Franco i Stalin. Związek Sowiecki w polityce Hiszpanii w okresie drugiej wojny światowej
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The chief goal of the book is to analyze the attitude of Spain towards the Soviet Union during World War II and to determine the role Moscow played in the policy of Madrid. The hereby work presents the policy assumptions, the methods of its realization, as well as the effects the Spanish actions in this field had on general Francisco Franco’s state and how they influenced its perception on the international arena. What was also analyzed was the evolution of top Spanish politicians’ views on the Soviet matter as, for instance, Madrid’s approach towards Joseph Stalin’s state in the years 1939–1941, when Moscow was in alliance with Berlin, differed from that as of after 22nd June 1941 when the Germans began the ”Barbarossa” operation. What proved particularly difficult in presenting the role the Soviet Union played in Madrid’s policy is the fact that the countries did not have any diplomatic relations with each other, as a result of which their mutual relations were basically non-existent and the only example of direct confrontation of both entities was sending out a Spanish volunteer group, the so-called Blue Division, onto the Eastern front. Therefore, another goal of the work was to examine to what extent the conviction about the threat the Soviet Union posed influenced Madrid’s relations with other countries. Despite considerable geographic distance, the matters of the East were of fundamental importance to Franco’s Spain in the discussed period, which resulted both from the ideological anticommunism of the most important characters of the Spanish political scene and from the strong feeling of threat on the side of Joseph Stalin’s state and the communist movement it inspired. Views of the Spanish politicians, especially of Caudillo himself, on the issue of Bolshevism exerted strong influence on Madrid’s relations with the other countries and a similar approach to the Soviet Union frequently formed the foundation for cooperation. This was particularly relevant for the Central-Eastern European countries which, due to the geographic proximity, developed a strong anticommunist attitude. Consequently, a common train of thought developed between Spain and Poland (i.e. the government in London and the underground in the country), Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Finland and the Baltic states. It is also essential to determine the level of influence Madrid’s anti-Soviet policy had on the relation with the countries of the West. Similar views on this case represented by Spain and Germany, as well as Italy, additionally strengthened the already solid alliance (despite the refusal to join the war) with Berlin and Rome and supporting these countries in their war against Bolshevism after 1941 was also a convenient form of paying off the debt of gratitude from the period of 1936–1939. On the other hand, the Spanish anticommunism hindered the relations with the Soviet Union’s western allies, resulting in numerous disputes in contacts with Great Britain or the United States and contributing to the fi isolation of Caudillo’s state on the international scene. As my work is mostly of source character, due to the fact that so far no monography on a similar subject has been written in the world historiography, it was necessary to base it chiefly on archival materials. They were gathered as a result of a query I conducted in the archives in Madrid: Archivo del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Ar chivo de la Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco, Archivo de la Pres idencia del Gobierno and in Archivo General de la Administración located in Alcalá de Henares. I also used the private archives of Jaco bo Fitz-James Stuart, XVII Duke of Alba, the Spanish ambassador in London during World War II, as well as José María Doussinague, General Director of the Foreign Policy, author of Plan D analyzed in detail in the hereby work. The following sources had my particular attention among the documents gathered in the Spanish archives: – reports of the Spanish diplomatic corps representatives in the countries that were interested in Madrid’s Eastern policy because of their geographic location (Finland, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey) or because of the role the Soviet Union played in their imperial policy (Great Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy); – records of diplomatic talks of the representatives of the abovementioned countries in their post in Madrid with the Spanish foreign affairs ministers of the Chief of State himself; – correspondence between the Spanish politicians, in which the issue of the Soviet Union was discussed; – reports and memorandums on Madrid’s Eastern policy; – scripts of presentation delivered during sessions of the Spanish Council of Ministers; – military reports concerning the operations of the Blue Division on the Eastern front. The examined material confirmed my initial thesis that the issue of the Soviet Union was of particular importance to Spain’s foreign policy during World War II and the threat of communism expansion was treated extremely seriously by its politicians. Moreover, the documents’ value is additionally raised by the fact that they have never been examined by Polish historians and many of them have not yet been used by the Western researchers, even the Spanish ones, for whom the Eastern policy of Madrid seemed a far-fetched notion that did not arouse enough interest. Unfortunately the work of a historian examining the fortunes of Spain during World War II is not free from serious obstacles. The national archives are shockingly incomplete, which was the fruit of Franco’s authorities’ plundering activities, who were trying to remove documents that could possibly undermine the regime. This peculiar “silence of the archives” is most characteristic for the period of 1940– 1942, when the Spanish diplomacy was run by Ramón Serrano Suñer, a politician with pro-German attitude, privately general Franco’s brother-in-law. The plundering he performed