Heroic Victims is the first book on the Spanish Civil War to make an extensive use of the archives of the Communist International in Moscow, where the files of the International Brigades are stored.
Over 3,000 young Americans, most of them Communists, went to fight in Spain. Approximately 1,800 were killed there. Untrained and poorly armed, led mainly by incompetents, the outcome was never in doubt.
Promised that they could return home after seven months’ service, the volunteers found that they were in Spain for the duration of the war. Many who complained were imprisoned; some were shot.
Going to Spain as “premature anti-fascists,” those survivors who remained in the Communist movement found their anti-fascism aborted by the Soviet-Nazi Pact. Directed by the Communist International, they opposed not Nazi aggression but the Allied efforts to resist the Nazis.
The Moscow archives provide facts about many of the controversial issues of those troubled times.