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Ruins of Guernica

The bombing of Guernica (April 26, 1937) was an aerial attack on the Basque town of Guernica, causing widespread destruction and civilian deaths during the Spanish Civil War. The raid by planes of the German Luftwaffe "Condor Legion" and the Italian Fascist Aviazione Legionaria was called Operation Rügen. The Basque government reported 1,654 people killed, but modern research suggests between 200 to 400 civilians died.[1][2] Western countries viewed Guernica as an example of terror bombing and gained the impression that the Luftwaffe was committed to that tactic.[3][4] The bombing was the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso.

Contents

Guernica

Guernica (Gernika in Basque, and officially called Gernika-Lumo since 1983) was a centre of great significance to the Basque people before and after the air raid which made it notorious. Traditionally, the important administrative body, the Biscayne assembly, had met in the town under an oak tree, the Gernikako Arbola, and in more recent years, the assembly has continued to meet in Guernica at the Casa de Juntas—house of the historical archive of the Basque Country.

Autonomous Basque Country.

Military situation

Advances by Nationalist troops led by Generalísimo Francisco Franco had eaten into the territory controlled by the Republican Government. The Basque Government, an autonomous regional administrative body formed by Basque nationalists and leftists, sought to defend Biscay and parts of Guipuzcoa with its own light Basque Army. At the time of the raid, Guernica represented a focal strategic point for the Republican forces. It stood between the Nationalists and capture of Bilbao. Bilbao was seen as key to bringing the war to a conclusion in the north of Spain. Guernica also was the path of retreat for the Republicans from the northeast of Biscay.

Prior to the Condor Legion raid, the town had not been directly involved in the fighting, although Republican forces were in the area; 23 battalions of Basque army troops were at the front east of Guernica. The town also housed two Basque army battalions, although it had no static air defenses, and it is thought that no air cover could be expected due to recent losses of the Republican Air Force.[5]

Market day

Guernica had a nominal population of around five thousand and the town is thought to have housed numerous refugees who were fleeing into Republican controlled territory. The raid also took place on a Monday, ordinarily a market day in Guernica. Generally speaking a market day would have attracted people from the surrounding areas to Guernica to conduct business.

There is still historical debate over whether a market was being held that particular Monday: the Basque government had, prior to the bombing, ordered a general halt to markets to prevent blockage of roads and restrict large meetings. There is common doubt, however, that the directive had been received by all areas, including Guernica, at the time of the raid. It is accepted by most historians that Monday "...would have been a market day".[6]

Luftwaffe doctrine, 1933-42

James Corum states a prevalent myth about the Luftwaffe and its Blitzkrieg operations is that it had a doctrine of terror bombing, in which civilians were deliberately targeted in order to break the will or aid the collapse of an enemy. After the bombing of Guernica in 1937 and of Rotterdam in 1940, it was commonly assumed that terror bombing was a part of Luftwaffe doctrine. During the interwar period the Luftwaffe leadership rejected the concept of terror bombing, and confined the air arms use to battlefield support of interdiction operations. The Luftwaffe did not practice "terror bombing", until 1942.[7]

The vital industries and transportation centers that would be targeted for shutdown were valid military targets. Civilians were not to be targeted directly, but the breakdown of production would affect their morale and will to fight. German legal scholars of the 1930s carefully worked out guidelines for what type of bombing was permissible under international law. While direct attacks against civilians were ruled out as "terror bombing", the concept of the attacking the vital war industries- and probable heavy civilian casualties and breakdown of civilian morale-was ruled as acceptable.[8]

General Walther Wever compiled a doctrine known as The Conduct of the Aerial War. In this document, which the Luftwaffe adopted, the Luftwaffe rejected Giulio Douhet's theory of terror bombing. Terror bombing was deemed to be "counter-productive", increasing rather than destroying the enemies will to resist.[9] Such bombing campaigns were regarded as diversion from the Luftwaffe's main operations; destruction of the enemy armed forces.[10] According to Coram, the bombings of Guernica, Rotterdam and Warsaw were tactical missions in support of military operations and were not intended as strategic terror attacks.[11]

