Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros

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Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros
Born Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros
July 11, 1896
Vitoria, Spain
Died February 9, 1966(1966-02-09) (aged 69)
Bucharest, Romania
Occupation military
Known for military
Political party Partido Comunista de Espana

Ignacio Pío Juan Hidalgo de Cisneros y López-Montenegro (1896–1966) was a Spanish military aviator. He is known as commander of the Republican air force during the Spanish Civil War. He is also noted as one of few aristocrats who joined the Spanish Communist Party and author of war memoirs, published in the 1960s.


Carlist standard

Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros was descendant to an aristocratic family, many times noted in the history of Spain. The Hidalgos, originating from Léon, and the Cisneros, originating from Palencia,[1] intermarried a number of times across the centuries. Ignacio’s great-great-grandfather, Francisco Hidalgo de Cisneros y Seija (1730–1794), as a younger son did not inherit the family wealth; he left his native Gipuzkoa and rising to teniente general settled in Cartagena.[2] His son and great-grandfather of Ignacio, Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros y de la Torre (1756–1829), became the next to last Viceroy of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata.[3] His son and Ignacio’s grandfather, Francisco Hidalgo de Cisneros y Gaztambide (1803–1864), became also a military who sided with the legitimists during the First Carlist War;[4] he returned from Murcia to the North, settling in Álava.[5] His son and Ignacio’s father, Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros y Unceta (1852-1903),[6] abandoned school to join the Carlists during the Third Carlist War and became head of the personal guard of the claimant.[7] He accompanied Carlos VII into exile and returned to Álava following the amnesty.[8] He married Pilar Manso de Zúñiga y Echeverría; the couple had 4 children. Following early death of his wife, in 1881 he married María López de Montenegro y González de Castejón,[9] a widow who had earlied married the brother of his first wife and already had two children.[10] The couple had only one son, Ignacio.

As a child Ignacio was brought up in a religious and Traditionalist ambience, with the family house in Vitoria often visited by Carlist combatants.[11] He was indeed captivated by Carlism:

During my childhood there must have been frequent references made at home to the Carlists, as my earliest memories are all about the events in which they played a key role. [...] I remember talks about a new Carlist uprising forthcoming.[12] At that time I imagined that they were hiding all around Vitoria, waiting for a sign to jump out of their hideouts and capture the city.[13] Each time I was looking at the nearby mountains from the window of my house – located at the intersection of Estacion and Florida streets – I imagined they were full of Carlists. At night I was dreaming about the Carlists. The image of my father is always related to the Carlists – I hardly remember him the way I used to see him every day. Usually when I think of my father, I see a young man in a cavalry outfit, with a carefully grown beard and a gutsily worn Carlist beret. This image is undoubtedly derived from his war photographs that we had at home.[14]

Carist troops represented during the First Carlist War

Orphaned by his father at the age of 7, Ignacio was first educated in schools ran by the Servants of Mary order in Vitoria.[15] At that time, having witnessed attempts by local aviation pioneers on the hills surrounding Vitoria, he was fascinated by planes and by flying.[16] In 1910 he joined the cadet college in Vitoria, determined to become an officer and to serve as a military pilot.[17] Unaccustomed to discipline and enjoying life rather than pursuing his curriculum, as emergency measure the young Ignacio was transferred to Toledo, to the school managed by the Carlist friend of his late father, Cesáreo Sanz Escartín;[18] unsuccessful also there, at unspecified date he finally completed the Madrid Academia de Révora.[19]


flag of Spain (1875-1931)

Having completed his initial military education, in 1912 Hidalgo de Cisneros entered Academia de Intendencia in Ávila;[20] the school was supposed to be just a stepping stone towards his aviation career.[21] For the time being his military intendant training got him transferred to Andalusia, where at various locations[22] he was serving in supply branch of the army, leading an enjoyable life of a young military bon vivant. Once his service duration enabled him to volunteer to Morocco, he immediately did so,[23] serving in intendency and logistics some time between 1917 and 1919.[24] Once the Spanish army commenced formal aviation training he was transferred to the Cuatro Vientos air base,[25] where in 1919-1920 Hidalgo de Cisneros completed flying courses and joined the nascent Aviación Militar Española. Shortly afterwards he was again commissioned to Morocco; stationed in Melilla he flew his first combat missions.[26] Rapidly gaining experience in reconnaissance, bombing, assault and transport sorties,[27] in the early 1920s, still a teniente, he already started to act as a flying instructor.[28] At an unspecified date he was promoted to captain[29] and just a year later to major, taking part in all key operations of the campaign. Following termination of the Rif War in 1925 Hidalgo de Cisneros was nominated deputy commander of the Alcala de Henares aviation school.[30]

In 1927[31] Hidalgo de Cisneros was nominated “Commander of Air Forces in the Spanish Sahara”,[32] all his assets having been 10 aircraft.[33] He was stationed first at Cabo Juby and later in Villa Cisneros; his task was about keeping the local native tribes in check by demonstrating Spanish military prowess, supervising postal operations, performing cartographic reconnaissance flights and ensuring safety of regular French trans-Atlantic services, which used the Spanish Sahara airfields as re-fuelling and supply outposts.[34] He was also inevitably entangled in dealings with the natives, performing informal quasi-political functions.[35] Having completed advanced courses he gained new skills.[36] In 1929 he was transferred to the Mar Chica seaplane airbase near Melilla.[37]

