In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2010. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 323-338
This article will analyze the impact of the death of the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, and subsequent political developments, on archival research and historiographical trends regarding the Spanish Civil War. With the death of Franco, the Spanish government began to prepare the opening of the state archives on the conflict. These included an extraordinary number of files seized by Franco’s forces at the end of the war from offices of the former Republican government.
Spanish archival standards are high and nearly every document was preserved, organized and, in the late 1980s, opened to historians. Disclosures included notes on the Soviet pursuit of the British author George Orwell in Catalonia in 1937. In the 1990s, the temporary opening of former Soviet archives led to the publication of significant documentary holdings on the war. Spanish and Soviet archival materials, as well as memoirs and analytical works, have produced a “revolution” in Spanish and Catalan historiography on the war, with old debates reopened, new debates inaugurated, and an unquestionable change in basic views on the war. This article will also examine a limited number of non-Spanish works, by American, British and other historians.