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Introduction [[underline]]People's War for a Democratic Spain 1936-1939[[/underline]] by Vaughn Love Over 3,300 anti-fascist Americans including 80 to 100 Blacks from the United States volunteered and joined with the heroic Spanish people in their resistance to fascism's attack on Democratic Republican Spain. Sixteen hundred volunteeres died in Spain. Hundreds in the second World War and the remainint ranks continue to shrink due to natural causes. At the very outset of this war for democracy, it became obvious to the world that the struggle to stop and defeat fascism in Spain was a first step in military resistance to prevent the fascist unfolding of World War II. These tens of thousands of volunteers, after being organized in military formations have become known historically as the International Brigades* (see page 63). The Abraham Lincoln Battalion (ALB) made an historic contribution to the Spanish peoples' struggle for a democratic Spain and by its solidarity with the world anti-fascist movement and joining with all representatives of all races, creeds and color, ti gave our country, the United States of America, its first completely integrated military formation, its first Afro-American Battalion Commander, Afro-American Company Commanders and non-jim crow military units. ". . . from the very beginning, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (Battalion) was an integrated unit. The concepts of real freedom embodied in the general anti-fascist philosophy of the men of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (ALB) precluded any ideas of racial superiority, or minority discrimination. Such ideas were utterly alien to the Americans and represented, in essence, the enemy they had come so far to fight." The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Arthur H. Landis, Citadel Press The fascist axis had gambled upon its ability to cause disaffection among Black masses by various subversive and provocative acts against Black soldiers and citizens, but the understanding of anti-fascism was very great among the Black masses and they were determined to help win the war against the Axis at all costs. The allied mili- 4 [[end page]] [[start page]] tary victory over fascism in World War II was a heavy blow to fascism and all forms of racism. However, continued reaction and fascism constitute obstacles to peace and democracy in the world today. The appearance of the International Brigades at Jarama in February 1937 helped to stop the fascists at the gates of Madrid, where the heroic Spanish people with the support and solidarity of all progressive humanity held back the tide of fascist barbarism for three years. International Anti-Fascist Unity The faint-hearted said that we had lost in Spain, that our fight had been in vain but the opposite is true. The war against fascism was not lost--only one of the many battles of the anti-fascist war that was yet to be fought but despite that, it exploded the myth of fascist invincibility that was being touted by the fascists and their friends in the media of the so-called "democratic" capitalist countries. The battle in Spain was the culmination of a peoples' struggle for a democratic way of life against an entrenched, vested interest. This first military battle of the anti-fascist war could have ended in victory for the people and in the defeat of the native Spanish fascists, had the fraudulent "non-intervention" "neutrality policy" of the so-called "democratic" countries Britain and France, supported by U.S. reactionaries, not encouraged the Hitler-Mussolini Axis to invade Spain with their military forces. The war for the military extermination of fascism began in Spain and, despite the loss of that single battle fought against tremendous odds, the anti-fascist war led by the glorious Red Army of the mighty Soviet people and its allies continued on: FROM MADRID TO STALINGRAD TO VICTORY We present below a digest of statements, letters, articles and interviews with and about Black-American veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion (VALB) and a slute to the Black Americans who fought for democracy in Spain. * A tribute and eulogy to the dead by Ernest Hemingway. *Brief sketches and photos of a representative few heroic dead and those still alive. * International visitors to Spain. * The moving farewell message to the International Brigaders from the heroic Spanish people's Communist leader, Dolores Ibarurri "Pasionaria." * Finally, a report on the 42nd (February 25, 1979) Anniversary Dinner of the Veterans Abraham Lincoln Battalion (VALB) honoring the Black anti-fascist fighters of the VALB and the program presented at the dinner. 5
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