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Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne

Esenwein. George Richard
The Cold War and the Spanish Civil War: the impact of politics on historiography,   pp. 175-189 ff.

Page 176

conflicts of the period, no one was speculating about how and when the Cold
War could 
possibly end. 
Given that their collective preoccupation with exposing the shortcoming of
the anti- 
Soviet views of western scholars, it is apparent that few, if any, of the
revisionist historians 
of the mid- and late 1980s were writing in the same spirit as the Berliners
and East Central 
Europeans who began celebrating the end of Communist rule from 1989 on. In
fact, they 
were doing just the opposite. Rather than see the collapse of Communism as
a positive out- 
come, they were seeking to liberate a diverse body of politically sensitive
historical literature 
which they claimed had for too long been held hostage to the anti-Communist
views of 
western scholars. Nowhere was this truer than in the case of a distinguished
group of histori- 
ans based in Great Britain and Spain who began publishing at this time and
who were above 
all concerned with dismantling what they characterized as a "Cold War"
interpretive para- 
digm of the Spanish Civil War. For the most part, this generation of historians
(whom shall 
be termed revisionist here and throughout) was comprised of left-wing scholars
who had 
come of age in the post-Franco era. Nearly all had also received their formal
training outside 
of Franco's Spain.2 It should be further underscored in this connection that
the partisanship 
exhibited by the revisionists is not surprising. Most anti-Francoist historians
were partial to 
Marxist historiography, and not a few had been influenced by the scholarly
writings of left- 
wing historians like Manuel Tufi6n de Lara and Pierre Vilar. It was also
true that, in the wake 
of Franco's dictatorship, the right had fallen from grace and it was now
the time for the left 
to weigh in on historical discussions and disputes involving Spain's controversial
recent past. 
Not least of the goals of the post-Franco generation of writers was to bring
greater balance 
to the history of the Civil War by recovering the history of the Spanish
left's role during the 
Second Republic and in wartime. 
While scholars everywhere were indebted to this group of historians for sweeping
the tottering pillars of Francoist historiography, their efforts to conduct
a similar revision- 
ist campaign outside of Spain called into question the extent to which scholarship
Spain's borders had been affected by the Cold War. In fact, one of the underlying
tions of the revisionist school was that a Cold War explanatory model of
Spain's civil war had 
also gained currency in the two countries where the bulk of Iberian scholarship
had been 
conducted throughout the Franco era, Great Britain and the United States.
In view of the fact that the vast majority of studies produced by Anglo-American
scholars since 1939 have reflected a pro-Republican bias, this claim demanded
further elabo- 
ration, above all because the precise meaning of how the term "Cold
War" was being ap- 
plied was never fully established. In the review essays, articles, and books
published by the 
revisionists from the mid-1980s on, it became increasingly apparent that,
outside of Spain, 
they were using "Cold War" to refer to writings that were consistently
written from an anti- 
Communist perspective. It was further evident that the two most prominent
and signifi- 
cant representatives of the "Cold War" version of the Civil War
they had in mind were the 

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