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Life and Fate
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  2. 50 Great Hispanic Novels Every Student Should Read
  3. 11 Important Holocaust Books You Should Read

However the road to Valencia remained open. On the 19th the Nationalists made their final frontal assault and under cover of a heavy artillery bombardment, Moroccan and Foreign Legion troops fought their way into the University City quarter of Madrid. While their advance was checked, they established a bridgehead over the river Manzanares. Bitter street fighting ensued. Durruti, the anarchist leader, was killed on the 19th, reportedly by the accidental discharge of one of his own men's weapons. Despite fierce counterattacks by the XI International Brigade and Spanish Republican units, the Nationalists kept their toehold in the University City and by the end of the battle were in possession of three quarters of the complex.

However, their attempt to storm Madrid had failed, in the face of unexpectedly stiff Republican resistance. Franco stopped further infantry assaults, as he could not risk losing any more of his best regulares and legionnaire troops. Having failed to take Madrid by assault, Franco ordered the aerial bombardment of the city's residential areas, with the exception of the upper class Salamanca district which was assumed to contain many Nationalist supporters with the intention of terrifying the civilian population into surrender.

Franco is quoted as saying, "I will destroy Madrid rather than leave it to the Marxists". German bombers pounded the rest of the city from 19 to 23 November. Arguably, this tactic of Franco's was counter-productive, as the Republican population in Madrid were not cowed into surrender and the aerial bombardment of civilians one of the first in the history of warfare was heavily criticized by foreign journalists, among them Ernest Hemingway.

The casualties from the aerial bombardment seem to have been relatively low however. There is no definitive figure for the civilian casualties it caused, however according to Hugh Thomas , the death toll was about From early on, fighter resistance and Republican pilot experience had also grown too strong for further bombardments to occur during daylight hours, further limiting their effectiveness. The battle petered out in December, with both sides exhausted. A front line stabilised in the city, running from the Nationalist salient over the river Manzanares, in the University City, through the Casa de Campo park, and through the streets of the Carabanchel area.


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The population of Madrid was subjected to a sporadic artillery and aerial bombardment, and food became short as the winter went on. The UGT union transferred some vital industries to metro tunnels under the city, which were not in use. Franco's final action of was to attempt to cut off the road to Corunna , northeast of Madrid, as the first step towards surrounding the Spanish capital. The resulting Battle of the Corunna Road also resulted in a stalemate.

The casualties inflicted in the Battle of Madrid were never accurately counted, but British historian Hugh Thomas has estimated that they came to about 10, between the two sides and civilian population. After the Battle of Madrid, the Republican government tried to re-organise its armed forces from a collection of militias into a regular army, the People's Republican Army. This was achieved by integrating the militias into the structures of the elements of the pre-war army which had sided with the Republic.

While in theory this reduced the power of political parties relative to the government, in practice it increased the influence of the Communist Party, who led the implementation of this policy through the loyal, disciplined and militarized units of its Antifascist Worker and Peasant Militias MAOC. The party, therefore, had a disproportionate influence in the appointment of military commanders and the setting of military policy. In addition, two other battles were fought further afield as part of the Nationalist's campaign to take the capital: in March, at Guadalajara and at the end of December at Teruel , both north east of Madrid.

In the first of these battles, in early Franco tried to cross the river Jarama to cut off the road between Madrid and Valencia , where the Republicans had moved their government.

The battle's results were inconclusive. Franco's troops managed to get onto the east bank of the Jarama but failed to sever communications between Madrid and Valencia. Casualties on both sides were heavy, estimates of their losses ranging from 6, to 20, on each side. With around a third of the city of Madrid heavily damaged by that time, morale was still holding up strongly amongst the populace, and Madrilenes prided themselves of doing "business as usual" under fire. A far more ambitious northern offensive was launched by the Republicans in July, with the intention of encircling the Nationalists.

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However, the ensuing Battle of Brunete again developed into a bloody stalemate. The initial Republican attack took Brunete and pushed back the Nationalist front some 12 kilometres, but determined Nationalist counterattacks re-took this territory by the end of the battle. In this case, Republican losses were significantly higher than those of the Nationalists. In late , the Nationalists took much of northern Spain - the country's industrial heartland - and with it many arms factories that had sustained the Republican war effort up to that point.

At the very end of the year, the Republican commander of the IV Corps, Cipriano Mera intercepted Nationalist plans for a fresh assault on Madrid from the direction of Zaragoza.