Spanish aircraft over Morocco

Hardly concerned with politics and having long abandoned not only his juvenile Carlism but also his faith, as a young officer Hidalgo de Cisneros considered himself a patriotic Spaniard[38] serving the cause of the king and the country; during service in Andalusia he was enraged by British presence in Gibraltar, claiming he would die of hunger rather than allow the English to stay on the Spanish soil.[39] During the First World War he sympathised with Central Powers rather than with Entente,[40] following the Annual disaster he was anxious to defend the glory of Spain and administer exemplary punishment to rebellious Berber tribes.[41] He greeted the coup of Primo de Rivera with indifference, entirely unperturbed by end of liberal democracy and by coming of the dictatorship.[42] Later on he started to lean towards some cynicism, possibly grown during the years spent on mortally dangerous warfare missions. Having met Primo de Rivera personally Hidalgo de Cisneros started to respect though not necessarily admire the dictator,[43] crediting him for military competence and personal format, but gradually getting unsure about his political vision.


flag of Spanish Republic

In the late 1920s Hidalgo de Cisneros grew increasingly skeptical about Spanish politics. Though far from militancy, he was irritated by adulation of Primo, incompetence and corporatism of the military, omnipresence of the Church, señoritismo culture among the upper strata and, last but not least, by social abyss diving the poor and the rich, especially in the South of Spain.[44] Having befriended a number of opposition-minded individuals, especially other aviators Ramón Franco, Jose Legorburu and Miguel Nuñez de Prado,[45] he developed indifference towards the monarchy in general and towards Alfonso XIII in particular, as he met and was unimpressed by the king.[46] Hidalgo de Cisneros did not make a secret of his observations, instigating also minor demonstrations of dissent in his unit.[47]

Once on leave in Madrid Hidalgo de Cisneros was somewhat accidentally involved in the Republican conspiracy; his personal rather than political public outburst against a monarchically-minded opponent triggered invitation to join the plot.[48] Unaware of rather ruritanian nature of the scheme, sketchy, chaotic and supported by few vacillating officers and politicians, Hidalgo de Cisneros with his decisiveness emerged, to his own surprise and unease, as one of the leaders of the coup. He flew from the South to Madrid and following consultations with Miguel Maura, Ramón Franco and Queipo de Llano,[49] on December 15, 1930 he and few other conspirators took control of the Cuatro Vientos air base. He flew few sorties over Madrid, dropping leaflets supposed to ignite a general strike, allegedly pre-agreed with UGT. As the city remained indifferent and government troops were already approaching the airport, he boarded the aircraft and fled to Portugal.[50]

Republic declared, 1931

Having moved to France, in Paris Hidalgo de Cisneros met a number of emigrant Spanish politicians, especially Marcelino Domingo, Diego Martínez Barrio and Indalecio Prieto;[51] with the latter he forged a closer, friendly relationship.[52] Once the monarchy was toppled in April 1931 he returned to Madrid, hailed nationwide as “a hero from Cuatro Vientos”.[53] With Ramón Franco chief of the Republican Air Force, he was reinstated at his Alcala de Henares post, soon promoted to commander of the unit.[54] As Spanish politics was getting increasingly and rapidly charged with sectarian militancy, Hidalgo de Cisneros with little hesitation blamed the Church, monarchists, landowners, aristocracy and reactionary forces for the erupting violence;[55] this stance earned him hostile attitude of most of his family.[56] At that time he fell in love with Constancia de la Mora (es), also an aristocratic outcast, though much more radical and belligerent than himself. Following the marriage in 1933,[57] in the summer of that year Hidalgo de Cisneros was appointed air attaché in Rome and Berlin.[58]


flag of Popular Front

Already before commencing his diplomatic mission Hidalgo de Cisneros co-drafted plans to purge the aviation corps of officers considered monarchist or reactionary; he was disappointed to see that the Republican minister did not act on his advice.[59] Uneasy about representing an anti-democratic Lerroux government,[60] he welcomed the 1934 revolution as a response given by the working people to reactionary forces.[61] Later that year he travelled from Rome to Madrid and engineered a plot to move Prieto out of the country, in his aviation officer uniform driving the socialist leader in the trunk of his car from Madrid almost to the French frontier.[62] Following an official visit to Nazi Germany he met the imprisoned Manuel Azaña and briefed him on co-operation between the Spanish Right and the Nazis;[63] he was profoundly disappointed by what he perceived a cowardly and self-interested response of the Republican leader.[64] In the summer of 1935 at his own request Hidalgo was recalled from Rome[65] and assigned to cartographic section of General Staff,[66] where he used to show up every day with a fresh issue of El socialista ostentatiously on display.[67] Later that year he was assigned to the Seville air base, considered bulwark of the monarchist military.[68]

