Page 3, 14th May 1937

14th May 1937
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Page 3, 14th May 1937 — Exaggerated Figures In British Press
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Exaggerated Figures In British Press

ANTI-BRITISH FEELING Positive Proof Of Anti-God Activities Among Reds

General Franco's army is made up almost entirely from German and Italian soldiers, according to reports circulated by Valencia news agencies and journalists on the Red side who have to rely for their bread and butter on lieinfected news sources.

The gross inaccuracy of such reports is easily exposed by a Catholic Herald correspondent who has just finished a tour of Nationalist Spain. Careful interrogation of Spaniards in every class of society shows that the Nationalist army consists mostly of Spanish volunteers.

There is strong anti-British feeling in Nationalist Spain. This, it transpires, is largely due to the British view of the war, incomprehensible to the Spaniard, that the Nationalist rising was planned by a fascist clique and does not express the will of the people.

The Spaniards claim, also, that a B.B.C. broadcast resulted in 80 persons losing their lives.

140,000 ITALIANS: 10,000 GERMANS

From A Special Correspondent

There are at present in Spain about 140,000 Italian and 10,000 German troops and technicians. These are the figures that I arrived at by working an average from the various estimates given me during a tour through ten provinces in Nationalist territory.

I understand that greater figures have been given in sections of the British and French Press. My information I believe to be very reliable.

Fighting for the Reds, I understand there are at least 160,000 Russians. This number, added to other foreign corps, signifies that at last Franco's army is no more foreign than the Red forces.

It has been said, too, that the Nationalist army is composed, except for a few odd thousands, of professionals such as the Italians and Germans and Spanish Moroccan troops.

Few statements could be further than this from the truth. I was permitted to speak with complete freedom to any Spaniard I met, and from everyone I received the same reply: that tot only 'Were foreign troops a minority but, even ,aornbineci with Spanish regulars and conscripts, the balance of fighting men was among the volunteers — Falangists, Requetes and a recently-organised corps dedicated in honour of Sotelo, whose murder by the Reds was the spark that set fire to the Nationalist rising.

Germans in the South

The Germans are very much in evidence in the south. I saw but few in the northern provinces. The technical work, such as telegraph and telephone services, air-raid detection, etc., etc., is all in the hands of the Germans, 1 am told, and everything most efficient.

The whole Cristina Hotel in Seville, a building of some four hundred rooms, I should say, is entirely dedicated to German troops of the Condor Legion, whatever that may be.

I saw no Italians in the north, until some officers and men got into the train al Salamanca. In Seville their name is legion, and whole hotels are full of them. One hears almost as much Italian in some parts of the town as Spanish, and Italian newspapers are sold on the streets.

Both officers and men are clothed in their own national uniforms. Talking to Italians on the train, and here in Seville, one realkes what a tremendous hold Mussolini has upon his nationals.

" Immortal " Mussolini

A man with a piece of shrapnel in his left lung showed roe photographs of his cottage and family. I asked him why he had left them to go and fight for a foreign power in exchange for his food and less than a shilling a day, and he replied with charming simplicity that the Duce had asked for volunteers to fight the Communists. I asked others what they were going to do when Mussolini died? I was told that he would never die . . . that the spirit of the Duce would guard and govern them after his death. I have taken the trouble to talk to a lot of these Italians, and the spirit of pride in their Government certainly leaves no doubt in one's mind that Italy is being ruled in accordance with the people's own will.

Single Purpose of All Classes

I have sat in station waiting-rooms, in third-class carriages, and cafés, listening to, and taking part in, conversations between peasants and conscripts, and persons of every grade of society. and I have never heard a word, nor received the slightest impression to lead me to feel the presence of any sort of discontent, or anything other than the existence of a most wonderful and almost unbelievable unity of spirit and purpose—something almost visible and tangible in its intensity.

To endeavour to twist this Nationalist rising of old and young, rich and poor, into anything but a splendid demonstration of the Spanish people's will, is an unforgivable sin, either of ignorance or viciousness.

