Valentín González

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Valentín González
Nickname(s)El Campesino (The Peasant)
Born(1904-11-04)November 4, 1904
Malcocinado, Extremadura, Spain
DiedOctober 20, 1983(1983-10-20) (aged 78)
Madrid, Spain
Buried
Carabanchel Cemetery, Madrid, Spain
AllegianceSpain Spanish Second Republic
Service/branchEscudo de España (República).PNG Spanish Republican Army
Years of service1936–1939
RankLieutenant Colonel
Commands held10th Mixed Brigade
46th Division
Battles/warsSpanish civil war

Valentín González González (November 4, 1904 – October 20, 1983) was a Republican military commander during the Spanish Civil War. Known as El Campesino (The Peasant) he served in the Ejército Popular (People's Army) of the Second Spanish Republic.

Born in Malcocinado, Badajoz, Spain, Gonzalez worked as a miner and was a member of a communist party, establishing one of the first militia units to counter Francisco Franco's Nationalist Army upon the outbreak of the Civil War. As a brigade commander, González personally took part in all of the major actions that occurred during the Nationalists' assault on Madrid in 1936. He also commanded formations during the battles of the Corunna Road (December 1936),[1] the Jarama, and Guadalajara (March 1937).[2] In the summer of 1937, he led the 46th Division in the Battle of Brunete.[3] Heavily promoted as a heroic figure by Soviet propaganda, Gonzalez was accused by other officers in the Ejercito Popular of being brutal in his treatment of his men, unsuited for modern battle, and an egomaniac.[4]

He led his men in the Battle of Belchite,[5] Teruel,[6] and Catalonia throughout the war, before being forced to emigrate to the Soviet Union upon the Nationalist victory in 1939. Along with other exiled Spanish Republican commanders, he was enrolled in the Frunze Military Academy but was expelled for incompetence. [7] He was later imprisoned in Gulag labor camps in Vorkuta where he worked as a brigadier of miners. Following this, he escaped the Vorkuta gulag and the Soviet Union.[8]

He eventually moved to France, where he published a book entitled La vie et la mort en U.R.S.S. (1939–1949). The English translation is entitled LISTEN COMRADES: Life and Death in the Soviet Union, and was published in the UK by Heinemann in 1952.

After the fall of Francoist Spain in 1978, he returned to live in Spain. He died in Madrid.

References in fiction[edit]

Valentín González is mentioned in Ernest Hemingway's book For Whom the Bell Tolls through the thoughts of Robert Jordan, who described him as brave and tough, a man who "never knew when everything was lost and if it was he would fight out of it." (Hemingway, 246) [9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.477
  2. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.581.
  3. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.691
  4. ^ https://laestaciondefinlandia.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/orto-y-ocaso-de-valentin-gonzalez-el-campesino/
  5. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.701
  6. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.773
  7. ^ https://bremaneur.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/vida-y-muerte-de-valentin-gonzalez/
  8. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.924
  9. ^ Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom the Bell Tolls. USA: Scribner, 1968. 246
  • Beevor, Antony (2006), The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, Phoenix, ISBN 0-7538-2280-6
  • González, Valentín (1951). Vida y muerte en la URSS (in Spanish). Bell.