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Treasure 18: The Illustrated London News
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Treasure 18: The Illustrated London News

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 18: The Illustrated London News
Historic Documents
Treasure 18: The Illustrated London News
One of this month's treasures is an extract of The Illustrated London News. This issue, dated from the 14th of November 1936, shows the General Francisco Franco, "the leader of the attack on Madrid and, from the first, ranked as head of the anti-government forces"... and dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975.

Newspapers are indeed a great source of information on historic topics. What is particularly remarkable about The Illustrated London News is that it was probably the first pictorial weekly newspaper. Founded by Herbert Ingram, a newsagent from Nottingham, the first issue was published on the 14th May 1842 and sold for 6 pence. Ingram had the idea to include pictures and woodcuts within the paper in order to sell more copies. And it worked! The first issue met with immediate success, selling 26,000 copies during the first days and printing 65,000 more copies during the same week.

The Spanish Civil War broke out on the 17th of July 1936. During more than two years, nationalists and pro-government forces fought in Spain. At the same time, in Britain, Chamberlain and his conservative government defended strong neutrality and choose to keep the country far away from the war.

However, the "civil war" was a domestic conflict in name only. During more than two years, and even after the nationalist victory in 1939, it attracted the attentions of many governments and individuals. The Illustrated London News is a witness of the conflict and gives also some sense of the British representation of the Spanish Civil War. Even if it tried to keep its impartiality, its judgments and the way it conveyed the information was viewed through the eyes of local interest and popular opinion.

The newspaper portrayed the majority public opinion, which was non-intervention. As such, it tried to show both the nationalists sides and the pro-government opinion.

From July 1936 to April 1939, 549 Scots joined the International Brigades and fought to defend democracy in Spain. 134 lost their lives in Spain.

The International Brigade Memorial Trust is a British charity which aims to keep alive the memory and spirit of the over 50,000 individuals from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth who volunteered to defend democracy and fight facism. We hope this treasure acts as an additional commemoration for those who went to Spain.
Spanish Civil War
Aberdeen Local Studies
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