International Brigades

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International Brigades were military units, made up of volunteers from different countries, who travelled to Spain in order to fight for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939).

The International Brigades were proposed by the Communist Soviet Union and closely associated with Soviet Communism through Soviet controlled organizations such as the Comintern and the NKVD. Foreign pro-Soviet Communist Parties were used to recruit for volunteers. As a security measure, non-Communist volunteers would first be interviewed by an NKVD agent.

It is estimated that there were around 32,000 volunteers.

Jews were hugely over-represented with between 3,000 to 10,000 of the volunteers estimated to have been Jewish.[1][2] See also Jews and Communism

The anarchist CNT and the Trotskyist POUM were not part of the International Brigades but also had foreign volunteers (notably George Orwell).

As payment for arms and supplies by the Soviet Union, the Republicans used a large part of the gold reserves of the Spanish nation (the world's fourth largest).

External links


  1. Thomas, Hugh, The Spanish Civil War, 1961 (1st Ed) p. 637.
  2. Sugarman, Martin. Against Fascism – Jews who served in The International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Jewish Virtual Library/Jewish Military Museum.
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