Following victory of Popular Front Hidalgo de Cisneros was nominated adjutant to Nuñez de Prado, the newly appointed head of the Air Force,[69] later promoted to ADC of the prime minister.[70] He again compiled the list of officers considered reactionary[71] to be purged and was again disappointed by inaction of the minister Giral, the prime minister Cesares Quiroga[72] and the president Azaña.[73] In the early summer of 1936 he tried to prevent an expected rebellion in the air forces by organizing semi-official vigilance service, partially based on socialist and communist conspiracy network.[74] Following the actual coup, once Nuñez de Prado was captured and executed by the rebels, Hidalgo de Cisneros tried to co-ordinate command of the air forces[75] before in September 1936 Prieto, than the new minister of defense, nominated him head of Air General Staff, effectively commander of Fuerzas Aéreas de la República Española.[76]

Popular Front supporters, 1936

During his first months in command Hidalgo de Cisneros shuttled the squadrons between airports concentrating aircraft on key Nationalist advance routes, tried to co-ordinate logistics and to make up for the loss of pilots, most of whom opted for the rebels;[77] despite having been head of military aviation, he also flew combat sorties himself.[78] In the fall of 1936 he supervised arrival of Soviet aircraft and airmen.[79] Increasingly perplexed by lack of discipline and chaos among the Republicans, he blamed the anarchists for disorganizing the military effort and the socialists, unwilling to confront FAI and CNT, for appeasement and indecision. Though ignorant about and indeed uninterested in the communist theoretical vision, he appreciated PCE for discipline and military contribution,[80] impressed also by military support provided by the Soviet Union.[81] As a result, at unspecified time in late 1936 Hidalgo de Cisneros joined the PCE.[82]


bandera roja

Of all branches of the Republican army, the one most thoroughly dominated by the Soviets was the Air Force.[83] As head of aviation Hidalgo de Cisneros was supported by the Russians, who considered him a convenient front man, facilitating their grip on the People's Army.[84] The Republican aviation, "La Gloriosa", was in fact managed by the Russian air attaché Smushkevich, who appreciated Hidalgo for dedication and loyalty, but thought him incompetent for the job.[85] Hidalgo de Cisneros apparently accepted his role of the Soviet assistant;[86] he was hardly informed about operations, status and location of FARE squadrons.[87] Given his role, it is not clear what was his contribution to the rout of Italian forces at Guadalajara in March 1937, arguably the most successful operation of the Republican aviation.[88] However, as Republican air force was entirely controlled by the Russians,[89] some Republican ground operations suffered from lack of air support in case the Soviets decided to obstruct them, like in case of the spring 1938 offensive in Extremadura.[90]

Hidalgo de Cisneros remained totally loyal to the Soviets also when pushing for introduction of political commissars in the army;[91] it is not clear how much he knew about Andreu Nin having been tortured in his Alcala de Henares house, turned into the NKVD dungeons.[92] In December 1937 and in November 1938 he travelled to Moscow, first time officially for medical treatment[93] and the second time as a special last-minute envoy of Negrin.[94] He met Stalin and was impressed by his charming personality,[95] especially that the Soviet leader agreed to deliver the supplies requested.[96] In September 1938 promoted to general,[97] after the fall of Catalonia Hidalgo de Cisneros briefly stayed in France and then returned to the Republican zone. He refused to join Casado's coup and remained loyal to Negrin;[98] on March 6 he left Spain, flying from Elda to Toulouse.[99]

San Sebastián, Spain, summer 1939

At unspecified time in 1939[100] Hidalgo de Cisneros moved from France to the USSR.[101] His exact role and whereabouts are not clear; according to an oral testimony he was briefly engaged in the aviation industry;[102] allegedly offered a rank of general in the Red Army he declined.[103] At unspecified time, possibly in late 1939[104] though definitely prior to 1941 he transferred via France to Mexico.[105] In June 1942 in a US communist periodical he called for opening of the second front in Europe.[106] Living in Mexico City,[107] where he re-joined his wife parted in early 1939,[108] thanks to her contacts he met Eleanor Roosevelt, Bette Davis and other celebrities. Hidalgo de Cisneros befriended Wenceslao Roces, Ignacio Mantecón, Pablo Neruda and Ernest Hemingway,[109] though happy days interchanged with depressive ones. It is in Mexico that he got divorced;[110] the official reason quoted was mutual infidelity,[111] though Hidalgo de Cisneros has later always referred to his former wife with respect.[112] Active among the Spanish communist emigres he was increasingly unhappy about their witch-hunting disputes and intrigues. With his assets running out and the whisky brand management enterprise turning into a failure, he was suffering also from lack of funds.[113] His American friends arranged for him a job of a horse riding instructor in a US college, but as a communist activist he was denied the residence permit;[114] some sources claim he turned down the offer himself.[115] In financial dire straits he decided to return to Europe. Taking advantage of the PCE network in France[116] he arranged residence behind the Iron Curtain; as at that time Poland was admitting a limited number of Spanish communist exiles,[117] in 1949 or 1950 he settled in Warsaw.[118]