The raid

The Condor Legion was entirely under the command of the Nationalist forces. The order to perform the raid was transmitted to the commanding officer of the Condor Legion, Oberstleutnant Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, from the Spanish Command.[12]

Mission planning

While questions are often raised over the intent of the raid, the diaries of the planner and commander of the mission made public in the 1970s indicate that an attack on Guernica represented part of a wider Nationalist advance in the area and was also designed to support Franco's forces already in place.[13]

Richthofen, understanding the strategic importance of the town in the advance on Bilbao and restricting Republican retreat, ordered an attack against the roads and bridge in the Renteria suburb. Destruction of the bridge was considered the primary objective since the raid was to operate in conjunction with Nationalist troop movements against Republicans around Marquina. Secondary objectives were restriction of Republican traffic/equipment movements and the prevention of bridge repair via the creation of rubble around the bridge.

To meet these objectives, two Heinkel He 111s, one Dornier Do 17, eighteen Ju 52 Behelfsbombers, and three Italian SM.79s were assigned for the mission. These were armed with medium high explosive bombs (250 kg), light explosive bombs (50 kg) and incendiaries (1 kg).[14] The ordnance load for the twenty four bombers was twenty-two tons in total (this figure is not consistent with the raid description below and the known maximum bombloads of the types involved. A total bomb weight of around 15 tonnes seems more realistic). A follow up to the bombing raid was also planned for the next day involving Messerschmitt Bf 109 raids in the area. The order was noted on April 26 by Richthofen as:

Starting at once: A/88 and J/88 for free fighter bomber mission on the streets near Marquina-Guernica-Guerriciaz. K/88 (after Returning from Guerriciaz), VB/88 and Italians for the streets and the bridge (including suburb) east of Guernica. There we have to close the traffic, if we finally want a decision against personal and material of the enemy. Vigon agrees to move his troops for blocking all streets south of Guernica. If this succeeds, we will have trapped the enemy around Marquina.[15]

First five waves of raid

Wave one arrived over Guernica around 1630 hrs. A Dornier Do 17, coming from the south, dropped approximately twelve 50-kilogram bombs.

The three Italian SM.79s had taken off from Soria at 1530 hrs with orders to "bomb the road and bridge to the east of Guernica, in order to block the enemy retreat" during wave two. Their orders explicitly stated not to bomb the town itself.[16] During a single sixty second pass over the town, from north to south, the SM.79's dropped thirty-six light explosive bombs (50 kg). Vidal says that at this point, the damage to the town was "relatively limited... confined to a few buildings", including the church of San Juan and headquarters of the Izquierda Republicana ("Republican Left") political party.

Waves three through five of the first attack then occurred, ending around 1800 hrs. The third wave consisted of a Heinkel He 111 escorted by five Aviazione Legionaria Fiat fighters led by Capitano Corrado Ricci. Waves four and five were carried out by German twin-engined planes. Vidal notes:

"If the aerial attacks had stopped at that moment, for a town that until then had maintained its distance from the convulsions of war, it would have been a totally disproportionate and insufferable punishment. However, the biggest operation was yet to come."[16]

Subsequent raids

Earlier, around noon that day, the Junkers Ju 52s of the Condor Legion had carried out a mission around Guerriciaz (Gerrikaraiz). Following this they landed to rearm and then took off to complete the raid on Guernica. The attack would run from north to south, coming from the Bay of Biscay and up the course of the Urdaibai estuary.

The 1st and 2nd Squadrons of the Condor Legion took off at about 1630 hrs, with the 3rd Squadron taking off from Burgos a few minutes later. They were escorted from Vitoria by a squadron of Fiat fighters and Messerschmitt Bf 109Bs of Lutzow squadron. A total of twenty-nine planes.

