Courtesy Reuters

The Third Spanish Republic

I ONCE had occasion to suggest a title for a book that a fellow-countryman was doing on the tragic events of 1936-40. I told him he ought to call it "The War Began in Spain," and then found myself wondering in the back of my mind where and how the war that began in Spain might finish, whether it might not finish in Spain and also whether it might not finish Spain. But now I find myself thinking that the bitter trials undergone by Spain all these years may turn out to have been a purgatory from which she will emerge a stronger and more vital nation.

Prognostications are not easy at this stage. But my confidence in the Spanish people leads me to believe that when the democracies have won their victory over international Nazi-Fascism, the Spanish horizon will be freed of the terrible phantom that for the past eight years has held our people in thrall. Thus the war, far from finishing Spain, could actually finish in Spain. For a time one doubted that the Franco régime and the Hitlerian Falange would leave Spain with any vitality; but now we see that the Spanish people are indeed alive and are in the immense majority hostile to Franco, and that his régime must go, for the reasons that it is Fascist, that it signifies submission to a foreign Power and that Spaniards do not want it. But this does not mean that its liquidation will not prove a deadly serious matter.

The most serious problem facing Spaniards is how to avoid bloodshed at the funeral after the Franco régime has died. There are various influences at work to forestall a bloody denouement or, to state it more accurately, to forestall a resumption of the civil war -- if it can be said ever to have stopped. But the possibility of a bloody liquidation is of course being exploited, both inside Spain and in foreign countries, by Franco

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