From the preeminent historian of 20th century Spain Paul Preston, Architects of Terror is a new history of how paranoia, conspiracy and anti-Semitism was used to justify the military coup of 1936 and enabled the construction of a dictatorship built on violence and persecution.
It is the previously untold story of how antisemitic beliefs were weaponised to justify and propagate the Franco overthrow of liberal Spain.
The Spanish military coup of 1936 was launched to overturn the social and economic reforms of the democratic Second Republic, and its educational and cultural challenges to the established order. The consequent civil war was fought in the interests of the landowners, industrialists, bankers, clerics and army officers whose privileges were threatened. However, a central justification for a war that took the lives of around 500,000 Spaniards was that it was being fought to combat an alleged scheme for world domination by a non-existent 'Jewish- Masonic-Bolshevik Conspiracy'. Despite the fact that Spain had only a tiny minority of Jews and Freemasons, Franco and his inner circle were ardent believers in this fabricated conspiracy and spread the notion that the survival of Catholic Spain, as well, of course, of the establishment ' s economic interests, required the total annihilation of Jews and Freemasons.
Architects of Terror is the story of how fake news, mendacity, corruption and nostalgia for lost empire generated violence and hatred. The book presents vivid portraits of the key ideologues who propagated the myth of the Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik Conspiracy and of the military figures who implemented the atrocities that it justified. Among the convictions shared by these individuals was their belief in the idea that Freemasonry was responsible for Spain ' s loss of empire and in the factual veracity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious fiction about the global domination of the Jews.
This is a history that reverberates in our own political moment