The Spanish Republic’s Diplomatic Mission to Moscow in the times of Civil War, Part II

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Abstract

The Spanish Civil War played a unique role in the Soviet Union’s geo-political strategies in the second half of the 1930s.  The conflict marked the first occasion that Moscow participated in a foreign war beyond its traditional spheres of influence.  But Soviet involvement in the Spanish war went far beyond the sale of armor and aviation to the beleaguered Spanish Republic. While Moscow organized and supported the creation of the International Brigades, on the cultural front, the Soviets sought to roll out a broad program of propaganda, employing film, poster art and music to link the destinies of the Slavic and Hispanic peoples. If scholars have succeeded in recent years to rewrite the history of many components of Soviet participation in the Spanish Civil War, diplomatic relations between the Republic and Moscow remain an unexplored theme. This is the first instalment of a two-part article that mines declassified, unpublished official documents, as well as memoirs, newsreels, private letters and the press, to offer the first narrative history of the Republican embassy in Moscow. The diplomatic rapprochement between the USSR and Spain in 1933 is explored as a prelude to the exchange of ambassadors following the outbreak of the civil war in summer 1936. The posting of the young Spanish doctor Marcelino Pascua to a newly recreated Moscow embassy is examined in detail, up to autumn 1937. This article allows the reader hitherto unavailable access to the daily trials, disappointments and occasional breakthroughs experienced by the Spanish Republican ambassador in Stalin’s Soviet Union.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVestnik of Saint Petersburg University. History
Volume66
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted - 01 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Spain
  • USSR
  • Spanish Civil War
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Diplomacy
  • Europe 1918-1939
  • Moscow

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