Dangerous Liaisons: Franco Spain and Nazi Germany’s Friendly Telegrams


Thursday, April 27, 2017, 5:00pm to 6:00pm


RCC Conference Room, 26 Trowbridge St., Cambridge MA

The RCC is honored to continue the lecture series focusing on the treasures of the José María Castañé collection:The Castañé Collection gathers together documents, photographs, and books that tell the story of the pivotal political and military events of the twentieth century.  Formed over a period of 25 years by José María Castañé, a Spanish businessman and patron of the arts, its topical foci are the Russian Revolution; the Russian Civil War; World War I; the development of Fascism and Nazism; the development of the Soviet Union; the Spanish Civil War; World War II, particularly the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and major battles in the European theatre of war; the Nuremberg Trials; and the Cold War. In size, the collection consists of some 3,000 individual items and small collections, numbering perhaps 15,000 pieces in all.” (Houghton Library)

This talk will explore the historical contexts and political interests underpinning a selection of correspondence between Francisco Franco, Adolf Hitler, and Hermann Göring in 1939 and 1942. The exchanges are brief telegrams—the “tweets” of their day-- expressing congratulations and gratitude. I will consider how their upbeat tone and diplomacy simultaneously hides and reveals the deep alliances and tensions running between Spain and Germany at the time. I will also address the value of having access to these rare primary documents, which are amongst the vast collection of archeological treasures, of the José María Castañé Collection, now housed in the Houghton library at Harvard.

Speaker: Soledad Fox Maura, Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, Williams College

Chair: Francisco Prado-Vilar, RCC Fellow, Visiting Fellow at the Department of History of Art, Harvard University

Sponsor: RCC