Franco Lobbyists, Roosevelt's Foreign Policy, and the Spanish Civil War
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Kent State University Press
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After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, the leaders of Britain and France organized a twenty-seven-nation Non-Intervention Committee, which included Italy, Germany, and the USSR, in the hope that they could contain the fighting. Across the Atlantic, where isolationist sentiment was at a historic peak after the one-two shocks of the Great War and the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt followed Britain’s lead...
1 Pro-Franco Anticommunism
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There was a one-column hint of trouble on 14 July 1936. Under the headline “Monarchist Chief Murdered in Spain,” New York Times correspondent William P. Carney, a Catholic whose sympathies were not with Madrid’s Popular Front government, wired that at 3:00 a.m. uniformed police in an official car arrested rightist opposition leader José Calvo Sotelo and then delivered his bayoneted body...
2 Defending Americanism
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At the end of 1937, John Eoghan Kelly returned from a business trip to Berlin convinced that Europeans were in the final throes of a death struggle with communism, worried that communist propaganda would provoke revolution at home, and determined to defend America from what he believed was impending Red peril. Kelly’s fears might seem silly, even paranoid, yet to him and the hundreds of Americans who joined him in lobbying Capitol Hill to back Spain’s Nationalists they were real. Just as Popular Front activists evinced Gen. Francisco Franco’s coup...
3 Roosevelt’s Mental Map
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March of Time’s newsreel of President Roosevelt’s “Quarantine” address from the isolationist heartland of Chicago on 5 October 1937 captured his characteristic head waggles and expressionless eyebrows, the wind-blown notepaper, and his liturgical monotone delivery. In the newsreel’s introduction, Edward Herlihy called it a “bombshell declaration against the policy of isolation and neutrality”; the declaration had brought the “nations of this earth”...
4 Keeping the Embargo
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Twin factors ensured that arms did not flow from the United States to Loyalist Spain. On one hand, President Franklin D. Roosevelt put little effort into either circumventing or lifting the Neutrality Act–imposed arms embargo because his heart lay in aiding exotic China rather than decadent Spain. On the other, a pro-Franco lobby was mobilizing both public and congressional opinion behind maintenance of the act. Roosevelt’s reticence over Spain in particular, along with his indecisiveness over Europe in general, combined with a malaise...
5 The American Union for Nationalist Spain
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American supporters of Nationalist Spain came from different backgrounds, had varying interests, and held wide-ranging opinions. A loathing of international communism was their most fundamental unifier, followed at some remove by suspicion of the New Deal as a leviathan state encroaching on individual liberties. While it would be a truism to say that they shared a liking for traditional Spain, Spain for pro-Nationalists was a romanticized construct, a mental map onto whose contours they had imprinted a set of attributes—from Christian reconquest to castanets...
6 Spain in Arms
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City dwellers with a quarter in their pocket and a longing for entertainment had plenty of choices in the late 1930s. In addition to plays, concerts, and dances, they could choose from dozens of venues, from five-thousand-seat theaters to halls that rented a flickery 16-mm projector for an evening of motion picture viewing. Few feature films ran longer than ninety minutes, so patrons typically watched newsreels or a stage act before the main attraction. Documentaries were popular too, both in movie theaters and at social gatherings, fund-raisers...
7 Franco Lobbyists and the Christian Front
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In the electric geopolitical environment of 1938–39, when so many anxious underemployed Americans had time on their hands, there was an explosion of social activism, soapbox oratory, mimeographed newssheets, and politicized organizations. Labels of all kinds proliferated, from Bundists to Trotskyites, Peace Crusaders to Christian Defenders. A label became a badge of honor, a part of one’s identity, easy to acquire by tagging along to a meeting with an enthusiastic friend yet hard to slough off once social commitments were in place...
8 Un-American Americanism
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Gen. Francisco Franco’s face adorned Time’s front cover on 27 March 1939. With much reluctance, five days later Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State Department recognized Spain’s new government. For America’s Franco lobbyists, preoccupation with the arms embargo was over. But with the Loyalists defeated, their cause was now ill defined, and with Adolf Hitler poised for European expansion, their support of a regime that had just signed a bilateral Treaty of Friendship...
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After a counterrevolutionary insurgency by Gen. Francisco Franco’s Nationalists in July 1936 degenerated into a brutal, protracted civil war, many Americans for whom Spain seemed closer than 3,600 miles away took interest in the conflict. There were those who had no particular ideological axe to grind—entrepreneurs hoping to recover investments, vacationers with romantic attachments, immigrants worried about relatives, officers keen to evaluate the latest weaponry...
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: New Studies in U.S. Foreign Relations Series
Series Editor Byline: Mary Ann Heiss