In the General Interest of Peace? British International Lawyers and the Spanish Civil War

in Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international
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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.

In the General Interest of Peace? British International Lawyers and the Spanish Civil War

in Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international

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References

  • 4

    See among others e.g. Herbert A. Smith‘Some Problems of the Spanish Civil War’British Yearbook International Law 18 (1937) 17–31.

  • 8

    See Ignacio de la Rasilla del Moral‘The Fascist Mimesis of Spanish International Law and its Vitorian Aftermath, 1939–1953’The Journal of the History of International Law 14 (2012) 207–236.

  • 10

    See Julian Casanova‘Pasado y presente de la Guerra civil española’Historia Social 60 (2008) 113–127.

  • 13

    Ibid.118–123.

  • 19

    See e.g. Norman P. Padeldorf‘The International Non-Intervention Agreement and the Spanish Civil War’American Journal of International Law 31 (1937) 578–603.

  • 23

    Helen Graham‘Spain and Europe: the View from the Periphery’The Historical Journal 35 (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.

  • 24

    S.P. Mackenzie‘The Foreign Enlistment Act and the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939’Twentieth Century British History 10 (1999) 52–6653.

  • 25

    Ann Van Wynen Thomas/A.J. Thomas Jr.‘Non Intervention and the Spanish Civil War’American Society of International Law Proceedings (1967) 1–6 5.

  • 40

    Ibid.591–592.

  • 43

    D. Graham Hutton‘British Policy towards Spain’Foreign Affairs 15 (1936–1937) 661.

  • 45

    See e.g. Jose C. Jiménez Redondo‘La política del bloque ibérico: las relaciones hispano-portuguesas (1936–1949)’Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez 29 (1993) 175–201.

  • 51

    S.P. Mackenzie‘The Foreign Enlistment Act and the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939’Twentieth Century British History 10 (1999) 52–66.

  • 57

    Alfred de Zayas‘Spanish Civil War’Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (2013) 1–10 4.

  • 58

    Philip C. Jessup‘The Spanish Rebellion and International Law’Foreign Affairs 15 (1936–1937) 260–279 270.

  • 59

    Arnold D. McNair‘The Law Relating to the Civil War in Spain’Law Quarterly Review 53 (1937) 471–500497.

  • 60

    See Francis O. Wilcox‘The League of Nations and the Spanish Civil War’Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 198 (1938) 65–7268.

  • 68

    Karl Loewenstein‘Militant Democracy and Fundamental Rights, I’The American Political Science Review 31:3 (1937) 417–432 419.

  • 72

    Ibid.76.

  • 74

    René Wadlow‘Salvador De Madariaga: Conscience of the League of Nations’The Federalist Debate 1 (2009) 38–40.

  • 77

    Ibid.468.

  • 78

    Ibid.464–466.

  • 84

    See interestingly C.G. Fenwick‘Can Civil Wars be brought under the Control of International Law?’American Journal of International Law 32 (1938) 538–542540.

  • 86

    Ibid.539.

  • 88

    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’.

  • 89

    Ibid. p. 541.

  • 90

    See e.g. Joseph Barthelemy‘La solidarité de gouvernments legitimes’Revue Droit International 20 (1937) 13–28.

  • 95

    James Brown Scott‘Asociación Francisco de Vitoria’American Journal of International Law 22 (1928) 136.

  • 101

    Georges Scelle‘La guerre civile espagnole et le Droit des gens’Revue Generale de Droit International Public 45 (1938) 265; and Georges Scelle ‘La guerre civile espagnole et le Droit des gens’ Revue Generale de Droit International Public 46 (1939) 197–228.

  • 104

    Ibid.266.

  • 106

    Charles Rousseau‘La Non-intervention en Espagne’Revue de droit international et legislation comparée 19 (1938) 217228.

  • 107

    Herbert A. Smith‘Some Problems of the Spanish Civil War’British Yearbook of International Law 18 (1937) 17–3128.

  • 108

    Ibid.28.

  • 110

    Ibid.31.

  • 114

    Arnold D. McNair‘The Law Relating to the Civil War in Spain’ Law Quarterly Review 53 (1937) 471–500497.

  • 115

    Ibid.472.

  • 117

    Ibid.472.

  • 118

    Ibid.473.

  • 120

    Ibid.474.

  • 124

    Norman J. Padelford‘Remarks’Proceedings of the 31st Meeting American Society of International Law (1937) 154.

  • 128

    On 8 January 1937after 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.

  • 130

    G. Balladore Pallieri‘Quelques aspects juridiques de la non-intervention en Espagne’Revue de droit international et de legislation comparee 18 (1937) 285293.

  • 132

    Ibid.28.

  • 137

    Ibid.132.

  • 142

    Ibid.497.

  • 145

    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’.

  • 152

    Hersch Lauterpacht‘Recognition of Insurgents as a de Facto Government’Modern Law Review 3 (1939) 1–193.

  • 153

    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 Velázquez 29 (1993) 243–262.

  • 155

    Lawrence Preuss‘State Immunity and the Requisition of Ships during the Spanish Civil War: I. Before the British Courts’American Journal of International Law 35 (1941) 263–281281.

  • 157

    See e.g. Louis Le Fur‘La guerre civile d’espagne et le droit international’Revue politique et parlamentaire CLXVI (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

  • 158

    See e.g. N.J. Padelford‘Foreign Shipping during the Spanish Civil War’American Journal of International Law 32 (1938) 264.

  • 159

    Raoul Genet‘The Charge of Piracy in the Spanish Civil War’American Journal of International Law 32 (1938) 253–263.

  • 173

    Ibid.20.

  • 174

    See e.g. Patrick Capps‘Lauterpacht’s Method’British Yearbook of International Law 82 (2012) 248–280.

  • 175

    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 Law 8 (1998) 313–315.

  • 180

    A. Pearce Higgins‘Remarks’Law Quarterly Review 39 (1928) 507quoted in D.H.N. Johnson ‘The English Tradition of International Law’ International and Comparative Law Quarterly 11 (1962) 416–445 426.

  • 181

    J.L. Brierly‘International Law in England’Law Quarterly Review 51 (1935) 24.

  • 182

    Martti Koskenniemi‘The Case for Comparative International Law’Finnish Yearbook of International Law 20 (2009) 1.

  • 184

    Editorial note (1921) 27 lqr 8.

  • 187

    Herscht Lauterpacht‘The So-called Anglo-American and Continental Schools of Thought in International Law’British Yearbook of International Law 12 (1931) 32.

  • 189

    Ibid.62.

  • 192

    Ibid.25.

  • 193

    Ibid.34–35.

  • 195

    W.E. Beckett‘International Law in England’Law Quarterly Review 55 (1939) 257258.

  • 199

    Stanley G. Payne‘Recent Studies on the Spanish Civil War’The Journal of Modern History 34 (1962) 312312.

  • 201

    Tom Buchanan‘Edge of Darkness: British “Front-Line” Diplomacy in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1937’Contemporary European History 12 (2003) 279–303279.

  • 203

    M.D. Gallagher‘Leon Blum and the Spanish Civil War’Journal of Contemporary History 6 (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.

  • 206

    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 Law 97 (2003) 992–994994.

  • 210

    Ibid.65.

  • 211

    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 History 28 (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’).

  • 224

    Daniel Bethlehem‘The Secret Life of International Law’Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 1 (2012) 23–36.

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