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Durham and South Wales Miners and the Spanish Civil War

Mates, Lewis



This article compares and contrasts the roles of the South Wales Miners' Federation and the Durham Miners' Association (DMA) regarding solidarity activities with the Spanish Republican government, 1936-39. It firstly establishes that there were far fewer Durham miners in the International Brigade than their South Wales counterparts, despite comparable socio-economic conditions. This is explained by the different political cultures of the two coalfields (although at times, both coalfields reacted in similar ways to analogous social and political circumstances). The fundamental difference was the strength of the Communist Party in South Wales and its weakness in the Durham coalfield. The nature of Communist influence in the Durham coalfield in that period is then explored. The final section studies the considerable and hitherto unappreciated institutional contribution of the DMA to the Spanish Republican cause. It also notes the paradoxical effects of the Communist-supported popular front policy.


Mates, L. (2006). Durham and South Wales Miners and the Spanish Civil War. Twentieth Century British History, 17(3), 373-395.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2006
Deposit Date Jul 9, 2007
Journal Twentieth Century British History
Print ISSN 0955-2359
Electronic ISSN 1477-4674
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 3
Pages 373-395