deprived historians of the material that would make it possible to answer numerous nagging questions and the minister’s private archives where the documents in question were most probably transported, nowadays remains locked for researchers. The archival material from later times is in a far better shape, even though the surprisingly limited number of stenographic records of conversations between the Spanish foreign affairs ministers and the German ambassadors in Madrid, is clearly visible. All of these difficulties have direct influence on the work of a researcher examining the fortunes of Spain in the years 1939–1945, often making it impossible to form audacious hypotheses and leaving him surrounded by speculation and doubts. The queries conducted in the other countries rendered far better results. Resources of The National Archives in London impress with their richness and easiness of access. The documents I examined in the capital of England allowed me to gather additional documents to support the thesis that the Soviet issues was treated as a priority by Spain during World War II and that they exerted strong influence on the relations between general Franco’s state and Great Britain, which considered the Soviet Union its ally after 22nd June 1941. The documents found in Archives des Affaires étrangères in France and the Italian Archivio Storico del Ministero degli Affari Esteri made it possible to look at Spain’s anticommunist policy from the perspective of Paris and Rome. The materials found in The National Archives of Ireland in Dublin and Magyar Országos Levéltár in Budapest were far more modest. They, however, proved that these countries as well had anti-Soviet contacts. Equally important information were obtained through research conducted on basis of the American archives available online: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and Hoover Institution Archives. The collections in the Stanford University are particularly important as they contain materials created by the Polish diplomatic authorities in Spain in the discussed period, which are missing from the Warsaw Archiwum Akt Nowych. The thesis on the very strong influence of the Soviet issues on Madrid’s relations with the remaining countries were also confirmed by results of my query in the Portuguese archives: Arquivo Nacional Torre do Tombo and in Arquivo Histórico do Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros in Lisbon. It was the common conviction of the Soviet threat that led to tightening the relations with Portugal and undertaking common initiatives whose aim was to oppose to the danger of communism spreading in Europe. Due to the fact that because of the language barrier the material located in the abovementioned archives has been so far rarely examined by Polish historians, the obtained query results are beyond measure. The archive research was supplemented by the printed official diplomatic collections of particular countries and the diaries left by the witnesses of World War II events. What was also valuable comparison material were the articles printed in the Spanish press of those times – journals “Arriba”, “La Vanguardia Española” and “ABC”. These papers – even though their lack of objectivism was often shocking – are an important source of information and the numerous speeches of the chief Spanish politicians, interviews with them or even the official statements of the Chief of State they contain make them valuable beyond measure. A few factors contributed to the fact that the Soviet Union, despite its considerable geographic distance from general Franco’s state, was treated as its chief enemy during World War II. The first factor was undoubtedly the Soviets’ active participation in the Spanish civil war, which gave the military Alzamiento the character of an anti-Soviet crusade. Kremlin’s engagement in this conflict was substantial, enough, to say the least, to protect general Franco’s opponents from a defeat during the initial period of its operation. The Francoists’ belief that the Soviets played a crucial role in the waged war was made even stronger by the attitude of the Republican government which, in its relations with Moscow, could not maintain its subjectivism and started to resemble a Soviet client over time. After the civil war, the Soviet Union became for its winners a definite enemy not only because of its engagement into the Spanish conflict but also due to the fact that it was still the main contestant for Caudillo’s rule and posed a threat to it. There was understandable anxiety in Madrid that Joseph Stalin’s state would again intervene on the Iberian Peninsula, especially given that it was still supporting the Spanish communists. After the breakout of World War II and the aggression on Poland, it was feared that the Soviet Union would expand its influence in the Eastern-Central Europe and grow even stronger. What should not be underestimated is the ideological factor, as the majority of Francoist politicians were people with a conservative worldview, usually inherited from their families, strengthened during military service and finally confirmed during the civil war. In their eyes the Soviet party-state hybrid, which did not give up on exporting the revolution, was a serious threat to the culture and civilization of the West. All of these factors made Franco’s state adopt a highly anticommunist attitude from the very beginning of its existence, devoting a lot of attention to the matters of the East and making sure the Soviet Union would not grow strong enough to dictate its conditions to the others and undertake further attempts of interfering with the problems of the Iberian Peninsula. Conviction of the danger posed by Kremlin left an indelible imprint on Spain’s foreign policy during World War II and the fear for future fate of Central-Eastern Europe threatened with Sovietization started to permanently appear in the Spanish political thought of that period, more frequently as the end of war drew closer and the greater the probability of these fears coming true was. The desire to protect Spain from this scenario was the starting point for numerous