The memory debate in Portugal has evolved in recent years in a way that bypasses the legacy of Salazar’s New State and focuses instead on the country’s longer colonial past, to which many Portuguese still cling as a source of national pride. This article details this shift and examines some of its consequences, not least of which is the twinning of an attack against an uncritical reading of its past with debates on racism in present-day Portuguese society.
This article examines historical parallels between a series of related coups that took place during the 20th century in Spain and the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It pays particular attention to el 23-F, a failed coup that involved an assault on Spain’s El Congreso de los Diputados on February 23, 1981, and interrogates the content and appeal of its official narrative. Cultural memories of that coup—which flashed up in the wake of January 6th and were mobilized a month later by the Spanish state during commemorations of its 40th anniversary—are posited as Freudian “screen memories” that block recall of more traumatic memories that have been displaced upon them, such as the 1936 coup that ignited the Spanish Civil War. The 1932 coup known as “La Sanjurjada” is also considered in conjunction with the coup it foreshadowed for the lessons they offer to the present global political crisis, the depths of which the January 6th insurrection signified. To that end, the article also draws historical parallels between Francoism and Trumpism and argues that the marginalization of Spain in European studies and world history has contributed to the absence of such comparisons even though they might be more productive than those routinely made between Trumpism and Nazism or Italian Fascism.
This article aims to analyze the scandal sparked by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn during his stay in Spain in 1976, when he gave an interview on National TV arguing that Spaniards did not know what a dictatorship was. It will show how the scandal was connected with the convulsive Spanish political context and how the different participating actors blamed or praised Solzhenitsyn depending on the political side they occupied and the project they implicitly wanted for Spain. The controversy took place on the pages of newspapers and magazines whose analysis can help us better identify the diverse political groups that concurred after the death of the dictator. The dispute provoked by Solzhenitsyn brought to light many issues of Spanish political culture, such as the Spanish Civil War, the communist experience or the various conceptions of democracy. Analyzing all these elements, the article aims to give a broad view of Spanish political culture and how Solzhenitsyn’s example had a significant force given the historical conditions the country was going through.