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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
(2008)

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


Page 183

The Cold War and the Spanish Civil War 
This does not mean, however, that we should accept the harsh and one-sided
verdict of his 
critics, who implore the naYve reader to avoid reading his "Cold War"
version of Civil War 
eve nts. 1 
Earlier we said that the revisionists have taken Bolloten to task for constructing
an 
explanation of the war that relies on a selective and highly tendentious
body of evidence.'2 
Before assessing the validity of this claim, it is important to bear in mind
the obstacles that 
Bolloten as well as other Civil War scholars have had to labor under for
the past sixty years. 
Not least of the problems they faced was in gaining access to documentary
sources. After 
the war, many of the personal and official records of Republican individuals
and groups 
that were smuggled out of Spain became widely dispersed in private and public
collections 
stretching from Europe to the Americas. It would take the better part of
fifty years for many 
of these records to be returned to Spain. In the meantime, few of these archival
collections 
were sufficiently organized to be of much use to a scholar. Nor were many
of them easily 
locatable let alone accessible to researchers. Some, like the ones that ended
up in the Soviet 
Union, have only recently been opened to researchers. Even more problematic
for the his- 
torian both inside and outside of Spain was the fact that, for a period of
nearly forty years, 
the Franco regime enforced a strict code of censorship over Civil War studies,
effectively 
preventing any serious scholar from consulting the massive collections of
Civil War materials 
housed in state-run archives, like the one in Salamanca. The result was that,
anyone who 
wanted to undertake a comprehensive study of the Civil War during the dictatorship
faced a 
Herculean task. 
As we have seen, Burnett Bolloten was one of the few individuals who rose
to this chal- 
lenge.3 It should be added here that his quest to gather documents relating
to the war did 
not end when he sold the bulk of his personal collection of documents and
printed materials 
to the Hoover Institution. Over the next thirty-five years or so, he continued
to enrich the 
original core of Civil War materials by obtaining microfilms, microfiche,
and Xerox repro- 
ductions of archives from various institutions across the globe. He eventually
deposited 
at Hoover all the materials he had obtained through his own personal efforts
and at his 
own expense at various archives, including, the Institute for Social History
in Amsterdam, 
the British Museum, the Civil War archives in Salamanca, the Fundaci6n de
Pablo Iglesias, 
and other organizations that housed special collections on the Civil War.
Thus, Bolloten 
searched far and wide for documentary sources on the Civil War and it was
his determination 
to build a comprehensive collection on the subject that made it possible
for him and other 
scholars to conduct serious research on the Civil War long before it could
be done inside of 
Spain itself. 
What this has to say about Bolloten's writings on the Civil War should be
self-evident. 
Above all, it suggests that he was not interested in producing a history
of the war and revolu- 
tion that was based on a select group of documents. A number of his critics,
however, do not 
acknowledge the fact that his explanation of the war and revolution was grounded
on such a 
183 


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