This book deals with one of most controversial issues of the Spanish Civil War (1936-9): the 'Red Terror'. Approximately 50,000 Spaniards were extrajudicially executed in Republican Spain following the failure of the military rebellion in July 1936. This mass killing of 'fascists' seriously undermined attempts by the legally constituted Republican government to present itself in foreign quarters as fighting a war for democracy. This study, based on a wealth of scholarship and archival sources, challenges the common view that executions were the work of criminal or anarchist 'uncontrollables'. Its focus is on Madrid, which witnessed at least 8,000 executions in 1936. It shows that the terror was organized and was carried out with the complicity of the police, and argues that terror was seen as integral to the antifascist war effort. Indeed, the elimination of the internal enemy - the 'Fifth Column' - was regarded as important as the war on the front line.
Julius Ruiz has written widely on the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime. His first book, Franco's Justice: Repression in Madrid after the Spanish Civil War, was published in 2005 and in Spanish translation in 2012. His second book, El terror rojo: Madrid 1936, was published in 2012 and is currently in its third printing. It won the 2012 Hislibris Prize for the best non-fiction title published in Spain and was widely reviewed in the Spanish press. Ruiz has published articles in British, American, and Spanish journals such as Contemporary European History, the Journal of Contemporary History, and Historia y Politica. He has reviewed books for a large number of titles, including English Historical Review and La Revista de Libros. He is a member of the British Royal Historical Society.