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Mexico and the Spanish Civil War

Domestic Politics and the Republican Cause

Mario Ojeda Revah is Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean of the National University of Mexico (CIALC–UNAM). He is also Professor at the School of Political Science of the National University of Mexico (UNAM), and has taught at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and Universidad de las Américas. He was Associate Professor and Faculty member at the Saint Louis University, Madrid Campus (2006/2011). He is the author of México y la Guerra Civil (2005); La Revolución Mexicana (2006); and co-author of Iconografía de Lázaro Cárdenas (2007) and México: Mirando hacia dentro, 1930/1960 (2012).


In the Series

Studies in Spanish History


Based on first-hand diplomatic, political and journalistic sources, most unpublished, Mexico and the Spanish Civil War investigates the backing of the Second Republic by Mexico during the Spanish Civil War. Significant military, material and financial aid was given by the government of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940) to the Republic, which involved not only direct sales of arms, but also smuggling operations covertly undertaken by Mexican diplomatic agents in order to circumvent the embargo imposed by the London Committee of Non Intervention.

This path-breaking account reveals the operations in Spain of Mexican workers, soldiers, artists and intellectuals – such as later Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz and the Muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros – as volunteers and propagandists for the Republican cause. Engagement with the Spanish Civil War also had a profound impact upon Mexico’s domestic politics as support for the Republic was equated by Cárdenas with his own revolutionary project. The defeat of the Republic in 1939 therefore had far-reaching repercussions for the post-1940 governments. Originally published to critical acclaim in Spanish, the work has been quoted and reviewed by many leading specialists on the Civil War, including Anthony Beevor, Ángel Viñas, Santos Juliá, and Pedro Pérez Herrero. This book is essential reading for students and scholars specializing in contemporary European history and politics, Latin American studies, and all those with an interest in the Spanish Civil War and the Mexican Revolution.


Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-666-0
Hardback Price: £60.00 / $74.95
Release Date: October 2014
   
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-772-8
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: April 2016
   
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Yes
   

e-Book



Acknowledgements


Introduction

Chapter 1: SPANISH–MEXICAN RELATIONS 1821–1931: AN OVERVIEW
Intellectuals and Diplomats
Spain and the Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Religious Conflict and Spain
Hispanismo and the Exaltation of the Indian by the Mexican Revolution

Chapter 2: MEXICAN RELATIONS WITH REPUBLICAN SPAIN PRIOR TO THE CIVIL WAR (1931–36)

Chapter 3: MEXICO AND THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: MATERIAL AID AND DIPLOMATIC SOLIDARITY
Mexico on the Eve of the Spanish Civil War: A Recapitulation
The Spanish War
The Spanish Embassy in Mexico
The Decision to Aid the Republic
Further Instances of Support
Spanish Responses to Mexican Solidarity
The Mexican Embassy in Madrid
The Refugee Crisis
Communists against Cárdenas
Mexican Oil Expropriation, Spain, and the Impending World War

Chapter 4: MEXICAN ARMS FOR REPUBLICAN SPAIN
Open Engagement: The Expedition of the Magallanes
International Reactions to Mexican Involvement in the Spanish War
Miscellaneous Shipments
Transhipment of American Aircraft through Mexico
Failed Expectations: The Journey of the Mar Cantábrico
The Czech Connection
The Mexican Legation in Paris: Procurer of Arms for Spain

Chapter 5: MEXICANS IN SPAIN: VOLUNTEERS AND PROPAGANDISTS
Mexican Writers and Artists Against Fascism
Opposite Engagements: Andrés Iduarte and Carlos Pereyra
Mexican Combatants on the Spanish Fronts
Mexicans in the Francoist Ranks

Chapter 6: DOMESTIC REPERCUSSIONS OF THE WAR
Armed Militias in Mexico
The Spanish Community and the Rebellion
The Cedillo Rebellion: A Mexican Franco?
In Search of the Mexican Popular Front (PRM): The Party of the Mexican Revolution
The Falange in Mexico
The Mexican Right and Franco’s Crusade
Women’s Suffrage in Mexico and the Spanish War
The Mexican Press and the Francoist Uprising
The Mexican Catholic Church and the Spanish Crusade
The Economic Elite

Chapter 7: THE REPUBLIC’S DOWNFALL AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION
Defeat and Exodus
Change of Course: Franco’s Victory and the Decline of Cardenismo
The Protection of Spanish Refugees in Vichy and Occupied France
The Presidential Election of 1940
Mexico and Spain 1945–77: From Enduring Hostility to Final Reconciliation

Conclusions

Bibliography
Index


Sussex Studies in Spanish History are important critical contributions; many of them are devoted to the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. Although an extraordinary number of studies have explored and explained that event, the involvement of Mexico—the only country apart from the Soviet Union to provide active support for the beleaguered Spanish Republic—has warranted only modest inquiry. Weak and remote, Mexico could do little to affect the outcome of the conflict. Beyond propaganda, shipment of guns, and pleas in diplomatic settings, little was at its disposal. But Mexico’s government, led by Lázaro Cárdenas from 1934 to 1940, spoke loudly and frequently about the rightness of the Republican cause. Mexico’s actions are often explained as the result of ideological excess or vapid romantic notions. Ojeda Revah (political science, National Univ. of Mexico) thinks otherwise, and argues forcefully that Cárdenas’s support for the Spanish Republic had everything to do with his challenge to the Mexican Right and his fear that the Mexican military might try to seize power, in the fashion of Franco in Spain. A very solid and persuasive account in seven chapters, with a superb bibliography and extensive notes. Highly recommended.
Choice
, N. Greene, Wesleyan University

This volume analyzes Mexico's involvement in the Spanish Civil War and the rationale behind why its government supported the Spanish Republic and how it served Mexican national interest. It argues that President Lázaro Cárdenas aided the Republic to challenge the Mexican Right and offset any possibility of a similar uprising in Mexico. It describes how the Spanish Civil War impacted the subsequent course of the Mexican Revolution, focusing on the intellectual, psychological, and institutional factors impacting the decision-making process of leaders, as well as how the Spanish case set a precedent for Mexican foreign policy, and whether the impact of the Spanish Civil War affected the transformation of the ruling PNR (Partido Nacional Revolucionario) into the PRM (Party of the Mexican Revolution), the denial of the vote to women in 1937, and the outcome of the 1940 election. It details Spanish-Mexican relations from independence to 1931 and prior to the Civil War; Mexican support of the Spanish Republic through material aid and diplomatic solidarity; military aid to the Republic; support at the League of Nations, before the US, in the Pan-American conventions, and in Latin America; repercussions on the Mexican political scene; and the end of the war, the arrival of Spanish refugees, and effects on Mexican politics.
Protoview.com

Ojeda Revah has succeeded in his goal of presenting an extensive overview of Mexican involvement in the Spanish Civil War. However, there still remain gaps to fill in this Mexican connection, for instance in the role Mexican representatives had in the international weapon trade circuit on behalf of the Spanish government. The question is however, if it would be possible after all these years to fill these gaps. For now though, Mario Ojeda Revah has provided us with a very worthwhile study of the Mexican role in the Spanish Civil War, a little known subject among historians of the Spanish Civil War. They now don’t have an excuse anymore for not having taken note of this side of the war in Spain.
Wouter van Dijk, writing in Heriditas Nexus

A useful overview of this signal chapter in Mexicos history, which produced a stunning 40-year rupture in diplomatic relations with Spain and represents, still today, a stirring defense of national sovereignty, multilateralism, and international law against the threats of imperialism, fascism, and military intervention.
Kirsten Weld, Harvard University, Hispanic American Historical Review, Autumn 2016


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