Valley of the Fallen

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Valley of the Fallen

The Beginning-The Spanish Civil War was a revolt against the government of Spain (1936-1939).-It involved Nationalists versus Republicans, which people refer to as fascism versus democracy.-There were 1 million lives lost.-200,000 died in battle, 200,000 executed, 500,000 Republicans into exile (Phelan).-People refer to it as the "Spanish Holocaust".-Franco made Catholicism the only religion ( Staff).-He also created a police network to spy on citizens ( Staff).-He even sent 50,000 volunteers to fight alongside Germany on the Soviet front ( Staff).

Valley of the Fallen?-It is a basilica tucked into the hillside.-The valley is northwest of Madrid (Hepworth).-There is a cross at the top, which is 500 feet- 30 miles away (Phelan).-This memorial took 18 years to build.-It only honors General Francisco Franco and Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera (Phelan).-It was meant to commemorate those who died in Spanish Civil War.-Franco decided to create it, but the Republican prisoners were forced to build it (Phelan).-Intended for people who sympathize with Franco- very controversial. Others just protest (1999 anti-fascist group bomb).-

General Francisco Franco Controversy

Valley of the Fallen: Remembering the Good or the Bad?

Is this a problem?-This situation is very similar to that of Juan de Onate.-Both being commemorated for their horrible actions.-Killed thousands- murderers-Opponents refer to their actions as ones of "genocide" and "the Spanish Holocaust".-Referred to in derogatory terms-Negative implications that are true according to historical facts-"Only a third of the 33,847 dead who rest with Franco in his mausoleum are named on their tombs. The rest are stacked in ossuaries inside vaults that have deteriorated over the decades. Identifying the remains is a daunting task, and the relatives' best hope now rests on a report being prepared by the state institution National Heritage" (Badcock).-Only shows side of Generals and not the Republicans-Republican prisoners- those who had not been killed yet- had to build it (Phelan).-Two views to the story of Franco, and this leads to him having supporters and him having enemies.

Thesis: The Valley of the Fallen is a controversial site of memory that should be taken down because it commemorates a dictator's brutal actions, and it does not honor the Spanish Civil War in a correct manner; this lieu de memoire sheds negative light on a time in which people should be honored for their bravery and their sacrifice for their country.

So What?-This was a monumental moment in history, and people should care.-Everyone cares about the American Civil War, and this was the exact same concept, except in Spain.-It is something that people should learn about, and people should commemorate those who died in the war.-It matters because this site of memory is commemorating someone who should suppressed and not be honored.-The people who died should be honored though, which is why it is such a site of controversy.-There is debate over the topic, but it will always be a part of the Spanish culture- there is just a correct way to remember it.

Monument Removal-The monument should be removed and destroyed.-There can be a much better way of commemorating the victims and the people who risked their lives in the Spanish Civil War.-There are people who were murdered in the war, and their lives should be honored after the brutality that they had to face.-There are about 34,000 graves, but only two are marked (Phelam). This should never be the case- especially since the two graves that are marked are such controversial figures.-The names of the others who died during this time period should be marked as well- or none at all.-There would just be a much better way of commemorating the Spanish Civil war. -There can be a way in which Franco is not commemorated- especially since he is the one who murdered those surrounding him.

Controversial Background

Works CitedHepworth, Andrea. "Site of Memory and Dismemory: The Valley of the Fallen in Spain." Journal of Genocide Research, 15 Dec. 2014. Staff. "Francisco Franco.", 2009. Phelan, Stephen. "Valley of the Fallen: Inside Spain's Most Controversial Visitor Site." Independent, 28 Mar. 2017. Zeballos-Roig, Joseph. "How to Dig up a Dictator." The New Republic.

Connection-My site seems to involve heritage and power the most, even though it is basically a site of memory that is addressed by every reading in class.-There was an article explaining how this site of memory involves "dissonant heritage". There is a connection between memory and history, and there is definitely a competing heritage when it comes to the people who are 'for' and 'against' Franco. If there was not such a connection to heritage, there would not be this much controversy.-It also involves power because it shows how powerful Franco was historically. He conquered and ruled over everything. Even now, his tomb is still a tourist attraction, and it is a place that he helped build. He was very influential back in his time, and that can still be seen today.


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