Read Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War Online

Authors: Amanda Vaill

Tags: #History, #Europe, #Spain & Portugal, #Biography & Autobiography, #Artists; Architects; Photographers

Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War



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For those who died in Spain, or left their hearts there; and for Tom


Title Page

Copyright Notice





Principal Characters

A Note on Spelling

Author’s Note


Part I: “They are here for their lives”

July 1936: Madrid

July 1936: London/Paris

July 1936: Paris

July 1936: Brno

July 1936: Key West

August 1936: Paris/Barcelona/Madrid

September 1936: Paris

September 1936: Madrid

September 1936: Córdoba Front

September 1936: Toledo/Madrid

September 1936: L Bar T Ranch, Wyoming

October 1936: Madrid/Cartagena/Moscow

November 1936: New York

November 1936: Madrid

November 1936: Paris/Madrid

November 1936: Key West

November 1936: Naples

December 1936: Madrid

December 1936: New York

December 1936: Valencia

December 1936: Key West

Part II: “You never hear the one that hits you”

January 1937: Madrid

January 1937: Valencia

January 1937: New York

February 1937: Málaga Front

February 1937: Madrid

February–March 1937: New York

March 1937: Paris/Pyrenees

March 1937: Madrid/Valencia/Madrid

March 1937: Barcelona/Valencia/Madrid

April 1937: Madrid

April 1937: Moscow

April 1937: Madrid

May 1937: Paris

May 1937: Barcelona

May 1937: Paris

May 1937: Bilbao

May 1937: Madrid

May 1937: Valencia

June 1937: New York

June 1937: Segovia Front/Madrid

June 1937: Córdoba Front

July 1937: New York/Washington/Los Angeles

July 1937: Valencia/Madrid

July 1937: Paris

July 1937: Valencia/Madrid

July 1937: Paris

August 1937: Madrid/Valencia

August 1937: New York

September 1937: Paris

September 1937: Madrid

September 1937: Aragon/Valencia/Teruel Front

September 1937: New York

October–November 1937: Madrid

December 1937: Playa de San Juan

December 1937: The North Atlantic

December 1937: Teruel

December 1937: Barcelona

December 1937: Teruel

December 1937: Barcelona

December 1937: Moscow

Part III: “La Despedida”

January 1938: Teruel

January–February 1938: Key West

January–February 1938: Post Agency lecture circuit, United States

January–February 1938: Barcelona

March 1938: The North Atlantic

March 1938: Paris

April 1938: Barcelona

May 1938: Madrid

May 1938: Paris

June–July 1938: Key West

June–July 1938: Paris

July 1938: Hankow

September 1938: Prague

September 1938: Paris

October 1938: Barcelona

October 1938: Paris

November 1938: Barcelona

December 1938: Moscow

January 1939: New York

January 1939: Paris

January 1939: Barcelona

February–March 1939: Paris

February–March 1939: Key West/Havana



Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations




Illustration Credits

Also by Amanda Vaill

A Note About the Author




You could learn as much at the Hotel Florida in those years as you could learn anywhere in the world.

—Ernest Hemingway

Cómo se pasa la vida,

Cómo se viene la muerte.

Tan callando:

Cuán presto se va el placer,

Cómo, después de acordado,

Da dolor,

Cómo, a nuestro parecer,

Cualquier tiempo pasado

Fué mejor.

—Jorge Manrique

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

—Matthew 16:26


1931   King Alfonso XIII leaves Spain, ushering in the Second Republic, a coalition of Socialists and liberal middle-class Republicans; the new government gives women the vote, legalizes divorce, cuts the size of the army

1932   General José Sanjurjo attempts a right-wing coup against the Spanish Republic; Anarchist uprisings take place in Andalusia, Aragon, the Basque country, and Madrid

Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected president of the United States; U.S. unemployment at 25 percent

1933   Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany; all political parties except National Socialists (Nazis) are banned; the first Nazi concentration camp is opened at Dachau

Spanish right-wing parties win a majority in the Cortes

1934   General Francisco Franco leads suppression of miners’ rebellion in Asturias

Austrian Civil War causes street fighting in Vienna and other cities; conservative premier Dolfuss outlaws the Social Democrats and Austria becomes a proto-fascist state

1935   Andrés Nin and Joaquin Maurin form the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) in Catalonia

Prime Minister Benito Mussolini sends Italian troops to invade Abyssinia

Stalin initiates the first purge of what will be called the Great Terror

Newly formed Popular Front coalition of Socialists, Communists, and Republicans narrowly wins Spanish general elections; the new government relieves Francisco Franco of his command and posts him to Canary Islands

Hitler reoccupies the Rhineland

Popular Front wins general election in France; Léon Blum narrowly escapes assassination by fascist militia, becomes premier

Concerted military uprisings take place all over Spain; Franco flies from Canary Islands to Morocco to take charge of the Army of Africa and invade the Spanish mainland; the government arms civilians to combat the mutiny

European nations, joined by the United States, declare a Non-Intervention Agreement for Spain; Nationalist (rebel) army, aided by secret gifts of war materiel from Germany and Italy, advances steadily; Socialist leader Francisco Largo Caballero becomes premier of Spain

Spanish rebels take Toledo and San Sebastian; Franco is appointed supreme political and military commander of the rebels

Spanish gold reserves transported to Russia; first International Brigades arrive in Spain

Nationalist forces advance to outskirts of Madrid, but are halted; government relocates to Valencia; Germany and Italy recognize Franco

Moscow trials of Old Bolsheviks and current army officers begin; U.S. Congress forbids all arms sales to Spain

Nationalists take Málaga, begin offensive in Jarama Valley

Government forces push back Nationalists at Guadalajara

German Luftwaffe bombs Guernica

May Days in Barcelona; Juan Negrin replaces Largo Caballero as premier

Bilbao falls to Nationalists

Battle of Brunete; USSR enters Sino-Japanese War

Fighting begins on Aragon Front

Government forces take Belchite in Aragon; Nationalists win control of north; government moves from Valencia to Barcelona

Teruel offensive begins. In China, Japanese besiege and take Nanking

Government forces take Teruel

Nationalists retake Teruel

Nationalists retake Belchite, start drive to Mediterranean; Italian planes begin bombing Barcelona; France reopens border with Spain; Germany annexes Austria in the Anschluss

Nationalists take Lérida, then Vinaroz, cutting the Republican zone in two; Franco privately signs the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan, Italy, and Germany

Léon Blum resigns as French premier and is succeeded by Édouard Daladier; French border with Spain closed

Spanish government begins counteroffensive along the Ebro

Munich conference among France, Britain, Germany, and Italy permits Hitler’s annexation of Czech Sudetenland

Spanish government agrees to withdrawal of all foreign volunteers; International Brigades have farewell parade in Barcelona; in China, Hankow falls to Japanese

Rio Segre offensive; Battle of the Ebro ends in government defeat and retreat back across river; in Germany, Kristallnacht results in destruction of 7,500 Jewish shops and 400 synagogues

Franco begins offensive on Catalonia

Nationalist troops take Barcelona

Fall of Catalonia; Britain and France recognize Franco

Franco marches into Madrid; Germany annexes all of Czechoslovakia, demands the free city of Danzig in Poland

Franco announces the end of military hostilities, makes public his agreement to the German/Italian/Japanese Anti-Comintern Pact



For the government (also known as Republicans, Loyalists)

Julio Álvarez del Vayo, foreign minister of the Spanish Republic, September 1936–May 1937 and April 1938–March 1939

Arturo Barea Ogazón, patent engineer, press censor, would-be writer

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