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Book Reviews 397 views of citizenship during wartime was only a prologue to an assiduous postwar campaign to shape the ideological legacy of the war. In 1914 Canadians went to war for empire; in 1919, 60,000 Canadian dead were commemorated as a sacrifice to an imagined nation. Imagined because, as Benedict Anderson has said of the individuals who compose any nation, only 'in the minds ofeach lives the image oftheir communion.'1 The story of the struggle to shape this image, and the character of citizenship and nationhood it embodied, is only partially disclosed in the pages of Propaganda and Censorship. TOM MITCHELL Brandon University 1 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso 1983), p. 16. The Gallant Cause: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. MARK ZUEHLKE. Vancouver: Whitecap Books 1996. Pp. 296, illus. $2 9·95 In November 1996 a dozen veterans left for Spain to participate in the sixtieth anniversary celebrations to mark the establishment of the International Brigades. Accompanied by friends and relatives, the veterans, who were mostly in their eighties, made perhaps their last trip to Spain, where sixty years before they had volunteered to defend the Republican government against the insurgent military forces led by General Francisco Franco. They went to Spain in 1936-7 to fight against fascism, and their participation in this conflict as members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion contributed to the heroic legends and myths of the International Brigades. The Spanish Civil War and the role of the International Brigades continue to stir deep emotions and passionate debates among surviving veterans and their supporters, including many historians interested in the events leading to the outbreak of the Second World War. Mark Zuehlke was inspired to write this popular history about Canadians in the Spanish Civil War while visiting the monument to the Mackenzie'.Papineau Battalion in Toronto. He states in the introduction that this is 'a work of literary non-fiction' and presents the story from 'the limited point of view of the participants.' He attempts to place the reader 'inside the minds of the participants who lived the events'; however, he cautions that 'no literary licence is taken or assumed.' The author allows the participants to tell their own story and 398 The Canadian Historical Review claims that he deliberately withheld his own opinions and commentary on their motives and experiences. The author builds his story around the experiences of individual volunteers. The first few Canadians made their way to Spain shortly after the attempted military uprising and took part in the early battles that prevented a rapid victory by the Franco forces. By December 1936 the first units of the International Brigades were formed. Canadians b, egan to arrive in small groups and fought in the British and American battalions. Other Canadians - for example, Dr Norman Bethune assisted the Republican side in medical units. By the summer of 1937 there were enough volunteers to form the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion . More than 1500 volunteers from Canada served in the 'MacPaps' and other battalions of the International Brigades. To give credit where it is due, the Communist Party of Canada was directly involved in all aspects ofthe volunteer movement to Spain. The recruitment and transportation of volunteers was administered by the CPC. The Canadian federal government passed the Foreign Enlistment Act in 1937 to prevent Canadian volunteers from travelling to Spain. This act reduced and eventually limited the number of volunteers. Among those who left for Spain, the large majority were cPc members, and many of them were recent members who volunteered to test the sincerity of their political convictions. The author traces their labour activism during the Depression in Canada, their decision to volunteer, and the trip to Spain. Their experiences in Spain as members of the International Brigades hardened and deepened their political faith, and there were many casualties among their numbers; But other volunteers failed the test in the face of modern warfare, and the author describes the resulting discipline problems, including attempts to desert. His research leads him to the conclusion that at least one Canadian deserter was executed by the International Brigades. These more controversial aspects...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 397-399
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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