50 Great Hispanic Novels Every Student Should Read

General Vicente Rojo launched a pre-emptive offensive of his own, with over , men on 15 December and took the town of Teruel. Rojo's offensive put paid to Franco's proposed assault on Madrid, but led to one of the bloodiest battles of the war, with over , casualties on both sides. In , the siege of Madrid tightened and its population suffered increasingly from a lack of food, warm clothes and arms and ammunition. However Franco by this point had given up on the idea of another frontal assault on the city and instead was happy to gradually constrict the siege, while keeping up the bombardment of the city.

By the spring of , after the collapse of the Republican forces on other fronts, it was clear that the Republican cause in Madrid was doomed. This created a bitter division within Republican ranks. They were opposed by the Republican Colonel Segismundo Casado and others, who wanted to negotiate the surrender of Madrid to spare Republican supporters the worst of the Nationalist retribution. This left Casado free to try to negotiate surrender terms with Franco.

However, the Nationalist leader insisted that unconditional surrender was all that he would accept. On 26 March, Franco ordered a general advance into Madrid and on the 27th, the Republican front collapsed — many of their troops surrendered or simply threw away their weapons and started for home.

On 28 March , Madrid finally fell to Franco's forces. In spite of Casado's efforts at negotiation, many of the Republican defenders of Madrid were among the up to , people who were executed or died during imprisonment by Franco's regime between and The women, children, and elders of the defeated tribe or nation were frequently disposed of in similar fashion. The captive, whether or not an active belligerent, was completely at the mercy of his captor, and if the prisoner survived the battlefield, his existence was dependent upon such factors as the availability of food and his usefulness to his captor.

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If permitted to live, the prisoner was considered by his captor to be merely a piece of movable property, a chattel. During religious wars, it was generally considered a virtue to put nonbelievers to death, but in the time of the campaigns of Julius Caesar a captive could, under certain circumstances, become a freedman within the Roman Empire.

As warfare changed, so did the treatment afforded captives and members of defeated nations or tribes. Enslavement of enemy soldiers in Europe declined during the Middle Ages , but ransoming was widely practiced and continued even as late as the 17th century. Civilians in the defeated community were only infrequently taken prisoner, for as captives they were sometimes a burden upon the victor. Further, as they were not combatants it was considered neither just nor necessary to take them prisoner.

The development of the use of the mercenary soldier also tended to create a slightly more tolerant climate for a prisoner, for the victor in one battle knew that he might be the vanquished in the next. In the 16th and early 17th centuries some European political and legal philosophers expressed their thoughts about the amelioration of the effects of capture upon prisoners.

The most famous of these, Hugo Grotius , stated in his De jure belli ac pacis ; On the Law of War and Peace that victors had the right to enslave their enemies, but he advocated exchange and ransom instead. The idea was generally taking hold that in war no destruction of life or property beyond that necessary to decide the conflict was sanctioned. The Treaty of Westphalia , which released prisoners without ransom, is generally taken as marking the end of the era of widespread enslavement of prisoners of war.

In the 18th century a new attitude of morality in the law of nations , or international law, had a profound effect upon the problem of prisoners of war. The captive was no longer to be treated as a piece of property to be disposed of at the whim of the victor but was merely to be removed from the fight. Other writers, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Emerich de Vattel , expanded on the same theme and developed what might be called the quarantine theory for the disposition of prisoners.

From this point on the treatment of prisoners generally improved.

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By the midth century it was clear that a definite body of principles for the treatment of war prisoners was being generally recognized in the Western world. But observance of the principles in the American Civil War —65 and in the Franco-German War —71 left much to be desired, and numerous attempts were made in the latter half of the century to improve the lot of wounded soldiers and of prisoners.

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11 Important Holocaust Books You Should Read

In a conference at Brussels prepared a declaration relative to prisoners of war, but it was not ratified. Malory never did end up being brought to trial. Instead, he was sprung from prison in when Edward IV ascended to the throne. Cleland spent the rest of his life apologizing for having written the work. Its author Miguel de Cervantes had found work as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada after an adventurous life that included five years as a slave on the Barbary Coast.

Unfortunately, authorities detected financial irregularities in his accounts and he was imprisoned. Released from captivity in , Polo fled straight back to Venice and never left his beloved city again. Viewed as an enemy of the state by the Medicis, Machiavelli was accused of conspiracy, arrested, tortured and imprisoned. He also gained quite a reputation during his lifetime as a merchant, explorer, writer and poet.

Shortly after the ascension of James I to the English throne, Sir Walter found himself imprisoned for treason. He was released from the Tower finally on the grounds that he lead an expedition to South America to claim El Dorado, the fabled City of Gold, for England.

Unfortunately, he proved unable to do so and was promptly executed upon his return home to England in The poem was composed during the seven years between and Torquato Tasso spent locked up in the madhouse of St.