discovery of what appeared to be a compellingnreason to die, and hence to live.nSomehow Madrid and Barcelona werennot like Verdun and the Somme.nAt a distance of almost half a century,nit is not difficult to forgive contemporaryndefenders of the Republic for theirnnaivete—if only because they producednsuch splendid novels as For Whom thenBell Tolls and Man’s Hope. But the timenhas now come to rethink the SpanishnCivil War and to begin to distinguishnmyth from reality. Fortunately, it is notnnecessary to start from scratch. GeorgenOrwell, that most conservative of leftists,nwas among the first to experience and tonspeak the truth. Fighting with the POUM,nan anti-Stalinist communist splinterngroup, he understood that the Sovietsnand their agents were fer more dedicatednto the liquidation of the rival left thannthey were to the defeat of Franco—andnhe said so in Homage to Catalonia.nMoreover, he assailed the “pink pansynleft” for its loose talk of necessary murdernand pointed out that Franco “was notnstrictly comparable with Hitler or Mussolini.”nThe General, he argued, was antraditional man of the right, more a defendernof feudalism than a proponent ofnfascism.nNor was Orwell’s voice as isolated asnwe are accustomed to think. It is to benregretted that few today know, or evenncare, that one of Spain’s finest writers,nCamilo Jose Cela, fought for Franco ornthat Evelyn Waugh, that wonderfijUyniconoclastic curmudgeon, expressed hisnpreference for the Nationalists withoutnthinldng it necessary to embrace lascism.n”I am not a Fascist,” he wrote at the time,n”nor shall I become one unless it werenthe only alternative to Marxism. It isnmischievous to surest that such a choicenis imminent.” It is to Waugh’s lastingncredit that he refused to be impaled onnthe horns of a bogus dilemma.nHowever, it remains true that anynserious rethinking of the war will dependnless on citing early critics of the Republicnthan on reassessing the role of SovietnRussia, the changing character of the Re­npublican government, and the essentialnnature of the conflict. What did Stalinnhope to achieve in Spain? Was he a greatnantifascist leader selflessly extending hisnhand to beleaguered comrades in a distantnland? Many observers, then and now,nhave portrayed him in this way. Wyden,nfor example, is proud of the Russians,nwho “stood alone to the end in their supportnof the Republic,” while in WashingtonnEleanor Roosevelt “was about to givenup pressuring her husband to lift thenarms embargo.” It was not the last time,nhe is eager to suggest, that the Russiansnfought for truth and justice while thenAmericans supported—by action or inaction—2inlascist government Stalin maynhave been guilty of the “cult of personality,”nbut he was an implacable foe ofnfascism.nWith the considerable advantage ofnhindsight, however, it is perfecdy clearnthat Stalin initially proffered aid to thenRepublic—for which he was handsomelynpaid with Spanish gold—because henwished to forestall a quick rebel victory.nIn such an event, he reasoned, Francenmight Ml to a revolution from the right,nthereby making it possible for Hitler tonturn his attention toward the east. It wasnnot long, however, before the Sovietntyrant became convinced that Britishnand French nonintervention spelled certainndoom for the Republic and fromnthen on he was concerned only to pro­nnnlong hostilities. In this way he could increasenhis bargaining power in Berlinnand keep Hitler occupied far from thenSoviet frontier. At the same time, he declarednwar on all left-wing groups thatnrefused to submit to his imperious will.nAccording to George Kerman, whonknew and understood Stalin, the Man ofnSteel hated those communists and fellowntravelers who were inspired by a genuinen—if misguided—idealism and who werendevoted to communist principles. It was,nwe should remember, precisely duringnthese yeiars that he purged (murdered)nBukharin and all the other Old Bolsheviksnafter they made their “confessions” atnthe infamous Moscow Trials. Personalnhatred and paranoia notwithstanding,nStalin had every reason to be wary ofnsuch true believers, since they wouldnnever accept the alliance with Hitier thatnhe had almost certainly begun to contemplatenseriously as early as 1934. Onnthis matter, we have the authoritativentestimony of General Krivitsky, chief ofnSoviet military intelligence in WesternnEurope before his defection in 1937.nMoreover, a na2i-Soviet alliance is perfecdynconsistent with the Soviet dictator’snmurder of almost all of those wtio servednin Spain and with his thoroughgoingnpolitical nihilism. Stalin did not agree tonthe nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939 reluctantly;non the contrary, he looked forwardnto dividing Europe with the fiihrer.n1 he evolving character of the Republicanngovernment also requires reexamination.nWas it a liberal democraticnregime dependent upon Russian supportnbut capable of true independence?nWas Juan Negrin, the last premier andnfinance minister, a moderate socialist?nOr was he, as Burnett Bolloten has arguednso persuasively, the communists’ man,nfar more subservient to Moscow thannwas his predecessor Largo Caballero, “thenSpanish Lenin”? There is room for honestndisagreement here, but surely no onencan continue to maintain the fiction thatnthe government that fell to Franco wasnone that reflected the essential decencynand moderation of its meditative butnApril 1984n