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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
References in periodicals archive ?
So he joined the Lincoln Battalion of the International Brigades, named after US President Abraham Lincoln, in March 1937.
In part 3, Zaagsma takes the story from the withdrawal of the International Brigades in 1938 to the 1980s in order to examine how memories and commemorations of the Botwin Company shifted over time.
The Republicans received aid from the Soviet Union, as well as from the International Brigades which were composed of volunteers from Europe and the United States.
Perhaps a little more than one-tenth of volunteers in the International Brigades, instigated by the Communist Intentional to fight fascism in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, were of Jewish descent, says Zaagsma, but they did not necessarily think of themselves as part of a Jewish contingent or movement.
And it is why socialists and trade unionists and others joined the International Brigades in the 1930s to fight against Franco."
In 1937, aged 33, Morris volunteered to serve in Spain with Sir George Young's University Ambulance Unit, and worked at an International Brigades base hospital and as head nurse to a renowned Catalan surgeon.
The book begins with details on the integration of the British Unit into the International Brigades' Medical Services.
Summary: UK: The last surviving British-based member of the International Brigades who fought in the Spanish ...
Most of the volunteers ended up in the various International Brigades which have been widely regarded as tools of Stalin's foreign policy.
Paul Finnegan, regional secretary of Unite, added: "I feel it only fitting that the International Brigades memorial plaque to honour the brave men of Merseyside is being rededicated at the newly refurbished Unite building in Liverpool appropriately named Jack Jones House.
"They said we were legends," observes a Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion veteran from his deathbed in the final interview anecdote shared by Michael Petrou in this well-researched history of the almost 1,700 Canadians in the International Brigades who tried to help defend Spain's Popular Front republican government from military insurgents supported by Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy.

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