Soviet flag

In the Polish capital Hidalgo de Cisneros was employed by Spanish section of the Polish Radio[119] and worked on his memoirs; living in a comfortable apartment and paid a salary of 2,000 zloty (the average pay was 550 zloty[120]) he was reportedly embarrassed about his privileged status.[121] He was the most distinguished person within a small community of local Republican exiles, which included Manuel Sánchez Arcas,[122] Francisco Antón Sanz[123] and Álvaro Peláez Antón;[124] he was also celebrated by Polish combatants of International Brigades.[125] In 1954 he was elected to the PCE Central Committee.[126] In 1959 he was to return to Mexico via Moscow, but for unclear reasons the plan did not work out. On request of Santiago Álvarez, who at that time acted as PCE liaison with Eastern European communist regimes, Hidalgo de Cisneros was readmitted to Warsaw, where he was granted the retiree status with 3,000 zloty pension.[127] At that time the manuscript of first part of his memoirs was ready and being edited[128] by Spanish staff of Radio España Independiente (es), in 1955 moved from Moscow to Bucharest.[129] In 1961 he travelled to Romania to finalize the publication; having received VIP treatment, he spent some time in the luxury government spa in Sinaia.[130]

In Romania Hidalgo de Cisneros met Ramón Mendezona, José Antonio Uribes, Marcel Plans and Federico Melchor, though in particular he befriended Luis Galán, son of his Avila Academia de Intendencia instructor and also a Republican exile, working in REI.[131] Galán suggested he moves permanently to Romania, a proposal welcomed by Hidalgo de Cisneros. Despite 12 years of residence he did not feel well in Poland,[132] depressed by early dusk, cold and rainy climate, melancholic flat countryside and potato-based cuisine; writing to Galan from the Polish mountain resort of Zakopane he complained about having no assistance when working on politically sensitive second part of his memoirs.[133] In late 1962 he moved to Romania and settled at Bulevard Michurin in Bucharest, in a small but carefully selected apartment and with Roberto Carillo as his neighbor.[134] It is not clear what citizenship he held, either in Romania or earlier in Poland. He travelled to Western Europe, frequently visiting France to take part in PCE sittings and to see his relatives[135]

