I am not very familiar with the history of the Spanish Civil War. But new controversy has now arisen because the government now wants to turn a memorial (The Valley of the Fallen) which includes a Benedictine abbey into a civil cemetery.
However, due to the atrocities committed by Republicans against Catholics, especially priests and religious, other historians see the three-year conflict primarily as a war between communism (or atheism) and Catholicism.
There’s some nice apologism for Franco in this article. The Nationalists killed Catholic priests too, namely ones from minority nationalities in Spain. Those communities have been trying to draw attention to those crimes. The Spanish Popular Front was a broader coalition than just communists, too.
I don’t know too much about it either but what I know is that this Monastery has had this issue for years. There are already various interviews with the Abbot about that topic.
It’s sad that JPII canonized some martyrs of Spain on the Nationalist side but the Vatican hasn’t so far moved to canonize the murdered Basque priests, probably because they died at the hands of the nationalists.
And for the record, Franco killed way more than the Republicans did. Source: The Battle for Spain by Antony Beevor.
Warren Carroll called it The Laast Crusade. That is the title of his book about the Spanish civil war.
I saw a picture of the orphans of Republicans. It was taken in a state home after the war. The kids are giving the fascist salute to the camera and look miserable.
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