Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
In the late 1930s, Spain was embroiled in a civil war which prefigured the conflicts of World War II. A significant number of idealistic young Americans were appalled by the involvement of fascists and Nazis in that war and rushed to join a special unit fighting on the Republican side against them, called "The Abraham Lincoln Brigade." Public-spirited people of all political persuasions actively supported these efforts at the time, but in the McCarthy era of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the brigade was condemned because it had contained communists, and those who fought in it were blacklisted and even imprisoned. This documentary explores the subsequent careers of a number of those who fought in this famous group, including a 50th-anniversary reunion in Spain in 1986. Despite the hardships they endured, these aging political activists continued their activism in the U.S., and were involved in the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement, among other causes. Spanish Civil War buffs will be intrigued by footage of La Passionaria (a very prominent Republican figure in the conflict) both during the war and during the 50th-anniversary reunion. This documentary was nominated for a 1991 Academy Award.
activism, veteran [military], war, charity, Communism, democracy, demonstration [political], Fascism, freedom-fighter, Great-Depression, homelessness, ideals, interview, social-injustice, Social-Security, Spanish-Civil-War, youth, civil-war, conflict, Congress, family, freedom, government, insurance, reunion, Spain, unemployment