From 1830 to 1845 hrs, each of the three bomber squadrons attacked in a formation of three Ju 52s abreast — an attack front of about 150 metres. At the same time, and continuing for around fifteen minutes after the bombing wave, the Bf 109Bs and Heinkel He 51 biplanes[citation needed] strafed the roads leading out of town adding to civilian casualties.

Outcome

Luftwaffe 1 kg incendiary bomb dated 1936.

The bombing shattered the city's defenders' will to resist, allowing the Nationalists to overrun it. They faced little resistance and took complete control of the town by April 29.[17] The attacks destroyed the majority of Guernica. Three quarters of the city's buildings were reported completely destroyed, and most others sustained damage. Among infrastructure spared were the arms factories Unceta and Company and Talleres de Guernica along with the Assembly House Casa de Juntas and the Gernikako Arbola. Richthofen recorded that the bridge was not destroyed or even hit during the raid and the mission was considered a failure as a result, although the rubble and chaos that the raid created severely restricted the movement of Republican forces.

Casualties

The number of civilian casualties was very controversial and a matter of propaganda.

A recent study by Raul Arias Ramos in his book La Legion Condor en La Guerra Civil states that there were 250 dead; and the study by Joan Villarroya and J.M. Sole i Sabate in their book España en Llamas. La Guerra Civil desde el Aire states that there were 300 dead[18] These sources have been cited by historians such as Stanley Payne and Antony Beevor as well as media such as the BBC and El Mundo.

See also the Bombs to casualty ratio next subsection.

After Nationalist forces led by General Emilio Mola's forces took the town three days later, no effort to establish an accurate number seems to have been made. The Basque government figures released at the time put the toll at a minimum of 1,654 dead and 889 wounded. These figures were adopted over the years by most commentators outside of the conflict as accurate.[19] These figures are represented in a majority of the literature from that period and up to the 1970s, although they now are discredited.

The Nationalist junta gave a patently false description of the events (claiming that the destruction had been caused by Republicans burning the town as they fled) and seem to have made no effort to establish an accurate number. At an extreme low, the Francoist newspaper Arriba claimed on January 30, 1970 that there had only been twelve deaths.

Bombs to casualty ratio

Issues with the originally released figures were raised following an appraisal of large scale bombing raids during the Second World War. A comparison of the Guernica figures with the figures of dead resulting from air attacks on major European cities during the Second World War exposed an anomaly. It came to be posited that the figures for Guernica were somewhat inflated. Corum uses the figure of forty tons of bombs dropped on Guernica, and calculates that if the figure of 1654 dead is accepted as accurate then the raid caused 41 fatalities per ton of bombs. By way of comparison the Dresden air raid during February 1945 which saw 3,431 tons of bombs dropped on the city caused fewer deaths; 7.2–10.2 fatalities per ton of bombs dropped. Corum, who ascribes the discrepancy between the high death toll reported at Guernica and in other cases such as Rotterdam to propaganda, goes on to say that for Guernica:

...a realistic estimate on the high side of bombing effectiveness (7–12 fatalities per ton of bombs) would yield a figure of perhaps 300–400 fatalities in Guernica. This is certainly a bloody enough event, but reporting that a small town was bombed with a few hundred killed would not have had the same effect as reporting that a city was bombed with almost 1,700 dead"[20]

Views on the attack

The attack has entered the lexicon of war as an example of terror bombing. It is also remembered by the surviving inhabitants and people of Basque as such. Due to the lingering divisions of the conflict, the event remains a source of emotion and public recrimination.