Bucharest, 1st of May 1965

During last years of his life Hidalgo de Cisneros kept working on the second volume of his memoirs and kept delivering charlas over REI;[136] in the early 1960s his memoirs were published in Poland[137] and in France.[138] In 1965 he travelled to East Berlin giving a lecture to the East German air force audience on the Republican aviation; he took the opportunity to accuse the Bundeswehr general Heinrich Trettner of having been a war criminal, guilty of atrocities committed during the Spanish Civil War.[139] Before boarding the plane back he suffered from heart attack; partially recovered, he returned to Bucharest, where he suffered another, fatal stroke. Hidalgo de Cisneros was buried on the Bellu cemetery with full Romanian military honors, his grave covered with mountains of red flowers from communist authorities, PCE leaders and delegations of Interbrigadistas from Romania, Poland, France, Germany, Bulgaria and the USSR. No Catholic priest was present and as he had no children, it was other family members who arrived from Spain.[140] The second volume of his memoirs was published posthumously the same year.[141] His remnants were re-buried in the family grave in Vitoria in 1994.[142]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Francesca Colomer Pellicer, Los Hidalgo de Cisneros: un ejemplo de radicación en una sociedad gracias al matrimonio, [in:] James Casey (ed.), Familia, parentesco y linaje, 1997, ISBN 8476848633, 9788476848630, p. 343
  2. ^ see Francisco Hidalgo de Cisneros y Seija, Virrey del Río de la Plata enty at Geni genealogical service available here, also Francisco Hidalgo de Cisneros entry at Euskomedia service available here, Colomer Pellicer 1997, pp. 343-354
  3. ^ see Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros y de la Torre entry at Geni genealogical service, available here; for details see Demetrio Ramos, Paralelismo entre Melendez Bruna e Hidalgo de Cisneros, dos marinos gobernantes en America, en la epoca amancipadora, [in:] Federico Suarez, Estudios de historia moderna y contemporanea, 1991, ISBN 8432127485, 9788432127489, pp 407-416, also Biografía de don Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros at todoababor service, available here
  4. ^ José Antonio Gallgo, El levantamiento carlista de Castilla La Vieja, Madrid 2002, ISBN 9788497390262, p. 289
  5. ^ see Francisco Hidalgo de Cisneros y Gaztambide entry at Geni genealogical service, available here
  6. ^ see Ignacio María Cecilio Clemente Hidalgo de Cisneros y Unceta entry at Geni genealogical service, available here
  7. ^ Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, Dobry wiatr alisio, Warszawa 1961, p. 13
  8. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 14
  9. ^ see María López de Montenegro y González de Castejón entry at Geni genealogical service, available here
  10. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 15
  11. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, pp. 11-16
  12. ^ indeed around 1899-1901 rumors about another Carlist war were widespread, with some government circles and press titles getting hysterical, see Agustín Fernández Escudero, El marqués de Cerralbo (1845–1922): biografía politica [PhD thesis], Madrid 2012, p. 387. The unrest boiled down to few isolated 1900 incidents in Catalonia, known as La Octubrada, compare here
  13. ^ Vitoria was indeed captured by the Carlists, though as late as July 1936; for detailed socio-cultural analysis of those who “jumped out of their hideouts and captured the city” see Javier Ugarte Tellería, La nueva Covadonga insurgente: orígenes sociales y culturales de la sublevación de 1936 en Navarra y el País Vasco, Madrid 1998, ISBN 847030531X, 9788470305313, the chapter dealing with Alavese Carlism, La ciudad acoge a la aldea pp. 165-228, especially the sections Verano del 36: la frialidad de Vitoria and Vitoria: capital de segundo orden, pp. 188-226
  14. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 11
  15. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 15
  16. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 31
  17. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 34
  18. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 36
  19. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 38
  20. ^ see Hidalgo de Cisneros y López de Montenegro, Ignacio entry at Spanish Ministry of Defense service, available here, also Carlos Lázaro Avila, Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, General de Brigada, [in:] Javier García Fernandez (ed.), 25 militares de la República, Madrid 2011, ISBN 9788497816977, pp. 509-510
  21. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 42
  22. ^ Seville, Utrera, Cordoba, Cadiz
  23. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 70; freshly promoted officers had to serve some time on the peninsula before they could apply for service elsewhere
  24. ^ Lázaro Avila 2011, pp. 510-512,Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 70
  25. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 79
  26. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 96
  27. ^ using also chemical warfare against the natives, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, pp. 98-9, Lázaro Avila 2011, pp. 513-517
  28. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 102
  29. ^ in 1926 he was still reported as capitán, see La Epoca 11.08.26, available here
  30. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 147
  31. ^ Who is who in Latin America, Stanford 1946, ISBN 080470709X, p. 57, available here
  32. ^ Lázaro Avila 2011, pp. 518-520. Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 158; in 1928 he assumed squadron leader role, see Aérea 55 (February 1928), p. 31, available here
  33. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 168
  34. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, pp. 158-170
  35. ^ and allegedly excelling in forging friendly relations, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, pp. 171-175
  36. ^ Aerea Feb 1928, available here
  37. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 183
  38. ^ ethnically he considered himself a Basque, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 105
  39. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 55
  40. ^ motives are not stated, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 65; possibly it was the result of his anti-British stance, which was also shared by many others, see here
  41. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, pp. 88-9
  42. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 106
  43. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 139
