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Abraham Lincoln Brigade

16 Mar 01 - 08:25 AM (#418949)
Subject: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Greg F.

Only in New Hampshire: the spirit of William Loeb is alive and well........

"Spanish Civil War Plaque
NPR's Jason Beaubien reports that a plaque was erected in the New Hampshire State House to honor the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The 12-member group fought in the Spanish civil war to support the Loyalist government. But some say the plaque is memorializing Communists and Communist sympathizers. (4:14) "

You can listen to the whole story


Whooo, boy....
Best, Greg

16 Mar 01 - 09:17 AM (#418992)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade II
From: Amos

Guess they have to have something to complain about. The opposition are quite certain that the communist takeover plot is still going on, in search of world domination, and that the "C" word meant the same thing then as it does now. 'Course as far as the Spanish Civil war goes, that means they're on the side of facism, but I guess the F word is more palatable than the C word. It's kinda a Bush vs Gore thing. The fact that the Lincoln Brigade went to war to defend an elected government against a facist one doesn't seem meaningful -- everything shrinks to insignificance the minute the Big C is mentioned. It's almost as though they got off the Time Train in 1955.


16 Mar 01 - 09:23 AM (#418996)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Greg F.

Bless you, JoeClone! [] :-)

16 Mar 01 - 09:58 AM (#419020)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Kim C

I heard about this on NPR the other morning. As far as I know all Americans have the right to support the political party of their choice, whether it be Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Communist. The reporter talked to an old Brigade member who said, sure, probably some of them were Communists, but our main objective there was to fight fascism.

I can understand why some might find such a remembrance questionable; however, like I already said, anybody can be a Communist that wants to. (personally I don't think there are that many who want to anyhow)

16 Mar 01 - 10:56 AM (#419055)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: CamiSu

Politics in New Hampshire can be just plain strange. Saw a kid in the soccer league stand at attention during the picture taking, blocking several other kids. When he ran to Mom afterwards, I noticed she was wearing a GWBush jacket...

My dad, a Republican all his life, found the right wing of NH politics appalling. Nearly made him a Democrat. He lived in NH the last 7 years of his life, and spent LOTS of time there all the time before that.

Very regressive taxes as well.

The northern part of the state is, if anything, even more conservative. Me? I'm glad I moved to Vermont, after 2 years in NH. We may have our troubles (I see a lot of Take Back Vermont signs around here, but at least we let both sides exist!)


16 Mar 01 - 03:00 PM (#419287)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Irish sergeant

If I remeber correctly, there were two brigades of U.S. citizens that fought in the Spanish Civil War against Franco. There was the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, mentioned above and the George Washington Brigade. Both numbered considerably more than twelve people. One of the first tactics Sen. Joseph "Tail-gunner Joe" McCarthy used to smear the good name of the men who fought in the brigades was to lable them "Prematurely Anti-Fascist" A lovely little bit of Orwellian word speak used to imply someone was a Communist. The men and women who made up the brigades deseve a monument not only to their bravery and love of freedom but for their forsight in seeing the threat that Germany, Italy and Japans military dictatorships posed in the 1930s As stated above most of these men were not communists or communist sympathisers. They were appalled at the thought of yet another fascist dictatorship on the European mainland. The true tragedy of the Spanish Civil War is that so very many Spaniards had to die so the powers in Europe, notably Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union, could test their weapons systems. And that we would learn this again, as Americans in Souteast Asia. Kindest Reguards, Neil (A stood down cold warrior)

16 Mar 01 - 03:14 PM (#419296)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Greg F.

Clarification, Neil: didn't come across in the condensed spiel, but they were referring to the 12 men from New Hampshire that served in the Abe Lincoln Brigade. Them German Weapons worked a treat at Guernica- killed my grandfather's brother & most of the rest of the rest of his family.

"Prematurely Anti-Fascist"- Jesus, ya just gotta love them rabid Cold Warriers, dontcha?