Military intentions

A commonly held viewpoint is that the involvement of the Luftwaffe in the Civil War constituted a proving ground for troops employed later during World War II. This view is supported by the comments of then Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring at the Nuremberg Trials:

"I urged him [Adolf Hitler] to give support [to Franco] under all circumstances, firstly, in order to prevent the further spread of communism in that theater and, secondly, to test my young Luftwaffe at this opportunity in this or that technical respect.[21]

Carpet bombing

Alongside the potential for gains in combat experience it is also thought that various strategic initiatives were first tried as part of Luftwaffe involvement in the conflict. Theories on strategic bombing were first developed by the Luftwaffe with the first exhibition of "carpet bombing" in the September 1937 Asturias campaign. Comparisons between the raid on Guernica and the fate of other cities during the conflict are also telling. As the fighting progressed into March 1938 Italian pilots flying as Aviazione Legionaria under Field Marshal Hugo Sperrle were involved in thirteen raids against Barcelona involving fire and gas bombs.

The use of "carpet bombing" was becoming standard practice by Condor Legion personnel. To illustrate this point, military historian James S. Corum cites an excerpt from a 1938 Condor Legion report on this use of this tactic:

We have had notable results in hitting the targets near the front, especially in bombing villages which hold enemy reserves and headquarters. We have had great success because these targets are easy to find and can be thoroughly destroyed by carpet bombing."[22]

On the Spanish side, threats made prior to the raid by General Emilio Mola to "end the war in the North of Spain quickly" and threats apparently made against Republicans in Bilbao afterwards implied a blunting of strategy and that air raids were effective and set to become an increasingly favorite instrument in the Nationalist war effort.

Other theories

Vidal outlines some other commonly voiced theories on the raid:[23]

  • The lack of reconnaissance missions before the bombing suggests to him that the Legion intended the destruction of the town rather than a specific target. Reconnaissance missions had been ordered as a prerequisite before raids around built-up areas on January 6, 1937. The intent of the order was to minimize civilian deaths and it had been issued by Mola, then Supreme Commander of the Air Force Salamanca.
  • Since the raid appears to have ignored Mola's earlier plans for reconnaissance prior to the raid, Vidal concludes that Richthofen must have received direct orders from Mola or Franco.
  • According to Nicholas Rankin (Telegram from Guernica, Faber and Faber, London 2003, page 121):

It was Von Richthoven himself who selected the mix of blast, splinter and fire bombs for this particular operation, agreed at a military conference in Burgos the night before. Von Richthoven wrote in his diary: As it was a complete success of our 250 kg (explosive) and ECB1 (incendiary) bombs.

  • In Vidal's view, such a mission would have typically used 10-kilogram bombs, and no incendiaries. Vidal also argues that the 22-ton load-out used in the raid represented a relatively large quantity for an attack on the stated primary objective. By way of comparison, Vidal indicates sources which give total tonnage of bombs dropped on the front during the first day of the offensive as sixty-six.[24]
  • Vidal argues that the Italians had been trying to obtain a separate peace agreement with the Basque nationalists and were not inclined to jeopardize those efforts by deliberately inflicting civilian casualties.[25]

Media reporting

The first English language media reports of the destruction in Guernica appeared two days later. George Steer, a reporter for The Times, who was covering the Spanish Civil War from inside the country, authored the first full account of events. Steer's reporting set the tone for much of the subsequent reportage. Steer pointed out the clear German complicity in the action.[26] The evidence of three small bomb cases stamped with the German Imperial Eagle made clear that the official German position of neutrality in the Civil War and the signing of a Non-Intervention Pact was a sham. Steer's report was syndicated to the New York Times and then worldwide, generating widespread shock, outrage, and fear. There was coverage in other national and international editions also:

  • The Times ran the story every day for over a week after the attack.
  • The New York Post ran a cartoon showing Hitler brandishing a bloody sword labelled "air raids" as he towered over heaps of civilian dead littering "the Holy City of Guernica" and
  • The US Congressional Record even referred to poison gas having been dropped on Guernica.
  • During debates in the British Parliament Guernica was also inaccurately described as an "open city" which contained no military targets.

