Interpreting the Spanish Civil War: Consensus or Controversy

Interpreting the Spanish Civil War: Consensus or Controversy?
George Esenwein
University of Florida
After some sixty years of heated controversy regarding the origins, nature
and outcome of the Spanish Civil War, a consensus is still as far as way as
ever. In recent years, for example, a revisionist school of historians has
been seeking to overturn what they have characterized as the Cold War
paradigm of the Civil War, especially as it relates to events in Republican
Spain. Against the allegedly monochromatic anti-communist narrative that
grew up during the Cold War era, this group of scholars is constructing an
explanatory model that employs contemporary social theory and which
incorporates documentary evidence that has only recently come to light.
Whether the revisionists are casting fresh light on our understanding of
the Civil War or whether they are merely resurrecting debates and
discussions that have long dominated the historiography of the conflict
will be the central theme of this paper.