Best, Greg

16 Mar 01 - 03:59 PM (#419353)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Irish sergeant

Hell, it's that whole word speak thing the government (Insert nation, state or locality of choice)is so good at. I hope the Granite State will see its way clear to honor the men like your great uncle for the sacrifices they made for all of our freedom. Kindest reguards, Neil

16 Mar 01 - 09:15 PM (#419616)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: northfolk/al cholger

Si Kahn did an admirable song, Bleeding Hearts...about a Chrysler worker who went to Spain to fight fascism. One of the big prices that we pay in this world, to this date is that politicians and businesspeople were so busy selling arms and material to Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, that they couldn't allow early anti-fascist intervention in europe...WWII and the holocaust might have never happened. Just heard an author on NPR two days ago, who wrote about IBM's long business flirtation with Hitler. They sold the Punchcard system that Hitler used to coordinate the final solution...ironic how close that is to IBM's "solution".

17 Mar 01 - 12:17 AM (#419722)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Art Thieme

Si Kahn did that song you mentioned on my old NPR radio show (The Flea Market--Chicago--early 1980s). He did it because ten minutes earlier I had introduced him to Ed Balchowsky, a veteran of the Lincoln Brigade. Ed was a concert pianist who had lost an arm in a battle near the Ebro River. After surgery, for pain he had been given morphine to which he became addicted. He stayed that way for the next 40 years. Ed would still sing the stirring songs of that war and play the piano with his one hand. (See, also, Utah Phillips fine song about Ed "One Arm On The Ebro".)

There were many more than the mentioned 12 members of the Lincolns. As I recall it, there were 3,200 people who felt strongly enough about stopping Franco and fascism that they went over and fought in that war. Only HALF came back alive.

Hitler practiced for World War 2 in Spain supporting Gen. Franco with his Luftwaffe and bombs. It's felt by many (as was said) that he could've been stopped if the USA had gone after him then as in Kuwait recently.

There were also volks in Germany fighting in the Spanish Civil War against Franco and their own Hitler. These volunteers made up the International Brigades.

Yes, these were leftists and Socialists and Communists and Democrats and just anti-fascists. I'll always be proud to've been a friend of Ed Balchowsky's.

Many of todays youth choose to use their limited supply of testosterone shooting their wad into the black hole and sponge-like stock market and gambling industry rather than dedicate their lives to humanity and allied causes.-----Because that choice has been made by them --- to indulge their personal greed rather than nurture their altruistic potentials----we are stuck with the the mentality that prevails in so many parts of today's world. I admired Ed Balchowsky's life-long commitment and I definitely prefer his ism to Donald Trump's.

Art Thieme

17 Mar 01 - 06:53 AM (#419834)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: paddymac

Well said, Art.

17 Mar 01 - 07:58 AM (#419843)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade

I have always admired the men of The International Brigade,men who fought for principal, without thought of reward.Surely an alien concept in todays world. As well as the Abe Lincoln Brigade there was an Anglo American Brigade. Does anyone know anything about them??. A family friend was a member(he was Irish)and for a time was commandant.He died at the battle for the fortied town of Quinto. Remember Delores Ibarruri's (La Passionara)words ." You gave your youth or maturity, your science and experience, your blood and your lives for the Spanish people and asked nothing at all". She said " When the years pass by and the wounds of war are healed, and pride in a free country is felt equally by all Spaniards, speak to your children. Tell them of these men of the International Brigade". We should all tell our children and grandchildren of the heroic men of the International Brigade. Mariner

17 Mar 01 - 12:08 PM (#419947)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Amos

Some wonderful photos from the actual events can be found here, at the site of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade archives. ( )


17 Mar 01 - 12:33 PM (#419960)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Amos

The following excerpt is from the May 1, 1938 newsletter called "Volunteer for Liberty", published by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade..  It gives a sense of who these people were and what those who survived believed in about the war against Franco.  The back issues of this news letter make fascinating reading and can be found here.