Overall, the impression generated was one which fed the widely held public fear of air attack which had been building throughout the 1930s, a fear which accurately anticipated that in the next war the aerial forces of warring nations would be able to wipe whole cities off the map.

Reaction in Spain

Nationalists claimed that Guernica had been deliberately burned and dynamited by fleeing Republican forces, which had been using the city to store ammunition and explosives; it was also claimed that reports of the extent of the bombing had been exaggerated and were atrocity propaganda. Although not denying that the air raid had happened, foreign journalists such as the distinguished writer Brian Crozier (at that time a Republican sympathiser) who were the first to arrive on the scene, believed that the effects of the bombing had been exaggerated by judicious dynamiting on the part of the Republican garrison. While Republican forces had been previously involved in pursuing a scorched earth strategy in the past, (notably in Irun which was dynamited), Steer's reporting was supported by the reporting of other journalists who witnessed the same levels of destruction.[27] As already noted, the view that civilian casualties had been kept to a minimum was not widely accepted. The delay in arrival of firemen from Bilbao and their supposed inaction in containing the fires was also reported.[28]

Legacy

Steer's reports on the horrors of Guernica were greatly appreciated by the Basque people. Steer had made their plight known. The Basque authorities later honored his memory by naming a street in Guernica Kale George Steer, and commissioning a bronze bust with the dedication:

"George Steer, journalist, who told the world the story about Guernica."[29]

Despite Francoist efforts to downplay the reports they proliferated and led to widespread international outrage at the time.

Picasso's painting

Basque nationalists still[30] demand that the painting be brought to the town, as can be seen in the slogan under this mural in Guernica.

Guernica quickly became a world-renowned symbol of civilian suffering resulting from conflict and inspired Pablo Picasso to adapt one of his existing paintings into Guernica[31]. The Spanish Republican Government had commissioned a work from him for the Spanish pavilion at the Paris International Exposition. Though he accepted the invitation to display a piece, he remained uninspired until he heard of the bombing of Guernica. The display of Picasso's work at the Republican Spain Pavilion during the 1937 World's Fair reflected the impact on public consciousness. The painting went on to become a symbol indicative of Basque nationalism during the Spanish transition to democracy. Today it resides in Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. A tapestry copy of Picasso's Guernica is displayed on the wall of the United Nations building in New York City, at the entrance to the Security Council room. It was placed there as a reminder of the horrors of war.

German apology

Recrimination for the activities of the Condor Legion and shame at the involvement of German citizens in the bombing of Guernica surfaced following German reunification in the 1990s. In 1997, the 60th anniversary of Operation Rügen, then German President Roman Herzog wrote to survivors apologizing on behalf of the German people and state for Germany's role in the Civil War in general. Herzog said he wished to extend "a hand of friendship and reconciliation" on behalf of all German citizens.[32] This sentiment was later ratified by members of the German Parliament who went on to legislate in 1998 for the removal of all former Legion members' names from associated German military bases.

70th Anniversary

On the 70th anniversary of the bombing, the president of the Basque Parliament met with politicians, Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, and deputies from Hiroshima, Volgograd, Pforzheim, Dresden, Warsaw, and Oswiecim (Auschwitz), as well as several survivors from Guernica itself. During the meeting they showed images and film clips of the bombing, took time to remember the 250 dead, and read the Guernica Manifesto for Peace, pleading that Guernica become a "World Capital for Peace".[33][34]

Comparison to subsequent historical events

Bombing of Dresden

On February 13, 2003, during the commemoration of the 58th anniversary of the Bombing of Dresden, inhabitants of Dresden, Germany, including survivors of the firestorm of 1945, joined together with witnesses of the bombing of Guernica to issue an appeal to the people of the world:[35]

