This article reviews the core issues and different doctrinal positions present in the international legal debates triggered by the Spanish Civil War. It pays particular attention to the contributions of the first two British judges at the International Court of Justice, A. D. McNair (1946–1955) and H. Lauterpacht (1955–1960) to these debates. Their writings can be seen as respectively representative of the two stages through which British international lawyers went in the international legal debates on the Spanish Civil War. The article concludes with an analysis of the case for British “benevolent neutrality to the Nationalists” in the Spanish Civil War, reviewing the underlying motives which historians have highlighted as lurking behind the British-led non-intervention policy in the war.
Helen Graham‘Spain and Europe: the View from the Periphery’The Historical Journal35 (1992) 969–983971. According to this social historian this traditional tendency was a consequence of the legacy of ‘Western cold war ideology’ which had ‘the capacity to impair historical understanding because it presents social realities as if they were static phenomena – to be read backwards in the light of the political status quo’. Ibid. 978.
Ibid.541. This in accordance with section 4 of article iv of the Constitution the United States (using the plural) ‘shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the Legislature or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence’.
Ibid. p. 541.
See e.g. Joseph Barthelemy‘La solidarité de gouvernments legitimes’Revue Droit International20 (1937) 13–28.
Georges Scelle‘La guerre civile espagnole et le Droit des gens’Revue Generale de Droit International Public45 (1938) 265; and Georges Scelle ‘La guerre civile espagnole et le Droit des gens’ Revue Generale de Droit International Public 46 (1939) 197–228.
On 8 January1937after a pledge by the us President to Congress of ‘an addition to the existing Neutrality Act to cover specific points raised by the unfortunate civil strife in Spain’ the Congress approved the Pittman Resolution. For an immediate criticism that the Pittman Spanish Civil War Resolution reversed the legal order ‘by placing unrecognized rebels and the constituent government in Spain on the same footing’ see E. Borchard ‘Neutrality and Civil Wars’ American Journal of International Law 31 (1937) 304–306.
G. Balladore Pallieri‘Quelques aspects juridiques de la non-intervention en Espagne’Revue de droit international et de legislation comparee18 (1937) 285293.
Ibid.471–500500 with McNair noting: ‘I do not wish to be thought to be lacking in courtesy because I have not dealt with the literature now growing up round the subject of this article notably Professor Smith’s article in the British Year Book of International Law of this year and articles and comments in the American Journal of International Law. I have only refrained because I wanted to state my own view upon the materials available to me and my article is already long enough’.
Hersch Lauterpacht‘Recognition of Insurgents as a de Facto Government’Modern Law Review3 (1939) 1–193.
Berdah‘L’Allemagne et le Royaume-Uni’ 1993 (n. 31), 203–241, 228. See comparatively on the evolution of French foreign policy regarding recognition of Franco’s camp in 1938, e.g. Michel Catala, ‘L’attitude de la France face à la Guerre d’Espagne: l’échec des négociations pour la reconnaissance du gouvernement franquiste en 1938’Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez29 (1993) 243–262.
See e.g. Louis Le Fur‘La guerre civile d’espagne et le droit international’Revue politique et parlamentaireCLXVI (1936) 385–598; and Raoul Genet ‘La qualification de ‘pirates’ et le dilemme de la guerre civile’ Revue international francaise du droit des gens 3 (1937) 13–25
According to Elihu Lauterpacht‘of all his writings this is the one that has given rise to most controversy . . . since its basic doctrine of the legal character of recognition has been largely abandoned in state practice over the half-century that has followed’, Elihu Lauterpacht, ‘Sir Hersch Lauterpacht: 1897–1960’European Journal of International Law8 (1998) 313–315.
M.D. Gallagher‘Leon Blum and the Spanish Civil War’Journal of Contemporary History6 (1971) 58. As a journalist and contemporary of Blum he noted: ‘Leon Blum is doing reluctantly but loyally what he judges to be best for peace. But history teaches us that it is always dangerous to turn one’s back on justice even with the best of intentions’. See Louis Martin-Chauffier: Editorial in Vendredi ii September 1936 quoted Gallagher 64.
Stephen M. Schwebel‘Review of Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice and the World Crisis: A Legal Adviser in the Foreign Office by Anthony Carty and Richard A. Smith’The American Journal of International Law97 (2003) 992–994994.
See e.g. Douglas Little‘Red Scare 1936: Anti-Bolshevism and the Origins of British Non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War’Journal of Contemporary History28 (1988) 291–311291 (suggesting that ‘Whitehall imposed an arms embargo on the Spanish Republic primarily to prevent the emergence of a communist Spain and more broadly to check the spread of Bolshevism in western and southern Europe’).