The Spanish people voted for democracy; Franco revolted against this
democracy. The Spanish people voted for schools, and land, and living
wages, The reactionaries of Spain rose In blood and bullets against these
demands. The Spanish people voted for peace and independence. They
have been answered by murder and a brutal attempt at foreign

Spain is a lesson no less for America than for all free and all threatened
peoples. Courage and self sacrifice we can learn from the Spanish
people, but we must join to this, organization and vigilance, that a like
revolt may not be made in this country. For this lesson, for the bulwark
the Spanish people are providing against the sweeping darkness of
fascism, for their devoted service toward saving America and all
countries from a world-wide slaughter, for these reasons the American
people owe the Spanish people their most generous and devoted support.
On May Day last year, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
were in Spain, The day there was not for parades. Short meetings there
were, but in the trenches, in the training bases and hospitals, and
throughout the transport service the day was given to our regular tasks,
pursued with a heightened realization that the eyes of Labor the world
over were, especially on this day, upon us.

May Day this year finds 3,200 Americans still carrying on In Spain,
with the same devotion and the same courage. The thoughts of an
awakened America must be with them today; the assistance of an
awakened America must be extended to them.

It is fitting that we, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade,
should lead the May Day Parade and we are proud to do so. We have
taken part with the Spanish people in their determined struggle for those
objectives for which Labor all over the world is mobilized today. It is
right that we should, by our presence, remind New York and America of
what we have seen and of what we have fought for. It is right that we
should devote ourselves to the great task of determining that these things
shall not take place here.

We have seen with our own eyes the naked horror of fascism. America
may be assured that we shall not soon forget.

David McKelvy White

17 Mar 01 - 12:54 PM (#419971)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Since my last posting I've been rooting through some papers and found that the family friend I mentioned last time, (whose name was Peter Daly)died in Sept. 1937. At the time,I think, he was in charge of an Anglo American Brigade. Was this before the Abe Lincoln Brigade was established ? or was there an Anglo American outfit as well as the other two American brigades?. Has anyone heard Christy Moore's rendition of "Viva la Quinte Brigada". Another different song , in Spanish, with the same title was recorded by the Ian Campbell group sometime in the late 60s , early 70s.

17 Mar 01 - 08:56 PM (#420183)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Art Thieme

Utah Phillips once told me about a group called something like The Mac-Pap Brigade. They were probably from Canada---actually the McKenzie-Papaneau Brigade. Can anyone tell us more about them??


17 Mar 01 - 09:44 PM (#420208)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: GUEST,colwyn dane

Hi folks,

I don't think anybody using the Mudcat facilities, participated in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, (they also had
Civil War's in 1820-23 and 1840-43) so I guess most of 1936-39 information comes to us as filtered by historians.
Of course today's view is seen 'in colour' and not as then in black and white.

The following is taking from autobiographical material of a former member of the IB.

"There is no longer any point in trying to untangle the web of lies
and confusions which lay behind that ghastly civil war. It arose out of total confusion and chaos.
There were individuals on both sides who committed every possible form of cruelty and beastliness.
And nobody, from either side, came out of it with clean hands. We, of the International Brigades,
had wilfully deluded ourselves into the belief that we were fighting a noble Crusade because we
needed a crusade - the opportunity to fight against the mainfest evils of Fascism, in one form or
another, which seemed then as if it would overwhelm every value of Western civilisation.
We were wrong, we deceived ourselves and were deceived by others: but even then, the whole thing was not in vain.
Even at the moments of the greatest gloom and depression, I have never regretted that I took part in it.
The situation is not to be judged by what we now know of it, but only as it appeared in the context of the period.
And in that context there was a clear choice for anyone who professed to be opposed to Fascism."

