Architects of Terror
From the preeminent historian of 20th century Spain Paul Preston, Architects of Terror is a new history of how paranoia, conspiracy and anti-Semitism was used to justify the military coup of 1936 and enabled the construction of a dictatorship built on violence and persecution.
It is the previously untold story of how antisemitic beliefs were weaponised to justify and propagate the Franco overthrow of liberal Spain.
The Spanish military coup of 1936 was launched to overturn the social and economic reforms of the democratic Second Republic, and its educational and cultural challenges to the established order. The consequent civil war was fought in the interests of the landowners, industrialists, bankers, clerics and army officers whose privileges were threatened. However, a central justification for a war that took the lives of around 500,000 Spaniards was that it was being fought to combat an alleged scheme for world domination by a non-existent ‘Jewish- Masonic-Bolshevik Conspiracy’. Despite the fact that Spain had only a tiny minority of Jews and Freemasons, Franco and his inner circle were ardent believers in this fabricated conspiracy and spread the notion that the survival of Catholic Spain, as well, of course, of the establishment ‘ s economic interests, required the total annihilation of Jews and Freemasons.
Architects of Terror is the story of how fake news, mendacity, corruption and nostalgia for lost empire generated violence and hatred. The book presents vivid portraits of the key ideologues who propagated the myth of the Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik Conspiracy and of the military figures who implemented the atrocities that it justified. Among the convictions shared by these individuals was their belief in the idea that Freemasonry was responsible for Spain ‘ s loss of empire and in the factual veracity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious fiction about the global domination of the Jews.
This is a history that reverberates in our own political moment
Praise for A People Betrayed (2020) A Financial Times Best History Book of 2020 'For decades, Paul Preston has been one of the English-speaking world's premier historians of modern Spain. His latest book, dealing with the controversial topic of corruption in Spanish politic, public administration and business, is particularly good on the Franco dictatorship and post-Franco democratic era' Financial Times 'Fascinating ... The depth of the book's research cannot be faulted and the examples of grand malfeasance and political corruption are extraordinary ... Buried in the narrative lies ample treasure ... I applauded Preston's heroic feat.' Times 'Tremendously rich and learned ... Preston is one of Britain's finest historians ... This book, massively researched ... Powerful, persuasive and utterly fascinating - makes for harrowing reading' Sunday Times 'A magisterial study of [Spain's] turbulent past, seen through the optic of those apparently ineradicable twins: corruption and political incompetence ... Races along in a riveting fashion, replete with eye-catching and often blackly humorous anecdotes ...Preston's narrative combines his gift for cogent, summarising clarity and for telling details ...Preston has written an admirable book - a lively, comprehensive history of modern Spain.' Guardian 'The work of a very great historian who knows all there is to know about his often sanguinary subject and who, beyond that, can impart his knowledge in swift muscular prose. His bias towards the underdog is humane and tonic' Daily Telegraph 'The scope of the narrative and the obvious depth of research are impressive. Likely to be the go-to history of modern Spain for many years to come.' Kirkus Reviews
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