is a date that should be burned in the soul of every human being.
From the standpoint of the Condor Legion of the Luftwaffe, it was an opportunity to test out tactics that would in the vast war to follow in less than 3 years be an essential part of Blitzkrieg - lightening war.
It was the deliberate targeting of a civilian population by military air power.
It unleashed that as a tactic used by both sides in World War II - think here of firebombings of Hamburg and Dresden to say nothing of the nuclear annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The former may have been justified as retaliation for the bombings of British cities by the Luftwaffe, the latter were given ex post facto justification as saving lives by making unnecessary an invasion of the Japanese homeland, even though Japan had already broached surrender talks on a basis fairly similar to the terms to which they agreed on the deck of the USS Missouri.
Today is the anniversary of Guernica, as the world know the town which in the Basque language of Pablo Picasso is known as Gernika.
It is because of Picasso that we know of Guernica.
i admit to being someahat amazed that by the 9 AM hour I saw no mention of this anniversary here at Daily Kos.
Perhaps too many do not realize that the Spanish Civil War was a rehearsal for World War II. Franco and his fascists sought to crush the Republic of Spain and the government of the Basque region, and were assisted in this by HItler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy. The Soviet Union offered far more limited assistance to the legitimate Republican government in Madrid. THose from America who volunteered to help, who served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, were for the rest of their lives tarred with being communists because of being on the same side as the USSR, even though that nation became our ally partway through the really not so very good war of 1939-1945.
You can if you want read an eyewitness account of that day's bombing.
But it is this painting by Picasso that is the strongest connection for most people with the events of that day.
It is a huge mural. This wikipedia article on the painting tell you
Guernica is grey, black and white, 3.5 meters (11.5 ft) tall and 7.8 meters (25.6 ft) wide, a mural-size canvas painted in oil.It will also explain the symbolism and the history.
The painting is now in Madrid. For many years it was in New York, at the Museum of Modern Art.
Nelson Rockefeller commissioned a tapestry copy that hangs in the United Nations. He commissioned it in part because Picasso refused to sell him the original.
You can read about the history of the painting.
You can read about the incident that occasioned it.
Or you can simply contemplate one of the greatest and most influential artistic works ever.
And as you do, remember - we have apparently still not learned from Guernica.
We still bomb from the air.
We may not seek merely to demonstrate what we can do, to try out new weapons and tactics - which is why I find a parallel between Guernica and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
But when we have weapons, we still seek to find occasions to use them, as we now use drones with Hellfire missiles, and soon perhaps we will use mini-drones that can target a single person without the "collateral damage" still so much a part of even our so-called "smart" aerial weaponry.
April 26, 1937.
A date that marked the beginning of a new phase of man's willingness to kill his fellow men.
I thought we should stop and remember.