Literature and Social: Paul Preston ‘a life wrestling with the History of Spain’

Event Date:

October 18, 2023

Event Time:

6:30 pm

Event Location:

Instituto Español Vicente Cañada Blanch

BritishSpanish Society member Professor Sir Paul Preston is a celebrated author, historian and hispanist. Paul has shared his passion and knowledge of Spain with many students in his roles at London School of Economics and University of London. He has also written a number of books exploring the Spanish Civil War, Franco, and on various topics connected to modern day Spain. We are delighted that Paul has agreed to join us to discuss ‘a life wrestling with the history of Spain’ and to present his new book Architects of Terror, which amongst other topics explores how ‘fake news’ of the time created the perfect environment for the rise of Franco.

Paul will be joining us via video link to participate in a Q&A session with attendees. Following the presentation, interview and Q&A for those attending in person wine and nibbles will be available so that we can enjoy some social time together. 
The event will be conducted in English, however, questions and comments in Spanish are most welcome. 

This event is also available to attend online only. A reduced rate is available for students in full time education who wish to attend the event online. 


You can read more about Paul’s fascinating exploration of this period in Spain’s history below. To buy your own copy of the book please follow this link.
From the preeminent historian of 20th century Spain Paul Preston, Architects of Terror is a new history of how paranoia, conspiracy and anti-Semitism was used to justify the military coup of 1936 and enabled the construction of a dictatorship built on violence and persecution.

It is the previously untold story of how antisemitic beliefs were weaponised to justify and propagate the Franco overthrow of liberal Spain.

The Spanish military coup of 1936 was launched to overturn the social and economic reforms of the democratic Second Republic, and its educational and cultural challenges to the established order. The consequent civil war was fought in the interests of the landowners, industrialists, bankers, clerics and army officers whose privileges were threatened. However, a central justification for a war that took the lives of around 500,000 Spaniards was that it was being fought to combat an alleged scheme for world domination by a non-existent ‘Jewish- Masonic-Bolshevik Conspiracy’. Despite the fact that Spain had only a tiny minority of Jews and Freemasons, Franco and his inner circle were ardent believers in this fabricated conspiracy and spread the notion that the survival of Catholic Spain, as well, of course, of the establishment ’ s economic interests, required the total annihilation of Jews and Freemasons.

Architects of Terror is the story of how fake news, mendacity, corruption and nostalgia for lost empire generated violence and hatred. The book presents vivid portraits of the key ideologues who propagated the myth of the Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik Conspiracy and of the military figures who implemented the atrocities that it justified. Among the convictions shared by these individuals was their belief in the idea that Freemasonry was responsible for Spain’s loss of empire and in the factual veracity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious fiction about the global domination of the Jews.

This is a history that reverberates in our own political moment.


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Total Seats: 350 (314 Left:)
  • Instituto Español Vicente Cañada Blanch
  • 317-318 Portobello Rd
  • London W10 5SZ
  • W10 5SZ
  • United Kingdom

Event Schedule Details

  • October 18, 2023 6:30 pm   -   8:00 pm
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