Spanish Civil War

Ruins are an essential part of modernity – a by-product of industrial war, social engineering, futuristic dreams, economic change, and mass migration. In Spain the vestiges of the Civil war (1936-39) have been very present – even if they have not always been socially conspicuous – in political discourses and ideas of the nation since 1939. Many sites of battles or trauma have been left more or less untouched, some of them on purpose, as political lessons for future generations – and as material menaces. Their ghostly presence has thus conditioned the lives of Spaniards, living amidst the ruins and rubble, for over half a century. Among other things, they have shaped very particular ideas of national identity, history, and politics. However, from 2000 and onwards, the attitude towards many of these sites has been changing following an upsurge in the interest for the ruins of war in general. Guided tours through trenches and bunkers are being organized and battlefields are restored and open to the public.

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