  44. ^ he was shocked by quasi-feudal Andalusian landowners, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 188
  45. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 156
  46. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 190
  47. ^ like refusal to pay "voluntary" fee for a homage gift to Primo, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 196
  48. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, pp. 199-200
  49. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, pp. 205-6
  50. ^ Franco and Queipo did not wait for him and flew out earlier, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 221; in early 1931 the military prosecutor demanded death penalty, but the events of April 1931 terminated legal proceeding
  51. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 237
  52. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 230; later Hidalgo's wife considered Prieto's attitude towards Hidalgo patronising
  53. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 247, Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, Lotnik republiki, Warszawa 1966, p. 14
  54. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, pp. 9, 63
  55. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, pp. 41-5
  56. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 40
  57. ^ Constancia de la Mora, Dwa światy, Warszawa 1954, p. 234
  58. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 92; Hidalgo applied for a post in Mexico, but due to lack of funds the Republican authorities decided not to post an air attaché there; instead, Hidalgo was appointed Rome and Berlin
  59. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 67-8
  60. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, pp. 130-1
  61. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 132
  62. ^ exactly to San Sebastian; it was his friend who drove Prieto to France, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, pp. 134-141
  63. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 160
  64. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 160-1
  65. ^ De la Mora 1954, p. 270
  66. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 163
  67. ^ though he was not member of PSOE and did not consider himself a socialist, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 166
  68. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 169
  69. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 178
  70. ^ Michael Alpert, The Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War, Cambridge 2013, ISBN 9781107028739, p. 338
  71. ^ Hidalgo considered his own stepbrother a pathetic reactionary; in the early 1930s, when looking through old wardrobe of their father, the two discovered his uniform and Carlist beret. Ignacio laughed and told his brother he could wear it, since his political outlook was equally anachronic and absurd. Few years later his brother did wear the beret indeed, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 15
  72. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, pp. 180, 185
  73. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 188
  74. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 197
  75. ^ in his memoirs Hidalgo claimed that he was in fact acting as commander; other sources claim this role was performed by Pastor Velasco, see Carlos Lázaro Avila, Roberto Pando Rosada, Vélera (eds.), Aviadores de la República, Madrid 2011, p. 13
  76. ^ Alpert 2013, p. 338, Lázaro Avila 2011, pp. 533-536
  77. ^ according to his own estimates, 35% of pilots remained loyal, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 216; other sources indicate that only 65 pre-war pilots were retained in the Republican air forces, Alpert 2013, p. 235
  78. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 231
  79. ^ by the end of 1936 there were 298 Soviet pilots in Spain, the highest number ever. On the overall basis, the total number of Soviet pilots in Republican aviation was 771. Probably a similar number of Spaniards (“cohorts”, “several hundred”) were trained in the Soviet Military Flying Academy in Kirovabad, Alpert 2013, p. 250
  80. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 239
  81. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, pp. 253-6
  82. ^ Hidalgo claims he joined "by the end of 1936", Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 239
  83. ^ "Of all sectors of the People’s Army, the one most thoroughly dominated by the Russians was the Air Force. The chief Russian “adviser” had almost complete control”, Stanley G. Payne, The Spanish Revolution, New York 1970, ISBN 978-0393098853, p. 325
  84. ^ Alpert 2013, p. 231
  85. ^ the Soviet internal report from Spain to Moscow read: “The Department is headed by Colonel Cisneros. [He is] a very honest and strong-willed officer who enjoys a great euthority both in aviation and in governmental circles, and is a friend of the Soviet Union. There is no doubt that at this moment he lacks both theoretical knowledge and tactical experience to lead the air force on his own”, quoted after Antony Beevor, The Battle for Spain, London 2006, ISBN 9781101201206, p. 153
  86. ^ the Soviet report reads: “He realizes this and accepts our help with honesty and gratitude. S[mushkevich] as the Chief Adviser has established the best possible relations with him ... It can be said quite clearly that while remaining officially in the position of an adviser, Smushkevich is in fact the commander of all the air forces”, quoted after Beevor 2006, p. 153
  87. ^ according to a contemporary British writer, Hidalgo “even after he became a communist, was lucky if the Russian General “Duglas” told him what was happening” Beevor 2006, p. 200. Also: “the tank commander General Pavlov (“Pablito”) and air force adviser Smushkevich, took al the decisions, often withoug consulting their Spanish colleagues. Prieto, the minister of air, found that the Soviet advisers and the senior Spanish air force officer, colonel Hidalgo de Cisneros y Lopez de Montenegro, an aristocrat with strong communist leaninings, would not even tell him which airfields were being used, or how many aircraft wee serviceable. Prieto’s fellow socialist, Luis Araquistáin, said that the real minister of war was the Russian general. There was no exaggeration. One report back to Moscow clearly demonstrated that Smushkevich, or “Duglas”, as he was known, controlled the republican air force completely“, Beevor 2006, p. 153
  88. ^ Alpert 2013, p. 236
  89. ^ “Russian pilots began to fly their newly arrived high-speed ‘Katiuska’ SB bombers from 28 October 1936. These forces were, as far as can be seen, controlled by Yakov Shmushkievich, the air attaché to the Soviet embassy”, Alpert 2013, p. 235
