Guardian article on the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War

JoeArthur

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
628
Reaction score
494
Location
Broadstairs
Country
llUnited Kingdom
Be warned, it's long:

 

Michael Dorosh

der Spieß des Forums
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
15,573
Reaction score
2,483
Location
Calgary, AB
First name
Michael
Country
llCanada
It was because of the Spanish-Civil War that Canada changed its own laws about fighting in foreign wars, placing a prohibition on Canadians joining foreign militaries. (Though interestingly, Canada did not recognize national citizenship until 1947 - all Canadians were actually 'British subjects' until after World War II).

The experiences of the 1,500 men of the Mackenzie-Papineau battalion has become more relevant in recent years, with regards to men (and women) going overseas to fight with Daesh, Iraqi and Syrian forces. It does make the conclusion of the Guardian article a bit more poignant - it talks about "premature anti-fascists" and how volunteers in Spain were the first ones to confront fascism. So one wonders: is this a parallel, and if a confrontation between mid-eastern Islamic countries and the west is inevitable, are those volunteers going to Syria and Iraq now part of a similar movement? Should they be handled with kid gloves when asking to return?
 
Last edited:

von Marwitz

Forum Guru
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
12,308
Reaction score
6,499
Location
Kraut Corner
Country
llGibraltar
So one wonders: is this a parallel, and if a confrontation between mid-eastern Islamic countries and the west is inevitable, are those volunteers going to Syria and Iraq now part of a similar movement? Should they be handled with kid gloves when asking to return?
I think the relatively simple answer is:

Anyone who goes out to fight for extremist ideologies or beliefs is not to be handled with kid gloves.
Those who fight against them (while not fighting for extremist ideologies or beliefs themselves at the same time) deserve respect.

von Marwitz
 

Michael Dorosh

der Spieß des Forums
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
15,573
Reaction score
2,483
Location
Calgary, AB
First name
Michael
Country
llCanada
I think the relatively simple answer is:

Anyone who goes out to fight for extremist ideologies or beliefs is not to be handled with kid gloves.
Those who fight against them (while not fighting for extremist ideologies or beliefs themselves at the same time) deserve respect.

von Marwitz
Define extremist.

EDIT to add - the current definition, at least in the US, is increasingly that an extremist is anyone who has beliefs slightly different than yours.
 
Last edited:

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,706
Reaction score
3,852
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
Brendan Behan (d 1964), an Irish poet/playwright/author defined a terrorist as "the one with the small bomb".
Other quotes I have heard, paraphrased:
One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.
Today's terrorist is tomorrow's elder statesman.

Let's keep commentary to 40-50+ years ago, IE cut off at end of Vietnam War, lest it stray too much into current political faeces shows.
 

Michael Dorosh

der Spieß des Forums
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
15,573
Reaction score
2,483
Location
Calgary, AB
First name
Michael
Country
llCanada
We don't need any examples at all, my point is - who defines "extremism"? As you point out, it means different things, to different people. Put another way, it's not a useful thing to make laws around if that is your dividing point between lawful and unlawful.
 

von Marwitz

Forum Guru
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
12,308
Reaction score
6,499
Location
Kraut Corner
Country
llGibraltar
We don't need any examples at all, my point is - who defines "extremism"? As you point out, it means different things, to different people. Put another way, it's not a useful thing to make laws around if that is your dividing point between lawful and unlawful.
You will never reach an exact definition, but the 'Golden Rule' is a solid foundation on which to base one's jugdement:

Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris.

Kant's 'Categorical Imperative' is another. While not equivalent with the 'Golden Rule', both will allow for covering most cases on what to base one's actions on.

von Marwitz
 

Michael Dorosh

der Spieß des Forums
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
15,573
Reaction score
2,483
Location
Calgary, AB
First name
Michael
Country
llCanada
You will never reach an exact definition, but the 'Golden Rule' is a solid foundation on which to base one's jugdement:

Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris.

Kant's 'Categorical Imperative' is another. While not equivalent with the 'Golden Rule', both will allow for covering most cases on what to base one's actions on.

von Marwitz
If that's so, you should have no problem applying it to the case at hand. So tell us how you would define extremism, based on these principles. Should be "relatively simple."
 

von Marwitz

Forum Guru
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
12,308
Reaction score
6,499
Location
Kraut Corner
Country
llGibraltar
If that's so, you should have no problem applying it to the case at hand. So tell us how you would define extremism, based on these principles. Should be "relatively simple."
I will not define extremism as I have just stated in my previous post that it will be impossible to do so.

Do you want your country to be invaded for natural resources?
Do you want to be suppressed, imprisoned, killed if you don't follow a creed/ideology not your own?
Do you want mercenaries in your country that don't care what or whom they fight for as long as they get paid?

You can add questions that provide you with guidance on how you should act.

You will now say, that's all fine, but neither the ISIS extremist nor the Blackwater (or whatever the current name of that company is) merc will give a damn about this.

