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"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
Single by Manic Street Preachers
from the album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Released August 24, 1998
Format CD, cassette
Recorded January–May 1998
Rockwell Studios, Wales
Genre Alternative, Britpop
Length 4:51
Label Epic
Writer(s) Nick Jones, James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore
Producer Dave Eringa
Certification Gold
Manic Street Preachers singles chronology
"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
"The Everlasting"
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"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" is a song by the Manic Street Preachers, released as the first single from their fifth studio album, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, with lyrics written by Nicky Wire (credited as Nick Jones), and music written by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore. It was released on August 24, 1998 and became the first of the band's two number one singles in the United Kingdom to date. The song is in the Guinness World Records as the number one single with the longest title without brackets. The song was voted #20 on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Number One Singles. It is the group's biggest success on the Irish singles chart (where it reached #3), and is the only Manic Street Preachers track ever to be released as a single in the United States, where it was a minor hit on Modern Rock radio.

The song was about the Spanish Civil War, and the idealism of volunteers from around the world who joined the International Brigades fighting Franco's military rebels against the Spanish Republic.

The song takes its name from a Republican poster of the time. A photograph of a young child killed by Nationalist bombs is shown under a sky of bombers with the stark warning "If you tolerate this, your children will be next" written at the bottom.[1]

Various works on the Spanish Civil War were the inspiration for this song, most notably George Orwell's first-hand account, "Homage to Catalonia." Wire has acknowledged that he was also inspired by a song by The Clash, "Spanish Bombs", which has a similar subject.

Certain lyrics pertain directly to these works. For example, the line “If I can shoot rabbits/then I can shoot fascists” is attributed to a remark made by a man who signed up with the Republican fighters to his brother in an interview years later. This was originally quoted in the book Miners Against Fascism by Hywel Francis.

“I’ve walked Las Ramblas/but not with real intent” brings to mind the account in Orwell’s book of fighting on the Ramblas, with the various factions seemingly getting nowhere with the fighting and often a sense of camaraderie overriding the vaunted principles each side was supposed to be fighting for.

There were two CD singles; the first also included versions of "Prologue To History" and "Montana Autumn 78"; the second featured a 4'54" remix by Massive Attack and a 10'02" The Class Reunion of the Sunset Marquis Mix by David Holmes.

The song also made an appearance as track number three on Forever Delayed (2002), the Manics' greatest hits album.

In March 2009, it was discovered that the song was used on the website of the British National Party as the soundtrack of an article describing "the violence, hatred, fragmentation and despair" wrought on London by the "great multicultural experiment"[2]. The song choice was considered ironic by many, considering the song contains lyrics such as "So if I can shoot rabbits/Then I can shoot fascists". Record company Sony were successfully able to have the song removed from the site on the grounds of unauthorised use[3]. The BNP later released a press statement claiming that "the song had mistakenly been automatically streamed on to its site and had nothing to do with the official party" and that "you can interpret the lyrics any way you want"[4].


The song was covered by David Usher on his 2003 album, Hallucinations.

Radiohead front man Thom Yorke occasionally sang portions of the song during live performances of "Everything in Its Right Place" during the band's 2001 tour.

Track listing



  1. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" - 4:51
  2. "Prologue to History" - 4:44
  3. "Montana/Autumn/78 - 3:12


  1. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" - 4:50
  2. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (Massive Attack Remix)" - 4:54
  3. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (David Holmes Remix)" - 10:02


  1. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
  2. "Kevin Carter" (Live At Manchester NYNEX, 24 May 1997)


Preceded by
"No Matter What" by Boyzone
UK Singles Chart number-one single
30 August 1998 - 6 September 1998
Succeeded by
"Bootie Call" by All Saints


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