  90. ^ during preparations “the Russians refused to allow the Air Force to provide the necessary air cover”, Alpert 2013, p. 231; the author noted also Hidalgo did not mention this episode in his memoirs. He goes on to note that “in contrast with the Republican Army, there are indications that the Air Force was not controlled by the Spaniards. Frequently, aircraft were required for operations but not provided. For example, on 19 February 1938, Rojo commented on the incessant attacks from the air that his forces were enduring and the absence of the Republican Air Force. The next day the Minister of National Defence, Prieto, asked Rojo if he had a senior Air Force officer posted to his staff. Rojo answered that ... he did not know! He had a link with an Air Force commander in the rear, but there was no official connection. This is an extraordinary admission”, Alpert 2013, p. 236
  91. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, pp. 276-7; among the commisar corps the communists clearly dominated, Payne 1970, pp. 323-4; when Prieto banned political proselytising in the army, Hidalgo's wife, than working as chief censor of the Foreign Press Bureau, refused to transmit the order abroad, Stanley G. Payne, The Spanish Civil War, the Soviet Union, and Communism, New York 2004, ISBN 9780300178326, p. 233
  92. ^ none of the scholarly works consulted claims that Hidalgo de Cisneros was aware of Nin's fate, though most agree that he knew how his house was being used; perhaps the most far-reaching statement is that Hidalgo "maintained a checa in the basement of his home", see Payne 2004, p. 273
  93. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 335; according to his own version, Prieto mistrusted him as a communist and intended to get rid of him
  94. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 347
  95. ^ see accounts of Stalin’s friendly chat on Hidalgo’s ancestors or Georgian and Riojan wines, and Stalin serving his wife when eating fish, pp. 350-352
  96. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 350-352
  97. ^ Alpert 2013, p. 338
  98. ^ according to the first edition of Negrin’s memoirs, in March 1939 Hidalgo assured him of his loyalty; according to the second edition, Hidalgo prevaricated, referred after Alpert 2013, p. 280
  99. ^ Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 368-9
  100. ^ some sources claim that following 4 months in internment camp, Álvaro Custodio, Prisionero de Abd-el-Krim, aviador republicano y guerrillero antinazi. Sol Aparicio un español de tres guerras, [in:] Tiempo de Historia 39 (1978), available here; others suggests that in May 1939 he was already in Russia, see Lázaro Avila 2011, p. 540
  101. ^ taken from Le Havre to Leningrad by a Soviet ship, Custodio 1978
  102. ^ see Hidalgo de Cisneros López-Montenegro, Ignacio entry at Cátedra del Exilio service, available here; none of the Russian sources consulted confirms (or denies) this claim, see e.g. Spaniards on our war entry at Estacionmir service, available here, Republican volunteers in Red Army air force 1941-1945 at airaces.ru service, available here or Hidalgo de Cisneros changes the course entry at militera service, available here
  103. ^ Lázaro Avila 2011, p. 541
  104. ^ Lázaro Avila 2011, p. 541
  105. ^ Burnett Bollotten claims to have interviewed him 1940, see Burnett Bolloten, The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution, North Carolina Press 1991, ISBN 9780807819067, p. 799
  106. ^ see Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, Spain is waiting, [in:] New Masses 16.06.42, available here
  107. ^ at Avenida de Veracruz, Who is who in Latin America 1946, p. 57
  108. ^ when in France following the withdrawal from Catalonia, Constancia de la Mora parted for the United States on a fund-raising mission; as a communist militant she was viewed with increasing suspicion by the US authorities until she decided to move to Mexico. When arriving from the USSR Hidalgo brought with him de Mora’s daughter from her first marriage, sent to the USSR in 1937
  109. ^ Luis Galán, Después de todo: recuerdos de un periodista de la Pirenaica, Barcelona 1988, ISBN 9788476580806, p. 302
  110. ^ some sources quote 1941, see Dos aristocratas republicanos entry at El otro pais service, available here
  111. ^ Hidalgo himself admitted to infidelity when noting in his memoirs that “José Aragón was the only man I knew who remained faithful to his fiancé and his wife”, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 108. He indeed gained notoriety as a lady-killer. In his memoirs he invented a fictitious person, “primo Pepe”, to whom he attributed his own adventures with females, Galán 1988, p. 302. The first volume of his memoirs is cryptically dedicated to an unidentified “Brahmina bella, brahmina noble”. The Polish translator who worked with Hidalgo on his memoirs, Zofia Szleyen, herself a Jewish-Polish communist who volunteered to International Brigades, preceded the Polish edition of Hidalgo’s memoirs with a foreword, praising male virtues of the author, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1961, p. 7
  112. ^ Galán 1988, p. 302
  113. ^ “actividades comerciales a las que era alérgico”, Dos aristocratas republicanos entry at El otro pais service
  114. ^ Galán 1988, p. 302
  115. ^ see Hidalgo de Cisneros López-Montenegro, Ignacio entry at Cátedra del Exilio service
  116. ^ he was briefly active within the PCE community in Toulouse, Galán 1988, p. 303; see also Violeta Marcos Alvarez, Los comunistas españoles exiliados en la region de Toulouse, 1945-1975, [in:] Alicia Alted Vigil, Lucienne Domergue (eds.), El exilio republicano español en Toulouse, 1939-1999, 2003, ISBN 2858166471, 9782858166473, pp. 149-169
  117. ^ urged by the French Communist Party, which feared that in case of Rassemblement du Peuple Francais electoral victory they might be deported to Spain; Polish merchant ships transported Spanish exiles from Ajaccio and Algiers (they were already deported to Corsica and Algeria) to Gdynia, Bartłomiej Różycki, Polska Ludowa wobec Hiszpanii frankistowskiej i hiszpańskiej transformacji ustrojowej (1945-1977), Warszawa 2015, ISBN 9788376297651, pp. 103-104
  118. ^ Różycki 2015, p. 118, Dorota Molska, Losy hiszpańskich uchodźców politycznych przybyłych do Polski w latach 50-tych, [in:] Mieczysław Jagłowski, Dorota Sepczyńska, Z myśli hiszpańskiej i iberoamerykańskiej, Olsztyn 2006, ISBN 8360636001, p. 327. Smaller groups were admitted also by Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In mid-1950s there were some 190 Spanish exiles living in Czechoslovakia, 144 in Poland, 113 in Hungary and 94 in East Germany, almost all either PCE, PSUC or JSU members, Szilvia Pethő, El exilio de comunistas españoles en los países socialistas de Europa Centro-Oriental (1946-1955) [PhD thesis], Szeged 2008. For aggregate but very detailed statistical analysis see pp. 57-62, for Poland only see p. 76
