The View From 1776

Spanish Civil War: A Case Study Of Propagandistic Distortion

Robert Stapler reviews and assesses the many distortions, mostly by liberal-progressives, of causes, effects, and participants in the 1930s Spanish Civil War.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/25 at 06:56 PM
  1. Robert certainly put a lot of effort into that extended disquisition on whether Franco was a fascist and whether fascism equates to conservatism or ‘the Right’.

    I suspect that not many would follow his argument that "Fascism and Nazism are radical socialist movements and that places them squarely on the left."

    I dare say that those who today describe themselves as Nazis would cheerfully agree that they are part of the far right ultra conservative movement.

    One other interesting facet of Bob's argument is that during the Spanish Civil War the Nazis were not quite as bad as they became three or four years later, and that therefore we should cut them a little more slack in our historical recountings.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/27  at  08:26 PM
  2. J Jay,

    I apologize if my essay ran longer than your capacity for new information and fresh insights can manage. I tried to keep it as concise as the subject matter allows without compromising evidential integrity or a full and faithful report.

    Once again, you are attempting to inject something into my remarks I never said or implied. I never said Nazis do not deserve every bit of condemnation they received (and then some). But, none of us are guilty of crimes we later commit, until we actually commit them. As a conservative-libertarian, I have no need of or inclination to write apologias for Nazis and fascists. Would that you leftists could say the same! My only interest is in setting the historical record straight. And my point was, the way the Spanish Civil War is portrayed by the Left is: Franco & company were responsible for accepting aid as though the Nazi’s propensity for criminal and inhumane behaviors was obvious in 1936 (which it wasn’t). Propagandists of the time did not care they made false allegations against the Nazis, only that a) such allegations would not be discovered (or ratted out by their pals in the press) until too late to matter, b) that it served to block German/Italian designs, and c) that it served to justify their own meddling. As such, their hype was ‘prophetic’ more than factual. The narratives we read today are one part original (propaganda) and one part doctored (apologia). Brigade apologists of today knowingly exploit earlier lies to hide Soviet participation and/or atrocities; and to maintain the myth brigade volunteers were uniformly principled defenders of liberty and democracy (mostly untrue).

    The rest of your comments are technically valid, though not for reasons you will ever admit.

    You are correct few today realize (nor will ever admit) that Nazism (i.e., National Socialism) is not only a form of socialism, but radical socialism well to the left of center. Despite Nazi attempts to enlist conservatives in their cause, it was never more than a little ‘conservative’ as ideology goes. It did not (and still does not) promote any recognizable politically-conservative agenda, principle or value, then or now. Its entire agenda, development, identification and sentiment were/are derived from the political Left. Only in its rejection of communism (an ideology only slightly left of Nazism) and its defense of (some) ‘traditional values’ can it be said to have been marginally ‘conservative’. Everything else about it was radically left of center.

    Ask yourself, if you (Jay) support one conservative position while rejecting all others and supporting their socialist opposites, would I be justified then in labeling you a conservative? Of course not, but that is what you have done with Nazis and fascists by identifying one or two conservative traits out of a long list of socialist ones in order to reassign those as ideologies as and blame them on conservatism.

    It helps to realize the Nazis were unscrupulous manipulators (i.e., big fat liars) of political allies in their early years. They readily played conservative games to broaden their support base; but their performance shows just how cynically exploitative that was. They played Protestants, Junkers and crony-capitalists alike against rival leftists. Nazi manipulations of German conservatives (e.g., stoking anti-communist fears, patriotic/nationalist parades, &c) served to whip up support, but did/do not make Nazism fundamentally conservative. Its core doctrines bear few recognizably conservative markers. Nazi programs to forcibly nationalize industries (making them serve state purposes), price controls, production & wage controls, public-works employment schemes, subsidies & welfare props, population controls, national healthcare, &c are undeniable socialist markers, and those far outnumber and overmatch the few conservative markers. No leftist ideology is totally bereft of ‘conservative’ themes because conservative ideas are simply much more acceptable, practical and durable (i.e., trusted) than the crackpot ideas you leftists are constantly foisting on us; and too many such changes all at once tends to produce a negative reaction. Obviously, the Nazis realized that, and kept some conservative ideas simply to fool others into thinking they were the ‘less radical’ alternative. A number of traits (e.g., traditional-values preservation, conditional support for religion, anti-homosexuality, &c, supposedly identifying Nazism with the right, are equivocal at best in that many of those same values were as often extolled by the Left as the Right in 1930s Europe. For example, Britain’s Fabians and today’s feminists shared Nazi reverence for motherhood (it was an early American feminist who pestered Congress into creating Mother’s Day and making it a national holiday). The Nazis advocated social-Darwinism, subordinating the needs of the individual to demands of the state/party/collective, and were both anti-capitalist and anti-bourgeois; all recognizably socialist memes. The party early on identified primarily with workers (NSDAP = National Socialist German Worker’s Party) over other classes; and remained steadfastly wedded to blue-collar Germans throughout their reign. The same cannot be said of crony-capitalist supporters who soon learned to regret Nazi involvement in their affairs. And, like every other socialist, the Nazis were big on historical revisionism.

    I will also not dispute with you today’s remnant Nazis self-identify with the Right despite all our efforts to educate/dissuade them out of such baloney. Clearly, this is an effect of all the propaganda you (and they) have been spewing these many years; that now has them convinced of their ‘conservatism’. That, or they think an association with conservatives useful. It doesn’t and isn’t, and I am clueless why anyone would want to self-identify as a Nazi and, then, conflate that with something as antithetical to their ideology as conservatism and/or libertarianism. Progressives, socialists, communists and Nazis have far more in common with each other than any of those creeds has with ours. Obviously, they are as confused as you regarding where you stand politically and what it is you support.

    We have had this debate with you before over which end of the political spectrum the Nazis belonged. It was amply shown then that Nazis are creatures of the far left; and not the right. They were not some fusion of Left and Right as some pretend; they were leftists who, at most, sometimes masqueraded as conservatives or retained some vestigial adherence to traditional German values. Patriotic breast-beating does not prove conservatism; else so many communists (Soviets, Chinese, Cubans, &c) and socialists would refrain from huge parades, jingoism, and similar demonstrations of national pride. Nor does it move them from the left to right column now that ‘soft-socialists’ have dropped displays of patriotism from your repertoire of leftist salutes. The Nazis belonged to the Left both then as now, and they were leftists both in the context of American-conservatism and early-20th century European-conservatism. Ergo, J Jay, you are just one more example of a leftist in self-denial of a notorious past.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/30  at  06:59 AM
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