In many cases it was the " lower classes" who struck for Franco, against the Popular Front authorities, and Army officers. The Civil Guards in Burgos Were sent out into the town with orders to fire upon the military. They immediately crossed to the Army camp, and not a shot was fired in the whole of the Province of Salamanca. All classes had long recognised that their country was in the hands of Moscow, and that such a state of things must not be allowed to continue.

Cause of Anti-British Feeling Amongst all classes I had continually to defend the British attitude. One could get away with the political side of it — the sane man in the madhouse of Europe, and that sort of thing (horrors of a European war, etc., etc., the necessity and wisdom of non-recognition of the Burgos Government, to allow of our being able to save people from the Red Government's clutches, and all that. Nobody objects to the Non-Intervention Agreement — they welcome it, and would be glad if all foreigners left both sides), but what / could not dispel was the feeling of soreness and amazed disappointment caused by the knowledge that a large proportion of the inhabitants of Britain condone and uphold the cause of a Party which has made Godlessness, murder, arson and brutality its watchword.

Women have had their husbands and sons dragged out and shot within sight of their homes—men have lost their nearest and dearest in most horrible circumstances;

people whose homes have been sacked and burned, and who have wituessed the utter destruction of irreplaceable works of art, and the violation of all they held sacred in this world and in the next—I met these wherever I went.

Murder of Religious

How can one answer these people when they ask why we not only condone, but almost praise the perpetrators of these crimes against God and man?

How, they ask. can England trade with the gunmen's government who pay with money looted from the banks and homes of the people all over the country; who execute prisoners wholesale as a reply to an advance of Franco's army; who hold noncombatants to ransom, and burn them alive; and who have murdered over 16,000 priests, and desecrated and killed Little Sisters of the Poor and Sisters of Mercy in hundreds?

They cannot understand the British attitude, and it takes a lot of explaining away.

Indictment Against B.B.C.

One is told that the B.B.C. broadcasts arc notorious for their Red bias, and that. apart from being the laughing-stock of Europe, they are an offence to every decent Spaniard, and have been the cause of disasters, such as that which took place in the Rio Tinto mining district, when the Reds, on the strength of the British news, made an attack resulting in the loss of some eighty lives.

The churches in White Spain today are short of standing room on Sundays and feast days. It is very apparent that the love of God and respect for the Church's teaching are very deeply graven upon the people in spite of the many transgressions of certain sections of the community. This is proved by thc marked reaction which has taken place in these days of trouble and tribulation—children, as it were. clinging to their mothers' skirts.

The Deans' Report

With all respect to the British clerical mission who recently visited Red Spain, and would not accept an invitation to gauge the state of things in the opposite camp, it is absurd for them to say that an anti-cleric and not an anti-God campaign was in progress in this country since 1931.

The Bishop of Gibraltar declares that ninety-nine per cent. of British Christians who know Spain and the language would disagree with these deans.

A very deliberate anti-God campaign was going on in the National Schools. Professed atheists were especially chosen for the job, and, although the Republican law strongly prohibited any anti-religious teaching, this law, like all the rest of the Republic's legislation, began and ended in the printing-press.

It appears to.me,that the very fact that hundreds of churches were not only burned down, hut also systematically desecrated. is proof enough of Godlessness. Who. but an anti-Christian, would trample on the Consecrated Host? Who, hut a campaigner against God. would destroy the convents of the Sisters of Charity and of Mercy. who have dedicated their lives to the sick and the poor? These women could be accused of no

wrong such as is argued against the priests.

Franco Must Win

That Franco is going to win this war is surely beyond all doubt. A cause backed by the spirit and single-minded determination with which this is blessed must prevail. Franco has held the initiative from the start. and retains it now.

If Britain's extraordinary tolerance of the Reds is based upon commercial aspirations, her money has been put on the wrong horse, and a lasting damage done to British trade and interests.

What may happen to Spain in the future should she return to party politics—a system utterly unsuitable to her people—is hard to imagine or foresee—especially in the light of one's knowledge of the real differences in opinion which exist between, say, the Requetes and the Falanges—today sunken in the interest of a common cause— but the splendid effort made by the crusaders in this war will always remain, an honour to her people and the proud boast of her sons.




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