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The Genocidal Genealogy of Francoism: Violence, Memory and Impunity (Paperback)

By Antonio Miguez Macho.

First published in October 2015, now available in paperback edition.

The Francoist command in the Spanish Civil War carried out a programme of mass violence from the start of the conflict. Through a combination of death squads and the use of military trials around 150,000 Spaniards met their deaths. Others perished in concentration camps and prisons. The terror took other forms, such as mass rape, extortion, “appropriation” of children and forced exile. The planned nature of this violence meant that the Francoists decided when the violence would begin, the way it would be carried out and when it would come to an end. This is a primary reason why the judicial concept of genocidal practice, alongside the use of comparative history, can furnish insights.

The July 1936 uprising was not only aimed at ending the Republican regime, but had ideological goals: preventing the supposed Bolshevik Revolution, defending the ‘unity of Spain’ and reversing center-left social and cultural reforms. An over-arching objective was the elimination of a social group identified as ‘an enemy of Spain’ – a group defined as: not Catholic, not Spanish, not traditional. The genocidal intent of the coup via access to state resources, their monopoly of force in some territories and their subsequent victory ensured that the practice of genocide could be realized in the whole Spanish territory, permitting the hegemonic nature of the denialist discourse surrounding these crimes.

Public debate over Francosim brings with it substantive disagreements. The Genocidal Genealogy of Francoism engages with the root causes of these disagreements. Violence and the memory of violence are viewed as part of a single phenomenon that has continued to the present, a process that is located within a comparative framework that analyzes the Spanish case beyond the debate between Francoism and anti-Francoism. The author explains the political and judicial proceedings in recent Spanish history with regard to its violent past and the implications for international justice initiatives.

Antonio Miguez Macho (1979) is lecturer at the University of Santiago de Compostela. He has spent time as a researcher at The London School of Economics and Political Science and the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (Buenos Aires). He has published extensively on twentieth-century Spanish political and social history.

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