Patricio de Azcarate discovered Carrillo during the Civil War Until then, the country symbolized childhood summers in León’s manor house and a handful of family memories. The military coup surprised him in Geneva, where his father was secretary of the League of Nations.
Months later, the Republican government headed by Juan Negrín appointed him ambassador to the United Kingdom, a strategic position that had become vacant when Julio López Oliván resigned from his position and joined the rebels.
Patricio returned to London, where he was born in 1920. However, his head was on the Spanish front, where his older brother, a leader of the Unified Socialist Youth, was already fighting. After finishing his high school studies, he took a train to Barcelona and joined the People’s Army of the Republic as a volunteer.
“They did not receive me with much enthusiasm. He was the little brother and had not yet turned 18 years old. We went to see Santiago Carrillo at the Colón hotel and he asked me what I knew how to do I had no military training.
I had never seen a rifle in my life. He hadn’t even heard a shot, but he spoke four languages, ”acknowledges Azcárate. Three days after that meeting, Carrillo entrusted him with the mission of serving as personal secretary to the Chief of the Army Staff.
That adventure made him an exceptional witness of his time and now, the common thread of the documentary The Bitter Defeat of the Republic . The film, which opens this Tuesday at the Kingdom of León Film and Television Festival , recalls the Republican offensive in the battle of the Ebro and the last days of the war.
Azcárate died in June 2018. His friend Félix Vidal and the journalist Rosa Brines interviewed him months before and the force of their testimonies encouraged them to carry out the assembly.
Now they would like the documentary to be seen in schools. Azcárate’s contributions contextualize the conflict in interwar Europe and, according to Brines, allow us to overcome “that reductionist concept that it was an internal conflict”.
Spain then was a chessboard where all international problems converged. The prelude to the Second World War. “That is why more and more authors consider calling it the War of Spain,” says the journalist. In her opinion, the Republic suffered from the neglect of the League of Nations and the Western powers, so that “Spain’s duty of memory is an inescapable part of Europe’s duty of memory.
The internationalization of the conflict gave rise to an important solidarity movement, the International Brigades, military units made up of foreign volunteers from 54 countries.
Most had no military training whatsoever. Experts estimate that some 60,000 young people from around the world joined them to defend democracy. More than 15,000 died in the attempt.