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The Elimination of the 'Fifth Column' in Republican Madrid During the Spanish Civil War

Sussex Studies in Spanish History


272 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, Cloth, Mobipocket, PDF, EPUB

Trade Paper, $39.95 (US $39.95) (CA $47.95)

Publication Date: November 2016

ISBN 9781845197889

Rights: US & CA

Sussex Academic Press (Nov 2016)


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This book examines the most polemical atrocity of the Spanish civil war: the massacre of 2,500 political prisoners by Republican security forces in the villages of Paracuellos and Torrejon de Ardoz near Madrid in November and December 1936. The atrocity took place while Santiago Carrillo-later a Communist Party leader in the 1970s-was responsible for public order. Although Carrillo played a key role in the transition to democracy after Franco's death in 1975, he passed away at the age of 97 in 2012 still denying any involvement in 'Paracuellos' (the generic term for the massacres). The issue of Carrillo's responsibility has been the focus of much historical research. Julius Ruiz places Paracuellos in the wider context of the 'Red Terror' in Madrid, where a minimum of 8,000 'fascists' were murdered after the failure of the military rebellion in July 1936. This book argues that Republican actions influenced the Soviets, not the other way round: Paracuellos intensified Stalin's fears of a 'Fifth Column' within the USSR that facilitated the Great Terror of 1937-38. It concludes that the perpetrators of 'Paracuellos' were primarily members of the Provincial Committee of Public Investigation (CPIP), a murderous all-leftist revolutionary tribunal created in August 1936. Its work of eliminating the 'Fifth Column' (an imaginary clandestine Francoist organisation) was supported not just by Carrillo, but also by the Republican government. In Autumn 2015, this book was serialized in El Mundo, Spain's second largest selling daily, to great acclaim. [Subject: Spanish Civil War, History, Military Studies]