Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne
The Swedish left's memory of the International Brigades and the creation of an antifascist postwar identity, pp. 151-173 ff.
NATION AND CONFLICT IN MODERN SPAIN foreign policy, they were free to adopt a far more radical stance on the war.8 This phenom- enon was replicated throughout Western Europe, as many other Social Democratic parties also risked being outflanked on the left over the Spanish Civil War.59 The battle over Spain engulfed the entire Swedish left, 60 but the major contest pitted the Social Democrats against the Swedish Communist Party (Sveriges Kommunistiska Parti, SKP), which rapidly became the government's most strident critic. Just as Soviet assistance to the Republic had done much to boost the USSR's international image,6' the SKP's Spain- related activities provided a huge public relations boon for the party.62 As was true virtually everywhere in Europe,63 in Sweden the Communists played a highly conspicuous role in the Spanish aid collections, and tried to profit politically from this effort.M4 This was naturally a source of anxiety to the Social Democratic establishment,6 whose prohibition against any collaboration with the Communists was not always followed on the local level.J6 (The British Labour Party experienced the same type of difficulties.)67 Yet, from the Social Democratic leadership's perspective, Communist agitation would have been of little concern in itself, but for the fact that the SKP's militancy on the Spanish question was often shared by the SAP's own left wing, which was generally more positive about cooperat- ing with the Communists.68 As the bankruptcy of the Non-Intervention Agreement became more and more transparent, so did the problem of escalating internal dissent.69 Originally, the Social Democratic press and most party activists dutifully backed the government's decision to comply with the agreement,70 but there had always been a few vo- cal detractors of this policy.71 Georg Branting (the son of Sweden's first Social Democratic Prime Minister, Hjalmar Branting) led the dissenters. In addition to being a central figure in the Spanish aid campaigns,72 Branting had at a very early stage expressed skepticism about the Non-Intervention Agreement, as well as an interest in the united front strategy-two positions that did little to ingratiate him to the SAP leadership.73 As party discipline over Spain started to break down by mid-1937, Branting's position on the war won ground within the party. Communist propaganda did much to incite Social Democratic unrest about the Spanish question, and, as time passed, louder and louder internal protests were directed against the country's continued adherence to the Non-Intervention Agreement. By now, criticism of the agreement had spread well beyond the party's left wing, and even to the normally loyal party press.74 At this juncture, Social Democratic pa- pers had also begun to question the government's handling of this issue, complaining that non-intervention only played into German and Italian hands.75 Some party members went so far as to suggest that the cabinet should lift the arms embargo against the Republic. While the SAP hierarchy in the end stood fast by the Non-Intervention Agreement, this position became increasingly hard to defend, particularly after the British Labour Party renounced the agreement.76 To varying degrees, all European Social Democratic Parties were confronted with internal divisions over Spain as agitation favoring a more pro-Republican line eventually 156
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