The Libya crisis and the Spanish Civil War

March 15, 2011

The conflict in Libya has stirred up memories of, and analogies with, the Spanish Civil War. Earlier this month, Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd warned of aerial bombing campaigns, stating that “we should never forget Guernica.” Later, Tony Karon in Time magazine considered to what extent 2011 Libya is comparable to 1936 Spain:

In Spain, a fascist military coup in 1936 failed to overthrow a democratic government, which armed its citizenry to repel the army’s assault. The military quickly seized control of much of western Spain, however, and the conflict became a conventional war for territory.  […] In Libya the scenario is reversed: A regime more akin to Franco’s is in power, and its well-armed professional military and mercenary adjuncts are defending the capital and other key urban areas from an onslaught by a hastily assembled citizens’ army carrying weapons looted from abandoned military arsenals and marching on Gaddafi’s citadels.

John Hilary, in The Guardian, added his two cents:

In the Spanish civil war many brave people felt so strongly that they sacrificed their own lives to support the struggle against fascism in that country. How incredible it would have seemed to them, less than a hundred years later, that people would be using a click of their mouse to send armies to fight battles that might end in the death of so many others.

And the issue sparked some discussions at the Huffington Post.