Dr David Mathieson’s fully illustrated guide to the battlefield sites of the civil war around Madrid – with foreword by broadcaster Jon Snow – is now available. To order your copy click on the icon
The Siege of Madrid and Spanish Civil War
Between 1936 – 39 Spain was plunged into a bloody civil war which became the focus of attention around the world. For three years General Franco’s nationalist army, backed by Hitler and Mussolini, was locked into a bitter conflict with the elected republican government backed by Stalin. Hundreds of thousands died as the country was torn apart in what became a dress rehearsal for the even greater conflict to come – World War II.
The siege of Madrid was the key battle of the civil war. When nationalist forces closed in on the city most people expected the capital to fall quickly. But Madrid did not surrender. Madrileños and anti-fascist volunteers from other countries – the International Brigades – fought to defend the city under the now legendary slogan “No Pasarán” (they will not get past).
Despite its importance the siege of Madrid remains a topic remains too sensitive for officialdom and the city offers no information for the intelligent, interested visitor. Spanish Sites exists to fill that gap. Off the beaten track, evidence of the fighting can still be found. From the University district in the city centre, to the mountains of Guadarrama just an hour away, the remains of the war are there to be discovered – gun emplacements, bunkers, trenches and occasional debris.
Our unique tours follow in the footsteps of four well-known writers and artists who were deeply involved in the war at the time – Ernest Hemingway, Gerda Taro, Charlie Donnelly and John Cornford. With them, we will leave the usual tourist trail far behind and enter the fascinating world of a conflict which shaped modern European history.
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