Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guernica’.
During the Spanish Civil War, the Republican forces were made up of assorted factions such as communists, socialists, anarchists, and others with differing goals. Yet they were united in their opposition to the Nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco, who sought a return to pre-Republican Spain based on law, order, and traditional Catholic values.
Guernica, a town in the province of Biscay in Basque Country, was seen as the northern bastion of the Republican resistance movement and the center of Basque culture. This added to its significance as a target. Around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, 26 April 1937, warplanes of the Nazi Germany Condor Legion, commanded by Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, bombed Guernica for about two hours.
There are many derivatives of ‘Guernica’ – often as public murals – since it has achieved iconic status of anti-war and anti-Fascist symbolism.
Morning Star: On Victory Day, oppose the erasure of the international alliance that defeated fascism
VICTORY DAY, celebrating the surrender of Nazi Germany, should be an occasion for international unity.
Time zone differences mean a surrender effective from 11.01pm Central European Time on May 8 1945 is celebrated on May 8 in the West and May 9 in the East, but it was the same victory, won by a people’s war in which the “big three,” Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union, played the main military role.
Victory over fascism laid the basis of the modern international system. Britain, the US, the Soviet Union and China coined the term United Nations to describe the Allies in 1942, declaring a “common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world.”
To join the UN, a country had to declare war on Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and imperial Japan. International law as we know it flows from the anti-fascist war.
That system is under threat as never before. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has become a proxy war, in which Nato weaponry, equipment, training and actual special forces are engaged.
On Victory Day, we should strike a light against the gathering dark. Honour the memories of all who fell to defeat fascism. Oppose the rewriting of history, and the march to war.