Date: unspecified (likely July 1937)
Source: Speeches and Articles pp. 129-131, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1938
Transciption/HTML Markup: Mike B. for MIA, January 2012
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2012). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
It is hard to find words to express the profound indignation roused by the acts of vandalism committed by the fascist airmen in the Basque country, facts which need no words to proclaim aloud to the world the utter brutality and barbarity of the murderous fascist horde.
Our devastated villages, our ruined cities, our slaughtered women and children—shot by people who seem not to have been born of women, who seem not to know what a mother is, whose blood carries every symptom of human degeneration and whose feelings are marked by all the vices of the most abhorrent sadism—are irrefutable evidence of what fascist rule would mean to the people.
The appalling villainies perpetrated by the fascists during the retreat from Malaga have been aggravated by the monstrous crimes inflicted on the land of the Basques, on the industrious Basques, who have suffered endless tortures and torments, but who are united and determined to win or to die fighting, as they have always done since ancient times. This is born out by the entire history of this independent people, which has many a time shed its blood in legend-making battles and prevented foreign invaders from setting foot on the sacred Basque soil.
The Basque country has been reduced to ruins. Her mountainous cliffs and evergreen summits have been ploughed by fascist shells. Her towns, villages and farmhouses—the homes of a noble, strong, enterprising, honest and industrious people—have been razed to the ground.
Elbar, Durango, Guernica, Bilbao, Sestao, Mungia, industrial cities and peasant villages located on mountain slopes and in flowering valleys have fallen victim to fascist barbarity.
Thousands of slain and mutilated men, women and children bear bloody witness to the 'civilization" fascism would bring to our Spain.
Peasant girls violated by legionaries, mercenaries, and Moors, who have been tempted from their African villages by the promise of "a good time" bear witness to this "patriotism" of the fascist murderers.
The noble soil of the Basques reverberates to a cry of horror in which mingle the dying wails of infants, their little bodies mutilated and their eyes staring wide with horror, dumbly interrogating the sky from which death struck them down; the frenzied shrieks of mothers, snatching the lifeless bodies of their little ones from under the torn- up flagstones of the streets or the ruins of their shattered houses; and the cries of the fighters as they dash forward in an irresistible urge, with fixed bayonets, to storm the enemy's positions...
The sufferings of the women, the mothers of the land of the Basques, fill the whole world with ardent sympathy and evoke a storm of protest. The news of the crimes and atrocities perpetrated in the ancient Basque land reaches the trenches, the dug-outs, the aerodromes, the warships, the fronts where the struggle for the freedom and independence of Spain is being fought. It is becoming daily more difficult to restrain the indignation of our soldiers, sailors and airmen, who are asking in anger and wrath how much longer this must be allowed to continue.
Humanize warfare? Who? We?...
Our valiant men have never tortured a single prisoner, nor violated the rules of human warfare; they have treated prisoners like brothers. Our aircraft has never bombarded open cities or defenceless villages; it has never sunk to the despicable villainy of shooting down women and children. Our targets have always been munition dumps, barracks, railroad stations, and enemy columns of transport and men.
Never do our glorious airmen launch their destructive bombs on the homes of peaceful civilians, or on schools and hospitals. Even when they had a wonderful opportunity offered them by the heroism of two workers of Saragossia, our brave aviators refrained from destroying villages so that the innocent might not suffer. Contrast with these noble and humane sentiments the criminal cowardice of the rebels who daily hurl their shells at heroic Madrid, killing hundreds of people and destroying the capital of the Republic, and who sow death Land misery in the villages and towns of the Basque country.
Humanize warfare! Tell that to the fascist hirelings whose only ideal is to kill, burn and destroy for the satisfaction of their sadistic instincts. Greater humaneness cannot be demanded of us.
We have been too humane, and our fighters are tired of it; they are full of pity for the mothers and children, for our fallen comrades who have been tortured and slain.
The struggle must be waged until the enemy s fully and completely destroyed. This is demanded by the thousands of our slain; it is passionately prayed for by our women and children, who want to live without fear of danger, free of alarm and terror.
The blood which has dyed the roads of Malaga is still fresh. Never shall we forget the ruined villages of the Basque country, that wonderful land which was among the first to bring tidings of liberty and independence to the world. The comrades who are defending the freedom of Spain at the fronts, on the sea and in the air are all fired with the desire to destroy the enemy root and branch. This fire will never be extinguished. It will sustain the hatred for fascism in the coming generations. We shall fight until our arms are completely victorious! Such is our slogan!