From Marginalization to Mobilization: The Soviet Union and the Spanish Republic, 18 July - 31 December 1936

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


For the Soviet Union and Spain, 1936 was a study in extremes. Prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, diplomatic ties between the two states were basic; ambassadors had not been exchanged, despite Madrid having recognized the Bolshevik regime in 1933. Trade links were practically non-existent, and cultural relations were stagnant; no Russian-Spanish dictionary was in print, neither in Spain nor in the USSR. The Comintern was discouraged by the lackluster membership of the Partido Comunista de España; the organization had few men on the ground in Spain, and the civil war took its leadership by surprise. In short, these two countries on the Continent’s periphery largely ignored one another. Yet the 18 July generals’ uprising quickly transformed the relationship between Moscow and Madrid, and forged, for the first time in history, a multi-faceted Russo-Hispanic alliance. Diplomacy was renewed, friendship societies flourished, and, in the space of two months, the Soviets initiated a solidarity campaign, a humanitarian fund drive, and military assistance to the Republic. By the first week of November, Soviet tanks, planes and advisors, as well as the Comintern-organised International Brigades, had swung the tide in central epic of the war, the Battle of Madrid. That the nineteenth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution was celebrated throughout the Republican zone was but one indication of Moscow’s unprecedented position in the Iberian theatre. In the closing days of 1936, a flurry of now declassified Presidential Archive (APRF) correspondence informed Stalin of the depth of the Soviet commitment to the Loyalist cause. This chapter traces the remarkable evolution of Soviet-Spanish relations during the first six months of the war.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpain 1936: Year Zero
EditorsRaanan Rein, Joan Maria Thomas
Place of PublicationEastbourne
PublisherSussex Academic Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781845198923
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameSussex Studies in Spanish History


  • Spain
  • Spanish Civil War
  • Soviet Union
  • Communism
  • Popular Front
  • Collective Security


Dive into the research topics of 'From Marginalization to Mobilization: The Soviet Union and the Spanish Republic, 18 July - 31 December 1936'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this