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George Orwell in the Spanish Revolution

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Introduction

History Assignment Homage to Catalonia 1) Explain the difference between Orwell's perception of the war and the political reality. When George Orwell had joined the Republican struggle against the Nationalists, his perception of the war was one of the News Chronicle and New Statesman. He had an over-simplified view of the Spanish Civil War, as if it was a purely military conflict opposing two sides: democratic and Fascist forces (this is highlighted by his carelessness for joining a party for which to fight, he just happened to find himself with the POUM). But it went much farther than that. It was not a simple two-sided conflict with each side following one clear "line" or policy. At least on the Republican side, there still were many different groups, and by "different groups" I mean different parties, with each distinct "lines," following distinct policies - besides fighting the fascists (and even this is arguable). The reality of the war was that "as a militiaman one was a solider against Franco," which was always Orwell's understanding, but "one was also a pawn in an enormous struggle that was being fought out between two political theories." And by "two political theories," he is not referring to the over-simplified version of "democracy standing up to fascism" but to different "lines" within the Republican 'fight fascism-line'. This amounts to say that the parties were, more or less, as much interested in implementing their own party-"lines" as in fighting the Nationalist Front. 2) Label the political orientations of the party initials, and explain what their 'line' was. ...read more.

Middle

As the USSR started to supply arms, the government took a swing towards the right. It was conducting anti-revolutionary activities and policies such as expelling the POUM and CNT out of the Catalan government, replacing the more leftist socialist prime-minster Caballero by the more rightist socialist Negr�n and ousting the CNT and UGT of the national government. The events that led to that swing are more thoroughly explained in the next question. 9) What were Russia's terms for lending assistance? How did it affect the 'revolutionary' aspect of the war? In October-November of 1936, the USSR started supplying arms to the Republican forces, especially the Communist Party which caused the latter to become more powerful than the Anarchists. It was from that point on that the government, apparently, took a "swing to the right" by adopting anti-revolutionary policies. Orwell suggests that the terms for assistance were "prevent revolution," and so the government and Communist Party "moved against the revolutionary elements," characterized at first by the expulsion of the POUM from the Catalan government. Later the Anarchists and Caballero's socialists were also targeted (Caballero was replaced as prime-minster as mentioned before). Thus evidently the strict revolutionary aspect of the war suffered as they not only struggled with the fascists but with strong internal forces. The worst was such instances where internal quarreling was put above stomping fascists such as the Communists' will to not distribute arms to the POUM on the Arag�n Front. 10) What moves were taken to remove power from the trade unions? The government employed series of small moves to recover power from the trade unions without making an obviously counter-revolutionary move. ...read more.

Conclusion

This also made it difficult for the POUM to defend itself as it could not express anti-Communist Party articles/propaganda. And on an international level, the POUM did not have newspapers while the Communists did all around the globe. International newspapers like the Daily Worker in Britain could be in contact with the Spanish party and publish whatever evils the Spanish accuse them of this time. Readers of the Daily Worker would encounter no arguments against (as again, the POUM had no internationally affiliated newspapers). And such things were published in Communist newspapers all over the world. 16) What were the main differences between the POUM and the Communists - what was above and below the surface of their quarrel? the surface was the fact that the POUM wished for an immediate revolution while the Communists, under commands of the USSR, did not. Below the surface was attempts to undermine one another, especially the Communists against the POUM as they even settled to assert that the POUM was actually working for Hitler and Franco while publishing that all over the globe. 17) What is a fifth column? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a fifth column is "a clandestine subversive organization working within a country to further an invading enemy's military and political aims." The term actually originates from the Spanish Civil War, more precisely from Nationalist General Emilio Mola who, at the siege of Madrid, said that his four columns outside of the city would be supported by a fifth one that was already inside the city. Therefore the term can be association to treason and infiltration, as if the POUM was a group of fascists that had infiltrated the Left to betray it. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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