The Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick has completed its project to digitise more than 13,000 pages of archives relating to the Spanish Civil War.
Called ‘Trabajadores: The Spanish Civil War through the eyes of organised labour’, the archive contains more than 40 files about the conflict which tore Spain apart between 1936 and 1939. Most of these came from the Trades Union Congress collection but a number are from the ILP, including good sources relating to ILP volunteers and the suppression of POUM, the ILP’s sister party.
The digitisation project began in April 2011 and was completed this month after 46 files from the TUC archive and more than 100 publications from four other collections were digitised. The final collection, which can be accessed online, includes more than 4,000 documents and 13,000 pages of correspondence, minutes, reports, memoranda and propaganda material produced by members of the British and Spanish governments; political groups; international, British and Spanish trade unions; pressure groups, aid organisations, and other interested parties.
The subjects covered are diverse, and the collection includes material relating to the response of organised labour and the British left to the conflict, the social conditions and political situation in Spain, German and Italian intervention, the attitude of the British and French governments, the International Brigade, and medical aid and the care of refugees.
Whilst most of the material deals solely with the Spanish Civil War, the archivists have also made available several files which have an indirect connection with the conflict – one file on conditions in Spain in 1934/5, after a left-wing revolt against the government was violently crushed, and another file which deals with preparations for the 1936 Peoples’ Olympiad. The Peoples’ Olympiad was to be held in Barcelona in July 1936, as an alternative to the 1936 Olympic Games held in Nazi Germany. The outbreak of war five days before the event was due to start resulted in its inevitable cancellation.
There are also publications and items of ephemera from the archive collections of Henry Sara and Frank Maitland, Hugo Dewar, Paul Tofahrn, and the Socialist Party, many written from a communist or anarchist point of view.
The online resource includes an illustrated timeline, contemporary maps, background to the war, and articles about UK solidarity campaigns and volunteers, including ILPer Bob Smillie, a contemporary and comrade to George Orwell.