---J. Gurney, 'Crusade in Spain' (London, Faber, 1974)---

A possible reason for the failure of the Republic:

"Franco needed help from the opposite side of the battlefront. And he obtained this aid.
His chief assistant was and still is Stalin, the gravedigger of the Bolshevik Party and the proletarian revolution.
(and further along)
>br> ....we have witnessed during the last two years the growing distrust and hatred of the republican cliques on the part
of the peasants and workers. Despair or dull indifference gradually replaced revolutionary enthusiasm and the
spirit of self-sacrifice. The masses turned their backs on those who had deceived and trampled upon them.
That is the primary reason for the defeat of the republican troops."
--- L.Trotsky article written in February 1939 and quoted in Cunningham(ed.), "Spanish Front, Writers on the Civil War"

I hope this helps somebody somewhere.

18 Mar 01 - 08:49 AM (#420366)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: cetmst

To get back to the music theme of this thread: Smithsonian Folkways has two volumes of Spanish Civil War songs including "Six Songs for Democracy" recorded in German in Barcelona in 1936 by German anti-Nazis. I have the original Keynote 78 from 1940, if it has not crumbled to dust in the attic, on which can be heard bombs in the background. My LP is from 1961 but these are available on CD's from Smithsonian. There are very informative liner notes. I have Christy Moore's 'Viva la Quince Brigade'concerning Irish members of the International Brigade recorded from a radio program but have been unable to find the source. Does anyone know where it is recorded ? The Spanish Civil War took place during my formative years and I recall the original admiration for those who fought on the Republican side and the later anti-Communist hysteria that questioned the admirable motives of these men. As a former resident of New Hampshire during the William Loeb years I am not surprised that people in the state are still fussing about the whole affair.

18 Mar 01 - 01:18 PM (#420467)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: artbrooks

There is an interview in this month's (April) Military History magazine with an American veteran of the Spanish Civil War(Robert Steck). According to him, the unit was actually the Lincoln Battalion of the 15th International Brigade (the "Quince Brigada" memorialized in the song), which also had a Washington Battalion. There was also an English Battalion, but it is unclear in the article what Brigade they belonged to. The French volunteers were in the 12th International Brigade

18 Mar 01 - 01:58 PM (#420489)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Art Thieme

just to clarify---The "art" in the previous post is NOT me--

Art Thieme

18 Mar 01 - 02:06 PM (#420495)
Subject: RE: BS: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: artbrooks

Very true

19 Mar 01 - 07:29 PM (#421206)
Subject: Lyr Add: JARAMA
From: The Walrus

I seem to recall reading that the Abraham Lincoln Bde and the British Bn served together at Jarama (one re-enforcing/relieving the other), so, to keep a musical connection a British Bn song (there apparently is an AL Bde version, but I don't have it)

JARAMA (TUNE: Red River Valley)

There's a valley in Spain called Jarama,
That's a place that we all know so well
For 'twas there that we wasted our manhood.
And most of our old age as well.

From this valley they say we we're leaving,
But don't hasten to bid us adieu,
For e'en though we make our departure,
We'll be back in an hour or two

Oh we're proud of our British Battalion,
And the marathon record it's made.
Please do us this one little favour
And take this last word to Brigade.

"You will never be happy with strangers;
They would not understand you as we,
So remember the Jarama Valley
And the old men who wait patiently."


19 Mar 01 - 11:37 PM (#421290)
From: Art Thieme

This song was recorded by Woody Guthrie with the Almanac Singers. Later it was done by Terry Gilkyson -- also with the Almanac Singers.

There's a valley in Spain called Jarama,
It's a place that we all know so well,
For it's there that we fought against the fascists,
And saw a peaceful valley turned to hell.

We are men of the Lincoln Batalion,
We are proud of the fight that we made,
And we know that the people of the valley,
Will remember our Lincoln Brigade.

From this valley they say we are leaving,
Hasten to bid us adieu,
For even though we lost the battle of Jarama,
We'll set the people free before we're through.

We are proud of the Lincoln Battalion,
And the fight for Madrid that they made,
There we fought like true sons of the people,
As part of the Fifteenth Brigade.

Now we are far from that valley of sorrow,
But it's memory we'll never forget,
In the midst of the struggles all around us,
Let's remember our glorious dead.