anti-Soviet initiatives of the Spanish diplomatic services, four of which are certainly worth mentioning. The first example of a clearly anti-Soviet action was presented by Spain at the very beginning of World War II, when it undertook the attempt to mediate in a conflict between Warsaw and Berlin with the clear goal of making it impossible for the Soviets to use the defeat of the Republic of Poland to expand their influence into the West. The offer presented to the Germans through ambassador Antonio Magaz turned a new leaf in the Spanish peace offers, which were made to both parties basically until the very end of the world conflict. Even though the attractiveness of the offer for Poland may be disputable, there is no doubt that from the point of view of Spain the suggested solution would be the most advantageous as it would block the Soviet expansion and would put off the moment of the outbreak of a great European war, which would, from the perspective of the Madrid government, be perceived as a threat to its future existence. The most spectacular manifestation of the Spanish anticommunism was sending the Blue Division to the Eastern front. Even though the volunteers marched East under the banner “Russia is guilty!”, clearly declaring their desire for revenge for the hitherto operations of the Red Army on the Iberian Peninsula, the decision to form the unit was motivated by a variety of factors. Thanks to it, the debt from the civil war period was conveniently paid off, internal conflicts were eased and eventually relations with the Germans, undermined by Madrid’s former negative response to the call to join the conflict, were improved. In other words, directly after 22nd June 1941 Spain did not only stop encountering problems in fulfilling its anticommunist calls but also started to reap political benefits from them. When, however, after the two-year-long presence of the unit on the front the costs of this undertaking – in the face of the change in the geopolitical situation – started to outweigh the benefits, a decision was made to finally end the chapter of Spanish military actions against the Soviet Union. The third example of the anticommunist actions was Plan D, the topmost achievement of the Spanish political thought, whose goal was to put an end to the progression of the Soviet Union on the continent by leading to armistice between the Third Reich and the Western Allies. Its forte was certainly the relatively quick reaction to the events taking place in the Eastern front (in the fall of 1942 Wehrmacht was still located deep in the Soviet territory and the possibility of the Soviet Union’s expansion in the Central-Eastern Europe was definitely not a matter of the upcoming months), as well as developing a clear operation program which set the direction for the Madrid diplomacy for almost a year. Its weaknesses were, however, almost as clear: neither Berlin nor London planned to end the conflict in a different way than by forcing the enemy to surrender. Despite the failure of Plan D, towards the end of 1944 the Spanish undertook another attempt at saving Europe from the Soviet domination. General Franco’s proposition concerning creation of the anticommunist block of Western countries, expressed in his letter to Winston Churchill on 18th October 1944 – the last initiative of such a clear anti-Soviet character – also ended in failure, discouraging Spain from undertaking further attempts of this kind and preparing it for the difficult period of international isolation. When the anti-Soviet policy was carried out, all the limitations resulting from the difficult condition of general Franco’s state, were clearly and painfully visible. In the first years of war, during the Polish campaign or the Finnish Talvisota, Madid could not afford to stand against Moscow very openly because of the alliance Moscow had with Berlin. Operations of Palacio de Santa Cruz were limited to demonstrating opposition wherever possible and if the threat of deteriorating relations with the Third Reich – the then European hegemon and ally of the Francoists – appeared, the political realism usually gained the upper hand and forced Spain to give up. In a few cases general Franco did, however, decide to undertake some steps that were negatively received by Berlin, making a clear statement that the ideological anticommunism – despite all these limitations – would remain a crucial value in the Spanish diplomacy. A similar situation took place in the years 1943–1945, when the anti-Soviet blade would sometimes blunt because of the pressure from Stalin’s new allies – the Western democracies. Their growing political influence forced Madrid – in a manner analogical to the mechanism functioning in the former period towards Germany – to maintain the best possible relations with them. The pragmatism competed with idealism, making general Franco’s state, because of the pressure exerted by the stronger ones, capable of both a compromise in terms of softening the anticommunist tone of Radio “Verdad” after 23rd August 1939 (towards Germany), and to give up on sending its representative to join the committee examining the Katyn massacre in 1943 (towards Great Britain and the United States). At the same time, the most serious initiatives were not given up on, which were clearly against the will of both Berlin (the mediation offer in 1939), and London (Franco’s letter to Churchill on 18th October 1944), and at times even both empires (Plan D). This situation proved that even though Madrid was aware of the scarce nature of the instruments at its disposal and the resultant various limitations, the desire to maintain its subjective character in the foreign policy remained exceptionally strong through the whole World War II, while the moral conviction of the rightness of fighting against communism rendered Spain capable of starting a conflict with the most powerful empires. General Franco’s anti-Soviet policy from the period of 1939–1945, also continued in the post-war period, was clearly one of the brightest moments of his dictatorship and a great favor given to the nations of Central-Eastern Europe enslaved by Moscow.
- KSIĄŻKI