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Corum, who ascribes the discrepancy between the high death toll reported at Guernica and in other cases such as Rotterdam to propaganda, goes on to say that for Guernica:.
This is certainly a bloody enough event, but reporting that a small town was bombed with a few hundred killed would not have had the same effect as reporting that a city was bombed with almost 1, dead".
The numbers regarding the level of material destruction of the city still vary depending on the author and on what type of damages are being taken into account.
The first English-language media reports of the destruction in Guernica appeared two days later. George Steer , a reporter for The Times , who was covering the Spanish Civil War from inside the country, authored the first full account of events.
Steer's reporting set the tone for much of the subsequent reportage. Steer pointed out the clear German complicity in the action.
Steer's report was syndicated to The New York Times and then worldwide, generating widespread shock, outrage, and fear.
There was coverage in other national and international editions also:. Noel Monks , an Australian correspondent in Spain for the London Daily Express , was the first reporter to arrive on the scene after the bombing.
He received the following cable from his office, "Berlin denies Guernica bombing. Franco says he had no planes up yesterday owing fog.
Queipo de Llano says Reds dynamited Guernica during retreat. Overall, the impression generated was one which fed the widely held public fear of air attack which had been building throughout the s, a fear which accurately anticipated that in the next war the aerial forces of warring nations would be able to wipe whole cities off the map.
Stanley Payne observes that the presence of Steer was the reason for Guernica becoming a major media event; the town of Durango had been bombed a few days before and suffered higher casualties yet received comparatively little attention.
Steer was first on the scene and was eager to dramatise the effect of bombing on cities in order to encourage war preparedness.
They the Spanish Fascists wanted to hurt us in the most vulnerable spot of our the Basques patriotic sentiment, proving once again what Euzkadi Basque provinces may expect from those who won't hesitate in destroying the sanctuary that commemorates centuries of our freedom and democracy Before God and before History, which will judge us all, I assure you that the German planes bombed the population of Guernica, with unprecedented viciousness, for three hours, reducing the historical villa to ashes.
They haunted women and children with machine gun fire, killing large numbers of them.. The attribution of responsibility is correct, the cause of the bombing is probably wrong but reasonable at the time, and machinegun fire was indeed used to create fires in the village.
However, it contains lies and is intentionally misleading in various points. It suggests that the bombing was sustained through three hours, while three hours is the time between the first and last round among the three made on Guernica.
The numbers of dead and injured have been now proven to be completely false and impossible for the size of the locality see other parts of the article for actual numbers.
The intentional, individual chase of civilians by German planes has not been disproven nor proven but has some problematic points in it. No material proofs of it had been found, and the streets of the village are far too narrow for the chase to take place.
It is possible that the chase of civilians happened outside of the urban area as the population was fleeing from the bombs, but a generalized chase and murder of the witnesses seems like a pointless waste of resources, or even a counter producing action, if the goal of the German airforces was, as it is now believed, to extend demoralization and fear in the neighbouring villages.
On 27 April, the day after the bombing, the rebel general Gonzalo Queipo de Llano broadcast a statement through Union Radio Seville  accusing the local population and "the reds" of having deliberately burned and dynamited Guernica as part of a scorched earth policy.
On 29 April, in view of the outrage caused by the bombing in European public opinion, Franco's propaganda service issued an international official statement with the same version of the facts.
Furthermore, there were objective proofs available at the time of the falsehood of Queipo Llano's version: The bad weather he mentions only unleashed hours after the attack had been perpetrated, and the weaponry of the city and the bridge to get to it were among the few buildings which had not been destroyed.
The Germans denied any involvement, as well. Von Richthofen claimed that the Germans had a target that was a bridge over the Mundaca River, which was on the edge of town.
It was chosen for the fact that it would cut off the fleeing Republican troops. However, even though the Germans had the best airmen and the best planes in Spain, none of their bombs hit the presumed target.
Some Nationalist reporters suggested that the town had been bombed from the air, but by Republican airplanes.
The bombs were said to have been made in the Basque country and the explosions happened because of dynamite stored in the sewers.
Another theory by Nationalists was that there were a "few bomb fragments found" in Guernica, but the damage was mainly caused by Basque incendiaries.
In , newspaper Arriba claimed that there had only been twelve deaths during the bombing raid. The Nationalists were embarrassed by the bombing and refused to admit the truth.
