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Post Spanish Nationalists and Italy
Created by John Eipper on 04/11/13 6:37 AM

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Spanish Nationalists and Italy (Paul Preston, -UK, 04/11/13 6:37 am)

Apart from unpublished material in the Italian archives, a lot of what Bob Whealey is looking for (10 April) is available in the relevant volumes of the published diplomatic documents:

I Documenti Diplomatici Italiani, 8ª serie, vol. IV (10 maggio-31 agosto 1936) (Roma: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato/Libreria dello Stato, 1993)

I Documenti Diplomatici Italiani, 8ª serie, vol. V (1 settembre-1 dicembre 1936) (Roma: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato/Libreria dello Stato, 1994)

There is also key documentary material in Alberto Rovighi and Filippo Stefani, La partecipazione italiana alla guerra civile Spagnola, 2 vols, each in two parts Testi & Allegati (Rome: Ufficio Storico dello Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito, 1992-3).

For those who want to read about this in English, the story of Franco's contacts in Morocco with the two senior Italian officials, the Minister Plenipotenitary in Tangier, Pier Filippo De Rossi del Lion Nero, and the military attaché, Major Giuseppe Luccardi, is recounted in my chapter "Mussolini's Spanish Adventure: From Limited Risk to War" in the book that I edited, The Republic Besieged: Civil War in Spain 1936-1939 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996).

There I recount that when Luccardi's reports were passed to the head of Military Intelligence, General Mario Roatta, he showed the telegrams to his assistant Colonel Emilio Faldella, who claimed in 1972 with the full benefit of hindsight, that he had commented prophetically, "Spain is like quicksand (come una sabbia mobile). You put your hand in and your whole body disappears. If things go badly, we'll get the blame; if they go well, we'll be forgotten. But we must do something without being openly committed."

Of course, Ángel Viñas's recent researches have taken this story much further with his discoveries about earlier contacts and contracts.

JE comments:  I have nothing deep to add to Paul Preston's very useful references, except to reflect on "sabbia mobile":  sounds a lot like Verdi's "La donna è mobile," one of the all-time great tenor arias.

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