If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

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"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
Single by Manic Street Preachers
from the album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Released 24 August 1998
Format CD, cassette
Recorded January–May 1998 at Rockfield Studios, Wales
Genre Alternative rock, Britpop
Length 4:51
Label Epic
Writer(s) Nick Jones, James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore
Producer(s) Dave Eringa
Certification Gold
Manic Street Preachers singles chronology
"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"
"The Everlasting"
Contrary to popular belief, there are no live strings on the record. The strings are instead produced by a synthesizer.

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"If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" is a single by Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on 24 August 1998, through Epic Records as the first single from their fifth studio album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. The track sold 156,000 copies in its first week and reached number #1 on the UK Singles Chart in August 1998, it has been certified Gold in the UK (400,000 copies).[1]


The song's theme is taken from the Spanish Civil War, and the idealism of Welsh volunteers who joined the left-wing International Brigades fighting for the Spanish Republic against Francisco Franco's military rebels. The song takes its name from a Republican poster of the time, displaying a photograph of a young child killed by the Nationalists under a sky of bombers with the stark warning "If you tolerate this, your children will be next" written at the bottom.[2]

Various works on the Spanish Civil War were the inspiration for this song, and certain lyrics pertain directly to these works. For example, the line "If I can shoot rabbits/then I can shoot fascists" is attributed to a remark made by a man who signed up with the Republican fighters to his brother in an interview years later. This was originally quoted in the book Miners Against Fascism by Hywel Francis. Another work George Orwell's first-hand account, "Homage to Catalonia". "I've walked Las Ramblas/but not with real intent" brings to mind the account in Orwell's book of fighting on the Ramblas, with the various factions seemingly getting nowhere, with the fighting and often a sense of camaraderie overriding the vaunted principles each side was supposed to be fighting for. Nicky Wire has also acknowledged that he was also inspired by a song by The Clash, "Spanish Bombs", which has a similar subject.[citation needed]


The recording was issued as two CD singles: the first included versions of "Prologue to History" and "Montana/Autumn/78", and the second featured a remix by Massive Attack and a mix by David Holmes.

It became the first of the band's two number one singles in the UK Singles Chart. [1] It also became the group's biggest success on the Irish Singles Chart (where it reached number 3), and is the only Manic Street Preachers track to be released as a single in the United States.

In March 2009, it was discovered that the song was used on the website of the British National Party as the soundtrack of an article describing "the violence, hatred, fragmentation and despair" wrought on London by the "great multicultural experiment".[3] The choice of this song was considered ironic by many, considering the song contains lyrics such as "So if I can shoot rabbits/Then I can shoot fascists". Record company Sony successfully had the song removed from the site on the grounds of unauthorised use.[3] The BNP later released a press statement claiming that "the song had mistakenly been automatically streamed on to its site and had nothing to do with the official party", and that "you can interpret the lyrics any way you want".[3]


Wire praised the single's video, directed by W.I.Z., which has been described as "surreal, mildly disturbing .. which has a clinical, suffocating feel to it despite its brightness." It was the fourth and final video directed by W.I.Z. for the band.[4]


The song is in the Guinness World Records as the number one single with the longest title without brackets.

The song was voted number 20 on Channel 4's "100 Greatest Number One Singles" list.[5]


The song was covered by David Usher on his 2003 album Hallucinations. DJ Eric Chase also recorded a cover of the song in December 2009.[citation needed] Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke occasionally sang portions of the song during live performances of "Everything in Its Right Place" during Radiohead's 2001 tour.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All music written by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore; except where indicated. All lyrics written by Nick Jones; except where indicated.

CD one
No. Title Length
1. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"   4:51
2. "Prologue to History"   4:44
3. "Montana/Autumn/78"   3:12
CD two
No. Title Length
1. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"   4:50
2. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (Massive Attack Remix)"   4:54
3. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (David Holmes Remix/The Class Reunion of the Sunset Marquis Mix)"   10:02
No. Title Length
1. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next"   4:50
2. "Kevin Carter (Live at Manchester NYNEX, 24 May 1997)" (lyrics: Richey James) 3:22


Chart (1998) Peak
UK Singles Chart[6] 1
Irish Singles Chart[7] 3
Norwegian Singles Chart[8] 19
Swedish Singles Chart[9] 21
New Zealand Singles Chart[10] 44
ARIA Charts 49
Dutch Singles Chart[11] 62
BEL Singles Chart[12] 63
Media Control Charts 79

UK Chart Performance[edit]

UK Top 40
Week 01 02 03 04 05 06


  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 624. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ An original of this poster can be seen at the Imperial War Museum, London—Item IWM PST 8661—as well as at the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection at the University of California, San Diego.
  3. ^ a b c Jones, Sam (28 March 2009). "Manics' Tribute to International Brigades Crops Up on BNP Website | Music | The Guardian". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Rocklist.net...Channel 4/HMV Best Music of This Millennium". rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Manic Street Preachers - Official Single Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results for Manic Street Preachers". Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "norwegiancharts.com". Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  9. ^ "swedishcharts.com". Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  10. ^ "charts.org.nz". Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  11. ^ "dutchcharts.nl". Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "dutchcharts.nl". Retrieved 9 December 2008. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"No Matter What" by Boyzone
UK Singles Chart number-one single
30 August 1998 – 6 September 1998
Succeeded by
"Bootie Call" by All Saints