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Combining military, political, cultural, social, and oral history, Sebastian Balfour narrates for the first time the development of a brutalised, interventionist army that played a crucial role in the victory of the Francoists in the Spanish Civil War. Spain's new colonial venture in Morocco in the early twentieth-century turned into a bloody war against the tribes resisting the Spanish invasion of their lands. After suffering a succession of heavy military disasters against some of the most accomplished guerrillas in the world, the Spanish army turned to chemical warfare and dropped massive quantities of mustard gas on civilians. Dr Balfour exposes this previously closely guarded secret using evidence from Spanish military archives and from survivors in Morocco. He also narrates the daily life of soldiers in the war as well as the self-images and tensions among the colonial officers. After looking at the motives that drove Moroccans to resist or cooperate with Spain, the author describes the contradictory pictures among Spaniards of Moroccan collaborators and foes. Finally, he examines the Spanish colonial army's response to the Second Republic of 1931-1936 and its brutal march through Spain in the Civil War. 'This is a book of very considerable significance, the work of a first rate historian working at his peak...This is the most complete and wide-ranging account to date of the Spanish involvement in Morocco and of the consequences of that involvement inside Spain itself...written with a compelling blend of elegance and immediacy...this is a major work, one of which any historian would be proud.' - quotes from Paul Preston's readers report.
Oxford University Press
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