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Extra resources for An historian's life : Max Crawford and the politics of academic freedom

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He wrote with detached authority and insight, and considered the wider issues: Italy’s intentions, the economic consequence of waging war, and the interest of other nations. What was lacking was the chaotic confusion and foreboding of fascism that dominated Palmer’s prose. Crawford may have briefly described the ‘irrational emotional enthusiasm, a nationalistic fervour reluctant to count the cost or take a realistic view of the situation’. But he underestimated the essence of fascism and the most basic implications of both Mussolini and Hitler.

When the College performed Aeschylus’ tragedy, Agamemnon, he considered its central themes of vengeance and destiny as being paralleled in Spain. The earlier strain of overwork in temporary jobs, however, and the pressure from home had weakened his resolve, so he abandoned the research project before the Rockefeller Committee delivered its final decision. 121 In a letter applying for the position as tutor to Stephen Roberts at Sydney University in 1935, Crawford offered a slightly altered version of events.

Early in May 1936, the Popular Front of the left (made up of Republicans, Socialists, Anarchists and Communists) won a majority in the national elections. The Spanish electorate rejected dictatorship, the church and the monarchy. On 17 July, the Spanish generals rebelled, and the right decided to overthrow the elected Government. The country erupted in a prolonged and bitter civil war. Germany and Italy assisted Franco, while England and France adopted a non-interventionist policy, and Russia’s support for the republicans remained ambiguous.

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