In 1808, Napoleon, running out of scenic holiday destinations to invade, somehow totally forgot about his neighbor to the south, Spain. So that year he dispatched his troops, kicking off the Peninsular War.
Only 20 years old and working as a barmaid in the town of Valdepenas, Juana Galan was not expecting a surge of French soldiers to come storming through her village. But on June 6, that’s exactly what happened. At that time, most of the men were fighting Napoleon’s forces elsewhere in the nation. Juana, unfazed by things like rifles and Frenchmen and French riflemen, began organizing the women in her village to form a trap for the approaching army.
When the army arrived, Juana and her friends were ready. They dumped boiling water and oil on the French troops, which by all accounts will instantly take the fight out of pretty much anyone. Then Juana, armed with only a batan, beat back the heavily armed French cavalry with her squad of village women, almost none of whom were armed with guns.
The French retreated, giving up on capturing not just Juana’s town but the entire province of La Mancha, leading to ultimate Spanish victory. Today, she is seen in Spain as a national hero, a symbol of resistance, strength, patriotism, feminism and hitting shit with a stick.
That’s one hell of a portrait.
hitting shit with a stick
This is maybe the best portrait of anyone that I’ve ever seen, ever.
If that portrait doesn’t scream “A hundred motherfuckers can’t tell me nothing” then I don’t know what does.
"Come at me, bro."
IT’S BACK ON MY DASH
Seville Spain 1930s
Photo: Martin Munkacsi
The Nationalists generally garnered the support of the more heavily Catholic population in Spain, as illustrated by the large cross carried by the soldier here. In a fight portrayed as being against the godless communists and anarchists, the Church in Spain put its full support behind Franco and the Fascists. In return, many loyalist groups took their revenge on Church property within their territory, burning them down, and imprisoning or even executing priests on suspicion of spying, with or without proof.
The use of terror bombing against population centers that would become so common during World War II was given a trial run by the Nationalists and the German Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War. Here, civilians in Madrid take shelter during a raid.
Why you should appreciate my favourite spanish writers. They were awesome and talented.
Only once, however, did trouble look like starting. One of the Assault Guards opposite knelt down and began firing across the barricade. I was on guard in the observatory at the time. I trained my rifle on him and shouted across: “Hi! Don’t you shoot at us!”
"Don’t you fire at us or we’ll fire back!"
"No, no! I wasn’t firing at you. Look – down there!"
He motioned with his rifle towards the side-street that ran past the bottom of our building. Sure enough, a youth in blue overalls, with a rifle in his hand, was dodging round the corner. Evidently he had just taken a shot at the Assault Guards on the roof.
"I was firing at him. He fired first." (I believe this was true.) "We don’t want to shoot you. We’re only workers, the same as you are." He made the anti-Fascist salute, which I returned.
I shouted across: “Have you got any more beer left?”
"No, it’s all gone.""
Spanish civil war … and after. Repression against the Republicans, the “Reds”.Memoria Histórica.
Joan Pujol Garcia aka Garbo aka Arabel (1912 – 1988)
Double agent during World War II.
Known by the British as Garbo and by the Germans as Arabel, Pujol had the distinction of being one of the few people – if not the only one – to receive decorations from both sides during World War II, gaining both an Iron Cross from the Germans and an MBE from the British.
Pujol was born in the Catalan city of Barcelona, Spain. Pujol engaged in a variety of occupations prior to and after the Spanish Civil War, such as studying animal husbandry and managing various businesses, including a cinema.
After developing a loathing of both the Communist and Fascist regimes in Europe during the Spanish Civil War, Pujol decided to become a spy for the Allies as a way to do something “for the good of humanity”. His experience with both sides during the war left him with a deep loathing of both fascism and communism, and by extension Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. He was proud that he had managed to serve both sides without firing a single bullet for either.
Pujol and his wifecontacted the British and American intelligence agencies, but each rejected his offer. Undeterred, he created a false identity as a fanatically pro-Nazi Spanish government official and successfully became a German agent. He was instructed to travel to Britain and recruit additional agents; instead he moved to Lisbon and created bogus reports from a variety of public sources, including a tourist guide to England, train timetables, cinema newsreels, and magazine advertisements. Although the information would not have withstood close examination, Pujol soon established himself as a trustworthy agent. He began inventing fictional sub-agents who could be blamed for false information and mistakes.
"When [the British] didn’t pay any attention to him, his plans veered toward espionage. He knew that he had to go to the Germans first, establish himself as a German operative, and then turn double agent. But of course, he didn’t have the ability to get to London, so he just went back to Lisbon. He pretended he was in London, a place he’d never been to. He didn’t even speak the English language. And he started on this self-made, imaginary espionage career.“The British were terrified. They were like, ‘Someone has sneaked past our lines and someone is in the heart of the beast, reporting on us!’ because his reports were so believable, even to people in the country he was supposed to be spying on.” [x]
The Allies finally accepted Pujol when the Germans spent considerable resources attempting to hunt down a fictional convoy.The family was moved to Britain and Pujol was given the code name Garbo. Pujol and his handler spent the rest of the war expanding the fictional network, communicating at first by letter, later by radio. Eventually the Germans were funding a network of twenty-seven fictional agents.
Pujol had a key role in the success of Operation Fortitude, the deception operation intended to mislead the Germans about the timing and location of the invasion of Normandy near the end of the war. The false information Pujol supplied helped persuade German intelligence that the main attack would be in the Pas de Calais, keeping two armoured divisions and 19 infantry divisions there for two months after the Normandy invasion. [x]
The key memo he sent was on June 9th. This was the day Hitler and the high command were debating whether the Normandy invasion was the real one and whether to send all those reserves from Belgium and France down into Normandy and basically destroy the incoming divisions. And Pujol sent a very long detailed telegram saying “This is the fake, you have to believe me” and those panzer divisions were actually on the road, those troops were on the move, and Hitler sent an order turning them around. This was the key moment in the future of Normandy, in the future of that battle, and Garbo is really the author of that moment. [x]
The Fascist Catholic Church was behind a child trafficking network that targeted left-leaning families.
Declaración de Principios del Gobierno de la República Española - Josep Renau, 1938