Spanish Mauser Bullet Essay

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George Orwell was a revolutionary socialist, afflicted with the independent labour party; he went to Spain in late 1936, in his role as a journalist, but then, inevitably, put down his pen name and spent the next year fighting with the P.O.U.M (Partido Obrero de Unification Marxista) Militia against the Fascist forces under Francisco Franco.
George was wounded on the 20th of May at 5 a.m by a bullet that was fired by a 'fascist sniper'. The bullet entered the neck just under the larynx, slightly at the left side of it’s vertical axis and went out at the dorsal right side of the neck’s base. It was a normal 7 mm bore, copper-plated Spanish Mauser bullet, shot from a distance of some 175 yards. At this range, it still had a velocity of some 600 feet per second and a cauterizing temperature. Under the impact, George fell on his back. The hemorrhaging was insignificant. After dressing at a first aid post some half a mile from the actual line, he was transferred to Barbastro and then to the Hospital of Lerida.
When Stalinists, on their own side, started to hunt down Anarchists and his friends, they were thrown into prison, Orwell escaped with his wife Eileen Blair from the chaos. The war made him a strong opposer of communism and an advocate of the English brand of socialism. Special Branch police had monitored Orwell since the late 1920s, but eventually the authorities decided that he was not a threat to the national security and released him. On July 18, 1936, the Spanish Civil war begins as a revolt by right-wing Spanish military officers in Spanish Morocco and spreads to mainland Spain. From the Canary Islands, General Francisco Franco broadcasts a message calling for all army officers to join the uprising and overthrow Spain's leftist Republican government. Within three days, the rebels captured Morocco, much of northern Spain, and several key cities in the south. The Republicans succeeded in putting down the uprising in other areas, including Madrid, Spain's capital. The Republicans and the Nationalists, as the rebels were called, then proceeded to secure their respective territories by executing thousands of suspected political opponents. Meanwhile, Franco flew to Morocco and prepared to bring the Army of Africa over to the mainland.

In 1931, Spanish King Alfonso XIII authorized elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. Alfonso went into exile, and the Second Republic, initially dominated by middle-class liberals and moderate socialists, was proclaimed. During the first two years of the Republic, organized labor and leftist radicals forced widespread liberal reforms, and the independence-minded region of Catalonia and the Basque provinces achieved virtual autonomy.

The landed aristocracy, the church, and a large military clique opposed the Republic, and in November 1933 conservative forces regained control of the government in elections. In response, socialists launched a revolution in the mining districts of Asturias, and Catalan nationalists rebelled in Barcelona. General Franco crushed the so-called October Revolution on behalf of the conservative government, and in 1935 he was appointed army chief of staff. In February 1936, new elections brought the Popular Front, a leftist coalition, to power, and Franco, a strict monarchist, was sent to an obscure command in the Canary Islands off Africa.

Fearing that the liberal government would give way to Marxist revolution, army officers conspired to seize power. After a period of hesitation, Franco agreed to join the military conspiracy, which was scheduled to begin in Morocco at 5 a.m. on July 18 and then in Spain 24 hours later. The difference in time was to allow the Army of Africa time to secure Morocco before being…