Yale Press Brings out Book of Soviet Documents Relating to the Spanish Civil War

Documents discovered by Yale faculty member Mary Habeck, and collected into a new book, offer historic evidence of the duplicitous role the former Soviet Union played in the Spanish Civil War.

Habeck, a scholar of European and military history, is co-editor with Ronald Radosh and Grigory Sevostianov of “Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War,” which is being published by Yale University Press in its Annals of Communism series on July 17, the 65th anniversary of the beginning of the war.

While doing research in the post-Soviet archives in the early 1990s, Habeck came across unreleased documents in the Russian military, Comintern, Politburo and intelligence agency archives. Recognizing that the documents reveal incriminating confirmation of the Soviets’ real motives for intervening in the international campaign against Franco and fascism, Habeck sought funding to establish the Russian Military Archive Project at Yale and approached Yale University Press about publishing the documents. The process of getting the documents declassified, translated and published continued for seven years. Habeck translated the documents, which were originally in Russian, Spanish, French, German, English and Italian.

“We now have for the first time, hard evidence that proves what many had suspected since the beginning of the Spanish Civil War: that Stalin sought from the very beginning to control events in Spain and to manage to prevent the spread of actual social revolution,” she writes in the introduction.

This volume of 81 documents casts new light on the Soviet betrayal not just of Spain but of the idealists who flocked there from all over Europe and America and who, in the name of opposing one totalitarian regime, unwittingly served another.

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Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345