For this project, Dr. James Matthews will research the effects of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath – the Russian Civil War – in the causation and course of post-World War I (WWI) political and revolutionary upheavals in Spain between 1917 and 1923, one of the most bitter social conflicts in post-war Europe. He will analyze the history of transmission of information and ideas with the aim of understanding the links between reported events from Russia and the militancy of Spanish organized labour and peasantry, which was particularly concentrated in Catalonia and Andalusia.
Post-WWI social conflict helped shape the course of twentieth-century Spanish history, and its legacies include the Primo dictatorship and violent social warfare in the Spanish Civil War. While the period has attracted significant academic interest, it has lost ground in Spanish historiography over the last 30 years. Nevertheless, crucial questions, such as the international influence on the course and nature of the social conflict, are not yet well understood.
The objective of the proposed research is to determine the role of transmission of information from Russia to Spain during this period. Matthews will analyze references to the Russian Revolution in the Spanish press, as well as the image of revolutionary Russia constructed by political and union representatives, political delegates and other transmitters, such as film screenings. He will study militants as well as references to Russia from government and counter-revolutionary groups. The results from this objective will shed new light on the image of revolutionary Russia from Spanish perspective. The project will also significantly expand on the current historiographical interest in studying social movements from the perspective of low-ranking participants and will elucidate on Spanish workers and peasants’ motivations, methods and external influences in engaging in social protest between 1917 and 1923.
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