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Memory and Amnesia: The Role of the Spanish Civil War in the Transition to Democracy

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Memory and Amnesia

The Role of the Spanish Civil War in the Transition to Democracy

Paloma Aguilar
Translated from the Spanish by Mark Gordon Oakley

356 pages, 16 tables, 10 graphs, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-757-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 2002)

ISBN  978-1-57181-496-8 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (August 2002)

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…this excellent history of the Spanish desire for reconciliation is a major contribution to the study of both the Transition and memory.” • Journal of Modern History

“This book… is one of the most important research studies written recently about the Spanish transition to democracy… [It] will be of treat use for historians, researchers of cultural studies (Aguilar used cinema and art sources), political scientists and policy makers engaged in the transition process from non-democratic regimes.” • Democratization

“This methodologically exemplary study makes an essential contribution to research on historical memory in Spain, the most important issue within the country's contemporary history.” • Stanley Payne, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Paloma Aguilar has made an important, meticulous and impartial contribution to a crucial aspect of our contemporary memory.” • Víctor Pérez-Díaz, Complutense University of Madrid

“Paloma Aguilar's detailed and composed study of the historical memory of the Spanish Civil War is a work of considerable importance. In addition to its scientific interest, it offers an exciting read.” • Paul Preston, London School of Economics

“…a very convincing analysis.” • Historische Zeitschrift

“The translation into English of a book written by a contemporary Spanish historian is an unusual publishing event. [This] work…is richly deserving of this tribute…this excellent history of the Spanish desire for reconciliation is a major contribution to the study of both the Transition and memory.” • Modern History


Using a rich variety of sources such as official newsreels, school textbooks, the work of contemporary historians, memoirs, official documents, legislation, and monuments, this book explores how the historical memory of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) influenced the transition to democracy in Spain after Franco's death in 1975. The author traces the development of official discourse on the War throughout the Franco period and describes the régime's attempts to achieve political legitimacy. Although there was no universal consensus regarding the events of the Civil War, general agreement did exist concerning the main lesson which should be drawn from it: never again should Spaniards become embroiled in a fratricidal conflict.

Paloma Aguilar is Professor of Political Science at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Madrid, Spain) and Doctor Member of the Juan March Institute (Madrid, Spain).

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Memory Studies
Area: Europe


Acknowledgements for the English Edition
Foreword for the English Edition

Chapter 1. Regarding Memory, Learning and Amnesia
The Generational Question
Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
Ceremonies and Monuments
Methodology and Sources

Chapter 2. From the Justification of War to the exaltation of Peace: The Development of Official Discourse during the Franco Period
Alternating Legitimacy
Origin-based Legitimacy and Performance-based Legitimacy
Champions of Francoist Legitimacy
From War to Peace
Sources of Political Socialisation
No-Do Historical Narrative
Commemorations of the Civil War
Monuments of the Victors
Legendary Sites of the Defeated
Policies of Reconciliation and Policies of Vengeance
From Punishment to Forgiveness
From Munich to the Organic Law of State
Symbols and Myths Relating to the Civil War
Towards the Convergence of Interpretations
Mythical Constructions of Francoism
Regarding the Civil War
Regarding Reconciliation and the Defeated

Chapter 3. The Memory of War and the Lessons of Peace in the Democratic Transition
Economic and Social Characteristics of the Transition
History as Magistra Vitae
Institutional Structure
Reconciliation Consensus



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