Lincoln’s Legacy in the Spanish Civil War
The influx of eastern European immigrants in the early 1900’s brought Russian communism to our shores, and revived the cause of the German 48’ers who came to America to continue the socialist revolution as Lincoln’s mercenaries. The American communists who helped forge FDR’s New Deal socialism were anxious to prove their devotion to the revolution of the proletariat and enlisted to fight in Spain’s civil war, and against the reactionary forces of Franco. In 1936, the presidential candidate of the CPUSA was Earl Browder, and his running mate was James W. Ford, the first black candidate on an American political party presidential ticket.
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
Lincoln’s Legacy in the Spanish Civil War:
"In 1936, American communists were not just fighting fascism on the political-agitational front in the United States, but also on the military front in (civil war) Spain. In the late fall of 1936, the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) began its own recruiting drive for the International Brigades. The first organized group of volunteers from the United States sailed from New York on the Normandie on Christmas Day 1936. They were followed by approximately 3000 others who crossed the Atlantic to join the Spanish Republican (communist) forces and become part of the XV Brigade, which became known as the Lincoln Brigade.
The Americans who went off to fight in Spain represented a cross section of United States society. There was a high percentage of communists among them (higher in command positions)…..(and) most of the American volunteers were in their early twenties. The Lincolns…paid a very high price for their commitment. By the time the Spanish government decided to withdraw and repatriate the International Brigades…fewer than half of all the Americans who had gone to Spain were still alive.
(The Communist Party of the United States, Fraser M. Ottanelli, Rutgers Press, 1991, pp. 175-176)