On Beards –A Reply by M. H.

August 26, 2018

On Beards –A Reply, By M. H.

The Volunteer for Liberty, V. 2, No. 2, January 13, 1938

"Hirsute" sporting Valentin Gonzalez Gonzalez "El Campesino"

“Hirsute” sporting Valentin Gonzalez Gonzalez “El Campesino”

In a recent issue of “The Volunteer for Liberty” we find a scholarly article deriding the many beard wearers in the International Brigades. A very astute and interesting article –to the beardless. But to the man with a beard that has been the envy of all Spain, this article smacks of lack of foresight and misunderstanding.

The anonymous writer of the article “What’s in a Beard?” is addressing a limited audience. He speaks to the small group of males in the Brigade who are hairless. He speaks to the children in our midst and to those to whom “HARRY’S LOTION FOR THE HAIRLESSS,” despite its attractive bottle and prohibitive price, was a waste of money. He addresses the weaklings and the sops.


Beards have played an important role in the history of our civilization. We know that Adam boasted a foot-long beard. The left group in Egypt and their leader Moses, all were men with chin adornments. Abe Lincoln, the famous axe and shovel man had one and in the most progressive part of the world today, the Soviet Union, we find the bearded in the forefront. Marx, Engels and Lenin were proud bearers of a hirsute chin.

In Spain today we find grave problems confronting us. We who arrived here in the Spring of last year encountered a new country fighting for its democratic rights. We found an army in the process of unification –and we found beards. We found them covering the necks of our leaders: Campesino, Galleani and many others had recognized their value.


Why did all these men have beards? The answer is simple. The answer is shown in the example set by our French comrades in the last war. During the GRANDE GUERRE the beard was prominent amongst the men that saved Paris. Practically every taxi driver that took Joffre’s men to the Marne wore one. They had ample reason. Before the end of the war they found that the beard was worth its weight in bully beef. They found, as were the anti-fascist fighters in Spain to find, that a beard on the chin is worth more than a rolling stone.

In the defense of Madrid the beard played its part. When blankets were scarce, when food was not at hand –what men were able to stand longest against the guns of the enemy? The bearded!

With a beard to chew on and to cover you at night you are invincible. When you must stand long hours on guard at the front or in line for beer in Madrid –what comfort has the beardless man? When one of the greatest shortages in Spain has made itself evident, the great lack of “cambio,” who among us has helped to ease the load of the government? Who among us? Can you beardless who must visit the barber daily answer in the affirmative? NO.


New to the final point, a point the anonymous author in the “Volunteer” dared not even mention. The effect of the beard on the female. Visit Albacete, Madrid, Barcelona or any town in which an International Brigade may have representatives. Walk down the “Calle Mayor.” The “Gran Via.” “Calle Paz,” or the “Rambalas” and what do you find? You find that the beardless travel alone. But what has that handsome bearded volunteer dangling on his arm, looking fondly into his eyes and listening so intently? A woman. And what a woman! Invariably she will be a masterpiece. A symphony of femininity.

The effect of the beard on nurses is well known to all [to dwell ] on it minutely would be unfair to the beardless. But I must say, that the average wounded man bearing a beard is, without fail, at the top of the list among “Young Men Popular With Their Nurses.”

To close: When beards are worn in the I. B. and you beardless are interested in mending your ways, wounded comrades and to touch I say “Ask the man who owns one!” Viva La Barba!

(EDITORS’ NOTE: Do you thing that the growing of “Beards” should be encouraged or discouraged in our People’s Army? Comrades with views on the subject are urged to send in their contributions.)