"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
To look at Spain in Nineteen-Thirty-Six and not feel the slightest amount of pity would be a most trying accomplishment. To drag your eyes across her beautiful lands, the craggy hills and slopes of Castile, the mountains of Galicia or perhaps the plains of Catalonia; to meet her people, businessmen and workers from Barcelona and Madrid, miners from Asturias, peasant farmers from all over the countryside; to look into their eyes, to parry their smile, to take their hand and shake it; or to wander the cities, gasp in awe at the architecture, the castles of Castile, cathedrals dating back hundreds if not thousands of years and then see her present state of affairs without a tear in your eye would be an impossibility. For Spain in Nineteen-Thirty-Six was not a happy country.
Years of neglect had led to a dreadful period of civil strife, misery and woe. Spain had fallen from grace more than a century ago, but now, when hope had finally seemed to have conquered ill-wishes, things fell apart and Spain went into a descent that made the ‘fall from grace’ seem like a mere hop. Spain was a nation troubled by an economy in ruins, politics replaced by war and a population bursting with the rage to cause an earthquake; imagine an aeroplane dropping height to try and escape a serious bought of turbulence. She had attempted to please the many, but suceeded only in victimising all. This slowly ripped the nation to pieces; torn apart, if not with Spain’s own tender hands, with those of whom she had angered.
If certain events had fanned out differently, if different people had been in different places at different times, then something might have been altered. For example, had certain leaders not been put in place, or had not been so corrupt and self-centred; or if certain monarchs had been without faults which, eventually became their downfall; or maybe if good men had stood in the way of the bad, an act which could have saved Spain at so many moments in during this decent to evil, then just maybe things might have not come to a head as they did.
However, it is folly to try and tell a history that has not happened; there are so many possibilities, all leading from the impossbility of telling how people may act under unusual circumstances, even the most incorruptible of individuals. Perhaps what is more interesting and useful is to find out what may happen after such sorrows come to pass, as everything must. What happens after the plane flies through the air-pockets and breaks into clearer skies; when, finally, a good man does stand up and combat the evil he sees before him, with the support of all the peoples of Spain rallying behind the banner of good... that is the more interesting question. But any man who may want to aspire to this quest, his own sacred duty to save Spain, must know what has gone wrong in the past if he wishes to understand what he must do to restore his nation to somewhat of its former glory.
That is, however, a story for another day. For now, a study of the present seems more fitting. If we consider Burke’s earlier statement in relation to Spain, we see that it shows much about why Spanish history proceeded as it did, but Spain itself can pick holes in Burke’s famous quote. As said before, and as we will discover in more detail later, there were various times between important dates in Spain’s decent to evil that history could have been reversed had certain good men, as Burke suggests, stood up against that evil. Those men, though, did not stand up, and in such rare cases as when they did, usually ended in failure and, normally, the death of those who tried to prevent the spread of evil. And so Burke was, to the greater extent at least, correct. Spain failed to stand up to those men, men who would take it down a path that would lead to the present situation, that being a condition that could be summed up in one single word: evil.
It is an intriguing word to use. ‘Evil’ could mean many things. The Spanish themselves used the word throughout their history to be understood as many things. In Nineteen-Thirty-Six, it is primarily a statement to explain thoughts on a situation, object or person of wrong-doing, malice and opposition on a gargantuan level. For example, the Spanish Church of the times understood ‘evil’ as a force which wishes to supplant God; in a traditional sense this is Satan. However, to the Spanish Church at this time, this force tended to be the Anarchists, Socialists and Communists who represented the large portion of the country who was atheist, and wished to rid Spain of their own ‘evils’: the Church and the Fascists/Conservatives. So, for Spain in Nineteen-Thirty-Six, we have a vicious circle of ‘evil’ that revolves around condemning a force you wish to destroy. But, as has been stated, there tends to be only one single ‘evil’ that all can agree on; the whole damn sorry situation Spain had somehow got itself into. And how did that happen? Well, prepare yourself. This is the story of the Triumph of Evil, and it is not a friendly tale to tell.