As our television sets show bombers preparing for war against Iraq, we survivors of Guernica and Dresden recall our own helplessness and horror when we were flung into the inferno of bombing—we saw people killed. Suffocated. Crushed. Incinerated. Mothers trying to protect their children with only their bodies. Old people with no strength left to flee from the flames. These pictures are still alive in our memory, and our accounts capture indelibly what we went through. For decades we—and survivors from many other nations—have been scarred by the horror, loss and injuries we experienced in the wars of the 20th century. Today we see that the beginnings of the 21st century are also marked by suffering and destruction. On behalf of all the victims of war throughout the world we express our sympathy and solidarity with all those affected by the terror of September 11 in the USA and the war in Afghanistan. But is that very suffering now also to be inflicted upon the people of Iraq? Must thousands more die in a rain of bombs, must cities and villages be destroyed and cultural treasures obliterated?

[36][37]

Bombing of Hiroshima

On April 26, 2007, Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace compared the experience of Guernica to Hiroshima:[38]

Human beings have often sought to give concrete form to our powerful collective longing for peace. After World War I, that longing led to the League of Nations and numerous rules and taboos designed to govern warfare itself. Of these, the most important was the proscription against attacking and killing civilian non-combatants even in times of war. However, the second half of the twentieth century has seen most of those taboos broken. Guernica was the point of departure, and Hiroshima is the ultimate symbol. We must find ways to communicate to future generations the history of horror that began with Guernica....
In this sense, the leadership of those here in Guernica who seek peace and have worked hard to bring about this memorial ceremony is profoundly meaningful. The solidarity we feel today derives from our shared experience of the horror of war, and this solidarity can truly lead us toward a world beyond war.

Iraq War

On February 5, 2003, a large blue curtain was used to cover up a tapestry copy of Picasso's Guernica hanging at the entrance to the Security council room, so that it would not be visible in the background when Colin Powell and John Negroponte gave press conferences at the United Nations justifying why the United States of America must go to war with Iraq.[39]

Laurie Brereton, an Australian Labor MP and U.N. delegation member, reflected on the draped-over Picasso after Powell's Wednesday speech:[40]

There is a profound symbolism in pulling a shroud over this great work of art.... We may well live in the age of the so-called "smart bomb", but the horror on the ground will be just the same as that visited upon the villagers of Guernica.... Innocent Iraqis—men, women and children—will pay a terrible price. And it won't be possible to pull a curtain over that.

On the following day, it was claimed that the curtain was placed there at the request of television news crews, who had complained that the wild lines and screaming figures made for a bad backdrop, and that a horse's hindquarters appeared just above the faces of any speakers. Diplomats did, however, on condition of anonymity, tell some journalists later that the Bush Administration leaned on UN officials to cover the tapestry, rather than have it in the background while Powell or other U.S. diplomats argued for war in Iraq.[41]