There's a valley in Spain called Jarama,
It's a place that we all know so well,
For it's there that we lost our dear manhood,
And most of our old age as well.

Art Thieme

20 Mar 01 - 03:07 PM (#421799)
Subject: RE: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: GUEST,Irish Sergeant

I believe you're right about the Battalions. There were two American battalions The Abraham Lincoln and George Washinton Battalions. I Don't remember what the British Battalion was called off the top of my Head. I thought it was called the Saint George Battalion but I may be confusing it with a Waffen SS unit formed from British P.O.W.s in the secomnd world war. That atrocities happened on both sides in indisputable. I submit, however that they were more prevelent on the Fascist side. How much of that is propaganda, we'll never know. The lesson in tha Spanish Civil War is that it could happen again and we all must work to see that it doesn't. That will be the truest memorial we could give the men of the International brigades. Kindest reguards, Neil

16 Jan 11 - 01:36 PM (#3075773)
Subject: RE: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: GUEST,Mr. Jim

One form of Socialism fighting against another. One could say that it was a good thing that our reactionary, ready to fight and die for their cause, commies left the USA and went into Spain's slaughter. Hitler's National Socialists were just as evil as Stalin's Socialists. America's big mistake was not destroying Stalin's evil empire after we destroyed Hitler's.

The Soviet genocides of peoples living in the Caucasus and exterminations of large social groups are not very much different from similar policies by Nazis. Both Communist and Nazi systems deemed a part of humanity unworthy of existence. The difference is that the Communist model is based on the class system, the Nazi model on race and territory.

The genocide of a class may well be tantamount to the genocide of a race - the deliberate starvation of a child of a Ukrainian kulak as a result of the famine caused by Stalin's regime is equal to the starvation of a Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto as a result of the famine caused by the Nazi regime.

17 Jan 11 - 04:28 AM (#3076202)
Subject: RE: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Jim Carroll

"America's big mistake was not destroying Stalin's evil empire after we destroyed Hitler's. "
And the world's big mistake was not destroying America's 'Evil Empire', which ended up invading and bombing fifty-odd 3rd world countries in undeclared wars, culminating in the chemical bombing of Viet-Nam, and running concentration camps for illegally arrested terrorist 'suspects' who are detained without trial and routinely tortured.
Who will protect us from the 'protectors'?
Jim Carroll

17 Jan 11 - 07:36 PM (#3076775)
Subject: RE: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Mark Ross

Our big mistake was our involvement in WWI, which provided the conditions that let Hitler come to power. If not for the Treaty of Versailles, there wouldn't have been any Hitler, probably no Korea, no Vietnam War, and most certainly, there wouldn't be this mess in the Middle East to contend with.

Mark Ross

17 Jan 11 - 07:41 PM (#3076779)
Subject: RE: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Joe_F

For a vivid view of that very messy war, read _Homage to Catalonia_ by George Orwell, who was there. He has the honor of having been wounded by Fascists & then having to run for his life from Communists.

18 Jan 11 - 04:52 AM (#3076956)
Subject: RE: Abraham Lincoln Brigade
From: Jim Carroll

"He has the honor of having been wounded by Fascists"
My father was wounded by fascists and spent a year as a prisoner-of-war in Spain - I don't thing he considered it much of an 'honour'.
"....very messy war"
The war would have been far less messy had the powers-that-be recognised fascism as the threat that it was, rather than treating those who went to fight in Spain as criminals.
My dad returned home in 1939 to find he had been 'awarded' a security record as a "premature anti-fascist" and had been blacklisted from his work, forcing him to become one of 'MacAlpine's Men'. My mother, sister and I hardly ever saw him until 1953 when he finally returned home.
On top of this, he was excommunicated from his church for supporting the wrong side; no great problem as far as he was concerned - but it certainly helped 'pin the tail on the donkey' in the Who's Who Book of Fascict Supporters'.
Jim Carroll