SPAIN: Freedom of the Borough

The town of Guernica, twelve miles northeast of Bilbao, is the ancient seat of Basque democracy. At the sacred Oak of Guernica (now a dried old stump), the Kings of Spain used to swear to protect Basque rights, whereupon the citizens would confer on the sovereign the title of Senor de Vizcaya.

Monday, April 26, 1937 was a market day in Guernica. The town's 7,000 population was swollen by 3,000 Loyalist refugees. Francisco Franco's rebel armies were still far away—but at 4:30 p.m. German Junkers and Heinkels started coming over in waves, every 20 minutes. They dropped 1,000-pounders (monsters at...

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