Operation Cast Lead

Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, likened Operation Cast Lead, an Israeli military operation in Gaza, to Guernica in an article entitled Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood.[42]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Inflated by Air. Common perceptions of civilian casualties from bombing by Prof.James S. Corum, Air War College. April 1998.
  2. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6583639.stm The legacy of Guernica
  3. ^ bombing of Guernica answers.com]
  4. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6583639.stm The legacy of Guernica
  5. ^ Although on April 27 two Republican fighters were reported shot down by Condor Legion Messerschmitt Bf 109 conducting follow up raids against traffic around Guernica.
  6. ^ See (Larrazabal 2005)
  7. ^ Corum 1997, p. 7.
  8. ^ James Corum 1997, p. 240
  9. ^ Corum 1997, pp. 143–144.
  10. ^ Corum 1997, pp. 146.
  11. ^ Corum 1997, p. 7
  12. ^ Telegram for the CO of Legion Condor, sent by HQ at Salamanca, in: Maier: Guernica 26.4.1937. Die deutsche Intervention in Spanien und der "Fall Guernica", Freiburg 1977, Appendix 6.
  13. ^ A nationalist force of twenty five battalions.
  14. ^ Richtofen did not have Ju87 A1 (Stuka) at his disposal as these aircraft did not begin arriving in Spain until December 1937.
  15. ^ Diary entries and outlining of the action as detailed by Richtofen's records here.
  16. ^ a b "Guernica, Demolished". http://www.buber.net/Basque/History/guernica-ix.html. Retrieved December 2, 2008. 
  17. ^ bombing of Guernica answers.com]
  18. ^ El Mundo, "El Bombardeo de Guernica", El Mundo, volume 12 (October 2005)
  19. ^ Gérard Brey, La destrucción de Guernica, Tiempo de Historia nº 29, April 1977, accessed online September 14, 2006. This appears to be a review of Herbert R. Southworth, La destrucción de Guernica, (Ruedo Ibérico, Paris, 1975).
  20. ^ Inflated by Air. Common perceptions of civilian casualties from bombing by Prof.James S. Corum, Air War College. April 1998.
  21. ^ See Testimony of Göring, Trial of the Major War Criminals, International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, November 14 – October 1, 1946, Volume IX. Available via Avalon Project. NOTE: Frequently misquoted along the lines of: "The Spanish Civil War gave me an opportunity to put my young air force to the test, and a means for my men to gain experience." or other permutations.
  22. ^ Inflated by Air. Common perceptions of civilian casualties from bombing by Prof.James S. Corum, Air War College. April 1998.
  23. ^ See Buber.net available here.
  24. ^ Vidal goes on to claim that the official German account of this period in the war, "The War in the North", states that only 7.956 tons of bombs were dropped on Guernica.
  25. ^ Vidal in his book La Destrucción de Guernica (The Destruction of Guernica). See also buber.net for details.
  26. ^ George Steer was a special correspondent for The Times and his article first appeared in the The Times April 28. It was reprinted in the New York Times April 28. Part of his report read: "Guernica was not a military objective.... The object of the bombardment was seemingly the demoralisation of the civil population and the destruction of the cradle of the Basque race."
  27. ^ In the 1970s the pro-Nationalist newspaper Arriba claimed that there had only been twelve deaths during the bombing raid. January 30, 1970 edition.
  28. ^ This is disputed by César Vidal who claims evidence contradicting the earlier reports and offers a chronolgy of the fire-fighting efforts. See Buber.net available here.
  29. ^ The dedication took place on April 2006, the 69th Anniversary of the bombing. See The Tragedy of Guernica, The Times, April 28, 1937.
  30. ^ Ibarretxe reclama 'para siempre' el 'Guernica', El Mundo, June 29, 2007.
  31. ^ "Guernica: Testimony of War". http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/guernica_nav/main_guerfrm.html. Retrieved December 2, 2008. 
  32. ^ See Exhibit recalls German destruction of Spanish town of Guernica CNN.com April 25, 2000.
  33. ^ "Guernica recuerda el 70º aniversario de los bombardeos con un espíritu de paz" article in Spanish from El Mundo, April 27, 2007
  34. ^ "The legacy of Guernica" article on BBC website, April 27, 2007
  35. ^ [1]
  36. ^ http://www.dresden-1945.de/ Dresden 1945
  37. ^ http://www.dresden-1945.de/download/03_02_08_Pressemitteilung.pdf
  38. ^ [2]
  39. ^ [3]
  40. ^ [4]
  41. ^ [5]
  42. ^ [6]

