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Bombing of guernica

The meaning of «bombing of guernica»

The bombing of Guernica (26 April 1937) was an aerial bombing of the Basque town of Guernica (Gernika in Basque) during the Spanish Civil War. It was carried out at the behest of Francisco Franco's rebel Nationalist faction by its allies, the Nazi German Luftwaffe's Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria, under the code name 'Operation Rügen'. The operation opened the way to Franco's capture of Bilbao and his victory in northern Spain.

The attack gained controversy because it involved the bombing of civilians by a military air force. Seen as a war crime by some historians, and argued as a legitimate attack by others,[1] it was one of the first aerial bombings to capture global attention. The number of victims is still disputed; the Basque government reported 1,654 people killed at the time, while local historians identified 126 victims[2] (later revised by the authors of the study to 153).[3] A British source used by the Air War College claims 400 civilians died.[4][5] Soviet archives claim 800 deaths on 1 May 1937, but this number may not include victims who later died of their injuries in hospitals or whose bodies were discovered buried in the rubble.[6]

The bombing is the subject of the anti-war painting Guernica by Pablo Picasso, which was commissioned by the Spanish Republic. It was also depicted in a woodcut by the German artist Heinz Kiwitz,[7] who was later killed fighting in the International Brigades,[8] and by René Magritte in the painting Le Drapeau Noir.[9] The bombing shocked and inspired many other artists, including a sculpture by René Iché, one of the first electroacoustic music pieces by Patrick Ascione, musical compositions by Octavio Vazquez (Gernika Piano Trio) and René-Louis Baron, and poems by Paul Eluard (Victory of Guernica), and Uys Krige (Nag van die Fascistiese Bomwerpers, English translation from the Afrikaans: Night of the Fascist Bombers). There is also a short film from 1950 by Alain Resnais titled Guernica.

Guernica (Gernika in Basque; officially Gernika-Lumo), in the Basque province of Biscay, and 30 kilometres east of Bilbao, has long been a centre of great significance to the Basque people. Its Gernikako Arbola ("the tree of Gernika" in Basque) is an oak tree that symbolizes traditional freedoms for the Biscayan people and, by extension, for the Basque people as a whole. Not only was Guernica considered the identity of Basque, but it was also considered the spiritual capital of Basque people.[10] Guernica has always been celebrated as the home of Basque liberties.[11] Guernica was also the location of the Spanish weapons manufacturer Astra-Unceta y Cía, which had been a supplier of firearms to the Spanish military and police forces since 1912. At the time of the bombing, the population of Guernica was 7,000 people,[12] and the battlefront was 30 kilometres away.[13][14]

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