International Brigades

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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.]


References in periodicals archive ?
And it is why socialists and trade unionists and others joined the International Brigades in the 1930s to fight against Franco.
Her scrapbooks have been attractively published in book form by the International Brigade Trust, a registered charity.
UK: The last surviving British-based member of the International Brigades who fought in the Spanish Civil War has died aged 94, The Independent newspaper reported Monday.
He soon met up with the handful of Britons in the city and together they formed the Tom Mann Centuria -named after the dockers' union leader - and joined the English speaking section of the Thaelmann Battalion in the International Brigades.
The plaque bears the name of 27 Liverpool men who joined the International Brigade to fight the fascists.
He notes that, "the natural irreverence of the Canadian volunteers put them at odds with their commanders," and devotes two groundbreaking chapters to "Discipline in the International Brigades.
Charlie Donnelly, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone joined hundreds of Irish volunteers who formed part of the International Brigades which opposed the dictator General Franco in the war.
The number of aging vets who joined the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, organized in 1936 by the Communist International, is dwindling.
After fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s with the republican International Brigades, he rose through the ranks of the TGWU and became a household name as the union's leader.
Petrou has brought together this data, sorted out a host of problems fundamental to its very nature (just one of which was the many pseudonyms people used) and drawn an informative portrait of the volunteers from Canada who made up the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, the Canadian contingent of the International Brigades.
The new information we have about the difficulties the Canadians encountered in the International Brigades points to a certain irony in the way anti-communism worked to discourage their recognition.

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