Public Opinion and the News: Newspaper Representation of Pro-Franco Americans during the Spanish Civil War

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The Spanish Civil War, which ravaged Spain between 1936 and 1939, had a profound impact outside of Spain. An ideological war between the leftist Second Spanish Republic and the rightist, conservative Nationalist forces, the war sparked discussion across the Atlantic and deeply divided Americans. Whereas the majority of Americans sympathized with the Loyalist forces who defended the Spanish Republic, a vocal minority sided with the Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco. They sympathized with a regime that was strongly associated with fascism. This thesis will add to the academic discussion on fascist sympathies in the United States, by studying media representation of this group. By examining news articles from two major newspapers, the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune, this thesis will investigate pro-Nationalist lobbying efforts in the newspapers and newspaper mediation of this group’s perspective on the Spanish Civil War. This thesis therefore sets out to answer the question to what extent American supporters of Franco were able to portray themselves positively in the news media. Focusing on two themes, American neutrality and Nationalist ideology, this thesis argues that American pro-Nationalists lobbying efforts appeared most favorable in the news when they refrained from the political aspects of Nationalist Spain itself and focused on widely shared sentiments like anticommunism and nonintervention.
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