Rather than acknowledging it as a routine military operation, they tried to dodge the issue, deny the attack took place and instead blamed the Republicans for setting fire to the town.
Thus their efforts at covering up the event ended up causing them more harm than good. Even Hitler was furious and demanded Franco absolve the Condor Legion of any responsibility, though ironically it may have helped him politically, as the attack increased foreign fears about the power of the Luftwaffe, which encouraged appeasement towards Germany.
As a consequence of the attack, Franco issued an order to the Condor Legion that strategic bombing could not occur without permission from himself or the commanding general of the air force tactical bombing was left in the hands of battlefield commanders.
The attack has entered the lexicon of war as an example of terror bombing. It is also remembered by the surviving inhabitants and Basque people as such.
Due to the lingering divisions from the conflict, the event remains a source of emotion and public recrimination. A commonly held viewpoint is that the involvement of the Luftwaffe in the Civil War occurred because of shared anti-communism and to form a proving ground for troops employed later during World War II.
This view is supported by the comments of then Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring at the Nuremberg Trials :. I urged him Adolf Hitler to give support [to Franco] under all circumstances, firstly, in order to prevent the further spread of communism in that theater and, secondly, to test my young Luftwaffe at this opportunity in this or that technical respect.
One historian claimed the Germans bombed Guernica in a deliberate attempt to destroy the entire town. According to James Corum, while the popular view of the attack was a terror bombing aimed at the town, in reality the intended target was the bridge and roads.
The issue was that pinpoint bombing was not possible at the time of the attack. Most of the bombers used by the Luftwaffe in Spain did not possess adequate targeting gear and thus the Condor Legion's preferred solution was to carpet the area with bombs to ensure the targets would be hit.
Corum also argues against the view that there was a psychological element to the attack, stating that Richtofen seemed unaware of the significance of Guernica to the Basques and his diary indicates he only cared that the attack had been able to shut down logistics in the town.
The Nationalists also didn't destroy the Basque parliament building or the Holy Oak, both of which had great cultural significance to the Basque and would have been excellent targets if the raid was meant solely to be a psychological warfare attack.
Corum also argues that the attack on the town did not differ in style from the types of attacks the Allies conducted during WW2 and the Condor Legion regarded the attack as a routine tactical operation.
Alongside the potential for gains in combat experience it is also thought that various strategic initiatives were first tried as part of Luftwaffe involvement in the conflict.
Theories on strategic bombing were first developed by the Luftwaffe with the first exhibition of " carpet bombing " in the September Asturias campaign.
Comparisons between the raid on Guernica and the fate of other cities during the conflict are also telling.
As the fighting progressed into March Italian pilots flying as Aviazione Legionaria were involved in thirteen raids against Barcelona involving fire and gas [ citation needed ] bombs.
The use of "carpet bombing" was becoming standard practice by Condor Legion personnel. To illustrate this point, military historian James S.
Corum cites an excerpt from a Condor Legion report on this use of this tactic:. We have had notable results in hitting the targets near the front, especially in bombing villages which hold enemy reserves and headquarters.
We have had great success because these targets are easy to find and can be thoroughly destroyed by carpet bombing. On the Spanish side, threats made prior to the raid by General Emilio Mola to "end the war in the North of Spain quickly" and threats apparently made against Republicans in Bilbao afterward implied a blunting of strategy and that air raids were effective and set to become an increasingly favorite instrument in the Nationalist war effort.
Vidal outlines some other commonly voiced theories on the raid: . The bombing gained immediate international media attention because of the intentional targeting of civilians by aerial bombers,  a strategy widely recognized as "deviant", causing "international horror".
Steer's reports on the horrors of Guernica were greatly appreciated by the Basque people. Steer had made their plight known. The Basque authorities later honored his memory by naming a street in Bilbao George Steer Kalea , and commissioning a bronze bust with the dedication: "George Steer, journalist, who told the world the story about Guernica.
Despite Francoist efforts to play down the reports, they proliferated and led to widespread international outrage at the time.
Guernica quickly became a world-renowned symbol of civilian suffering resulting from conflict and inspired Pablo Picasso to adapt one of his existing commissions into Guernica.
Though he accepted the invitation to display a piece, he remained uninspired until he heard of the bombing of Guernica. Before the bombing of Guernica took place, Picasso never cared much for anything to do with politics.
