in the international Press extended from 1936 to 1940, even after he had crushed the Republican forces in 1939.

In thousands of telegrams, Franco’s propaganda machine sought to remind the world of the outrages it claims the Republican side committed.

They include the alleged murder of “17,000 priests”, the “theft of gold from the Bank of Spain” to Russia and the “barbarity” of the Republican militias.

In reality, though hundreds of priests were killed in the Civil War, the figure of “17,000” appears wildly exaggerated. The Republican Government did send the Soviet Union gold worth $500 million to pay for arms and support.

The documents were carefully preserved by the Duke of Alba and later stored in the Institute Cervantes in London.

Under an initiative to preserve documents relating to the Civil War and the dictatorship, they were transferred to the Historical Memory Documentation Centre in Salamanca in western Spain.

In 2006, Mr Steer was honoured with a street named after him and a bronze bust in Guernica after a 25-year campaign.

And then there is those within the international community that claim that Spain has never deployed an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Basque people. This article proves them wrong... again. No government can commit as many crimes as Madrid has against the Basques without the silent complicity of the international community. It is because of their own phobias against "the reds" that the Europeans agreed to allow Franco to remain in power and go on with his murderous reign of terror that lasts until today through his heir, Juan Carlos Borbon.

.... ... .

No comments:

Post a Comment