Brothers in Arms
The Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War was a bitter conflict, which foreshadowed events to come in World War II. What started as a military coup against the democratically elected Spanish Republic in 1936, escalated as Franco’s Nationalist coalition drew support from Hitler and Mussolini. The Republicans, a bewildering mix of socialists, communists, anarchists and the idealistic International Brigades, received support from Stalin. In order to ensure a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy, Spain has spent the last three decades trying to sweep its civil war under the carpet.
Our 8 day tour begins in Toledo, where we retrace the Siege of the Alcazar - its relief exemplified both the clash of ideologies, and the endurance of the opposing sides. Visit the Casa de Campo, in Madrid, where the Republicans halted a Nationalist offensive in November 1936. Discover Teruel, where one of the decisive battles of the war was fought over the course of the coldest winter of the century. Pay homage to Catalonia, the once staunch Republican stronghold, who found its identity repressed under Franco’s dictatorship.
Guide Jason Webster, will be on hand to guide you through the complexities of the struggle, during this 80th Anniversary tour. Go further than the sites themselves, and explore the artists and poets - including Hemingway and Orwell - who followed their consciences to Spain to fight fascism…
We arrive in Madrid in the early afternoon and drive to Toledo where there will be time to relax and freshen up before Jason’s introductory talk and dinner. Overnight Toledo.
Toledo and the Siege of the Alcazar
After breakfast, we explore Toledo, examining its legendary status in the Spanish Civil War. The Siege of the Alcazar and its relief exemplify both the clash of ideologies and the endurance of the opposing sides. Badly damaged, but now rebuilt, the Alcazar is now home to the Museo del Ejército. Overnight Toledo.
Madrid: Hemingway, Gellhorn and Picasso
This morning we travel to the city of Madrid and examine the events and personalities connected with it, including Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn. We have a walking tour of the city, visiting the university campus and the Casa de Campo where the Republicans halted a Nationalist offensive in November 1936. After lunch we visit the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and see Picasso’s painting, ‘Guernica’, created in response to the bombing of the city by German and Italian planes in 1937. Overnight Madrid.
The British at Jarama
We head out of Madrid and learn about the Battle of Jarama, where Franco tried to cut off Madrid but was unable to force a decisive victory against the determined and heroic resistance of the International Brigades including the British Battalion. We then visit the controversial Valle de los Caídos; the vast memorial to both Republican and Nationalist dead was built using the forced labour of political prisoners and is also the resting place of Franco. Overnight Madrid.
Teruel: the Darkest Hour
We drive to the city of Teruel where one of the decisive battles of the war was fought between December 1937 and February 1938. Over the course of the coldest winter of the century some 140,000 people became casualties. Hemingway was present as a war correspondent, Paul Robeson entertained the International Brigades and Clement Attlee gave moral support but the city was still taken by the Nationalists and marked the turning point of the war. Overnight Teruel.
The Ruins of Belchite
We head for the haunting ruins of Belchite. The town was completely destroyed in the course of a failed Republican offensive against Zaragoza in the autumn of 1937 and the remnants of the town remain untouched, as do the hill caves that housed the Republican artillery positions. Overnight Alcaniz.
The Battle of the Ebro
After breakfast, we drive to Corbera d'Ebre, visiting the excellent local museum and learning about the largest battle of the war - the Ebro - in which the Republic was decisively defeated. In the afternoon, we drive to Barcelona, where we have some free time before dinner. Overnight Barcelona.
Homage to Catalonia
In the morning, we have a walking tour of central Barcelona, exploring the city's Civil War history. It was a staunch Republican stronghold and after the Nationalist victory, Franco wreaked revenge on the area; repressing Catalan institutions and suppressing the language. After a farewell lunch, we depart for the airport in time for our return flight.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Historical Trips Tour Manager
- Meals - All meals included with water (wine with dinners)
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
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