Editors: Professor Miguel Ángel del Arco Blanco, Dr Peter Anderson
ISBN: 9781350268340
Format: New in Paperback
Extent: 280 pp
Price:  £28.99
Publication: April 2023
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

Malnutrition, Disease and Starvation in Post-Civil War Spain

At least 200,000 people died from hunger or malnutrition-related diseases in Spain during the 1940s. This book provides a political explanation for the famine and brings together a broad range of academics based in Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia to achieve this. Topics include the political causes of the famine, the physical and social consequences, the ways Spaniards tried to survive, the regime’s reluctance to accept international relief, the politics of cooking at a time of famine, and the memory of the famine.

The volume challenges the silence and misrepresentation that still surround the famine. It reveals the reality of how people perished in Spain because the Francoist authorities instituted a policy of food self-sufficiency (or autarky): a system of price regulation which placed restrictions on transport as well as food sales. The contributors trace the massive decline in food production which followed, the hoarding which took place on an enormous scale and the vast and deeply iniquitous black market that subsequently flourished at a time when salaries plunged to 50% below their levels in 1936: all contributing factors in the large-scale atrocity explored fully here for the first time.

Peter Anderson and Miguel Ángel del Arco Blanco are two of the most original historians of the vicious repression that followed Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War. That repression saw tens of thousands of executions and hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed in prisons. The team assembled by Professors Anderson and Del Arco Blanco demonstrate how, in addition, incompetent agrarian policies, food distribution dependent on the black market and the sheer malevolence of the regime, saw many hundreds of lives were destroyed by malnutrition. This innovative volume is an exciting contribution to the historiography of post-Civil War Spain.Paul Preston, School Professor for the Department of International History, LSE, UK