Libcom.org's reading guide on the Spanish civil war and social revolution from 1936-1939 which, sparked by a military rising lead by right-wing General Franco, was arguably the most far-reaching revolution in history.
- 1936-1939: The Spanish civil war and revolution - Short history and overview of the events that took place in the Spanish civil war and revolution.
- Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell - Classic account of Orwell's experiences in the civil war and its betrayal by the Spanish Communist Party.
- Anarchists in the Spanish revolution - Jose Peirats - A lifelong member of the CNT gives his account and analysis of the Spanish civil war.
- The tragedy of Spain - Rudolf Rocker - Excellent book analysing the Spanish civil war by a leading anarcho-syndicalist.
- Workers' power and the Spanish revolution - Tom Wetzel - Historical article and analysis of the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, and in particular the activities of the Spanish anarchists within it.
- The CNT in the Spanish Revolution - Jose Peirats - Extensive, three volume work by chronicling the history of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT - "National Confederation of Labour"), the anarcho-syndicalist union and largest workers' union in Spain at the time during the Spanish civil war and revolution 1936-9.
Key people and groups
- CNT - Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, an anarcho-syndicalist union founded in 1910 which during the civil war boasted 1.5 million members and was easily its most influential organisation.
- FAI - Federación Anarquista Ibérica, an anarchist political organisation active both within and out of the CNT.
- Friends of Durruti - Anarchist group founded during the civil war opposing the CNT's participation in the Republican government.
- Mujeres Libres - Anarcho-syndicalist women's organisation active within the Spanish CNT before and during the Spanish revolution.
- POUM - Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista, an anti-Stalinist communist political party which was severely repressed by the Spanish Communist Party. George Orwell served as a member of one of their militias.
- Buenaventura Durruti - Legendary anarcho-syndicalist rail worker, CNT member and military leader, killed during the Spanish civil war.
Other recommended texts
- 1936-1939: the Spanish Civil War - Augustin Souchy - Excerpt from his autobiography, Beware! Anarchist: A Life for Freedom, recounting his time in Spain.
- Spilling the Spanish beans - George Orwell - 1937 essay on the lies in the British press obscuring the revolutionary character of events in Spain in favour of a simple story of 'democracy vs. fascism'.
- Was there a Spanish revolution? - Enric Mompo - Essay on the nature of the Spanish civil war summarizing the historical background of the military uprising and that immediately after, spontaneously formed committees and workers patrols replaced the state throughout most of Spain, providing “irrefutable proof of the socialist character of the Spanish Revolution”.
- The Tragic Week in May: the May Days Barcelona 1937 - Augustin Souchy - Account of the fighting in Barcelona in May 1937 when the Communists consolidated their hold on power and turned decisively against the anarchists and revolutionary workers.
- We the anarchists! A study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937 - Stuart Christie - Excellent history of the Iberian Anarchist Federation, which played a key role in the Spanish civil war and revolution, from 1927 to 1937.
- The Friends of Durruti Group: 1937-39 - Agustin Guilamòn - In-depth study of the hugely important anarcho-syndicalist CNT militants who opposed their union's collaboration with the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War.
- The anarchist collectives: workers' self-management in the Spanish Revolution 1936-1939 - Sam Dolgoff - First book in English devoted to the experiments in workers’ self-management, both urban and rural, which constituted one of the most remarkable social revolutions in modern history.
- Collectives in the Spanish Revolution - Gaston Leval - Detailed account of worker-controlled agriculture, industry and public services in revolutionary Spain during the civil war.
- Industrial Collectivisation during the Spanish Revolution - Deirdre Hogan - Article focusing on the collectivising of industry which took place in the urban centres of Spain.
- An account of agrarian collectives in Aragon - Augustin Souchy - An account of the workings of rural agricultural collectives in Aragon, revolutionary Spain, 1936-39.
- La Révolution Espagnole: The collectivized CNT taxis - Article from the POUM's newspaper La Révolution Espagnole in 1936 on the CNT's collectivised taxis during the Spanish civil war.
The civil war
- Battle for Spain: the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 - Antony Beevor - Excellent military history of the Spanish civil war by a mainstream historian.
- The Spanish civil war: Revolution and counterrevolution - Burnett Bolloten - Exhaustive account of the period from 1936 to 1939.
- Story of the Iron Column: militant anarchism in the Spanish civil war - Abel Paz - History of the legendary Column who fought fascism and resisted attempts to turn them into a regular military outfit.
- A Day Mournful and Overcast... An account of the Iron Column - Personal account of a liberated prisoner's experience as a fighter in the Iron Column prior to its incorporation into the Communist-run Republican army.
- A soldier returns - letter from an American fighter in the Durruti Column - Letter from an American trade unionist and member of the Industrial Workers of the World about his experiences as a fighter in the International section of the anarchist Durruti Column.
- The Foreign Legion of the Revolution - Interesting article focusing on the activity of exiled German anarcho-syndicalists in Spain, both in the lead up to and during the Civil War and Revolution of 1936.
- International volunteers in the POUM Militias - Andy Durgan - Written by the historical consultant for Ken Loach's film Land and Freedom, the article also contains a list of international volunteers in the POUM militia.
- Women in the Spanish revolution - Solidarity - Excellent pamphlet by Liz Willis of Solidarity on the conditions and role of women in and around the Spanish Civil War and revolution of 1936-1939.
- History and actuality of anarcha-feminism: lessons from Spain - Marta Iniguez de Heredia - A look an anarcha-feminism in practice, using women's activism during the Spanish civil war as a case study.
- Free women of Spain - Martha A. Ackelsberg - In-depth book on the free women of Spain, Mujeres Libres.
- “Separate and equal”?: Mujeres Libres and anarchist strategy for women's emancipation - Martha A. Ackelsberg - History of Mujeres Libres, a women's anarchist organisation, which aimed to end the “triple enslavement of women, to ignorance, to capital, and to men.”
- Spanish Civil War and Revolution photo gallery, 1936-39 - Photo gallery of anarchists and other workers attempting social revolution in Spain 1936.
- Spanish Civil War and Revolution poster gallery, 1936-39 - Archive of posters from the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, 1936-39.
- Living Utopia - A unique feature-length documentary chronicling the origins and evolution of the Spanish anarchist movement and its important role during the Spanish revolution. In Spanish with English subtitles.
- Land and Freedom - Ken Loach's 1995 film of an unemployed Communist who leaves Britain to fight in the Spanish civil war.
- For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway - Novel of a young American who goes to Spain to fight for the International Brigades. The book shows Hemingway's obvious bias in favour of the Stalinist Communist Party version of events but is still an excellent read.