On January 20th, IRCP welcomed Dr. Char Prieto to share a lecture and discussion called International Peace Seekers: The US Lincoln Brigade Eighty Years After the Spanish Civil War. It was a great opportunity to learn about the Spanish Civil War conflict and how it led up to World War II.
The Lincoln Brigade was a group of International Peace Seekers who saw danger unfurling in Spain and would not stand by as the situation worsened. The US Government refused to get involved and forbid US citizen involvement. Dr. Prieto shared how Germany and Italy moved in to support Franco in his fascist takeover of the government of Spain. Though many of the Lincoln Brigade fighters went to Spain to stand with the people against the fascists, it was not enough to turn the tide and Franco moved into power that lasted decades.
Thinking about the conflicts in the Middle East today and the range of foreign fighters getting involved on every side of each conflict, understanding this historical precedent offers great perspective. Immigrants are watching their homelands be destroyed by marching armies. Some want to fight these forces, some figure the army will win and want to join the victors. Volunteer fighters are coming from all over the world.
As in the days of the Spanish Civil War, the US government seems to look with chagrin at anyone who would leave the US to join the war fighting for any side. Noting the historical precedent, one has to wonder if once again, we are on the brink of World War.
Dr. Prieto offered personal accounts of the events that took place from the Lincoln Brigade fighters she has interviewed. This was a wonderful opportunity to understand a portion of history that has mostly been hushed from the history books and to learn from it so that we have more tools to rightly view that conflicts that are ongoing today.
Dr. Char Prieto is on faculty at California State University, Chico in the Department of International Languages, Literatures and Cultures. To learn more about her work or contact her, visit http://www.csuchico.edu/illc/faculty-staff/prieto-char.shtml