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Guns, Culture and Moors


The history of the Moroccan troops in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is the story of an encounter between two culturally and ethnically different people, and the attempts by both sides, Moroccan and Spanish, to take control of this contact. This book shows to what extent colonials could participate in negotiating limits and taboos rather than being only on the receiving end of them. The examination of this encounter, in its military, religious, as well as sexual aspects, sheds new light on colonial relations, and on how unique or typical the Spanish colonial case is in comparison to other European ones. Tuma focuses on the Moors and provides a rich and nuanced collective portrait of these soldiers’ experiences in Spain. Tuma’s sources also allow him to address some of the significant historical and cultural questions about the Moorish involvement, such as what transpired between Moroccan troops and Spanish women (beyond the propaganda accounts), the curious mercenary alliance between Franco’s traditionally Catholic Nationalists and Spain’s centuries-old Muslim enemy, and more generally the relationship with the Moors of both Republican and Nationalist Spain. In addition to its clear and smart organization, one of the book’s strengths is the way it integrates the evidence throughout the chapters. Tuma argues that the rape of Spanish women by Moroccan troops probably did not occur at the exaggerated levels suggested by the propaganda emanating from either side. And Moors were certainly not the only offenders. Tuma’s research also allows us to think with more nuance about the ideological justification for the bond between Nationalist Spaniards and Moroccans. Readers interested in the recent scholarship on the racial dimensions of the Great War might find Tuma’s book an extension of that work. The book is rich in detail as it grapples with the complex intersections of historical generalities, rhetoric and propaganda, policies and operations, and individual experiences.

Subtitle: Racial Perceptions, Cultural Impact and the Moroccan Participation in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)
Author: Tuma, Ali Al
Year: 2020
ISBN: 9780367591663
Pages: 266
Language: English
Publisher: Routledge
Publisher's city: London
Publication date:
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