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The Massacre of Badajoz, 1936

The Myth, the Truth and the Memory

Rúben Serém is an Assistant Professor in Twentieth-Century European History at the University of Nottingham. His most recent publications include: ‘Muerte y miséria en la «Ciudad de Dios»’ in Miguel Ángel del Arco Blanco (ed.), Los años de hambre (Marcial Pons, 2019), and ‘A coup against change’ in Helen Graham (ed.) Interrogating Francoism (Bloombsbury, 2016). He is currently researching Spanish–Portuguese relations during the civil war.

The Massacre of Badajoz examines the largest and perhaps the most infamous Francoist atrocity in the Spanish Civil War. Predictably, as with the notorious aerial bombing of Guernica, the premeditated mass slaughter of civilians at Badajoz was originally denied by Francoist propaganda. Since the late 1990s, this denialism has been resumed by a new wave of revisionist writers in Spain. Accordingly, the history, the subsequent representation, and indeed the very site of the massacre has become a key ‘battlefield’ of Spain’s ongoing ‘memory wars’. The book dissects the “investment in silence ” over Badajoz overseen by Spanish democracy between 1977 and 2017. It also addresses culturally sensitive questions that remain unanswered eighty years after the conclusion of the conflict that redefined the political landscape of the Iberian Peninsula

This war crime was perpetrated only six kilometres from the Portuguese border, a circumstance that also remains central to understanding the debate over the toxic political legacy of the Portuguese dictatorship and Estado Novo of Salazar. Indeed, the dearth of academic studies on Portuguese involvement in the civil war is mirrored by an absence of critical research on the regional impact of the conflict across the Spanish-Portuguese border. This lack of academic investigation contrasts sharply with public interest in the subject. The book therefore also offers, for the first time, an examination of a period that combines both the foreign policy of the Portuguese state and the repercussions of the civil war for the civilian population of the Portuguese-Spanish frontier region. The analysis is grounded in new archival material located in regional and national repositories in both Portugal and Spain.

Published in association with the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-023-1
Hardback Price: £85.00 / $104.95
Release Date: September 2023
Page Extent / Format: 300 pp. 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: Yes


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