Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealanders in the Spanish Civil War

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you who are about to sit exams all the very best. If these are your final school exams all the best for the future.

For teachers and those returning next year I would like to draw your attention to a feature in New Zealand History online regarding New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War. On 8 November 1936 Griff Maclaurin and Steve Yates arrived with a 3000 strong International Column in Madrid. They were the first of perhaps 20 New Zealanders who served with the Republican forces in this  conflict. They were both killed only a few days later. Most New Zealanders have probably never heard of them.

I know this topic has a place in the popular Level 1 topic on the Origins of the Second World War but when you read this feature I am sure you will see its potential as a source of ideas for research topics at all levels. Another New Zealnder that many are unfamiliar with is Doctor Doug Jolly. Originally from Central Otago he pioneered new techniques in military medical practice, especially the refinement of the triage system. His work with the Republicans resulted in a textbook, Field Surgery in Total War, which was later described as ‘compulsory reading for all young aspiring war surgeons.’ His repatriation papers described him as an ‘excellent anti-fascist’ when he finally left Spain in 1938.

The Spanish Civil War has been the subject of many books and movies that have captured the imagination of those who saw it as a last chance to stop fascism in the late 1930s. But New Zealand's involvement, or rather the participation of individual New Zealanders in the war, is not a story that has been told too often in the past. This feature gives you an opportunity to introduce a New Zealand perspective to the Origins of the Second World War topic.

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