International Brigades

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

International Brigades


international military units that fought on the side of the Spanish Republic during the National Revolutionary War of 1936–39. The units were made up of communists, socialists, and antifascists of various political tendencies who came to Spain from 54 countries.

There were seven international brigades in the struggle against fascism, the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th 15th, 129th, and 150th. The first brigade (the 11th) was organized in late October 1936 and the last one (the 129th) in late 1937. In all, there were approximately 35,000 brigade members. The brigades were organized essentially along national lines. Within the brigades the battalions bore the names of such outstanding revolutionaries, participants in the national-liberation movement, and democratic figures as Garibaldi, Thälmann, Mickiewicz, Dabrowski (Dom-browski), Henri Barbusse, Lincoln, and Dimitrov. The international brigades took part in the defense of Madrid and in other major battles. Among the many famous antifascists who fought in the international brigades were the Italians L. Longo (pseudonym, Gallo), F. de Rosa, and P. Nenni, the Pole K. Swierczew-ski (Walter), the Hungarians Mate Zalka (Lukács) and F. Münnich, the German H. Beimler, the Englishman R. Fox, the Yugoslav B. Parovic, and the Austrians J. Deutsch and M. Stern (Kleber). An important role in organizing the international brigades was played by P. Togliatti. In October 1938, by a decision of the Republican government, the international brigades were evacuated from Spain.

The activities of the international brigades, which rendered substantial assistance to the Spanish people, constituted a remarkable example of international solidarity among democratic antifascist forces.


Internaisional’naia brigada. Moscow, 1937.
Longo, L. International’nye brigady v Ispanii. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from Italian.)
Eisner, A. “Dvenadtsataia International’naia.” Novyi mir, 1968, no. 6.
Garcia, J. “International’nye brigady v Ispanii (1936–1938).” Voprosy istorii, 1956, no. 7.
Epopée d’Espagne: Brigades internationales 1936–1939 [2nd ed.]. [Paris, 1957.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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