Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spanish Civil War

Have been following your writings on your blog for a few months and after reading some of your older posts saw that there is a family history going back to Spain/Spanish Civil war. I have spent time reading about the Spanish Civil War (History Major now an engineering student) and was curious on your take of what lessons there were to be learned from that war and if there are any comparisons/warnings that we could take from then to apply to today?
thank you again, I appreciate the urban/suburban survivalist lessons you give, definitely more applicable and practical than running for the hills and hoping that Rome burns.

Hi John,
Funny that you mention the Spanish civil war, I’ve been working on that recently.
Yes, my grandparents lived there and had more than a few interesting stories to tell.
Silly youth, I never paid much attention to it until now. A bit older and bit less stupid, now I’m picking my 85 year old grandma’s brain, gathering tales, putting the pieces together and doing a bit of writing.
I’m interested in real world survival situations. The Spanish civil war is an interesting one, and having a very lucid grandmother that lived it to talk to is invaluable.
She lived in a very small village up in the mountains in the province of Lugo.
They had a small farm, her dad traveled around working, lived in Cuba some time. Conditions were very hard, she moved to the city looking for work, then back to the village, then to Argentina with my grandfather.
"Execution" of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Communist militiamen at Cerro de los √Āngeles near Madrid, on 7 August 1936 WIKI

Ruins of Guernica

In Spain the civil war and post civil war life was hard. There was little food around, few jobs, political persecution somewhat similar to what we saw here during the Dirt War.

I have spent time reading about the Spanish Civil War (History Major now an engineering student) and was curious on your take of what lessons there were to be learned from that war and if there are any comparisons/warnings that we could take from then to apply to today?

There are a few and even though I hadn’t written specifically about the Spanish civil what experience as I’m doing these days, I’ve always kept those lessons in mind:
1) Food is of great importance of course. Water could be had one way or another, shelter isn’t that big a deal either. The key is having enough food.

2) Money is even nicer. Gets you food and the other stuff food wont (Argue about that with my grandmother if anyone disagrees. I assure you, she’s seen and experienced more hunger and food rationing than most “experts”)

3) The ability to move, relocate if necessary as my grandparents from both sides of my family did. Happens all the time, things get tough, poverty gets bad and people move wherever there’s work.

4) It’s important to have skills, but its better to be a good salesman.
The skilled person may or may not make good money. If you’re good at sales and running business you’ll definitely will.

5) During the civil war weapons weren’t allowed. Yet a handgun
could be concealed…

6)Having your own store, your own source of income. My grandmother dreamed of that and here in Argentina she soon opened her own bakery while my grandfather opened a carpentry shop. (she’s an outstanding woman)

She always used to tell me “Fernando, if you have your own shop, your own business, you can always find a way to make at least enough money to get by”.
She eventually closed because of all the robberies they went through but she always liked having her own store.

All these things, they apply to a great number of events around the world at different times, and I believe they still do.
Times have changed, but the essence of those lessons remains the same.
7) Running to the hills… it’s better if you relocate before things get that desperate. You can run to the hills, but your survival expectations are 1/10 as good, compared to relocating properly to another continent or country.



Lisa said...

I'm based in New York City. My preparations are focused maintaining myself and my family in New York in the face of increasingly difficult economic circumstances. I think the idea of starting a small business which at least for me would be on the side from my day job is a great idea. I think there will always be more money to be made in a large city than in a small town or in a very rural area. From what I've seen on Surviving in Argentina and right here at home people with money suffer less.

Anonymous said...

While reading an article which focused mainly on the U.S. I was reminded of your blog a number of times. There's some good quotes on the article that are relevant to your blog, but I'll only post the one:

the progression of generations through the four cycles of life can be documented back to the 1400’s. I’ve always believed that George Santayana’s quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, was a profound statement. After examining Strauss & Howe’s generational theory, it may not matter whether you remember the past. You are condemned to repeat it. A generation that is 80 years removed from the last similar cycle is incapable of understanding or learning from that prior cycle. Individuals may study and understand the mood changes that shifted the country on a certain course, but they are helpless in changing the powerful force of a generational life transition.


Anonymous said...

you did not tell us which side your family supported.

FerFAL said...

As in most cases where innocent people are caught in political struggles, none.
My grandparents just wanted to be left alone, work, take care of their families.
My grandfather was conscrpited but he never showed up.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the informative post, FerFAL. I like it most when you're able to tie in personal experiences, either yours, or of family members.

I read your book and used it to help build reserves and plans. Compared to before reading your book, now, I have more of the listed items in this post taken care of. The ones that aren't are partially addressed.

Reading this list would have made me feel vulnerable before, but now it makes me feel more confident, because I've done a lot of work and gained new experiences. The last few months have been difficult, but it just goes to show that keeping your head and not giving up, always looking for solutions, will give you good odds of faring alright.