[Cross-posted at Revise and Dissent.]
Guernica, the most ancient town of the Basques and the centre of their cultural tradition, was completely destroyed yesterday afternoon [26 April 1937] by insurgent air raiders. The bombardment of this open town far behind the lines occupied precisely three hours and a quarter, during which a powerful fleet of aeroplanes consisting of three German types, Junkers and Heinkel bombers and Heinkel fighters, did not cease unloading on the town bombs weighing from 1,000lb. downwards and, it is calculated, more than 3,000 two-pounder aluminium incendiary projectiles. The fighters, meanwhile, plunged low from above the centre of the town to machine-gun those of the civilian population who had taken refuge in the fields.1
Today is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Guernica (in Basque, Gernika) by German and Italian aircraft during the Spanish Civil War. Even after all the horrors that came after, the very name is still a by-word for terror and barbarism. The story was broken by George Steer, correspondent for The Times, which published his account on 28 April 1937 under the headlines "The tragedy of Guernica. Town destroyed in air attack".
The Times, 28 April 1937, p. 17. All quotes taken from this source. ↩