Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Winson Chu

Committee Members

Carolyn Eichner, Philip Minehan


Anarchism, Barcelona, Germany, Nation, Spain, Spanish Civil War


The relationship between anarchism and nationalism is poorly articulated in the scholarly literature and heavily contested within the modern anarchist movement. Between 1933 and 1937, a group of German anarchists, living in Spain and caught in that country's civil war and revolution in 1936, dealt with this question in their time in exile in Barcelona. Never explicitly confronting the issue of nationalism within their ranks, the Gruppe Deutsche Anarchosyndikalisten im Auslands (Gruppe DAS) nevertheless used nationally motivating iconography, discourse, and institutions to strengthen their constituencies and attract new ones. Driven by the demographic and social-situation in pre-war and wartime Barcelona, and motivated by their belief that the NSDAP was the real enemy of their movement, the war waged in Spain by the German anarchists was as nationally conscious as it was anarchist. By creating German-centric institutions, through isolation within the city of Barcelona, and under pressure to perform in the Civil War particularly when confronted with German enemies, i.e. the NSDAP), the German anarchists began to understand their struggle as both anarchistic and national in nature.

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