The Spanish Civil War with Mark Planellas Witzsch

The Spanish Civil War with Mark Planellas Witzsch


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On a baking summer’s day in 1936, a military coup attempting to topple the government escalated into one of the most important historical events leading to the growth of fascism in Europe: The Spanish Civil War. The conflict lasted three-years and split both the Spanish population and territory in two–the Nationalists, supported by the Fascist regimes of Mussolini and Hitler vs the Republicans, backed by international volunteer forces. This conversation seeks to explore these darker days, examining the causes, development, end, consequences, and present debate involving this acute three-year conflict.

The impact of the Spanish Civil War in present Spanish civil society is overwhelming. In fact, a heated debate continues today, as many claim that the transition to democracy was clearly deficient, whereas another sector of civil society and politicians present it as a model to be followed worldwide. We’ll discuss the many Republicans loyal to the legitimate government that are still alive today and feel that recognition of their status and reality, restitution, and reparation as victims of Francoist repression are simply still inexistent. We’ll learn that those who won the war, the putschists, claim that all of this is part of the past and has to be forgotten. We’ll explore the idea that time plays against those claiming for justice and favors those who want to see the memory of those tragic events fade away.

The seminar will also view the Spanish Civil War through an international lens. In this sense, it was the international political climate at the time that determined the fate of it. We’ll discuss the many politicians, artists, intellectuals, activists, and volunteers from all over the world who had a say or participated directly in it, from Orwell, Hemingway, Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini, Miró, Picasso, Dalí… Led by an expert in Spanish history, Mark Planellas Witzsch, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of the origin, development, and continued aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.

Mark Planellas Witzsch is active in several areas in the cultural field and taught philosophy of art and avant-gardes of the twentieth century at university, focusing on universally well-known Catalan artists such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Catalonia being a part of Spain that has historically defended democracy and the ideals of the republic, the vast majority of its artists were committed to those Civil values and reflected it in their art. This led Mark Planellas to dive into some related topics, such as propaganda in the twentieth century, thus publishing books on the subject, such as “Jaume Miravitlles. El somriure de Catalunya”, which explains the history of the first modern propaganda ministry ever created, in the context of the Spanish Civil War.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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