Once Picasso heard the news he changed his commissioned work for Spain into a reflection on the massacre. Since the work was so large, Picasso had to use a ladder and a long-handled brush to reach the furthest corners of the canvas.
He spent over two months creating Guernica. He used only black and white paint to invoke the truth-telling authority of documentary photography.
We are made to feel their pain with our own eyes. The display of Picasso's work at Republican Spain's Pavilion during the World's Fair in Paris reflected the effect on public consciousness.
A tapestry copy of Picasso's Guernica is displayed on the wall of the United Nations building in New York City , at the entrance to the Security Council room.
It was placed there as a reminder of the horrors of war. He was shocked and horrified by the enormous civilian massacre and worked endlessly on the plaster statue.
He refused to display his work because of the violence. Just after his death, an exhibition was held to commemorate the artist.
This piece was displayed for a short time, then returned to his family. Recrimination for the activities of the Condor Legion and shame at the involvement of German citizens in the bombing of Guernica surfaced following German reunification in the s.
In , the 60th anniversary of Operation Rügen, then German President Roman Herzog wrote to survivors apologizing on behalf of the German people and state for Germany's role in the Civil War in general.
Herzog said he wished to extend "a hand of friendship and reconciliation" on behalf of all German citizens. During the meeting they showed images and film clips of the bombing, took time to remember the dead, and read the Guernica Manifesto for Peace, pleading that Guernica become a "World Capital for Peace".
The film Guernica leads up to and culminates in the bombing of Guernica, set against the background of personalities involved in press coverage of the war.
The bombers made a single raid over the city, in which an estimated people were killed. The civil population was warned about the bombing. The main target of the attack was the General Military Hospital in the city.
It is estimated that 40 people were killed by the attack, about half of them in the hospital. The bombing of Durango is considered the clearest precedent for Guernica.
It was perpetrated on 31 March , by the Italian Air Forces in a three-raid pattern, almost identical to that carried out in Guernica.
It killed an estimated people and destroyed most of the city. The city suffered a similar attack prior to the bombing of Guernica, and further attacks afterwards.
Madrid presented a fierce resistance against the National troops that surpassed all of Franco's expectations and forced him to completely modify his attack strategy.
A series of air bombings to demoralize the population were ordered both before and after Guernica. On 13 February , during the commemoration of the 58th anniversary of the Bombing of Dresden , inhabitants of Dresden , Germany, including survivors of the firestorm of , joined together with witnesses of the bombing of Guernica to issue an appeal to the people of the world: .
As our television sets show bombers preparing for war against Iraq, we survivors of Guernica and Dresden recall our own helplessness and horror when we were flung into the inferno of bombing—we saw people killed.
Mothers trying to protect their children with only their bodies. Old people with no strength left to flee from the flames. These pictures are still alive in our memory, and our accounts capture indelibly what we went through.
For decades we—and survivors from many other nations—have been scarred by the horror, loss and injuries we experienced in the wars of the 20th century.
Today we see that the beginnings of the 21st century are also marked by suffering and destruction. On behalf of all the victims of war throughout the world we express our sympathy and solidarity with all those affected by the terror of 11 September in the US and the war in Afghanistan.
But is that very suffering now also to be inflicted upon the people of Iraq? Must thousands more die in a rain of bombs, must cities and villages be destroyed and cultural treasures obliterated?
On 26 April , Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace compared the experience of Guernica to Hiroshima: .
Human beings have often sought to give concrete form to our powerful collective longing for peace. After World War I, that longing led to the League of Nations and numerous rules and taboos designed to govern warfare itself.
Of these, the most important was the proscription against attacking and killing civilian non-combatants even in times of war.
However, the second half of the twentieth century has seen most of those taboos broken. Guernica was the point of departure, and Hiroshima is the ultimate symbol.
We must find ways to communicate to future generations the history of horror that began with Guernica In this sense, the leadership of those here in Guernica who seek peace and have worked hard to bring about this memorial ceremony is profoundly meaningful.
The solidarity we feel today derives from our shared experience of the horror of war, and this solidarity can truly lead us toward a world beyond war.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Attack by military aircraft during the Spanish Civil War. Guernica , Basque Country, Spain.
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Main article: Guernica Picasso. Main article: Guernica sculpture. Retrieved 17 September Common perceptions of civilian casualties from bombing".
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