  119. ^ at that time communist Poland and Francoist Spain were waging a radio war. A small Polish section were broadcasting from Madrid; in Poland it was valued higher than Voice of America or Radio Free Europe as broadcasts were skilfully edited by Polish writers and because the Francoist administration left the Poles much more autonomy than the Americans did, Różycki 2015, p. 75, Paweł Libera, Józef Łobodowski i polska audycja Radia Madryt (1949–1975), [in:] Marek Białokur, Patrycja Jakobczyk-Adamczyk (eds.), Polska a Hiszpania. Z dziejów koegzystencji dwóch narodów w XX wieku, Opole 2012, ISBN 9788362558179, pp. 156-187; on Spanish section of the Polish radio see few paragraphs in Molska 2006, pp. 329-330
  120. ^ see gofin statistical service available here
  121. ^ Różycki 2015, p. 118
  122. ^ Sánchez Arcas, initially acting as official representative of the exiled Republican government in Poland, in the early 1950s was viewed by the Polish communist regime with increasing suspicion if not hostility, the result of Republican government’s friendly politically towards Tito. This attitude was soon extended to the entire community of Spanish exiles, see Jan Stanislaw Ciechanowski, Las relaciones entre la Polonia comunista y la República española en el exilio. Razones políticas de la misión de Manuel Sánchez Arcas en Varsovia (1946-1950), [in:] Ayer 67 (2007), pp. 49-79
  123. ^ Galán 1988, p. 303
  124. ^ PCE activist, political commisar of the 44. Mixed Brigade. Another high-ranking Republican military temporarily (1960-1963) in Poland was general Evaristo Luiz Fernandez, see here
  125. ^ Różycki 2015, p. 118
  126. ^ Dos aristocratas republicanos entry at El otro pais service
  127. ^ Różycki 2015, p. 118
  128. ^ he was allegedly terrible at spelling names, with massive editorial work related to correcting distorted toponimical and onomastical references, Galán 1988, p. 301
  129. ^ Galán 1988, p. 303. Unlike Czechoslovakia, Poland or Hungary, until mid-1950s Romania did not admit Spanish Republican exiles, Pethő 2008, p. 58
  130. ^ Galán 1988, p. 300
  131. ^ Galán 1988, pp. 299-300
  132. ^ like most Republican exiles living in Poland. When meeting them in the late 1960s, a Spanish diplomat Javier Rupérez noted: “they were already elderly people, immensely longing for their lost homeland. They have never assimilitad either socially or linguistically”, Javier Rupérez, Hiszpania lat sześćdziesiątych, [in :] Carmen Laforet, Za żelazną kurtyną. Podróż do Polski w 1967 roku, Warszawa 2012, ISBN 9788324402106, p. 149, quoted after Marcin Mleczak, Stosunki polsko-hiszpańskie 1939 – 1975, [in:] Studenckie Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego 10 (2013), pp. 79-95, available here
  133. ^ Galán 1988, pp. 300-301
  134. ^ Galán 1988, p. 303
  135. ^ Lázaro Avila 2011, p. 542
  136. ^ Galán 1988, p. 358, they were later edited and published as Ejército y pueblo, see Hidalgo de Cisneros López-Montenegro, Ignacio entry at Cátedra del Exilio service
  137. ^ the Polish version was published with a somewhat cryptic title Dobry wiatr alisio (Good wind alisio) in 1961; the book contains a single reference to alisio, allegedly a wind blowing Southwards over Villa Cisneros and often taken advantage of by the pilots, p. 166
  138. ^ by the Paris publisher Société d'Éditions de la Librarie du Globe in 1964; in Italy it was published by Editori Reuniti in 1969 as Cielo rosso di Spagna, in East Germany by Militärverlag as Kurswechsel in 1973
  139. ^ Galán 1988, p. 358
  140. ^ Galán 1988, pp. 358-9
  141. ^ though the first part was informative and lively, the second one turned into a Soviet-style propaganda exercise ("contributing to the communist legend of the Civil War", see Wojciech Opioła, Instrumentalizacja obrazu hiszpańskiej wojny domowej w polskiej publicystyce politycznej w latach 1936-2009 [PhD thesis Opole University], 2011, p. 197). However, it should be noted that after his death the communist publishers were virtually free to edit the manuscript any way they liked. It contained little matter-of-fact information (“the memoirs of Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, commander of the Republican Air Force, are singularly uninformative about who actually controlled the aircraft of the Republic”, Alpert 2013, p. 236) and ad nauseam repeated nagging homage references to the USSR (“as eye-witness I can hail not only heroism of Soviet pilots, but also their magnificent stance off-duty; I can tell it to the whole world that Soviet assistance to fighting Spain was selfless, and it cost the country many sacrifices”, Hidalgo de Cisneros 1966, p. 273), even when discussing issues unrelated to politics (“the Barbicha spa was extraordinary. Connie knew many resorts in Germany and France, where she used to stay with her parents, but she has never seen anything like Barbicha”, p. 337). Not a step deviating from the official Soviet line, even 30 years later the May 1937 events in Barcelona were presented as a plot of Francoist agents installed in POUM (p. 300). The book contained also clear fiction: Hidalgo mentioned Soviet tanks delivered to Spain in fuselages of Russian aircraft (p. 239) or Spanish factories producing I-15 aircraft every day and I-16 every second day (p. 271). Both parts of his memoirs were shortly published in Romania, (as Cotitura), in Poland (following the first volume published in 1961 the second one was titled Lotnik republiki) and in the USSR (as Меняю курс); they were first published in Spain in 1977
  142. ^ ABC 26.10.94, re-burial notice

Further reading[edit]

  • Michael Alpert, The Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War, Cambridge 2013, ISBN 9781107028739
  • Carlos Lázaro Avila, Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, General de Brigada, [in:] Javier García Fernandez (ed.), 25 militares de la República, Madrid 2011, ISBN 9788497816977, pp. 503–542
  • Luis Galán, Después de todo: recuerdos de un periodista de la Pirenaica, Barcelona 1988, ISBN 9788476580806
  • Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, Cambio de Rumbo, vol. 1-2, Barcelona 1977, ISBN 9788472223431
  • Constancia de la Mora, Doble esplendor, Madrid 2004, ISBN 9788493404505
  • Gregorio Morán, Miseria y grandeza del Partido Comunista de España: 1939-1985, Barcelona 1986, ISBN 8432058521

External links[edit]