Jump to content
The Education Forum

Student Question - Nationalistic Volunteers

Recommended Posts

When we were going through the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers on the Republican side a student asked - Since the youth of Europe obviously was politically engaged wasn't their any of them that volunteered at the Nationalistic side?"

I had talked about the Italian and German "volunteers", but sadly enough I couldn't answer if there were any volunteers among the nationalists (I have heard about a few Swedes but I can't find any data about this) so I pass this question on to the panel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eoin O'Duffy joined the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and by the end of the First World War was commander of the Monaghan Brigade.

During the Civil War O'Duffy was appointed head of the South Western Command. In September 1922 he retired from the army to become Chief Commissioner of the Garda Siochana in September 1922. He held the post until being dismissed by Eamon de Valera in February 1933.

O'Duffy became active in the fascist movement and was given command of the Army Comrades Association (also known as Blueshirts). O'Duffy renamed the movement the National Guard. He also organized marches, flags, salutes ("Hail O'Duffy) based on those in Nazi Germany. This led to fighting in the streets between the National Guard and left-wing groups. In August 1933 the government banned the National Guard from marching to Leinster Lawn.

The following month O'Duffy helped establish the Fine Gael Party. O'Duffy became president of the party but he caused considerable controversy when he described the Irish Republican Army as a communist organization. In August 1934 O'Duffy was forced to resign from the presidency.

On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War O'Duffy began recruiting volunteers to go and fight in the war. Supported by the Catholic Church in Ireland and by right-wing national newspapers, O'Duffy and the first volunteers left travelled from Dublin on 13th November, 1936. It has been argued that the men who went to Spain were mainly motivated by a desire to defend the Catholic Church in Spain.

An estimated 750 Blue Shirts fought with the Nationalist Army during the war. The Irish volunteers became part of the XV Bandera Irlandesa del Terico of the Spanish Foreign Legion. The Blueshirts suffered heavy losses at Jarama in February 1937.

On his return to Ireland in 1938 O'Duffy published his book, Crusade in Spain. O'Duffy continued to advocate fascist policies and during the Second World War he had negotiations with politicians in Germany about the possibility of persuading the Irish Republican Army of undertaking a policy of sabotage against Britain. Eoin O'Duffy was given a state funeral when he died in 1944.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The poet, Roy Campbell, fought for Franco. After being educated at Oxford University he published his first collection of poems, The Flaming Terrapin (1924).

In 1928 Campbell moved to France where he published Adamastor (1930), Poems (1930), The Georgiad (1931) and the autobiographical Broken Record (1934). He then moved on to Spain and during the Spanish Civil War he supported General Francisco Franco and the Nationalist Army.

Campbell moved back to England in 1936 where he attempted to obtain support for the Nationalists. This was reflected in his pro-fascist book Flowering Rifle (1939).


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The French supplied more men to fight with the Republican Army than any other country. Over 9,000 served, of whom some 3,000 were killed. It has been estimated that around half of all those who went were members of the Communist Party. The most prominent volunteer was André Malraux who organized a Republican air squadron.

Only about 200 Frenchmen fought for the Nationalist Army. Most of these joined the Jeanne d'Arc Battalion led by Captain Bonneville de Marsangy. Jean Hérold-Paquis also served the Nationalists by broadcasting anti-Republican propaganda on Radio Saragossa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...