Raymond Carr

A Champion of the Underdog

Telegram From Guernica: The Extraordinary Life of George Steer, War Correspondent


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TELEGRAM FROM GUERNICA Is a splendidly researched, deeply moving and compellingly readable biography of George Steer. As a Times correspondent in Spain during the Civil War, Steer visited the town of Guernica on 27 April 1937, the day after it had been reduced to ashes by the bombers of the Condor Legion. This was a force sent by Hitler to Spain to aid Franco's Nationalists in their struggle against the legal government of the Second Republic. Guernica, a town of some 7,000 inhabitants, was not a military target in the strict sense of the word; the aim of the bombardment was to destroy the morale of the civil population in order to soften resistance to the Nationalists' advance on Bilbao.

Steer's report of 28 April revealed not only what the Daily Express headlined 'The Most Appalling Air 1 Raid Ever Known' but also that it was the work of the German Condor Legion, even though Steer in Germany had signed the Non- Intervention Agreement,

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