Disloyalty and logics of fratricide in Civil War : executions of officers in republican Spain, 1936-19391
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofComparative political studies ; vol. 52, no. 7, pp. 1028-1058.
Violence within armed groups in civil wars is important and understudied. Linking literatures on civil war violence and military politics, this article asks when this fratricidal violence targets soldiers who try to defect, and when it does not. It uses a unique data set of executions of officers on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War. The article finds that while much of the violence appeared to target those who actually tried to defect, many nondefectors were likely shot too, due most likely to a pervasive stereotype that officers in general were disloyal to the Republic. This stereotype was used as an information shortcut and was promoted by political actors. Accordingly, unlikely defectors were likelier to be shot in locations in which less information was available about loyalties and in which political forces that were suspicious of officers as a group were locally stronger.