Heroes of the Republic, heroes of the revolution: French communist reportage of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1938

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Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that the Spanish Civil War was one of the contributory factors to the collapse of the French Popular Front, forcing a wedge between Léon Blum’s government and the Parti Communiste Français (PCF) which opposed the former’s policy of non-intervention. By examining French communist reportage of that conflict, this article studies the tensions occasioned by continued loyalty to the Popular Front and a commitment to the preservation of the Western democracies on the one hand and the perception of a revolutionary reformulation of Spanish society on the other. It argues that communist representations of the Civil War serve to resolve this tension into a strategic revolutionary understanding of the politics of the anti-fascist alliance; such an understanding could not be discerned in France where French communists were increasingly frustrated by the relative conservatism of its own Front Populaire. What emerges in these representations of the Spanish Republic and its popular front regime is a utopian vision of such politics, a vision embodied in the heroes and heroines of the Spanish Republic, whereby the revolution is successfully postponed but signs of a radical, long-term transformation of the world remain visible.
Translated title of the contributionHeroes of the Republic, heroes of the revolution: French communist reportage of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1938
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45 - 62
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of European Studies
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Sage

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