BRITISH historian Paul Preston, currently based at the London School of Economics will be lecturing on foreign influences in the Spanish Civil War this coming November 6 in Palma's Municipal Theatre in Paseo Mallorca.

Regional Balearic minister for Tax and Economy, Carles Manera will be officially presenting Preston who has studied the issues surrounding the civil war for more than thirty years. The talk forms part of a series of lectures being organised by the Ultima Hora lecture and conference club.In 1996, Preston published an updated version of his book “The Spanish Civil War,” where he describes the final victory of Francisco Franco's troops as “an international war that happened in Spanish fields, that wasn't decided in Spain but in the hands of the great powers.” Perhaps the novelty of this book is the idea that “the presence of Italy in Spain wasn't by accident, as one could consider the German troops, but it must be understood as a non-formal declaration of war from Italy to the Republican Government.” He has also produced an authoritative biography of Franco (1994, since updated). Preston is quoted as saying that “Franco wasn't a fascist, but something much worse, as he brought the African mentality of repression and coldness, and treated the Spanish the same way as the natives of Morocco.” He additionally published a biography of King Juan Carlos I (2003) and has recently published a book on foreign correspondents in the Spanish Civil War.

A frequent visitor to Spain, Preston has received prestigious awards from Spanish cultural hierarchy including the Gran Cruz de Isabel la Católica (The Cross of Isabella of Spain); the Order of Civil Merit; and the Ramón Llull prize, named after the twelfth century leading Balearic philosopher. Of special interest to intelligentsia here in the Islands is the prologue Preston wrote to a biography composed by Majorcan historian David Inard on Heriberto Quiñones, a communist who played a key role in development strategy at the time of the rise of the Marxist “International” movement. A comrade of Aurora Picornell, Quiñones was sadly rejected by his own communist associates - he was believed by them to be a traitor.

Preston has followed in the wake of other non Spanish national writers such as Ian Gibson, and has become an icon of the progressive movement here in Spain. The lecture will begin at 8pm - please note, however, the talk will be in Spanish.


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