Further reading

  • Corum, James S. - Wolfram Von Richthofen: Master of the German Air War (University Press of Kansas, 2008)
  • Corum, James. The Luftwaffe: Creating the Operational Air War, 1918-1940. Kansas University Press. 1997. ISBN 9780700608362
  • Coverdale, John F. - Italian Intervention in the Spanish Civil War. (Princeton University Press, 1975
  • Maier, Klaus A. - Guernica 26.4.1937: Die Deutsche Intervention in Spanien und der "Fall Guernica." Freiburg im Breisgau: Rombach, 1975
  • Patterson, Ian - Guernica and Total War (London: Profile; USA, Harvard University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-86197-764-9)
  • Moa, Pío - Los Mitos de la Guerra Civil, La Esfera de los Libros, 2003.
  • Ramírez, Juan Antonio - Guernica: la historia y el mito,Electa, Madrid, 1999
  • Arias Ramos, Raúl; El Apoyo Militar Alemán a Franco:La Legión Cóndor En La Guera Civil, La Esfera de los Libros, 2003
  • Rankin, Nicholas - Telegram From Guernica: The Extraordinary Life of George Steer, War Correspondent (Faber & Faber, London, ISBN 0-571-20563-1)
  • Southworth, Herbert Rutledge - Guernica! Guernica!, a study of journalism, diplomacy, propaganda, and history, Berkley, 1977
  • César Vidal, Chapter 9 of La Destrucción de Guernica, translated into English by Peter Miller. A detailed account of the attack and an account of its likely motivations. The sections of the article on the timing of the attacks and the particular planes and armaments used draw heavily on this source.
  • Boling, Dave. "Guernica: A Novel" (Bloomsbury, USA, 2008 ISBN 978-0-330-46066-8)

See also


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotations on the bombing of Guernica, April 26, 1937

Último aviso: he decidido terminar rápidamente la guerra en el Norte de España. Quienes no sean autores de asesinatos y depongan las armas o se entreguen serán respetados en vidas y haciendas. Si vuestra sumisión no es inmediata arrasaré Vizcaya empezando por las industrias de guerra. Tengo medios sobrados para ello.

Last warning: I have decided to end the war in the North of Spain quickly. Those who have not committed murders and who lay down their arms or turn themselves in will see their lives and property respected. If your submission is not immediate, I will wipe out Vizcaya, beginning with the industries of war. I have more than enough means to do it.
General Emilio Mola


Guernica fue Punto Hoy no es más que brasa cenizas Punto En este momento arde todavía pueblo tres horas bombardeo intensísimo bombas incendiarias lo han destrozado totalmente Punto Aldasoro, Torre, yo llegamos allí espantados Punto Diez mil mujeres niños huyen carreteras temiendo ser ametrallados por aviación mañana al amanecer como lo fueron esta tarde Punto Ante esta catástrofe con amenaza hecha hoy mismo destrozar incendiar Bilbao esta semana sólo suplicamos háganse cargo situación angustiosa

Guernica was Stop Today it is no more than embers ashes Stop In this moment town still burning three hours intense bombardment incendiary bombs have totally destroyed it Stop Aldasoro, Torre, I arrived there horrified Stop Ten thousand women children fleeing highways fearing being machine-gunned by aircraft tomorrow at dawn as they were this afternoon Stop Before this catastrophe with threat made just today to destroy burn Bilbao this week we entreat only take charge dreadful situation
Telesforo Monzón, telegram to the President of the Council of Ministers, 27 April 1937


Ante Dios y ante la Historia que a todos nos ha de juzgar, afirmo que durante tres horas y media los aviones alemanes bombardearon con saña desconocida la población civil indefensa de la histórica villa de Gernika reduciéndola a cenizas, persiguiendo con el fuego de ametralladora a mujeres y niños, que han perecido en gran número huyendo los demás alocados por el terror.

Before God and before History which must judge us all, I affirm that for three and one-half hours, German planes bombarded with unheard-of fury the defenceless civilian population of the historic city of Gernika, reducing it to ashes, chasing with machine-gun fire women and children who perished in great number, fleeing the stampede of others driven mad by panic.
José Antonio Aguirre, lehendakari of the Basque Country


Aguirre miente. Nosotros hemos respetado Guernica, como respetamos todo lo español.

Aguirre is lying. We have respected Guernica, as we respect everything Spanish.
Francisco Franco







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