Depending on how extreme the action of 'the other' is, the answer needs to be based. You can't argue with someone who goes about decapitating someone in the open street. But your answer needs to be less extreme - you will not decapitate him in return. He'll go to prison. If he can't be stopped decapitating people, you'll shoot him in the attempt. But you won't slowly drive a tank over him, burn him alive, nor shoot him if you can stop him by other means.

If you send people out to confront ISIS in Syria or other places, you do not send ones that have a business interest in war happening. You don't flatten a city quarter to dispose of the 100 ISIS terrorists inside. You might think about allocating more resources to acting against people becoming radicalized and stop cash and resources reaching them, which takes more time, is more difficult, but likely brings more 'bang for the buck' [pun intended].

von Marwitz
 

Eagle4ty

Forum Guru
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,244
Reaction score
2,962
Location
Eau Claire, Wi
Country
llUnited States
It was because of the Spanish-Civil War that Canada changed its own laws about fighting in foreign wars, placing a prohibition on Canadians joining foreign militaries. (Though interestingly, Canada did not recognize national citizenship until 1947 - all Canadians were actually 'British subjects' until after World War II).

The experiences of the 1,500 men of the Mackenzie-Papineau battalion has become more relevant in recent years, with regards to men (and women) going overseas to fight with Daesh, Iraqi and Syrian forces. It does make the conclusion of the Guardian article a bit more poignant - it talks about "premature anti-fascists" and how volunteers in Spain were the first ones to confront fascism. So one wonders: is this a parallel, and if a confrontation between mid-eastern Islamic countries and the west is inevitable, are those volunteers going to Syria and Iraq now part of a similar movement? Should they be handled with kid gloves when asking to return?
Interesting side note was the story of Herman J. F. Bottcher of the 32nd Division. Originally born in Landsberg, Prussia, Germany he emigrated to the U.S. from Austria prior to WW-II. However, being an ardent anti-fascist he went to Spain during their civil war eventually rising to the rank of Major in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Though he returned to the U.S. just prior to America's entry into the Second World War, he had been denied of his citizenship application because of his involvement during the Spanish Civil War. On 8 Dec 1941 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was eventually assigned to the 32nd Infantry Division, a National Guard unit comprised mainly of personnel from Michigan & Wisconsin but fleshed out with many recently enlisted/drafted personnel. Sent to the South Pacific they were involved in the Buna-Gona campaign in Papua, New Guinea in late 1942-early 1943. There he would forever be immortalized in the history of the 32nd Div for his stand at what would later become called called Bottcher's Corner [ASL Scenario SP190]. So impressed with his actions throughout the campaign and that particular action specifically was Gen. Eichelberger that he was given a field promotion from Staff Sergeant directly to Captain and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the 1st of two awards (and later the Medal Of Honor). Additionally, Eichelberger became instrumental in gaining Bottcher's U.S. citizenship and would later say of him,"He was Buna's greatest hero". Bottcher would later be killed on Leyte, The Philippines and currently rests in the Manila American Cemetery.
 

Michael Dorosh

der Spieß des Forums
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
15,573
Reaction score
2,483
Location
Calgary, AB
First name
Michael
Country
llCanada
I've probably mentioned it here before, but I've personally interacted with at least two Germans who served in the military in the Third Reich era (one in the Grossdeutschland Division, another in the SS) who later came to Canada and served honorably in the Canadian Forces. I also interacted with a few others who had immigrated to Canada following wartime service with the Germans, and made good lives here. It's interesting where people's lives will take them - when they're allowed....
 

Eagle4ty

Forum Guru
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,244
Reaction score
2,962
Location
Eau Claire, Wi
Country
llUnited States
I've probably mentioned it here before, but I've personally interacted with at least two Germans who served in the military in the Third Reich era (one in the Grossdeutschland Division, another in the SS) who later came to Canada and served honorably in the Canadian Forces. I also interacted with a few others who had immigrated to Canada following wartime service with the Germans, and made good lives here. It's interesting where people's lives will take them - when they're allowed....
Yes, quite a few German soldiers stayed or came back to WI as well (very high % of population with German decent in the state) and we had one of the larger concentrations of German POWs sent here (mostly Afrika Korps though). Have known quite a few and served with them or their kids over the years. One of my best buddy's father was actually in 3 armies (at least in his mind) in WW-II, the Soviet army initially until captured in 1941 then found to be of German decent so allowed to join the Wehrmacht, captured by the Americans in Normandy he was found to be Russian so worked in the U.S. kitchens and even helped talk Germans or Ost Front personnel into surrendering. Finally in early '45 he was sent to the U.S. as a POW and somehow parlayed an ability to stay in this country after the war. He went on to have one of, if not thee, largest hog farm operations in the state and became a huge donor for WI based tourism and public broadcasting programing.
 
Top