Spain was defeated in London and Paris, where ignorant men believed that the peace of Europe could be sustained even if Mussolini conquered and where cowardly men believed that the freedom of Europe could be salvaged even if Spain became a corpse. It was by no act of the statesmen in London that Mussolini was prevented from gaining the swiftest and what would have been the most menacing of his triumphs. That service was performed by ragged ill-equipped armies, sometimes called 'scum'; and not merely were those armies deprived of the right to buy weapons; they had to fight against a Mussolini whose 'perfect good faith' was applauded in the British House of Commons even while his soldiers were battling to retrieve the bloody check administered to them before the gates of Madrid in 1936. To the blind eyes and stony hearts of some gentlemen in London, Mussolini was a better friend of peace than Dr Negrin, who obstinately refused to perform for his country the task discharged for France by Petain in 1940. And while Count Grandi was being received in the salons of Mayfair, other Italians of the International Brigade were helping to win a battle at Guadalajara.
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